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NY Comic-Con '09: This Weekend's Manga Highlights

By February 3, 2009

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Forecasts say that temperatures will be in the frigid zone on Friday in New York City, but that won't stop hordes of comics, sci-fi, gaming and manga fans from heading for Manhattan's Jacob K. Javits Center to check out New York Comic-Con 2009. The fun officially starts on Friday, February 6, 2009, and keeps on going until Sunday afternoon, February 8.

The NY Comic-Con crew from Reed Exhibitions (the same folks who bring us New York Anime Festival, Book Expo America and the recently announced 2010 Chicago Comics & Entertainment Expo) have got a full schedule of celebrity appearances, movie premieres, meet and greets with comics creators on tap for the weekend. In fact, if you want an autograph from one of the special guests, you'd be well-advised to read these guidelines for the autograph sessions, like now, so you're not disappointed at the show. And if you're definitely planning on checking out the show, but don't have your tickets yet, buy them online before Thursday, and you'll save a bit off the at-the-door prices.

There'll be lots to see and do, but just to give you a taste of what's in store, here are a few highlights from my manga-centric guide to what's worth checking out at NYCC:

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 5, 2009

  • 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm: New York Comic-Con Pre-Con Party, Dave & Busters Time Square - 234 W. 42nd Street (Between 7th and 8th Avenues)
    The NY Comic-Con crew want to get the party started early, so the place to join them for a drink and some laughs is Dave and Busters, the official watering hole of NYCC. Head over there early, because the first 200 attendees get a goodie bag of schwag. NYCC is also holding a charity raffle to benefit The Hero Initiative, a non-profit organization that helps comics creators in need. Your $10 donation gets you 5 raffle tickets that could win you some cool collectibles signed by some of NYCC's special guests. If you haven't gotten your ticket for the show yet, you can also get them here and beat the Friday afternoon lines. But just so's you know -- you've got to be 21 or older to attend this shindig, or you'll need to be accompanied by a guardian age 25 or older. It *is* a bar, after all.

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 6, 2009

  • 10: 15 am - 11: 15 am: Newsflash: Teen Girls Read Manga!, Room 1A24
    Join manga bloggers extraordinaire Brigid Alverson (Mangablog), Katherine Dacey (Pop Culture Shock and guest blogger on Precocious Curmudgeon), along with Del Rey Manga editor Trisha Narwani and author/librarian Robin Brenner (No Flying, No Tights) as they very patiently explain why girls like reading Japanese comics, the role of female creators and editors in the manga publishing biz, and perhaps provoke some lively discussion about what American comics can learn from manga's success.
  • 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm: Dark Horse Comics, Room 1A21
    Dark Horse P.R. dude Jeremy Atkins and Senior Editor Scott Allie will chat up recent and upcoming releases for 2009, including "a slew of exciting announcements." Liiiiike… more details about Mangettes by Clamp? Uh. Maybe.
  • 2:15 pm - 3:15 pm: Comics for the iPhone and the Big Small Screen, Room 1A17
    Representatives from Uclick, the folks who brought you Dramacon for the iPhone will be on hand to show off their latest and greatest offerings for your mobile phone.
  • 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm: Director Q & A: Yatterman, IGN Theater
    Director Takashi Miike (The Great Yokai War, Ichi the Killer) will be on hand to introduce his latest flick, Yatterman, a live-action adaptation of the anime series of the same name. Miike-sensei has a huge cult following for his, uh, distinctive approach to filmmaking, and with Yatterman star Sho Sakurai also in attendance, this should be verry interesting.
  • 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm: Vertical Publishing, Room 1A22
    The Vertical crew will be on hand to chat up their critically acclaimed editions of manga by Osamu Tezuka, their selection of popular J-fiction novels and memoirs (including the recently released North Korea Kidnapped My Daughter), Japanese craft books, cook books and puzzles and perhaps a new announcement or two? After giving us no new manga news at NY Anime Festival back in September, I'm hoping that they've got something up their sleeves for 2009.

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 7, 2009

  • 11:15 am - 12:15 pm: Del Rey Manga Happy Fun Time Hullaballoo!, Room 1A06
    Not content to simply have a panel to announce their new and upcoming releases for 2009, the Del Rey Manga crew are promising a hootenanny of manga fun, plus some fashion tips (?!)
  • 12:15 pm - 1:15 pm: Chip Kidd Presents Bat-Manga!, Room 1A21
    Author, graphic artist and Batman memorabilia collector extraordinaire Chip Kidd will chat up Bat-Manga! The Secret History of Batman in Japan with his always entertaining slide presentation as well as a Q & A session.
  • 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm: Anime for Comics Fans, Comics for Anime Fans, Room 1A17
    The editorial staff of Anime Insider magazine and Wizard magazines join forces to try to bridge the gap between the cape and spandex side and the big eyes and giant robots side of the comic book shop with their recommendations of graphic novels and anime that deserve a crossover audience.
  • 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm: Bandai Entertainment, Room 1A22
    Ooh, now here's a scheduling conflict if I ever saw one. You know that panel I just described happening in Room 1A17 geared to bring together anime and comic book fans? The trouble is, all the anime fans will be hanging out a few rooms down the hall, waiting breathlessly for any new announcements from Bandai Entertainment. Ah well. Comic book détente will just have to wait.
  • 1:30 pm - 2:30 pm: Asian Americans and Super Heroes: Secret Identities, Room 1A18
    Now technically, this is not a manga panel. But hey, gotta give a shout out to the Asian American creators who have joined forces to create Secret Identities, a new comics anthology that spotlights Asian American superheroes who can do more than wave samurai swords and throw ninja stars. Well, at least I hope they do.
  • 1:45 pm - 2:45 pm: Yen Press, Room 1A22
    The Yen Press crew will bring the noise and maybe some new announcements of fun stuff to come in 2009 and beyond. I have yet to attend a Yen Press convention panel that didn't include at least 2 or 3 squeal-worthy additions to their publishing line-up, so this one's a must-see.
  • 2:45pm - 3:45 pm: FUNimation, Room 1A07
    Anime fans in the know will be there early to snag a front row seat to hear the latest news and anime license announcements.
  • 6:45 pm - 7:45 pm: CMX Manga, Room 1A06
    CMX Manga editor Jim Chadwick will be on hand to showcase some of the recently released and upcoming attractions for 2009, including Genghis Khan, Fire Inspector Nanase and hopefully a few more new titles too.

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 2009

  • 11:00 am - 12:00 pm: VIZ Media, Room 1A23
    Find out more about new and upcoming anime and manga releases from VIZ Media. They've already mentioned in the latest issue of Shojo Beat that the Nana anime will be released soon -- maybe we'll get some actual release dates? That'd be cool, huh?
  • 1:30 pm - 2:30 pm: Scott Pilgrim vs. The Panel!, Room 1A14
    To celebrate the release of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, creator Bryan Lee O'Malley will chat up his comics creation and reveal what he's got planned for his next adventures.

Also, here's a short list of exhibitors worth checking out on the NYCC convention floor:

  • CMX Manga - Booth 1641
  • Dark Horse Comics - Booth 823
  • Fanfare - Ponent Mon - Booth 2347
  • FUNimation Entertainment - Booth 1607
  • Gama-Go - Booth 2816
  • Giant Robot - Booth 2527
  • Kinokuniya Bookstore - Booth 2722
  • Organic Hobby - Booth 1112
  • Square Enix - Booth 1146
  • TokyoPop - Booth 1621
  • Vertical Inc. - Booth 1626
  • Yen Press - Booth 1920

There's also the ICV2 Graphic Novel Conference scheduled for Thursday, February 5. It's a related, but separate event from NYCC, and it's geared toward publishers, editors, librarians, book buyers and other professionals who'll want to hear more about industry trends from some of the leading creators and leaders in the comics and publishing biz.

Get a taste of what's in store with a peek at some photo highlights from New York Comic-Con 2008. And if you'd like to keep up with my latest updates straight from the convention floor at NYCC, follow me on Twitter.

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