Anime Fest “There and Back” WOW!!!

Posted on December 12, 2007 (Da Craze)

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When I first heard about Anime Fest being held at the Javits Center and run by Reed (The same cats that run NY Comic Con and Book Expo) I thought to myself; HMMM maybe I should give it a try. Okay, I know what you are thinking; Why would you go to an Anime Con if you publish comics that are not Anime affiliated? What can I say, I am a risk taker. Well, I needed to find out if there was an untapped market for my books and why not start with Anime?
anime.JPGOkay, I get to the Javits center early on Friday and immediately notice there are no lines or fan frenzy like you would see at a NY Comic Con or San Diego Comic Con. Good Grief even the Big Apple National had a line Friday morning. I don’t get nervous and proceed to pick up my badge with no name. I get to my location in Artist Alley and I like the spot. I set up with David Quiles of Gothic Souls who happens to be positioned along side my table. The doors open and BAM! The freaks come out at night. Not really, just a bunch of kids playing dress up. This was the theme for the event. Hundreds of kids, teenagers all dressed up in costume and playing their favorite Anime / Manga Characters. I knew immediately that everyone in Artist Alley were going to die a slow and painful death that weekend.
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To make a sale would be one of the most challenging tasks in my publishing career. Out of the thousands of people who purchased tickets for the Anime Fest, I would approximate 80% of them were in costume and did not come to buy comics. Instead they came to participate in the contests, live performances and more. It was a site to see and pretty interesting given the fact that Anime has captured the hearts and minds of so many of today’s youth. I reflected on comics and pondered on the thought of trying to make this magic work for our culture. If you haven’t noticed, comics and Anime are two separate cultures which ignite separate feelings and emotions causing different reactions to the medium. At a Comic Con one can expect to see amazing booth set-ups with dynamic characters and props everywhere; causing one to stop in their tracks just to OOOH & AAAH. Anime does not have the same POP or WOW factor. Instead it has hardcore fanatics who love the culture so much that they live and breath it day in and out. So the reverse happens and the exhibitors start the OOH and AAHS while admiring their courage and loyalty dressed up as Goku or Invader Zim.
doodiefan2.JPG At the end of the three days, it was a universal consensus that comics did not belong in the Anime world (at least not yet). Most of the independent publishers barely broke even or even came close. I was one of the fortunate ones who actually made my table money back (no profit though). If the two worlds need to collide, it will have to remain in a venue as large as San Diego Comic Con; where there is enough for everyone. Will I do another Anime Con, absolutely not. At least not until my projects have created enough buzz around the globe to demand that I make a presence. Hey, I can dream can’t I?
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As a final note, Anime Fest is a great event for the Anime lovers and industry professionals who develop, publish and create Anime / Manga products. I can’t be mad at that. Until next time…

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