Apparently not enough. I keed! The Podcast Arena at New York Comic Con has been discontinued. In an email I got from a rep, they said:
"For NYCC this year we will not have a dedicated area for podcast tables. Please let me know if you'd like me to put you in touch with our sales team for space at NYCC. "
Joe, Blair Butler, & I at our table in the very first Podcast Arena in 2007
I think we all saw this coming for years and former COMIC NEWS INSIDER (CNI) co-host/current producer (and roommate) Joe called it last year saying he thought they'd be pulling the plug this year. The Arena was constantly shuffled around the floor each year and not really well placed on their website. And last year, we were put in the separate Artist's Alley area and they didn't put up our Podcast Arena sign. Most people I ran into said they had no idea where we were located nor how to find us. Foreshadowing indeed!
Me & Joe at our table in 2008
New York Comic Con started in 2006 and Joe and I attended to cover and do interviews. The following year in 2007, they decided to put together something called the Podcast Arena. CNI spearheaded the organization with NYCC and Joe handled all of the logistics for it and continued to do so until he stepped down from full time co-hosting at the end of 2010. Then I took over with the organization of the Podcast Arena. And boy howdy, was it a lot of work. But it resulted in a great community of comic podcasters all together in one space at NYCC doing their thing. NYCC gave us a great deal on tables each year and we absolutely appreciate the opportunity to showcase our various podcasts and have a place to sit and do interviews. My podcast, CNI, did loads each year with tons of interviews, signings with comic creators and actors, a raffle and more. All of the podcasts (as part of our agreement with NYCC) did advertisting for the show and most of us went above and beyond with that by pimping it out for weeks before and after. Because of that, I took very minor umbrage to the somewhat sterile email reply that is above. A simple "We thank you for your support over the years and all you've done to help NYCC, etc" or something to that affect would have been nice. And the bit about getting in touch with the sales team was kind of unintentionally comical as all of us most likely couldn't afford a regular priced table as we are lowly/destitute podcasters. Ha!
Me, Molly Crabapple, & Joe at our table in 2009
That all being said, it was great fun each year. Having the camaraderie of fellow podcasters nearby helped create a great atmosphere. It was always nice to catch up with each other as many do not live close by and we only see one another at NYCC. Several of our mutual listeners looked forward to coming by and saying hi to us as we enjoyed meeting them in return. They would say how nice it was to meet the faces behind the voices and we felt the same meeting the faces behind the emails/tweets/etc.
Joe & I at our table in 2010
I want to thank all of the great CNI volunteers over the years for helping to watch the booth, take pictures, wrangle talent and more. Apologies if I've left anyone out but I wanted to at least mention some of you. In no particular order, thanks to Emily Edwards, Carrie Tucker, Kristin Garay, Colleen Glatfelter, Gretchen Souerwine, Anna Petterson, Jenn Timms, Kasha Minenko, Jessica Harmston, Jon Hoche, Marsha Bell, Robert Bell, Grace Helbig, Erica Schultz, Kevin Conn and others.
Booth helper Jenn in 2011
My nephew Maximus taking over the podcast in 2011 w/ myself and Kelly Sue DeConnick oblivious to it all in the background
Also, massive thanks to the talent who did signings with us including Carrie Preston, Brea Grant, Zane Grant, Kyle Strahm, Jonathan Hickman, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Greg Pak, JM DeMatteis, Michael Avon Oeming, Molly Crabapple, Michelle Mozes, Emma Vieceli, Tony Lee, Becky Cloonan, Veronica Taylor, Ben McCool, Ben Templesmith, Rachel Pandich, Andrew Tunney, Kevin Colden, Jonathan Baylis, Jeremy Bastian, Ming Doyle, Nikki Cook, Monica Gallagher, Andie Tong, Jim Starlin, etc.
Joe & I at our table in 2012
Of course, massive props to Joe for all of the help over the years as well. And thanks to my fellow podcasters like Comic Geek Speak, Indie Spinner Rack, Comic Timing, Taylor Network, Dafixer's Hideout, Birds of Geek, Raging Bullets, AudioShocker, Geeks Unite, Around Comics and so many others that I am stupidly forgetting. I look forward to seeing you all roaming the floor like I will be in search of a much needed place to sit down and relax for a bit. Perhaps we should just take over an area in the lobby and put up our own signage as the "All-New Podcast Arena!" At least until security kicks us out.
Me & Joe at our table in 2013
And for you party-goers...fret not. I'll still be holding my semi-exclusive but not really unless you're a jerk Dead Dog Bash on the Sunday night following the convention. You can bribe me for an invite with bourbon and strippers.