New York Comic Con Report. Sold Art, Stan Lee and the Quest for a Bagel!

New York Comic COn was this last weekend (Oct.11-14) and I was privileged to be a part of the festivities! It was only my second trip to New York in my entire life so I was ecstatic to return to the great city of New York. My first trip to NY was in 2008 with my gal Denise Vasquez. Denise grew up in New York so I got the best tour imaginable! But, New York is Huge and we couldn’t see or taste everything New York had to offer, even though we did A LOT! This trip to New York was very business related with NY Comic Con, but I managed to find some time to take in the culture of New York.
But first things first, New York Comic Con! NYCC was held at the Javits Center in New York city, situated right near the Hudson river. We stayed just over the George Washington Bridge in New Jersey, so every morning started with a nice drive over the George Washington bridge and along the Hudson River. There is something so exciting about seeing the New York Skyline, and I got to see it every morning which was a great way to get the energy up for each day of COmic Con. Javits Center was filled to the brim with Comic book, and pop culture fans from all over. New York COmic Con has it’s own energy and personality. A little east coast attitude, mixed with a strong appreciation for art and culture. The main floor was always packed with fans, so I was happy that I was stationed at the CHoice Collectibles booth signing copies of my newest Spider-man print. I met so many great fans, and talked about the art I had created for the show. This was my first COnvention on the East Coast so I was very eager to not only make some new East Coast fans, but also to talk with East Coast fans and learn about their perspective on Pop Culture and Comic Books. If there is one thing New Yorkers are known for is it’s not being afraid to talk with people, and it was great. I learned so much talking to fans just on Spider-man alone. The most interesting thing I began to realize speaking with all these New Yorkers is how interwoven, Marvel Comics Specifically, with New York. Stan Lee was a genius for making the actual city of New York the backdrop for heroes like Spider-man, Daredevil, and the Fantastic Four. I found that New Yorkers really look at characters like Spider-man as part of the New York Culture. They really take pride in ol’ web head the same way New Yorkers take pride in the Yankees. I had never made that connection but it completely makes sense. How fortuitous that we were debuting my first Marvel Legacy SPider-man print at New York Comic Con? The New York fans were big fans of my new Spider-man piece and it felt really nice that they all embraced my artwork so well. Accompanying my Spider-man print were 4 brand new Original Paintings, which are all slated for print release. The fans loved them, and to my delight 75% of these original paintings sold on my first day! I felt so proud!!!! It always feels good to sell art, but it also feels good to know I can pay my rent:) haha. Funny, but true!

One half of day one had gone by in a flash and I didn’t think I could be happier. But things only got better. You see, Stan Lee, creator of Marvel Comics and creator of such characters as Spider-man, The Fantastic Four, The Hulk, Iron-man, and literally thousands more, was scheduled to sign prints at the Choice Collectibles booth. He was there on Saturday and Sunday. Stan is a legend and loves his fans, never missing a chance to meet them and sign an autograph. I had met Stan Lee one time before at his offices in Beverly Hills CA, when my girlfriend Denise Vasquez was invited to give him some of her art. It was good to see Stan again was lucky enough to get a picture with him holding my Spider-man Art. It all happened so fast, but it was a special moment and I am still reliving and reflecting the experience in my head. Stan Lee signed about 30 copies of my Spider-man print which is just incredible for the fans!

One of my favorite aspects of any convention is seeing old friends, and making new ones! I was happy to see my friend Tim Hopper from Holbein Paints, the only brand of paints I use, at the Holbein Booth! Tim is always great to talk art and life with, and is like the Batman of art supplies. He always has some new paint or product for me to try out and use. I love their products! Denise and my friend Leah Cevoli, you might know her as Sabrina the teenage Bitch on Robot Chicken, stopped by the booth to say hi. Leah has been spending some time on the East coast for a while, so it was really good to see her. My Manager Michelle introduced me to a really fabulous artist, Simone Bianchi and his really sweet sister Gloria. Simone creates very dynamic and energy filled Marvel Art. I love his paintings. The thing I love about meeting other artists is talking shop in terms of inspiration. Simone is from Lucca, Italy and you can see his love for his country in his art work. He uses such rich colors, you can totally see the colors of Tuscany coming out through his brush. Which only makes sense why I enjoy his work so much because I adore Italy. I spent a little time talking about Italy with my two new Italian friends, which really made me want to visit Italy again.

Friday Night, my manager Michelle and I hit downtown NY for a little celebrating of our success at Comic Con. Denise and I had gone to time square on our last trip during the day, but this was my first time at night. WOW, I was awestruck! There was so much going on, almost chaos, but there was something so beautiful about it. The lights, the energy, all those people…it’s just awesome!. We were starving so we had a great dinner at Bobby Vans. I indulged in an enormous Rib Eye Steak with mashed potatoes and asparagus. Mmm, it was SO good! It was my first time enjoying a steak dinner in New York, so that was really special for me.

So I hope you are gathering how much I love food. New York has some of the best food in the world, so I was grinning ear to ear the entire time. On my first trip with Denise I made a check list of foods I had to try in New York. New York Pizza, Check. Dirty Water Hot Dig from Central Park, Check. A Sandwich from Carnegie Deli, Check. New York Cheesecake, Check. So much great food, but the one thing I didn’t get on my first trip, was a New York Bagel! So I was on a mission. On Saturday morning I needed to get some art supplies form the local Utrecht. It was about a mile walk, but it was a perfect excuse to get out and take a New York walk and get me a bagel…finally! I walked through Chelsea as I took some of the standard tourist shots of the Empire State Building, and took in all the wonderful smells of food that drifted through the crisp morning air. The girls at the art store suggested I try a place called the Brooklyn Bakery, which was just around the corner of the art store. I could barely contain my excitement as my quest for a New York bagel would soon be complete. I arrived at Brooklyn bakery to find a customer line out the door, so I was obviously sent to the right place. I got to the front of the line, and there it was, like the Holy grail sitting in a basket  behind the deli counter, my very first New York Onion Bagel! I like to start simple, so I got it with nothing more than plain cream cheese. I paid for my bagel and anticipated the moment of eating this warm delight in the crisp morning air outside. I took the Bagel out and it was the size of my hand… this is already awesome! I peel back the paper and take a big bite…I think I may have even teared up a bit. My teeth sunk into that chewy bread squishing that cream cheese goodness to the back of my tongue. Oh wow man, That was just heaven. Everything New Yorkers have told me my entire life about a New York bagel were true, but their words just couldn’t do what I was eating any justice. People argue about best pizza, or best Chinese food, but let me tell you… there is no argument, New York makes the only thing you should ever call a bagel. Hands down. Any other bagel is just not even in the same universe. I shall never eat another Bagel and not long for New York!

Saturday Night after the Con, Michelle and I took a trip to Soho where we met up with her friends Heidi and Nick, owners of the AFA Art gallery. AFA is a fantastic gallery and was instantly one of my favorite Galleries ever. You know how some galleries can come off really snobby and just plain uncomfortable to be in? The AFA Gallery is probably the most welcoming Gallery I have ever been to, and the art inside is unbelievable. Right now they have a show featuring the art of Brian and Wendy Froud which is unreal. You will recognize their style as they were co-creators on the movie The Dark Crystal.If you are in New York, make plans to visit AFA, you will love it, and tell them I sent you!:) Check out the AFA Gallery Web site here!

But on with our story… Michelle and I met Nick, Heidi and their daughter at the Gallery, and after a guided tour of their art we made our way to a superb Italian restaurant just down the street. I mean, in NY you can probably throw a rock and hit a great Italian restaurant, but this place was top notch. We had a great dinner and I really got to experience a night of dining in New York with friends. It was really special, and I’ll remember that evening forever.  Nick, Heidi and their daughter are just awesome people, and I’m so happy Michelle had me meet them!

Needless to say, I had a great time in New York and I loved every minute of my trip there. I do in fact Love New York, but my favorite part of the trip was coming home to my Neicie. 🙂