Sam Sykes and New York Comic Con!

photo- sam sykes

We are delighted to welcome Sam Sykes to the Gollancz Blog for a special guest post on New York Comic Con. If, like us, you weren’t able to make it this year then this brilliant update from Sam that will almost make you feel like you were there. 

I’m going to assume that, if you’re reading this blog, you have an interest in either A) comics, B) fantasy, C) novels, D) people dressed up as sexy ewoks or E) all of the above and maybe also sexy Chewbacca.

Ergo, I’m going to assume you’ve probably at least heard of New York Comic Con.  You might even have an interest in going!

As a fan of comics, the fantasy genre, novels and people dressed up as Ewoks of all degrees of sexual liberation, conservative and up, I was definitely interested in attending.  And as a young person with few responsibilities and a history of making compulsive decisions that put me in proximity to Ewoks, I went again for the second year in a row.

Now, not all of my compulsive decisions have resulted in positive outcomes—I still bear the scars from the time I instinctively said “you can’t be that good” when Patrick Rothfuss declared himself the King of All Mechanical Bull Riding—but I found it hard to fault my decision to go to New York Comic Con 2014, hosted at the Javits Convention Center in Manhattan.

I spent three days surrounded by enthusiastic fans, all of them drawn together for the same reasons I had come: to see amazing artists and buy their shit, to meet creators of amazing comics and buy their shit, to meet purveyors of collectibles and buy their shit, and to meet authors, editors and readers of all novels fantastical and buy their shit.

Since I am both a published author and 6’4”, I usually get books handed to me for free (people feel more comfortable around me when they give me objects, assuming correctly that my ogre-like stature and temper are echoed by a lust for shiny things), but you get my point.  One of my favorite things about New York Comic Con is finding the newest, coolest shit around and stuffing it greedily into my bag and running off, cackling.

Granted, I had reasons beyond the noble calling of petty consumerism for going.

You might have heard I have a book coming out.  Published by Gollancz in the UK, The City Stained Red is out this very month and I had some publicity to do: books to give away, books to sign and comics to dispense.

Which you can read here:

Pretty nice, right?  I wrote it myself and my great friend Ashley Cope, creator of, illustrated it.  I felt like a big boy for a little bit there.

And give away, I did.  To tremendously eager, enthusiastic hordes, I dispensed.  To excited, clamoring masses, I delivered.  To people near hyperventilating with joy, I gave away.  I did it gladly because, frankly, the enthusiasm is infectious.

I’ve been to a number of conventions, large and small.  I treasure the small ones I’ve been to for their air of intimacy, the ability to get in-depth with creators and authors, the social club atmosphere and the general friendliness.

But when you’re an author who is extremely excited to share something with as many people as possible?  A place like New York Comic Con is the place to be.

Not merely for its sheer size (and given that they outdid San Diego Comicon in terms of population this year, the size is sheer, indeed) but because the attitude is markedly different: more energetic, more enthusiastic, more…eager to see new things.

Again, that’s not to speak from a perspective of consumerism—at least not solely, as there is quite a bit of consuming—but the air of Comicon is one for discovery and debuts, for new and unique.  It’s awesome to come out there and see how many people are excited to see new stuff.  As I said, the enthusiasm is infectious and when some of that new stuff happens to have your name on it?  Well.

Admittedly, the crowds can be hectic and, like any disease, the infectious energy can leave you exhausted, sore and maybe even a little sniffling with mucus.  And yes, it lacks the ability to really gush in a tasteful, understated way over the stuff you’re excited about as you could at a smaller con.  But that’s sort of the beauty of it.

NYCC is unashamed and eager, one perpetual fangasm in which squee of all variety is welcome.

…yeah, I just wrote that sentence.  It’s too late now


city stained red

The City Stained Red is out now in trade paperback and e-book. You can find out more about Sam by visiting his website or following him on twitter @samsykesswears.