The New York Comic Con is a for-profit event produced and managed by ReedPOP, a division of Reed Exhibitions and Reed Elsevier, and is not affiliated with the long running non-profit San Diego Comic-Con, nor the Big Apple Convention, later known as the Big Apple Comic-Con, owned by Wizard Entertainment. ReedPOP is involved with other events, including Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (C2E2) and PAX Dev/PAX East/PAX Prime.
The first con was held in 2006 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. Due to Reed Exhibitions’ lack of experience with comic conventions (they primarily dealt with professional trade shows prior to 2006), attendance was far more than anticipated, and the main exhibition hall could only hold 10,000. Despite crowding on Friday afternoon, tickets continued to be sold due to low pre-reg numbers (4,500), and the non-counting of professionals and exhibitors. The main exhibition hall hit capacity Saturday morning and was locked by the fire marshals until people left, with the lockdown ending in the afternoon. Major guests, including Kevin Smith and Frank Miller, could not enter the main hall. The line to enter the convention wrapped around the building with waits of two hours to enter, and many were turned away. Ticket sales for Sunday were suspended. Reed announced that additional space would be acquired for the 2007 show.
The second con was held in 2007, with the convention organizer booking double the floor space than the previous year’s space, and moving to the upper level of the Javits Center. The show on Friday was again only open to industry and press until 4 p.m., when it opened to the public. Due to better planning, advance ticket sales were controlled, and the convention sold out for Saturday. Lines started forming at midnight Saturday to enter the convention, and by Saturday morning, there was an 2 hour wait in 20 degree temperatures to enter. Crowding was a problem in the Artists Alley, which was off the main convention floor, causing it to be moved to the main floor for 2008. The American Anime Awards, hosted by New York Comic Con, was held on February 24 at the New Yorker Hotel, during the Comic Con.
The third con held in 2008 moved to April, continued to grow (expanding space by 50%), and occupied most of the main level in the Javits Center. Stan Lee was awarded the inaugural New York Comics Legend Award at the Times Square Virgin Megastore before the Comic Con. Kids’ Day programming was added to the convention on Sunday with the help of Kids’s Comic Con. The fourth con held in 2009 returned to February and featured a charity art auction to support the The Hero Initiative.
Due to scheduling conflicts with the Javits Center for spring dates and the creation of the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo by Reed, New York Comic Con was moved to October for Halloween starting in 2010. The New York Anime Festival, previously an separate event created by Reed, was also merged into Comic Con. Registration for the combined events was 190 percent ahead of 2009’s numbers, convention space was increased by an additional 40 percent, and the anime festival was moved to the lower level of the Javits. The main floor of the convention center was split by a large construction area due to repairs to the Javits Center.