Much like at San Diego Comic-Con this year, New York Comic Con seems to believe that there’s a problem (or potential problem) with queuing in line all day for some of the biggest panels. However, where Comic-Con International decided to implement a wristband system showing those waiting in line just what quarter of the room they’d likely to be in for the first panel of the day, assuming they were going to make it in at all, New York is attempting a very different tactic.
For the first time, New York Comic Con will be clearing the room between panels on their Main Stage, the New York version of Hall H that seats around 3,000 people (compared to Hall H’s 6,130 capacity). Additionally, in order to gain access to the room, attendees must line up to receive a wristband prior to the panel. With the wristband, attendees are guaranteed access to that panel – but once wristbands are gone, no one else can attend the panel. There will be no overflow or standby line.
Only the Main Stage will be cleared. All other panel rooms continue to run on a first-come, first-serve basis.
So how does this work?
According to the New York Comic Con page devoted to explaining these new rules, when attendees enter the “Queue Hall”, they will see a sign listing the five Main Stage panels for the day, and whether those panel lines have reached capacity yet or not. If the panel line is still open, attendees can head to the back of Queue Hall to join one of the five lines – each representing a different panel. Each line will be clearly labeled with the name of the panel.
Staff will hand out a panel-specific wristband, which includes the panel’s name, date, and time on it in a designated color, in one of two ways: either starting with the first panel of the day, or when a line reaches capacity. Once attendees have a wristband, they are free to either join a line that hasn’t reached capacity to attend another Main Stage panel, or go explore the rest of the convention. Once attendees have a wristband, they only need to return 35 minutes prior to their panel to get in.
This means that potentially, if on Friday the line for the panel of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. at 5:45 PM reaches capacity before AMC’s Comic Book Men panel at 11 AM (the first panel of the day), someone in line for S.H.I.E.L.D. could either then go to Comic Book Men, or spend the rest of their afternoon shopping the floor and attending other panels.
It also means that someone who is very excited to see a panel that doesn’t fill up could spend the entire day in line without ever seeing anything else, as there is no guarantee when wristbands will be distributed for each panel.
According to New York Comic Con, their hope is that “this will allow more Fans to see the Panels they really want to see on the Main Stage.”
Depending on your own desires for the convention, this could be a great system, or a terrible one. For someone who wants to sit up front and be close to the stage, getting a wristband and leaving the line as New York Comic Con seems to hope will happen would mean potentially giving up that great spot, and isn’t likely to happen. That person could be overjoyed not to be fighting with fans of various other things for better seats, or they could be annoyed that instead of sitting through other panels, they’ll be in line all day.
For someone towards the back of the line who is just happy to make it in, knowing they have access and being able to spend the rest of the day enjoying the rest of the con could be a much better experience than sitting in line or through panels they don’t care about.
Basically, as with all things in life, New York Comic Con is never going to make everyone happy. But will this new system make more people happy?
We won’t know for sure how the system works until New York Comic Con starts on Thursday, but if you’re attending, we’d love to hear how the experience works for you.
What do you think of New York Comic Con’s new system? Is this something you’d like to see implemented at San Diego Comic-Con? Let us know in the comments.