Got to NYAF about 10:45, and spent about 2 hours walking around the show floor - the glories of a pro pass - before it opened. Talked with Vertical and Media Blasters, as well as the Warner Archive, WB's online movie store. Media Blasters are doing the best they can in this economy. Zetsubou-sensei's on hold right now.
Got to panels about 2 and lurked in Viz's room, which was now TBD. Turned out the staff was unaware the panel had been cancelled - they thought Viz were just late. After I noted that their online schedule had removed it, they cleared us out. Guess you can't lurk in an empty panel room. So I went to a panel on shinigami, which was far more organized and laid out than I'm used to from a con - kudos to the panelist.
After that came the highlight of my day, the Archie industry panel. I wish everyone who has seen other industry panels could be at this one, as it was basically a lesson in exactly what to do. Tremendous enthusiasm, noting their past successes, mentioning future projects, teasing a few things... everyone on the panel looked delighted to be here, bar Victor Gorelick, and even his truculence seemed to alleviate by the end (he's been with Archie for 52 years). Stan Goldberg was also in the audience.
They're doing a new Betty and Veronica series called Betty OR Veronica, which details the girls going to Europe as transfer students, and trying to deal with various things. Archie Comics apparently wants to explore what life would be like as a Betty or a Veronica in the personality sense of the term (you get the feeling their staff is very aware of the online commentary). Kevin Keller's getting a miniseries. They teased the Obama and Palin series, as well as a series dealing with Cheryl Blossom realizing she needs a 'Betty' to be her BFF, the way Betty and Veronica are, and chaos ensues.
They're doing Sonic stuff, and Mega Man stuff. The much-delayed Sonic encyclopedia is much delayed as it's gotten frikkin' HUGE, and they note that the Archie encyclopedia would be after that, and be even bigger. They mentioned their digital comics, and noted that they found it actually increased print interest. They were all personable, and had good answers for everything. Most of all, you sense they knew how to run Archie as a business. They were corporate, in the best sense of the word.
After that came Dark Horse, who rolled out their own online digital program, which was the focus of much of the panel. They announced new titles from the Vampire Hunter D artist, however, as well as Kouta Hirano's new Ours series Drifters, and a short one-volume manga from Yasuhiro Nightow that was in Shueisha's Jump Square.
That was it, and I talked with their rep afterwards. The economic situation is really hurting them in regards to what they can and can't put out. They noted they loved Reiko the Zombie Shop, and wanted to release more, but the economy and poor sales simply won't allow it. Same with Translucent, which I brought up. Ghost Talker's Daydream was noted as something which got enough buzz for them to restart it, however. And yes, nothing is cancelled. If the economy gets better, who knows? This also affects their new licenses, which are mostly one-shots or short series. I asked about Lucifer and Biscuit Hammer, which they're aware of but... World Embryo, btw, is also on hiatus.
The last event of the day was the New York premiere of the Haruhi movie. It was pretty fantastic. As a more-or-less straight adaptation of the 4th novel, I knew what to expect going in, but that didn't make it any less fun to watch. Kyon and Yuki fans will love this, although Haruhi and Mikuru also get extensive focus. I think it was worth the wait and expense, and almost justifies Endless Eight.
What will Day 2 bring? Well, Bandai, Funimation, Yen, and Vertical. Can't wait.