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On Thursday, New York Comic Con kicks into gear; 125,000 fans are expected to descend upon Manhattan's Javits Center. But what makes this different than its West Coast rival? Is there any difference at all? Ask anyone there and you'll find out that yes, yes there is.

They Actually Aren't Related At All

While San Diego and New York are both comic conventions, they aren't related to one another. And New York Comic Con isn't related to Big Apple Comic Con, either.  The company that runs New York Comic Con is called ReedPop! which created the whole shindig in 2006. The Wall Street Journal reports:

Inspired by the thriving comic, graphic novel and manga space, ReedPOP started with New York Comic Con in 2006 and has gone on to launch festivals for Star Wars geeks, Ultimate Fighting Championship fans and hard-core gamers, among others.

The Size

San Diego has always been the grand daddy of comics conventions. Historically, it's been the bigger con with attendance topping 130,000 over the years. New York isn't that big ... yet. 

Three years ago, New York Comic Con's attendance was hovering around 95,000. According to a spokesman, this year they're expecting over 120,000 people at the convention, some 700 exhibitors, and will be pumping an estimated $70 million into the New York economy. Not bad for the East Coast convention that could.

Hollywood's Influence

Over the past few years, San Diego Comic Con, whose official name changed to Comic-Con International: San Diego, has been compared to the Super Bowl or stadium show of comic conventions. Going to San Diego is like seeing Beyonce perform in concert — a massive show with lights, cameras, hairography, and a crazy spectacle. And Hollywood knows this, which is why studio execs and higher-ups have sent big names like the Twilight and Glee casts there in recent years. 

New York, on the other hand, has been compared to things like a "cozy" acoustic show — fewer frills, more focus on the "music." That doesn't mean it's better. But it might be for some.

While San Diego has touted big Hollywood names (HUNGAHHHHH GAMEZZZZ), New York has kept it leaner and more focused on people with attachments to cult shows and comic projects. This year's big draws are Sigourney Weaver, Chloe Grace Moretz, the cast of the Walking Dead and Scully and Mulder (Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny).

What We're Looking Forward To

We're going to be at Comic Con this weekend and, among other things, will be yelling at Brian Bendis about Battle of the Atom and pestering the Marvel team to give us the Captain Marvel movie we all deserve. Also, we're eagerly anticipating if anyone is going ask to the folks over at DC Comics about Batwoman and the gay marriage that never was.

But we'll also have an eye out for BJ Novak's new book, Spike Lee's Oldboy, and Neil deGrasse Tyson's reboot of Cosmos.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.