After last weekend, I can now proudly say that I am no longer a con-virgin. After taking a moment or two to reflect on the experience, I think it would have behooved me to start on a smaller scale because, holy shit, New York Comic Con is massive. Taking up the majority of the Javits Center, the con is held in three wumbo show rooms, with entire separate floors for New York Animefest and the panel rooms (I never did find the hall for the special guest signings- but they had one of those too (allegedly).
I elected to skip Thursday since the only thing on the agenda besides several different panels for professionals seemed to be the kick-off concert. As a general rule, I avoid any events hosted by a DJ “stupid name.” However, I heard that Z-Trip (that would be the stupid name) played samples from classic video games and after talking to people who went, I kind of regret not making an appearance.
Comic con officially started for me on Friday when I moseyed on downtown around ten. Sitting on the D-train was possibly the strangest and most entertaining trips I’v had in a while. About 70% of the passengers were normal commuters that were trying to go about their normal Friday. I say trying because, while the traditional subway rider is a master ignoring everything and everyone around him or her, these people were oddly alert and decidedly confused. This is because the remaining amount of people was heading to comic con (or maybe serial killers).
If you’ve never taking mass transit to a con, let me explain the experience. It is extraordinarily easy to tell who is on their way to NYCC and who isn’t. If you’re like me, you spend the whole ride bouncing up and down in your seat and reading over your show planner. The more subtle con-goers spent the trip sizing up everyone else on the train, trying to figure out who else is making the epic journey to NYCC and perhaps wondering if they could form a fellowship. Picture Edward Norton and Brad Pitt’s bus ride in Fight Club, but imagine the scene with both actors wearing pointy Vulcan ears. Watching all the geeks trying to give commuters the eye or the secret comic con head jiggle may have been one of the best parts of my weekend. Oh, and some people were traveling in their Naruto costumes. I’d give a lot for every subway ride to be so magical.
After a short walk to Penn Station, where hundreds of people were marching in all manner of dress toward the Javits center (I followed an excellent Joker and his two Harleys all the way there), I finally made it to NYCC. By the time I arrived, it had been open for about an hour or so and it was already full of people. The organizers had advised us to show up a bit late because for some reason, there would be nowhere to line up inside on Friday. This seemed personally reasonable to me, until it became obvious that if I had wanted any chance of getting into the noon Arkham City panel, I should have lined up at some point in early August. Seriously, add up the number of minutes that you’ve ever spent collecting those fracking riddler trophies…no, that would still be less than the number of people in that effing line. So, yeah, no luck. However, this was notably the first of many failed attempts to wave my press badge around in an attempt to get in front of lines.
Skipping AC gave me just enough time to get lost, get found, and find the screening room for Locke and Key pilot.
Other than being aware that Joe Hill, son of Stephen King, wrote the comic from which it was adapted, I knew nothing about the show. I was blown away. Immediately after seeing it, I wanted to know everything about the Locke & Key universe. Having recently read the first arc of the comic (thanks for the bday present, Leia), I can say with complete surety that the pilot episode was spot on. However, some of the casting choices seemed a bit off. The classically beautiful Sara Bolger(The Tudors) played Kinsey Locke sans dreadlocks. Other casting was absolute perfection as Ksenia Solo proved that Samara isn’t the only damp bitch in a well that can send chills up your spine. If you haven’t read the comic, I suggest you check it out. Unfortunately Fox passed on the series, so you won’t be seeing it anytime soon- although apparently MTV was interested in it for a time. Honestly, I’d rather see the series find a solid audience on SyFy than struggle its way to cancelation on network television.
After the screening I had about an hour to kill before I had to run back uptown for a class, so I decided to attempt conquer the first show room. I failed. Along with the giant Star Wars Old Republic, Avengers, Hasbro, and Marvel pavilions (I hesitated to refer to these small forts as booths), there were also smaller vendors that sold everything from chain mail bikini tops at (I came very close to owning one) to smiling plushies modeled after internal organs (I did not come close to owning one).One of the most popular booths in this area was The Blond Swan Hat Boutique, and I completely understood why. I must have crawled back at least 5 or 6 times to swoon and drool over the old-timey steam punk and renaissance hats. They were so beautifully made that I didn’t bother to ask the price. In fact, that was one of the first comic con lessons I learned, if the price wasn’t listed, I couldn’t afford it.
After a brief break for college nonsense, I ran back to the Javit’s center to make up for the hours missed. First, I ran down to the IGN Theater to pick up a Jay and Silent Bob Get Old ticket for later that night. As far as I know, this was the only ticketed event at NYCC, so I didn’t mind dropping the 35 bucks to see my slacker heroes. The event was supposed to start at 7, which gave me about an hour to wander some more and track down a free DC lego Batman minifig for my fellow ihogger, Max. Another comic con lesson: free swag rules.
I spent my time snapping pictures of cosplayers and wandering around the second area, which contained the all the major comic exhibitors as well as smaller toy and comic distributors. My quest for A Song of Ice and Fire minifigs was a total bust but I was able to pick up some Buffy omnis and TPBs for pretty cheap
At around six it was already time to start lining up for Jay and Silent Bob. Having already learned from the Arkham City nightmare, I decided it paid to line up early. After about an hour, we were let into the theater one of the best psych-outs I’ve ever experienced. We were marched right past the seating into another room and reformed in smaller individual lines.
I don’t know if you have ever been in an enclosed space with a bunch of geeks who have just spent the better part of their day waiting on lines, but it’s a little scary. Plastic weapons began to seem a lot more threatening as the crowd grew more bored and impatient.Just before people figured out how to joust with the line dividers, they let us into the theater.
Mewes and Kevin were brilliant as always. Mewes spent the first half of the show telling us about his morning spent watching couples in the hotel windows have sex with each other (please, oh please let one of them have been at comic con). They told stories from when they were youngling geeks going to cons and Kevin directed Mewes and an audience member in a reenactment of the interrogation room scene from TDK. (Mewes was Batman). All in all, it was a fecking hilarious show and reignited my love for Kevin Smith. I may even give Red State a shot, even after I was almost successful in plucking my eyes out watching Cop Out.
And thus ends my first day at NYCC. On to Saturday.
I fought my way into the center at around eleven. Saturday is typically the most crowded day at cons, and NYCC was no exception. I immediately ran upstairs to Animefest since I hadn’t had a chance to check it out on Friday. Along with cosplayers with all manner of tails, swords, and spiky hair, anything and everything Japanese was on display. Right after tracking down several Black Butler cosplays and starting a massive photoshoot, I ran away. Not being that into anime, I understood little of what went on there and so I skedaddled before I wouldn’t be able to stop myself hollering “I JUST DON’T GET IT!” at the top of my lungs and scaring all the pokemon.
After paying an obscene amount for a pretzel, I wandered into the third show room, which contained a massive artist alley and smaller comic exhibitors. After some more drooling over Wolverine inspired leather jackets, I stopped by Big Dog Ink to pick up their special comic con issue of The Legend of Oz: The Wicked West.
After more wandering and picture taking, I made the poor decision to stand in line for the Dragon Age panel with Felicia Day instead of going to Girls Kick Butt: Strong Female Heroines in Young Adult Fantasy. After waiting 45 minutes in the line, I was five people away from getting in the door when one of the volunteer lackeys announced that they were at capacity. No hot redheaded elf for me. Missing shit was a key theme to my NYCC experience.
After this epic fail, I made it my mission to line up for the Beavis and Butt-head screening an obscene amount of time early- and I was still nowhere near the front of the line. The screening may have been the highlight of the entire con. Mike Judge was hosting along with Luke Wilson(I don’t know why he was there since it wasn’t to announce an Idiocracy sequel-which is all I ever want to hear from Luke Wilson). Let me just say, the return of Beavis and Butt-head is greater than any return of anything ever, and here’s why: these aren’t the new adventures of Beavis and Butt-head; this isn’t Beavis and Butt-head 2.0. They didn’t fuck with the animation like they have on South Park or add obnoxious characters no one cares about. It’s as if they were both frozen in carbonite for the past 14 years to be unfrozen in a 2011 that’s exactly the same as 1997. They’re still watching music videos, but with a little Jersey Shore thrown in. They’re still in High School with Stewart, Driessen, and Coach Buzzcut and still eternally trying to score. I can’t wait until tomorrow when I’ll be able to watch it again.
Unfortunately I had to leave right after the screening to meet some friends to see Human Centipede: Full Sequence (it was even better than the original, go see it).
On the last day of NYCC, the only panel of interest to me was for Del Ray Star Wars Books, so I was basically on free roam the entire day (read: searching for free shit). The book panel was my favorite by far and featured Drew Karpyshyn (author of the Darth Bane Trilogy and one of my favorite SW wrtiers), who was there to discuss the upcoming Revan novel. The book will take place after Kotor I and will delve into how Revan became a sith and some of his adventures.They also unveiled the back cover to the long awaited Darth Plagueis novel by James Luceno.The panel didn’t discuss the novel in great detail except to tout its general badassdom. The best announcement of the day was for a new classic era Han Solo book to be written by the man himself, Timothy Zahn (author of the Thrawn Trilogy, obviously). The Han Solo Trilogy is one of my favorite series of Star Wars novels, so it wouldn’t be wrong to say I was over the moon at the idea of Zahn writing a Han Solo book.
After the panel I preceded to blow all of my money on the complete set of Scott Pilgrim books, a con tee-shirt and A Song Of Ice and Fire calendar. However, I did learn that many booths give away the majority of what they brought with them to avoid the ordeal of shipping it all back to wherever. Being a good Samaritan, I had no trouble helping them out and ending up scoring a free Clash of Kings audio book (Clash is the second book in A Song of Ice and Fire and will be the source material for the second season of Game of Thrones- I now own four copies of that book)
All in all, it was a fan-freaking-tastic con and I’ve definitely caught the bug. Be sure to check out our Facebook page to see the NYCC album and let me know if you were there too!