This entry is about the massively hyped media monster known as the New York Comic Con. Over the weekend, I navigated, dodged, bumped, rammed, and slammed my way through the over-crowded super-fun, horribly-stinky, amazingly-awesome and confusing maze of the Javits Convention Center. I am going to make an attempt to capture a tiny bit of my experience here with a few photographs and a couple of words.
Friday evening, I had no gear. I didn’t bring my camera, because I ran to the Con after I got off of work to meet with my girlfriend and her father. I walked from 5th avenue to the Hudson River because there was no convenient transport other then a traffic blocked cross-town bus (of which I had no interest in). When I arrived to the center, there was a steady flow of people going in and out of the doors, like something akin to an over-sized heart-attack-ready blood vessel.
My goal for Friday was to see an Image Comics panel featuring Robert Kirkman, Rob Liefeld and a myriad of other Image artists and writers discussing what was promoted to be a panel about “Creator Owned” comics; but what turned out to be a promotional status update for new “soon-to-be-released” projects from Image Comics. I was hoping to get a little bit of advice from some amazing artists and writers, but I was berated with a series of name drops, pats on the back, and project plugs. Although, they did pass out a little sample comic featuring some of the new stuff they were plugging. Which unfortunately prompted what can only be described as a “real life Internet troll” to approach the microphone only to ask why the cover artist for the sample comic had not researched swords thoroughly enough to properly depict them in the art. The kid was open about the fact that he had no idea what Image Comics was or who the panelists were, but he lacked the social graces to NOT go up to the mic and vomit meaningless negative garbage words from his mouth hole. It was as if he had no idea that he was no longer an anonymous user name on the Internet.
After the Image comics panel, I decided to walk the congested showroom floor before I left the event in favor of some standup comedy with Nerdist Industries. All I can say is that Chris Hardwick, Matt Mira, and Jonah Ray, are some funny ass mother truckers! The night of nerdy comedy was the perfect end to the first day of Comic Con 2011.
The first thing we did on Saturday morning was hustle over to the Roman Dirge panel.
The Lenore comic was one of the first books to peak my interest and bring me back into the world of comic’s after I had abandoned it in my late high school years. Roman was a very interesting speaker, it seems that there will be some cool Lenore adventures in the near future.
After a nice dose of Lenore, I continued on to the “Attack the Block” panel. “Attack the Block” was the best movie I have seen all year, with brilliant direction and an amazing cast.
The lead actor – John Boyega (Moses), the director – Joe Cornish, and one of the supporting cast – Luke Treadaway (Brewis) were in attendance. All three came across as very personable and relatively friendly. However, the one take away I got from this panel, is a testament to the brilliant direction of Cornish and the amazing performance from Boyega. Moses, in the movie was a badass. He was bigger, meaner and tougher then all the other kids.
In real life, Boyega is just a regular little kid (Adorned with superhero t-shirt and other teenage accoutrements). The magic of incredible fiction film making is to create an alternate universe where anything is possible, and “Attack the Block” did that perfectly by taking this otherwise normal teenager and turning him into an ass-kicking-badass-alien-fighting-machine.
The next adventure on my check list was to sit in on the “BONE” retrospective featuring the creator of the book Jeff Smith. However, the “BONE” panel was not for a few hours so I had a little time to walk the floor and take in the sights.
The floor was exhausting, like a confused river not knowing which way it was trying to flow. We had to push, shove, poke, pop, and yank our way through the relentless unforgiving crowd of costume clad, sweaty nerds, artists, writers, photographers and merchants. I snapped as many pictures as I could, but I was not interested in the competitive battle each photographer had going on in order to get the best image. Each time I wanted to take a picture, I had to make an attempt to compose an interesting shot, as well as, get the cosplayer’s attention so they would give me their best action pose. Unfortunately, every time I set up a picture, we would dam up the river of people and the mob would begin to get restless. I was able to snap a few more costumed pics before heading over to the “BONE” panel.
Finally, it was time for some “BONE” action with Jeff Smith! The panel was great, he seemed like a really friendly smart guy and he shared a bit of drama he had while trying to develop the animated version of the story.
It was interesting to hear them talk about the new “BONE” novels that Tom Sniegoski has been writing. I am excited to see what direction he is taking the characters.
After our “BONE” adventure, my wonderfully patient companions were starving, so off to get food we went. I journeyed over to the food court area, where I discovered each line to get any kind of food was a minimum half hour wait. This sucked, but I did my duty, stuffed my face fill of BBQ and headed back into the wilds of the Con.
We finished lunch, walked across the showroom floor and decided to head over to the IGN theater with enough time to line up for the “Walking Dead” panel about an hour early. However, when we arrived I discovered that the big ass theater was already full and no one else was allowed in. More then a little bit irritated we decided to walk the floor a tiny bit more. By the time we were able to push our way to the other side of the floor, it was already dinner time. No one was interested in waiting in half hour long lines for shitty food, so we decided to head out to 10th avenue and look for something a little bit better. On the way out of the Javits Center, I snapped a few more pictures of those crazy costumed crusaders.
Fully refreshed from dinner we bee lined for the MTV theater in order to line up for the Mike Judge presentation. We arrived about 45 minutes early, and the line was already completely stupid. We got in line and waited. Once they opened the doors, the line diminished by about one third just before they announced that the theater was full an no one else was allowed in. We quickly scrambled over to the “Zombie Apocalypse” panel. As we walked up to the door the lovely attendant politely told us there was no more room in this theater as well. By this time, I was more then a little pissed and no longer in the mood to take any more pictures (sorry).
There was only one more panel left in the day that we were interested in going to see, it was about two hours away, but taking a hint from the last two disasters, we walked over to the designated panel room, and lined up to see the last show of the night (there was already about 10 people in line). Finally, after an eternity, we were let in to see the discussion panel for the comedy documentary concert film “Tell Your Friends“. It was a great discussion, with great comedians, who graciously allowed us to end our Saturday on a positive note.
I had 3 goals on day three; I wanted to see the “Robert Kirkman Spotlight”, the Jim Henson retrospective, and buy some cool artwork from some of my favorite artists. The day started well, we lined up in time to see the Kirkman Spotlight with no trouble at all. It was great, except for the socially awkward kid that decided to spoil the end of the popular television series “Breaking Bad” by asking Kirkman what he thought of the way it ended (along with a vivid description of what happened in the episode). The audience responded with a huge “BOO”, Kirkman quickly accessed his magical superpowers of narrative web spinning, where he twisted and weaved a story so completely insane, most of the audience quickly forgot about the “spoiler” kid, just because they made an attempt to try and follow Kirkman’s intentionally crazy narrative. It was a truly amazing spectacle to behold and a wonderful moment with an amazing story teller. However, for me, the best part of Kirkman’s story did not come during the panel or the Q&A, it came just after, when we were all walking out of the theater. As I walked out, distracted by the people around me, I looked up, and just avoided bumping into Mr. Kirkman, at that very moment, the “spoiler” kid came lumbering over to ask for an autograph. Immediately, like the gut reaction of a well trained parent, Kirkman began to both politely chastise the kid for spoiling the ending of “Breaking Bad” , then clearly and warmly explained to the kid why exactly spoiling the ending for the audience was a bad thing to do. He then signed the kids comic and went on about his business.
Immediately after this moment I ran into Voltron!
With the Jim Henson event over two and a half hours away, we decided to see if we could buy some artwork from both Ben Templesmith and Tony Moore. After the long trek through “Artist Alley” we picked up some amazing artwork. However, we only got back to the Jim Henson event about an hour early and by that time the attendants had already cut off the line and told us that we would not be able to get in. Such is the life at Comic Con. So we turned around and headed back out onto the showroom floor to look at more new comics and spend more money on crazy pop-culture thing-a-ma-bobs, until they closed the floor and kicked us out.