Cos-Play was definitely a thing at the scaled down, Special Edition: NYC. The new venture for Reed Pop!. the organizers of such events as UFC Fan Expo, New York Comic Con and the recently launched BookCon that took place on June 14 & 14th of 2014 was definitely a mini success with as I was there a quite more than I expected crowd and lots of quality comics creators promoting, selling, doing sketches and greeting fans. It was assortment of everyone as Marvel and DC both represented well, as did Dark Horse, Valiant, Image and a slew of self publishers, independent press and people just starting out through deviant and webcomics.
Among people there were Danny Fingeroth, former Marvel editor and writer, editor of WRITE NOW! and an educator in comics writing. Also, Laura Lee Gulledge, Harvey and Eisner award nominated writer/artist of the graphic novels Paige by Page and Will & Whit, who was also promoting the currently workshopping musical version of her second book. Valiant Comics has also been on a role since they returned to the world of publshing, hiring some amazing talents and doing top notch series… but they also got marketing and merchandising down with plushies.
NYCC is a huge show with major celebrities and a big part of this year looks to be pop-culture nostalgia. Already announced so far has been a Karate Kid reunion, a panel focusing on LOST and a U.S. appearance by the creator of Death Note and Bakkuman. Special Edition allowed for a focus on comics which can at times get ignored at the big show even if the big guns do come out firing. I hope the show did well enough so it can become something even larger yet kept as a comics focused and only comics focused event. Marvel and DC bring some mega booths to SDCC & NYCC each year and I think there are fans who would love to see that without having to experience the insanity of a everything in pop-culture event.
Navigating through NYCC each year can be quite an adventure. I’ve been going since year one and while I always have an amazing time, know my way around and have contacts in places, even I get lost in the shuffle of it all. Panels pop at last minute, schedules change. All that, and more. This presentation of collected links is something a little different though.
This is for those NYCCer attendees who are either attending all four days or just have that ONE big panel they wanted to go to and don’t intend to explore New York City itself. Because? You don’t have to. By all means, if you are on Vacation and using NYCC as an excuse to come to New York then take full advantage. Yet I know there are plenty folks like me who live here or maybe just want to experience comic con. If that’s the case even with a full schedule there will be hours of time where you’ll be “What now?” and instead of just standing there trying to be “I’ll just play more Zelda or stand around the Marvel booth” I went and looked up some interesting stuff for you to check out.
First up are some booths that could if anything provide moments of enjoyment and add to that getting the bang for your buck experience:
One of the most exciting and coolest companies I discovered in my pre-NYCC research and then further at the show was Redbubble. Since the show I’ve been tracking the site when I can finding designs that truly struck my fancy and I thought would make cool T-shirts or stickers to own or in the very least wallpapers for my computer.
Redbubble is an absolutely awesome art community site,much like Flickr, Deviantart, and even Threadless, but has its own special vibe & design style that truly makes it stand out. Founded in 2006 by three artists & writers to help create a new marketplace for creative visual artists of all realms, the company has grown to feature over 200 thousand plus artists and help assist in over one million orders in nine million products ranging from shirts, stickers, iPhone cases, prints, calendars and full expanding branding for artists to stamp their visions on and see profit for their creations.
Working with various different companies to get the items printed everything is of high quality which I experienced first hand through a totebag, various stickers and a logoed shirt which have all come in very handy and have stood up to regular use.
The easiest and most exciting thing on Redbubble is its very intelligent alogorithm search engines and suggestions of new best work to find art you really love. I’ll be sharing some of that at the end, basically in my own preference, but I want to publicly thank Peter Tomassi and the entire staff at Redbubble. At NYCC they proved they don’t just run an excellent site, but can run an awesome convention booth experience. This was the first year they had brought product to the show for sale and their success blew me away. They really tried to cater to the current pop-culture fan with shirts ranging from TV, to movies, to comics, video games and basic nerd language. The booth itself was really set up greatly and the workers were totally sweet.
My favorite type of images to find on Redbubble have been the ones that mashup a popular concept with something you wouldn’t expect or that just looks at the character, person, pop culture phenom in a new way that really catches the eye. It could be a movie, cartoon, professional wrestling, TV show, actor, it doesn’t really matter, I just really like images that switch things up. There are few artists I’ve found on the site who I really like such as Lapuss and Leigh Wortley. Here’s three images I really liked on Redbubble, the first is New Mutant’s Warlock and Cyber in Calvin & Hobbes style by Leigh, the second is Fozzie Bear as Clockwork Orange’s Alex by Chris Wahl and the last is Showtime’s Dexter if it was a 1940′s WB Cartoon by Lapuss.
All three of these are available as shirts or stickers. I haven’t personally decided what to get or to get all three or to get everything on the site. It’s that awesome.
At NYCC I had the privilege to sit with actors Hank Harris, Mary Lynn Rajskub and Jamie Clayton to discuss their interactive web series DIRTY WORK, part of the very awesome and amazing Rides.TV from Fourth Wall Productions. During the talk lots of subjects were discussed from acting in a role which required a bit of a different style because of the elements involved, to the particulars of Jamie’s character and her landing the role. Mary Lynn also mentions she’ll be in the upcoming Arrested Development episodes on Netflix. Here’s hoping she got to have scenes with both her former co-stars in David Cross (on Mr. Show) AND Jeffrey Tambor (on Larry Sanders).
At the end of this I’ll be posting the video of the roundtable interview for all to see in full.
Firstly, let me just discuss RIDES.TV quickly. This internet only channel features shows of varying types and length, but all in the premise of interaction and immersion. When you provide the site your cell number, it connects when you watch a show and you’ll receive txts, images and phone calls that add to the experience with inner thoughts, voice mails, or side information that builds the plot & gives you information that now only you and another character knows but that the others don’t. It’s an innovative and exciting way to present information. What’s awesome is most of the shows can be enjoyed without that phone concept as they’re well written and very well acted. Currently the site has a motion comic/cartoon, a few dramatic/comedy shorts and a Wall of Suspense & Horror that reminds one of episodes from Twilight Zone/Tales from the Darkside. Most recently they added a short with Ethan Embry and Michael Ironside.
The series that I found most enjoyable of course was DIRTY WORK, an ensemble comedy about people who clean up after crime scenes. After that investigating and all that jazz, someone has to come in and clean up all the blood & guts not taken into evidence. So far there were only three episodes, but they are really funny 23 minute episodes with amazing bonuses and extras. All that out of the way, here’s the interview.
The future of comics is a precarious place, as print is still alive and well and should be for awhile, the digital format is making great leaps and bounds. From the advent of Comixology and its build in sales, not to mention Marvel’s success with their digital subscription, the winds of change have been blowing.
Kurt Christenson and Reilly Brown really began the rally in my eyes of what might be possible with the digital format through their comic POWER PLAY. Although Motion comics aren’t a new thing altogether. Even before Marvel started doing their motion comics, companies like Bryon Preiss Multimedia were playing with the idea of combining sound and motion in comics and during its existence Crossgen also worked on it, but the new tablet/mobile format, as well as advances in technology has pushed things to another level altogether.
Two new companies are at the forefront of the movement, MADEFIRE and NARR8 and currently both are offering their applications, as well as their associated books for free. I attempted in speaking to PR people for both companies to get a better understanding of how they got their investment capital and what type of profit return exists in terms of the future of the business, but to no avail. Saying that I did learn a lot of other things about each company and will explain why both are worth your time and quality of life to experience.
Madefire is the brainchild of marketing genius Ben Wolstenholme, founder of Moving Brands, long established comics artist Liam Sharp and Mobile Technology/Cloud Computing Guru Eugene Walden. It features some of the most well known and talented comics creators of both recent and legendary status with features that run from superhero to noir. Some of the folks involved are Dave Gibbons, Robbie Morrison, Jimmy Broxton (or James Hodgkins as rumors state), Sheperd Hendrix, Dougie Braithwaite, Angus McKie, Mike Carey and an assortment of other folks that any comic book fan truly worth their salt should at least marginally know of. The application currently features six series, my personal fave being what is also considered their lead feature, a book based in noir, horror, and war action in a wonderful pastiche of concepts from the one non comics guy on the brand, co-founder Ben Wolstenholme (although assisted by Liam). I’m also very intrigued by the Gary Erskine illustrated sci-fi story written by former video-game producer turned comics writer W. Haden Blackman tackling his first original IP. I am hoping in the future some of Blackman’s understanding of interactive entertainment may be used in Madefire’s future. The infrastructure of Madefire as a whole is actually truly fascinating. Moving Brands unsurprisingly helped a lot with the development of the product and its marketing and there’s an awesome web page dedicated to it in their portfolio.
On the other end of the spectrum NARR8 is a complete start-up full of unknown artist studios based in Russia. The website states that the founder is Alexandr Vashchenko, with the main investor being IMI.VC and naming Igor Matshyneko, the lead at IMI.VC as the CEO of NARR8. Alexandr is also the lead at one of the main arms of IMI.VC, mobile gaming company GameInsight. This suggests to me that they are all one company under the head of very creative, intelligent men and woman with headquarters in Moscow and San Francisco. At New York Comic Con I was more than fortunate to sit with the head of public relations on Narr8′s part, Alisa Faber and get a bit of a more hands on look at NARR8 and I have to admit, as much as Madefire is awesome because of it’s immense lineup of quality ,well known creators, NARR8 ups the ante in terms of interactive application and a new way of reading comics, novels and even magazines. In terms of the magazines they have a popular science magazine titled PARADIGM and a historical one called CHRONOGRAPHICS. In this issue of Paradigm, which was the first episode of season 1 (this is how they are marking issues, as episodes of a season) it showed off the optics how different animals view the world. Through an excellent combination of animation, interaction, well-written text and fantastic photography I could see how birds, butterflies, bulls, and insects among more see with an added bonus at thend of showing how each spieces would see the same exact scene. It was both fun and informative, which can equally be said of the history magazine. In the second episode of that series, the topic is a very vast look titled “Cortez and the Conquest of Mexico” which takes both a very serious look at the history, while evoking some fun with it through very clever animations. The work is broken down into date segments and almost has the feel of when reading through those historical txts in Assassin’s Creed games where you choose to emerge yourself in the world and accidentally get educated, here you choose to get educated, but also have fun while doing so. Below here’s some soundless video that shows off Paradigm and Chronographics “in action”, just to give you a small taste of the awesome available. The same work and energy went into the comics I speak of the next paragraph.
The comics I got to see were Final Feat, based in mythology and JAM, which is a mangaesque story based in Video Games and also features some awesome 8-Bit music. One of the cooler features is that when you stay on a panel long enough you’ll get to see some animation and in some cases clicking on the page will show off another interactive element. This was even more clear in the two prose features I got to scope in FEAR HUNTERS and MULTIVERSE. Multiverse actually really holds onto a tried and true concept on some of my favorite sci-fi novels, the random footnote, but displaying it through much more interesting and intriguing means, such as pop-ups or video animations within the screen itself. I am highly impressed that all this work is being developed from script, to art, to technology, music and animation as well as the proprietary engine within the Narr8 page which runs the HTML 5 data or in certain cases Unity.
Narr8 will hopefully be launching sometime soon, with over 11 titles which you should definitely check all of them out. Unfortunately at launch it will only be on iPad, but Android tablets will come next, followed by mobile and according to what I see, on the website itself as well. This last one excites me personally most, as reading comics while sitting at my desk is ideal.
As part of what was considered the Academic end of programming for New York Comic Con, there was a panel dedicated to the historical document LEAPING TALL BUILDINGS. Academic was fitting though as the panel was moderated by Hannah Means-Shannon, a college professor in Medieval literature and history whose focus has turned to comics and comics history, writing various theory and thesis like articles on Sequart and very cultured journalistic articles for The Beat.
LEAPING TALL BUILDINGS is a collection of essays & interviews by Christopher Irving, balanced tightly against portrait photographs of the subjects taken by Seth Kushner, all bundled together ingeniously by graphic designer Eric Skillman. The book had pre-requisites of trying to focus mostly on creators who were both writers & artists, but many times that was forlayed to get a true full scope of comics in general and some of the more influential people who helped comics and the industry become what it is today, as there are features of folks such as Dan Didio, currently Co-Publisher of DC Comics after a 10 years as Vice President. Folks such as Harvey Pekar, primarily known as a writer. This widespread look shows that the book has its attention not merely on superheroes despite the book’s title, but on comics as a whole and it makes it a much better book for it. Also focused upon is Larry Hama, but I’ll get to that more in a moment.
Christopher Irving, Seth Kusher, Eric Skillman & Hannah Means-Shannon after the LEAPING TALL BUILDINGS panel at NYCC 2012
Hannah had some very focused questions for the panel, and after getting into some brass tacks behind how the book came about, she got more into the book itself and its creators. I first want to share a quote from Christopher Irving speaking of a creator who had a spotlight panel at NYCC and has been part of some amazing comics, most notably DONDI and Wildcat.
“There’s no bullshit in Irwin Hasen…”
Christopher Irving was raised in a town called Farmville in Virginia where he loved Batman and used to get picked on at school for wearing an X-Men t-shirt. He also really loved G.I. Joe. No, really, loved it. We’ll get back to that, but he loved G.I. Joe, not the show and the toys, the Marvel comic. Okay, let’s move on quick. Seth felt growing up loving comics back in the 70′s/80′s was way different, being a nerd is the norm now for a lot of folks, but back then it just wasn’t cool.
Chris talked about how he used to hide comics inside the pages of Hustler, (instead of you know the other way around). Seth said he was about to say the same thing, except it was Playboy, which Chris said was for babies.
Eric’s best anecdote of growing up with comics is that if you look through photos, up till the age of 8 years old you won’t find anything with him where he isn’t wearing a Superman outfit.
Hannah asked the panel about which character and or work really had an influence or effect on them growing up in becoming tue comics lovers. This allowed for Chris to really really really open up about his love of Marvel Comic’s G.I. Joe by Larry Hama. The flood gates were open and the topic would be returned to various times during the panel. From discussing the silent issue, to Larry Hama’s awesomeness, to Chris’ pure admiration of the man and meeting him. Chris had to even bring up that Hama appeared in The Warriors as a guy on a subway platform in a hat. Chris stated G.I. Joe as one of the best written monthly comics ever. Seth even had a story that he was actually published in the issues of G.I. Joe complaining about the silent issue. Seriously though, Chris really loves Larry Hama’s G.I. Joe, I think he’d marry them if he could. This wasn’t even mentioned at the panel but in talking with Seth later over the weekend it turns out Chris even wrote an issue by issue breakdown of the comic.
Seth Kusher stated that he learned to read from Spidey Super Stories, which was written by Jim Salicrup, now edtior at Papercutz, who just happened to be in the audience for this panel. From there he moved on to Marvel Tales, which was a reprint of Spider-Man starting from the beginning, so it allowed he almost ground floor introduction and then in High school he used his photography as an excuse to talk to girls, much like Peter Parker, coming full circle.
Eric’s comic book love came and cemented during that time when Superman was coming out weekly with a Jerry Ordway, Barbara Simonson, John Byrne, Roger Stern, Kerry Gammill, Jon Bogdanove, George Perez, etc. handling the chores.
The panel started a slide show showing off some of the people focused on in the book, which allowed for some great quotes.
On the recently passed away Joe Simon:
“It’s not every day you get to spend time with someone who is a lexicon of comics” – Seth Kushner
“No one is bigger than Simon” Seth feels.
They did not achieve an interview with the legendary Steve Ditko, but Seth did photograph his door and talked to the security guard in his building who told him “I see him come in sometimes, but I never see him leave”. Chris explained the details of trying to obtain an interview. He had sent a letter of request with an S.A.S.E. and received back a rejection letter in pencil. Instead of being dejected by this, he was happy because he just got an autograph from Steve Ditko.
A big ending of the panel was discussing with designer Eric Skillman, the particulars of the books interiors and choices made, as well as the final cover. Eric said that usually he does the cover first, but on this project the interiors were designed first and a lot of careful planning was involved. They showed off some of the alternate covers during this as well, which you can see in slightly blurry photos, not up to par with my usual work below.
The final day of Comic Con had absolutely nothing permanent on the schedule. There were a smattering of panels that were of interest to me, but for the most part this was my day to just not think about schedules or anything and finally enjoy the show floor a bit and let time dwindle away without a care in the world.
I took this time and opportunity to finally check out some of the video game booths which I knew would occupy real amounts of my time. First up was DMC-Devil May Cry, the reboot of the franchise from developer Ninja Theory. While playing in a loud environment, standing up without the ability to just relax and play meant that I had something difficulty fulling getting a grip of things, I was definitely sold on this game. I’ll want it eventually for my consoles as it covers all the basics I like in third person action-adventure. After that I decided to sit in for the Assassin’s Creed III theater where they had some well known girl gamer from the net do an actual play level than just a random video.
From there I went to try out MARVEL HEROES where I got into my first and only aggressive situation all show when a guy literally broke in front of line in front of me when I noticed I dropped something. I told the guy running the booth, but this guy just said “Mine” and I came very close to smashing his skull into the TV till I remembered that was illegal and unnecessary. I just wanted to play the demo to get points to score the very awesome T-shirt. Booth guy saw the encounter and just handed me cards. This was the most intense system of having to do something for freebies all show. All worth it though, cause damn that shirt is awesome.
After being on the floor I decided I would try to make it to a panel or so. The panel I decided to check out was the screening of The Following. On the way there I was happy to bump into Jamar Nicholas and I want to publicly thank him for just a few seconds of goodness. I’ve been a fan and friend of Jamar’s for a long time now. Going on almost I think 20 years actually as crazy as that seems, but since I’ll be 34 at the end of the year and I met the majority of folks when I was 15/16 then yes… that long ago.
The Following was crowded as all let out once I got in there and the only realistic seat I found was where I couldn’t see the screen, so it was uncomfortable to watch. I lasted about 20 minutes before deciding that I’ll just watch the series in January or whenever FOX airs it. I couldn’t find out any info on Press Hours or such, so whatever. The other major headache though was that the crowd clapped during the show, at where there would be commercial interruptions, etc. As if we were watching a broadway show instead of a TV screening. Yes, the cast are there, but still annoying as all let out especially after four full days of con.
I ended up deciding to go to the Press Lounge just to get some time alone for relaxation and next thing I know I bump into my buddy Lou J. Auguste and I’m recruited to help him shoot for the day on a documentary he’s working on. That ended up taking up the rest of the day. I did actually pop my head into the Sleeping Dogs panel to find out about the Nightmare DLC, but the developers were very uninteresting conversationalists discussing the history of the game and its development so I ducked out. I’ve read my share of articles and seen much more intriguing talks about the history of the game, I just wanted info on Nightmare DLC and hoping maybe a Sleeping Dogs giveaway, but I found myself literally falling asleep, so back to the press room I went.
We went to the show floor, Lou, myself and his two documentary co-stars Michelle and Jon and we filmed footage, talked and just enjoyed the floor. At this point more just appreciating the insanity that is Con and for me seeing it through newcomers fresh eyes, which is always a fun experience. Once done filming we met up with John J. of Adult Swim Central (not to be confused with Adult Swim, but just as awesome) and we walked the floor, bumping into various people, actually discovering booths I’d not seen in the three days prior (that is how HUGE the convention is) till the lights were shut down and volunteers went on megaphones to kick people out.
The convention finally came to and end and we all met up again, then said our goodbyes and that was it for me and five days of wildness. Except for recovering now from my first case of Con Crud after over 20 years of going to conventions (I think my first convention/conference of any kind was when I was around 10) and editing hours of video footage. Some of that is available now and some it is is coming in spurts, rendering is hell.
I made sure to be at Con super early to ensure myself a ticket from Mattel for the Dolph Ziggler signing. I ended up handing my ticket off to someone else in the end, but that’s another story for later on in this adventure of paragraphs.
After taking advantage of the show floor opening at 9:30 I walked around a bit to see what new if any freebies or swag was on the floor different from Friday and there was some, but it wasn’t long before I found myself heading down to the “basement” level for a special Disney Interactive session.
It was quite exciting to hear Warren Spector talk about Epic Mickey 2, as well as the Epic Mickey 3DS game. He showed off lots of screens, details and video footage not shown at San Diego, although most of it was shown at PAX probably. I’m going to take advantage of assets and memory to write up some details on the game from memory as my camera seems to have eaten the footage. This was the only thing my camera ate actually, but I remember most of what was discussed so I should be okay. I got a little hands on too, and that’s cemented in my brain.
After Epic Mickey 2 I rushed over to the Press Room for Bruce Timm and Andrea Romano. Those videos will be up within the week, but bigger and more exciting than hearing them discuss Batman: Dark Knight Returns Part 1 and 2 was the announcement of SUPERMAN: Unbound, based on the Braniac story by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank and JUSTICE LEAGUE: FLASHPOINT based on… well Flashpoint. I don’t know how they can even tackle Flashpoint in any fashion, but based on how well they handled the equally deft The New Frontier by Darwyn Cooke I am actually excited by this prospect.
Next up was my scheduled interview with professional wrestling’s Booker T in celebration/promotion of his book From Prison to Promise. I asked him a few what I felt were hard-hitting questions although they didn’t really get hard-hitting answers exactly. Informative answers though and great material for my forthcoming review. Got a photo with the man as well so very chill indeed.
At this point I went to get online for Dolph Ziggler even with the signing an hour away. I felt even though it was ticketed, an hour was enough. It seriously was not enough. Not even remotely enough. Fans had started their OWN line unguided by security or Mattel and they’d started it around 11 or 12. Who knows, but it was long and many folks in it didn’t have tickets. Many did, but still… it was a huge clusterfuck in the power of Mattel not knowing what to do and having to wing it, staff being understaffed and security being completely useless. There were other moments I noticed like this on the floor for lines I didn’t plan to be on, but could still see a lack of control or logic. The con has had lines like this happen in the past, but this year they were just completely unprepared to deal with them.
As I said earlier I ended up giving up my ticket for Dolph, but I did get a good shot of him from the line. It wasn’t like they were giving something away and this wasn’t like the Booker interview where he MIGHT remember me, so once my Facebook photo upload finished to get the exclusive He-Man shirt, after waiting maybe 45 minutes if not more I left the line and headed down to the panel room.
Once down there I had to make a choice and I ended up going to the Ned Vizzini and Chris Columbus panel where they discussed and detailed their upcoming book House of Secrets. That was really fun and I knew I had to go to their autographing session to grab the sampler.
The other panel I wanted to go to at the same time was King of the Nerds with Robert Carradine and Curtis Armstrong. Since I didn’t get to, I at least got to meet them, shake their hands and get a signed photo print, a photo, fake glasses and an iPhone case. The Columbus/Vizzini signing was in the same line right after so I procured my sneak peek and then got on line for Brad “Cheeks” Bell, Sean Hemon and Jane Espenson of HUSBANDS. In my preview of NYCC I showed off again my photo from last year when Cheeks and Sean gave me a kiss. They both remembered and loved how much weight I lost and my new short hair, but Brad said that I had no expression in last year’s photo and he was right. So I over compensated this year.
Next up I went to the Remember Me panel and stayed up until they started showing footage I’d already seen. Actually the new footage to me was the combat and combos system, and of course discussing the development of the game and seeing all the great assets and concept art. I ducked out though once I felt like I was sufficiently educated and luckily they did the T-shirt giveaway at the beginning instead of the end. I went from there to the panel with the heads behind Mondo Media,Simon’s Cat, Shut Up Cartoons and Cartoon Hangover. The Cartoon Hangover stuff were shorter clips of what I saw on Friday night, but theMondo Mediasizzle reel was awesome as wasShut Up Cartoons. Three of these four channels are part of the new Youtube Animation network and they’re all awesome.
From there I went to the the special party sponsored by Samsung, Legendary Pictures, Nerdist and Comixology at SLATE. It wasn’t exactly my scene, even though the DJ was awesome. I only saw two people I knew even and one of them works at Legendary. There was free food though so that was awesome. It was just sliders and chicken fingers, but it was a good spread and a good end to my most eventful and busiest day of NYCC 2012.
I had many panels laid out for myself to hit, but I also knew that I also had press sessions this day and Saturday, so anytime not in one of those would be the only time I would have to actually be on the show floor itself, so I took advantage of that and hit the floor hard.
This meant visiting The Block and checking out vinyl toys and one off exclusives I couldn’t even begin to think of buying, but I took my share of photos and had conversations. Got a sketch from Australia’s Sekure D which was pretty sweet. I really liked Ron English‘s big statues he made to have shown off at the show as well. What was really sweet was seeing some of the art fromSpoke Art, especially the work from there Wes Anderson art show Bad Dads, where they had prints from both this last year and this year’s show.
The Block is next to where all the super expensive autographing of wrestlers, playboy bunnies and pornstars who aren’t actually guests of the con are located, so I got to see Brutus Beefcake, Tito Santana, and Greg Valentine whoring themselves across the aisle from the real Delorean and 1960′s Batmobile with a fake Marty McFly. Nearby was Shifty Look who had an old school arcade set up which was pretty cool. This was near the Podcast arena where I got to say hello to Keith R.A. DeCandido and next to him The Chronic Rift‘s John S. Drew who I haven’t met in person before but have talked to online. I also stopped in the Fandom Dating booth and got to talk to the site’s runner/owner. I had a feeling I wouldn’t make it to Sci-Fi Speed Dating during the show so at least being registered on that site might make something happen, although I’ve gotten two totally Spam or just “Really? Why would I respond to you?” things from it and the one person who caught my interest responded with such a blah response I didn’t follow up. The sites still in beta though and the NYCC was a big part of building the site, so we shall see.
My interview session withRed Bubble was rescheduled through txts while walking the floor so I made my way over to their booth. It was completely a thrill to learn more about the site and this is another one of my specific articles coming up with pictures and more, so I won’t say more now.
I had a little time to kill at this point and also bumped into a few friends on the floor just walking around, so I took advantage of this fact. I made my second purchase of the show around this time inTHEY LIVE Collector’s Edition Blu-Ray. Shout Factory, the distributors had it available for $25 and almost a month before release to retail so I just grabbed it since it’s something I’d buy in stores eventually anyways. After this I made my way over to Artist’s Alley for my first of two trips as there was lots of aisles in Artist’s Alley in the very large North Pavilion. While there I got to at least say hello to my good friend Laura Lee Gulledge and become a member of the Molly Danger fan club, Jamal Igle’s awesome project he’s working on.
Somewhere in this time I also made it over to Scott C.’s table in Autographing to pick up his new book The Great Showdowns, which would be purchase three of four, for those counting along. I had worn my Double Fine Adventure shirt specifically hoping a few folks would notice, but mostly Scott. I asked him to draw rejected versions of the two protagonists from the still codenamed REDS in a showdown inside the book.
The most exciting time I had on the schedule for the day though was getting to sit with Mary Lynn Rajskub, Hank Harris and Jamie Clayton, the cast of the transmedia program on rides.tv from Fourth Wall, DIRTY WORK. It was great to sit down with them and discuss working on the show, some behind the scenes and questions that haven’t really been covered, but mostly it was the meeting them that was most awesome and now having an excuse to promote the show even more than I was doing so before. I want more episodes and so does the cast, they really seemed to enjoy being part of this production.
After the press room I had a few hours to kill till I had to get my opportunity to interview Nick Kroll, so back to Artist’s Alley to try and finish it up knowing that I might not get back there Saturday or Sunday. I saw a couple of Cosplay’s that really caught my eye, most notably BATTLE POPE. I also made my final purchase, number four if you forgot from a few paragraphs above. It was the collected edition of ACE KILROY Volume One. When the collection first appeared on Kickstarter it really caught my notice, but at pledge rate it was going to run $40, a bit rich for my blood at the time. I am very happy and feel fortunate that the guy’s had a very successful Kickstarter (200% funded) and that the collection was at the table for $10. I snatched that right up! Can’t wait to sit down and read it.
Finally I headed back to the Press Room area which was located in the back of the Que Hall C used for letting folks into the building in the morning and the IGN theater after that. It’s what feels like a three block walk on paved concrete designed for cars and planes, not feet. That press ran a bit long, ending up at a table that was next to last in 15 minute roundtables. Yet I had lots of fun and got a great video which also features John C. Daly and executive producer John Levenstein.
It was more floor walking after till I decided to check out Scott C.’s Unbound stage talk where he went into further details behind the history of The Great Showdowns. The highlight of it all though was that during the Q & A Scott draw the questioners portraits. Yes, that means I have a quick sketch portrait of myself by Scott C. It’s a big large though, done on 11 X 17 paper.
I went over to theTitmouse panel after this and had gone to try and get some giveaways (I only wanted the coloring book actually), but as I was sitting there watching the sizzle reel I remembered that there was a Bravest Warriors/Superfuckers party down at Jim Hanley’s and so I rushed down there and while I was late, Nate, marketing director at Frederator had them reloop the Bravest Warriors episode, which ended up being the full version, which is not what was shown the next day at the panel. I also got some awesome buttons. If you aren’t subscribed to Cartoon Hangover, go do so now! Also, at the Titmouse panel I did at least discover that this awesome music video directed by Mike Judge of Zac Brown Band animated by Titmouse existed.
Thus ended my second day at NYCC and boy was I exhausted!
I arrived at Jacobs Javits with time to spare on Thursday evening’s preview ensuring my press badge and getting on line to hit the show floor for a bit before heading down to the panel rooms for my one and only panel I had definitely scheduled for myself to be on.
I must state that the show did open with lots of confusion and clusterf**k of a mess up as a volunteer accidentally told regular 4 day passes to get on the same line as Press & Pros. In the long run this didn’t end up affecting me as I was in and on the floor show perfectly and happily by 3:01, but for the fans this was just a wreck and a mess for a short while. The staff did their best to correct it, but man was it insanity and not well connected at first. These messes and confusion happened all weekend, and staff tried their darnedest to stay on top of it, but security measures, crowd control and obvious fire hazards became completely out of control. I am sure many people walked away from NYCC saying “What a gyp” as those who walked away with the greatest experience of their lives. I’ll admit for me personally it was just that, an amazing great experience, but as a member of the press and a person who believes in New York Comic Con, I am saddened by the lack of control this year’s show had especially since last year things felt much more organized and people from staff, to volunteers to security were much better prepared and in power of keeping the con sane and safe.
That all said we shall get into my own adventures and I’ll leave complaints, feelings and suggestions to a letter to Reedpop which will also be filled with praise, but lots of vitriol on behalf of fans everywhere.
I had a rule to myself about photos this year, especially considering cosplay and that was “rare or unusual” or just so damn gorgeous I must have a photo. Early on I actually got one of those nice rarities in a full on Gene Wilder’s Willy Wonka costume. The photo will appear in an a special edition of PCS called NYCC Rare Cosplay.
The area I rushed for quickly was where all the book publishers are. I grabbed whatever galleys were of interest to me (like I need more books) and got schedules for when other handouts were happenings, as well as signings so I could try to add them to my schedule. My walkthroughs here ended up garnering lots of great swag. Best thing I got at this time which I’ll talk about more soon was a MADEFIRE bag of goodies and printed material. I also ended up making my first of only four purchases when I got issue #5 of The Misadventures of ELECTROLYTE and The Justice Purveyors, an excellent comic by Patrick Reilly and art by Renato Grampa Jr. which I first discovered at New York Comic Con and have been happy to see a new issue when there has been one over the last few years.
I continued walking the show floor a bit looking at so much exciting things before heading down to the panel room a little late, but not too late to catch a TON of the Leaping Tall Buildings panel. A separate article is coming on that and I have ideas for titles, but the main one is “Christopher Irving would marry Larry Hama’s G.I. Joe”. It was an entertaining and informative panel with great quotes and a great moderator. I hope you folks enjoy reading that when the article is up.
I went back to the show floor and got to have some fun with a little of this and that. I tried to get a HALO dude made out of Megablocks to blow my brains out, but no go there. I got to play some ofNi no Kuni – Wrath of the White Witch as well as a bit of stealth awesomeness Hitman: Absolution. I didn’t do very good with either of them, but I blame that on the fact of being on the game floor trying to game. Although that doesn’t then explain that I zoomed through the absolutely enthralling beta demo of TOMB RAIDER. That thing just blew my mind away. I seriously want to play that game right now!
I had a per-arranged appointment with upcoming awesome comics and books app company NARR8. This indeed will be another separate article detailing some of the particulars of this awesome concept that will be free to use at first and has great comics and magazines all for the iPad and eventually Android and iPhone. Go look at the website for now, but promise better further details here on Pop-Culture Spectrum soon.
Eventually I felt it was time to get off the show floor after a bit more exploring, acquiring more swag and enjoying myself, cause I had to get over to Ben Folds Five in the IGN theater.
I was able to find myself a fairly comfortable spot to enjoy the concert despite the giant in the front row who probably had a VIP or Ultimate access badge. I recorded almost the entire ONE HOUR AND FORTY MINUTE concert (to make a best of montage of 20-30 min) which featured only about 3-4 songs off of the new album and the rest was songs from their three albums prior including “Brick”, “Rock This Bitch”, “Uncle Walter”, “Underground”, “Song for the Dumped” and much more. It was seriously like getting a full on Ben Folds Five concert for free on top of Comic Con. Absolutely mind-blowing and completely and totally awesome. The concert let out at around 10 PM, and yet there was still the convention starting the next day at 10 AM or earlier. I stopped in a diner, got a quality dinner which I couldn’t finish so it became my breakfast and headed home and crashed hard after making sure all was ready for the next day.