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October 29, 2013

Four Days of Geeking Out



This year's New York Comic Con was held October 10–13, 2013. Four days of geeking out, shopping, and hanging with friends, colleagues, and hundreds of photographers of all skill levels. Four days of costuming, interviews, panels, and screening. Celebrities, professionals, and artists all meeting with fans of all ages, types, and passions.


I have been attending the New York Comic Con seven of its eight years of existence. Each year I go and talk to the indie booths in the dealer's room, view fantastic art in Artists Alley, browse giant named booths from the back of swarming crowds, try to visit panels and spend a lot of time working my way from location to location or standing in lines. Each year has been its own kind of fun. However, this year was the best yet!


In general, they seemed to have better crowd control both in the exterior entry and the interior panel and screening queues. Although there were record numbers of ticket holders this year and a few bottlenecks, overall the interior space felt more open, and the guests of honor were out of this world fabulous. Although they have been organized in the past, everything just seemed more so. I was able to more easily find my way to my destinations and traveling between areas was nearly a breeze. Yes, there were a lot of people --- approximately 130,000 attendees, guests, professionals, and exhibitors --- but the introduction of the RFID passes and only pass checking at entrances and exits seemed to allow the crowd to flow much better.


As far as these guests go, this year featured names such as William Shatner, Sylvester Stallone, Seth Green, David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, George Romero, and Janeane Garofalo. Along with these rare big names there were also fan favorites, such as John Barrowman, Felicia Day, Gareth David-Lloyd, Kevin Smith, Anthony Daniels, and Andrew Lincoln. Comic fans weren't left out with names like Adam Hughes (Wonder Woman), Greg Capullo (Spawn), Marc Silvestri (The Darkness, Top Cow, Image Comics), Andy Kubert (Batman), and the hit duo Charlie Adlard and Robert Kirkman 

(The Walking Dead). And just in case these names weren't impressive enough, there were literary guests --- R.L. Stine, Lemony Snickett, Peter S. Beagle, F. Paul Wilson --- and guests for those interested in voice actors, anime, manga and cosplayers as well --- Yaya Han (Heroes of Cosplay), Veronica Taylor (Pokemon, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), Shin Sasaki (Sunrise, Namco Bandai) and Shinichiro Inoue (Kadakowa Corporation). I could go on and on about these amazing guests and I probably have gone a bit long as it is.


This year, I attended more panels than I typically have been able to attend. I didn't get to hit everything on my list, but I hit quite a few highlights! I have quite a bit to say about a few of them so I will be writing a second posting all just about the panels. I just want to say, the ones I did go to were awesome due to amazing panelists and considerate audiences.


Artists' Alley this year was enormous. Yes, it occupied the same space as last year, but the amount of talent they crammed in was enough to be a con all by itself. I strolled past hundreds of booths filled with some of the most fabulous looking art. From traditional comic book artists to Garbage Pail Kids, from Magic: The Gathering illustrators to independent artists. Covering ranges of topics from fiction to nonfiction, fan service images to serious dramatic art. I could never spend enough time there. I also saw many a fantastic commission. If you wanted it, it was there in one style or another.


Last year's NYCC had a visible theme devoted to The Walking Dead. Zombies everywhere you turned. Although this year also had a large zombie population, I would have to say they didn't rule the con. Instead, I would have to say this year was ruled by Marvel and superheroes in general. I suppose one would not expect to be surprised at an abundance of superheroes at a comic book convention. However, many of these well-known comic conventions have recently gone wild in the entertainment industry with the superheroes themselves being reduced to a secondary, even tertiary role. With the introduction of MARVEL’S Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. recently on network television and the wildly successful Marvel series of movies, it really is no wonder. The crossroad

s of entertainment industry and traditional comics happened to be NYCC 2013. I saw heroes (and villains!) of all shapes, sizes, and genres. There were movie and comic variations of nearly every character I spied or had pointed out to me. A few of my favorites were a couple versions of Doc Ock, a few of Dr. Doom, one very awesome Mr. Freeze, two versions of Superman --- one of which was in the style of Earth-2!, an Adam West version of Batman, several versions of Loki, and even an Ultron, who will be a featured opponent in the next Avengers movie. There has been a trend to create femme versions of male characters. I enjoy a few in particular, such as a version of Iron Man who called herself Iron Maiden, and a Lady Loki.


The exhibition hall/dealers room was by far the best showcase for all these fantastic costumes. Yes, there were a load of Marvel and DC superheroes and villains, but don't get me wrong: The rest of the geeky world population was still there! I found Felix the Cat posing with members of the X-Men, and some Japanese video game characters were dueling with Deadpool. Link from the Legend of Zelda found an ocarina and was entertaining passersby as he rested along the wall.  There were games: video games, roleplaying supplies, board games,

card games, fidget toys and more. Buttons, badges, patches, plushies, armor, masks, swords, clothes, collectibles, DVDs, manga, and comics filled the room. There was even a booth for making zombies! Hundreds of dealers and exhibitors mixing and mingling with fans. Typically, I make a point to talk with the independent booths in the center of the hall, but this year, there was just so much to see and do that I missed out.


There were also several events within the room itself. I attended the Marvel costume contest and enjoyed the showcase as it was judged by Yaya Han and two others. An event I missed out on was a booth where you could experience being a reader for audio books. At the Intel booth, I was able to play a demo of Portal with a camera on a tablet the size of a widescreen television.


I didn't try to go to the more popular events, but I heard that there was a DJ in the queuing hall to entertain the crowds standing in line. There was a viewing of Japanese virtual pop-star Hatsune Miku that a few friends reported was amazing.


After four days at this con, I was both ready for it to be over and dreading the end. I didn't get to see so much, I missed many panels that I wished I could catch, and I didn't get to meet all the stars I had wanted to meet. The con was massive this year and it seems to be a promise that things will just keep getting better from here on! I am most definitely looking forward to NYCC 2014.