I didn't expect to walk into the opening day of the New York Comic Con (NYCC) at the Javit's Center on Thursday October 10, 2013 and feel overwhelmed. Sure this was the biggest convention on the East Coast, one of the biggest in the world, but I've been to plenty of cons since the 80's (Chiller Theatre, Creation's Star Trek Conventions, etc). It turned out they were nothing like this.
The "main days" of NYCC (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) had long ago sold out, but a couple of weeks ago, while at my favorite Thursday Live Trivia Night in the area, my buddy Kyle and I decided it would be cool to go and found out that Thursday had not sold out. Tickets were immediately ordered. We waited 336 hours. Hopped a train down to Grand Central followed by a couple of subways to Penn Station and a delightful walk to 11th avenue. We arrived right around 4:00 pm, about an hour after doors opened and were greeted by a line of a couple of thousand people!
It turned out to be an ill informed "Yikes!" The NYCC/Javit's Center folks have this down to a science (at least if you have your printed out ticket receipt). We got our badges and were in the door in about 15 minutes...
...and then WOW!
The full main room of the Javit's center was completely filled - mainly with vendors, but also companies. Marvel for instance had a serious, but it was Intel who by far had the largest presence. There were 36 long aisles with I don't know how many hundreds of different vendors setup along with these companies.
I guess I shouldn't have been overwhelmed. I've been to various trade shows here over the years and I think I thought NYCC would have more a trade show vibe (more giant booths by large companies and just a minimum of smaller booths by vendors) than that of a collectibles convention - A GIANT collectibles convention where it immediately became obvious one could not cover everything with a one day limited hours Thursday pass.
Oh well, there was only one thing to do, enter the main hall and dive right in.
It didn't start good. We walked in right in front of a South Park building come to life. It was a small building with three doors (sorry, I dunno why I don't have a picture of this building) with a velvet roped line of about 25 people waiting to get in. We shrugged, not sure what this was, hopped on line and in about 10 minutes the doors opened one by one. Approximately 8 people came out and 8 more went in and the door was shut...we just made it into the 3rd room.
Turns out this was an elaborate commercial (and honestly - this is EXACTLY what I expected all of NYCC to be - thankfully I was wrong) for an upcoming video game called "South Park: The Stick of Truth"
The door was shut and it was HOT in there. I know nothing puts me in the buying mood like being shut in a stiffling closet with 10 people - it's quite the marketing scheme. Our host told us this would be a 10 minute view at the game play of this new South Park video game and after watching it, if we pre-ordered today, we could get a Cartman as a Wizard little figurine.
The first two minutes were fine and entertaining. It was a funny little South Park animation where basically the gang appears to go larping and an adventure plays out in a house to save Princess Kenny. The fun part of the spiel soon ended when it switched to the 7 minutes of game play mode which looks great, but is SOOOOO slow and SOOOOO monotonous...looking around for those 10 mintues I saw everyone doing the same as I was. Sweating profusely and laughing a little uncomfortably as a trapped audience feels they should (and honestly - the lighting the fart on fire weapon feature was humorous the first time it was shown...oddly by the 10th time, it's somehow lost it's charm.)
Thankfully the 10 minutes finally ended and we got out. Kyle and I decided there would be no more waiting on line for "commercials" with our limited time (the main floor was to close at 9:00pm). I guess if you have a 4 day pass some of this could be interesting...but not a great way to start.
We then basically roamed the floor for the next few hours. I took some pictures as you'll see and I hope it shows the most fun aspect of NYCC - the people watching or, if you're so inclined, being one of the people to watch. These are not all of the best costumes (although some are), just the ones I would turn around or see in front of me while still having time to check out as many vendors as we could before the opening night Comedy Mutant Show at 8:00 pm.
So...in the words of Willy Wonka "Come with me...and you'll see...a world of pure imagination...":
The layout is somewhat based on the vendors who are collected into groups - Artists/Sculptors, Vintage Comic Book Dealers, Manga/Anime, Collectible Toys, Clothing, Swords/Prop Weapons, Science Fiction, Original Art, Etc - but there is alot of crossover. If you're a collector, you would want to check out everything and that takes A LOT of time.
We basically started at the first booth in aisle 100 and worked our way to the last in aisle 3600 , seeing these sites along the way.
Rocky lifesize statues. I would think in general, these probably would not be at any other Comic Con, but the real life Sylvester Stallone was going to be appearing on one of the other days of the convention. You could buy tickets to get his autograph and/or tickets to get a photo with him (the real him, not the life size statue him). To do both of these things (get an autograph AND a photo with) would cost you $850. Yes that is a three digit number. So I guess if your company makes life size Rocky statues, your core audience would be someone who would pay almost a grand for a photo op and autograph of Sly, hence this booth. I'm would love to know what the line was like for him. If anyone was there on the day he was signing, please let me know...my guess is only a select few would pay this, but who knows, maybe Sly had them lined up around the block!
Before I move on with my tour...I wanted to mention some celebrities that were at booths and again, not sure why I don't have pictures, but we did see Doyle from the Misfits as well as Sgt. Slaughter. Sgt Slaughter was charging either $15 or $20 for a signed photo WITH Photo op. Now I don't want to keep ragging on Sly Stallone (I LOVE "Cobra"..."Crime's the disease...he's the Cure!!") but no way is Sly worth 42.5 Sgt. Slaughter's.
We then noticed fantastic outfit! And the Felix the Cat ain't bad either (yeah I know I know...you ALL saw that coming...but hey, that gal has got some great stockinged legs! I guess I should have put "Legs" into the title of this blog as well as they too were plentiful and delightful, but most of the costumes really were about the three "B's" mentioned above.
This was either potentially one of the coolest and most obscure pop culture costumes I saw or maybe it's just what this dude looks like. I think he's going for "Dr. Gonzo" played by Benicio Del Toro in "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" and if so - Kudos sir...kudos!
Orange guy followed by sorta Wonder Woman on the farm...actually just pretty normal wear for NYCC
I promised bulges for the ladies, but here's a nice blue butt instead standing next to his furry friend. Tails were in abundance on both the gals and guys at NYCC.
Well HELLO THERE my newest favorite-est Super Heroine (Villainess?)!
And another HELLO!
Time to admit something (that is probably already obvious). I USED to be a big time comic book collector and try to keep up with pop culture, but I honestly don't know if these two below (and many others in costume) were "supposed to be somebody" or just came up with a snazzy pair of costumes. Either way I dig them both and I think they exemplify what NYCC is all about. But I'm more than happy to be schooled in any character I show in this batch of pictures that obviously I have no clue who they are. Comment/Email away.
The Walking Dead was ALL OVER the convention (hell, see my badge). The Saturday main event was a full panel with EVERYONE from the show. This was the Image Comics booth who were selling a bunch of cool convention only items (like a con exclusive "Governor" action figure for $25...how much are they immediately being marked up for on ebay?). Lots of zombies in attendance as well.
World's collide at NYCC. I do believe that's the Riddler with King Arthur? Why not!
You gotta be quick on your feet to interview the Flash and the Black Power Ranger. This fella has all the right TV moves.
That thing HAD to be heavy by the end of the day. I was humming "dododododoo Inspector Gadget dodododuhdoduhdooooo" all damn night. This guy had the babes lined up for pics with him. Ladies love a "gadget"...who knew?!
Very Odd! A life size "Yak Face" from Star Wars. This was at the booth of "The Toy Hunter" - Jordon Hembrough. I dig his show. It's like American Pickers except just toys.
Oh yeah...you gotta watch out at NYCC - Shit is gonna go down when The Joker and Harley Quinn roll up on The Dark Knight!
Stop! Hammer Time!
God Bless New York Comic Con!
Okay...there were only a few points after the South Park Hot Box fiasco that started the day that made me sad. One was Shazam! era Captain Marvel moping up the stairs, but I understood, it was a long day and I assume that outfit does not breath well...
I pointed out Kid Rock to my buddy and when he corrected me that it was Kid McRock I have to say it was my chuckle of the day!
Just another day at the office...
One of the oddest moments of my day. We were chilling by the restrooms before heading to the comedy show when suddenly after sitting there for about 15 minutes, this gal walked out of the ladies room!
Easily the best Walking Dead on say on opening day...
8:00pm - The Comedy Mutant Opening Night Kick-Off Party starts with free swag being hurled to the masses! (My guess was 3000 to 4000 people)
Then Brian Posehn opened the show with a short intro set before coming back and ending with a headlining g set which KILLED later on. Outside of standup Brian is probably best know for his appearances on the Sarah Silverman show.
Mike Drucker followed and I laughed rather hard at his story about dressing up as Simon Belmont, the hero from Castlevania as a kid.
Myq Kaplan was excellent
Baron Vaughn had the audience singing along to the theme of "Duck Tails" - as you can see, much of this material was not written specifically for, but happend to be tailor made for this crowd.
Trevor Moore of "Whitest Kids U Know" came out with his buddy and played three hilarious tunes
He wrapped up his set with "What About Mouthwash?" playing along to the video. Go to youtube and watch...you will laugh and thank me
Janeane Garofalo did a very what seemed like an off the cuff stream of consciousness 20 minutes. She also teased that she was going to bring her bowling ball from her character "The Bowler" in "Mystery Men" but due to some back issues did not. The crowd wanted to see that Bowling Ball.
Brian Posehn returns and sets the record straight about the real "Star Wars" and being of his age group. He destroys the room in the process.
Brian ended his set with a request for any weed holding con attendee who could help him show off his smoking skills. While I could not fulfill Brian's wishes, he was nice enough to take a pic I call "Two guys in Stephen King related Shirts" that I shall treasure as one of the best moments of my first Comic Con.
10:15pm - before leaving we visited the 75th Anniversary of Superman showcase by DC Comics with many of the costumes used in many of the Superman films over the years.
So would I go back? The answer is yes, but this was a learning experience. I would get either one or two full main day tickets (which I believe sell out before the guest/panels are announced so one must have faith in the Geek Gods). I'd check out said panesl and take my time with the vendors, buying lots of crap I thought was cool at the time and I really didn't need.
And of course I would enjoy all those there to be watched in their costumes showing off those fabulous "B's". I'll just take the first two...you can enjoy the bulges.