I hope New York Comic Con, 4thletter and I live forever so I can keep making the title longer year after year.
I’m going to be honest with you. When you come back from an exhausting trip like this and you have a day or so to recuperate, the realization that you have to relive it all over again by writing it up is like a punch in the gut. But it’s my duty to write of my weekend where everyone was wearing a Bane mask, Finn hat and doing the Gangnam Style dance. It’s time to discuss New York Comic Con 2012.
This was a lonely year for me. David has long disowned the con, other David wasn’t going either and I wasn’t going to be joined by any of my coworkers. With all the UCB classes I’ve been taking, I decided to be a little more on the frugal side and went against getting a hotel. After all, the classes have made me so accustomed to commuting into the city that I figured I could just do that for four days in a row. Coincidentally, I had a show in the city the Sunday prior and watched a show with a friend the following Tuesday, so I ended up commuting six times in eight days. I spent about half a day in a bus over that time.
At least I had a press pass, which was nice. The only problem being that NYCC has decided to put their foot down and make it a little harder to get one of those. It used to be that you’d just fill out some stuff online. Now you have to fill out some stuff online, get an email for a link to a PDF document, print it out, fill it out, print out three articles, staple your business card, get an assignment letter from your editor (which I guess means David) and fax it all. Yes, faxing is apparently still a thing in 2012. I had no clue.
DAY ONE: THURSDAY
Thursday is the prelude, really. The place is only open for four hours and not as many people are there. I got to wander the floor a bit and enjoy a brief day of no insane foot traffic. At one point I ran into Neil Gibson at the Twisted Dark booth. I reviewed his comic less than a year ago and it was a really shittily-written review and I felt bad about it, so I bought a copy of the comic’s third volume. I mean, I guess I would have regardless, but at least now I feel like I redeemed myself in some way. Nice guy, although he was really annoyed that the printers fucked up their con copies of the book and added an extra page. Now all the reveal pages are on the right side instead of the left, ruining some of the suspense.
I perused through some of the comic-selling booths. It’s something I tend to do every con, but I keep forgetting to save it for Sunday, when the prices are cheaper. Every year I look for that one weird piece of comic history that hits me by surprise and I got that taken care of pretty early on with a comic starring Bob’s Big Boy.
A booth was set up for Playstation 3′s upcoming Smash Brothers clone Playstation All-Stars. I played it for two rounds, which was nice, because I don’t own a Playstation 3 and this is the only chance I’ll have to play as Sweet Tooth in a fighting game. I did horribly, especially when I tried playing as Heihachi Mishima from Tekken. Fun game, though. One of the cuter aspects is how the backgrounds crossover the properties. Like you’ll be in Chop Chop Master Onion’s dojo from Parappa the Rappa and then all of the sudden the walls fall over and you see a realistic-looking walker mech thing from another game stepping through the streets as adorable 2-D cartoon characters frantically run around.
The game features Raiden from Metal Gear Solid, which makes me realize something. If Solid Snake turns out to be in this, it’ll be the third Smash Brothers-style game to have him. All from different companies: Nintendo, Sony and Hudson.
Speaking of fighting games, I hit a panel for Street Fighter’s 25th anniversary. Lot of talk about their huge anniversary deluxe release of a bunch of Street Fighter games collected together along with a dozen music CDs and not much was really of note. But then series producer Yoshinori Ono stepped out dressed as Chun-Li and revealed a kickass trailer for the big return of Darkstalkers, featuring zombie guitarist Lord Raptor rocking out as vampire lord Demitri Maximov looks on. Then there’s a graphic of “Darkstalkers are NOT DEAD” and we find out that this isn’t so much a trailer for a new game as it’s a trailer for a cry for help. See, Ono wants to make a new Darkstalkers and Capcom isn’t sure if it’s viable. So they’re releasing the second and third games of the series on Xbox Live and the Playstation Network with extra stuff in hopes that it’ll sell enough to make a modern follow-up a reality.
This being my first panel of the weekend, I should note that I downloaded the New York Comic Con app onto my phone to make it easier to keep track of the panels I intended to go to. The app is a great idea in terms of design, but unfortunately it crashes like Launchpad McQuack. I haven’t had this Galaxy S-III for a week and it has trouble. You’d think they’d have improved it since last year or something.
I got a few sketches at Artists’ Alley before the day was done. Cool guy I met was artist Yehudi Mercado. He offered to do my sketch for free and I felt compelled to buy one of his comics in return. He was selling a series called Buffalo Speedway that was contained in three volumes. I picked up the first, but promised I’d give it a read to see if I wanted the others. A couple days later, when taking a break from the action and waiting for someone else to finish a sketch, I sat back and gave it a read. Once finished, I immediately walked over and bought 2 and 3. I’ll probably get to a fuller review down the line, but the gist of it is that it’s about a group of pizza delivery boys in Houston in 1994. It’s already one of the busiest Fridays of the year, but this is also the day when OJ makes his Bronco drive and because of that, EVERYBODY wants a pizza. It’s basically Clerks, but with car chases.
Yehudi was cool, but not as cool as Justin Lytle, who actually noticed that I lost weight since last year. What a sweetheart.
DAY TWO: FRIDAY
Friday was set to be the biggest day of the weekend for me and even though it went off with a hitch, I guess it still was. I intended on getting there early enough to hit Marvel’s House of Ideas panel. That was sadly not meant to be as my bus simply didn’t show up. I had to wait over an hour for the next one to arrive.
I ran into several people I know over the weekend, which is shocking to me considering how big and packed the place was. One of these guys was Eric, a guy I worked with like five years ago. He had a fun time for sure, wearing this cosplay outfit he created.
He called me a “son of a bitch” when I congratulated him on his fantastic Apocalypse costume. He got a lot of attention with his guise to the point that it blew Scott Snyder’s mind and he got some VIP treatment from DC. Good for him.
On the subject of cosplayers, I checked up on one of my Randy Savage sketches to see a guy from the Think Tanque dressed as Savage making the rounds. I yoinked the sketchbook away from the artist and showed it to the faux Macho King. The guy was completely jazzed and broke character over how much he loved it.
He’s not the only pro wrestler I saw hanging around.
I also saw a world famous boxer. I saw two of him, actually, but here’s the one I got a picture of.
As for actual wrestlers, I heard Tito Santana was going to be there and I thought it might be cool to get him to sign my copy of King of Trios 2012 Night 1. Then I remembered how much wrestlers and nerd-based celebrities charge to sign things or have their picture taken. Yeah, no thank you. I liked your performance as Robin from 50 years ago, Burt Ward, but not enough to open my wallet.
One wrestler who was going to be there was the legendary Jerry “The King” Lawler. Like two years ago, he was planning to be at Artists’ Alley, but a recent heart attack obviously had other plans. I got to talk to Michael Kingston, writer of Headlocked and friend of Lawler, who was able to tell me that while a bit raspy, Lawler’s doing a lot better these days.
I stopped by the Oni Press panel because Chris Sims was going to be announcing his new comic Down Set Fight alongside Chad Bowers and Scott Kowalchick. On one hand, I was there to support him in a sign of respect and friendship. On the other hand, I was there to finally collect that money he owed me from the King of Trios trip. I’m like Cole from Infamous that way. While his story about a rugged former football player who beats up mascots has me interested, I was mostly roped in by the announcement of Wars in Toyland by Joe Harris and Adam Pollina. That one’s about a kid who enters a dream world where his toys are in the middle of a violent civil war and he has to play hero.
Things were getting late, but I decided to hit a UDON panel to kill time and rest. Not much was said that interested me, outside of images shown of a young Akuma fighting a bear in the upcoming Street Fighter book about Akuma’s origins. The rest was announcements of UDON doing art books based on whatever property.
At 9 they were holding a press conference of sorts for Kaiju Big Battel, the rubber monster wrestling organization. Unfortunately, it was a gigantic mess production-wise, although Louden Noxious (or Gavin Loudspeaker in CHIKARA) was able to make fun of it. I did get to see internet darling Dancing Deadpool get disqualified during a limbo contest being held by two giant peapods, so that’s something. Plus a brawl between DW Cycloptopus III and the Gambling Bug.
Around this time, I was recognized (wait, seriously?) by reader Alex Fitzpatrick, decked out in a Scarecrow costume. I was too exhausted to really enjoy the Kaiju show, which was falling apart by the seams as it was, so shooting the breeze with Alex was a fine change of pace. He had to take off, so I decided to do the same, skipping out on the rest of the Kaiju show. I caught the bus home and since my entire sustenance of the day was a small Jamba Juice, I hit a local diner and ate all the food.
DAY THREE: SATURDAY
Saturday at these things is insane. There’s no breathing room. Just nothing but Banes from here to eternity. Banes and Broflovskis.
I tried not to spend any time on the floor, choosing to go to panels while sketches were being done. This turned out to be a pain in the ass, as all the panels I wanted to go to were on the opposite side of the building. Going from Artists’ Alley to the mainstream panel area tended to be a 20 minute trip. The DC Comics New 52 panel was really just a snoozer and an excuse to get off my feet for an hour, as it was really nothing more than the audio book version of reading the monthly solicitations. I was going to take part in the Q&A session and maybe ask about the future of Captain Atom’s character in the New 52, but the line was getting long and I figured I’d beat some of the foot traffic by leaving early. I did stay long enough to hear a guy ask, “Who would win in a fight between Superman and Goku?” which was thankfully met with a large, collective groan throughout the room.
Seriously, why would you ask that?
The Marvel Games panel wasn’t bad. At least they’d have footage to show of stuff. A lot of the trailers were entirely brief and didn’t give you any idea of what they were even for, especially those that didn’t feature any in-game play. The real reason to check this one out was when they discussed the Deadpool game. At San Diego, they had an official Deadpool cosplayer guy come out in a brilliantly-made costume and perfect in-character demeanor. They showed a highlight reel of his San Diego exploits, which was fantastic and hilarious. My favorite part being when he passes by some people and he sees a Waldo cosplayer. He asks, “Are you Waldo?” and when the guy says yes, he keeps walking, nods his head and says an accomplished, “I fucking found him.”
We were told that Deadpool couldn’t make it, so in his place they had Dancing Deadpool come out. The internet sensation danced it up a bit until the “real” Deadpool finally showed himself. The two faced off, stared each other down, shoved back and forth, then broke into the Gangnam Style dance. Sadly, I don’t have any footage of this myself, but I do have this picture of a cosplayer portraying LMFAO Deadpool.
“Real” Deadpool talked up his game some more and showed off a graphic of a Marvel character making her video game debut. With the announcement of Domino, the big screen just showed an extreme close-up of her cleavage, which Deadpool explained he took himself. Oh, and Stan Lee showed up for the end of the panel. That’s a thing too.
While hanging out at Artists’ Alley, I met this nice dude dressed as Daredevil.
I talked with him for a couple minutes and we discussed his ace costume from the day before, where he was Matt Murdock. He actually had a walking stick that transformed into a billy club, which was impressive and made him look better than the other Murdock cosplayer who simply had a cane. He told me about how a lot of people didn’t realize it was a costume and he got special treatment because they thought he was blind. They were NOT happy when they realized it was a costume.
I was going to hit the Marvel TV panel, but that meant another walk across the Javits Center again and I wasn’t in the mood. Instead, I decided to hit the floor one time to make my way to the Marvel booth area. They were having some talent doing signings and I couldn’t pass this up.
Last week I talked about how Marvel Universe vs. the Avengers #1 had a funny and obscure screw-up where Avengers Academy member Hazmat was meant to be drawn in and instead the artist inserted Hazmat from crappy EA game Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects. Jonathan Maberry, writer of the series, was at the signing and I had to have him sign the page. Greg Pak was next to him and Pak had written the Marvel Nemesis: The Imperfects miniseries, which I loved, so I had him join in on the fun.
“I said ‘Hazmat’, not ‘Hazmat’, dammit!” – Jonathan Maberry
“Wait! That’s my character!” – Greg Pak
Talking with Maberry was great. He told me about how that mistake came to be and how he didn’t notice it until after the art was colored in. As he found out, the Imperfects ARE Marvel properties and not owned by EA, so there’s nothing stopping Marvel from ever using them again. Sweet, since I genuinely enjoyed some of those characters!
Maberry and I talked a lot about the Marvel Universe vs. trilogy and it seems that this Avengers one will be the last of them. Maberry told me a couple little candid snippets of information about the making of the comics that he made me promise I would keep between me and him. Stuff that he had to change that I can’t repeat. So that was cool.
On the floor, I did stop by a neat booth that was showing off 3D TVs. They had two on display. One was 3D by default while the other needed glasses. The one with glasses was playing Gangnam Style seemingly non-stop and when I asked the guy handing out the glasses if he was being driven insane by it, he told me no. Liar.
I left the show early, as a friend of mine was doing an improv show elsewhere at 6. When I got home, my feet were pretty raw and I wanted to soak them. This is the first time in years that I tried doing this and I’ve found that my feet have gotten way too big to fit in those pots (Heh. Giggity). On the other hand, I discovered that if you put steaming water in a pot and rest your aching feet right over it? Feels like Christmas.
DAY FOUR: SUNDAY
Sunday was a pretty tame time compared to the rest. I hung out in Aritsts’ Alley to get the last of my sketches and decided against hitting the Spider-Man panel. I gave one last walk across the floor and picked up two fairly thick trades for only $5 each. One was of Marvel weddings and the other was Nick Fury vs. SHIELD. I always see that one in issue form at these shows and never get around to picking it up.
Namco had a setup in the corner on the far end of the floor where they had all these arcade machines there with “free play” on. Playing Pac Man or Dig Dug is fun for a brief distraction, but then I discovered the existence of Pac Man Battle Royale.
Sweet Jesus, this game is awesome. A four-player Pac Man game based on taking out your opponents through either eating them with power pellets or letting the ghosts get to them. The game is an absolute blast and I wish I was still playing it right now.
Exhausted from four days of constant walking, I hit the Port Authority and waited for a bus that was 45 minutes late. Goddamn it.
Anyway, I had a great weekend despite being practically bedridden for the following two days. I figured I’d lose weight from the trip, but I think I gained a couple pounds of leg muscle. I look like freaking Torgo now.
I leave you with this picture of me with a guy dressed as Mr. T on the day when I decided to wear a Mr. T t-shirt.
Maybe next year I should think about dressing up. Maybe.