NYC Comic-Con ’09
This year was the fourth year for the NYC Comic-Con, and the third that I’ve been to. It always amazed me it took so long for New York City, one of the largest cities in the world, to get a convention of this size, while the one in San Diego has been going on for almost thirty years. I have no idea why we’ve been overlooked for so long and I hope people are seeing the audience they have here, and we can get more attention on this coast when it comes to events like this.
Anyway, this year had a number of interesting panels and an active show floor, which managed to keep me busy for two days and make my feet still hurt a week later. My only regret is due to my need to still have a regularly paying job; I could not go on Friday, where there were panels I wanted to attend that were actually about comics. Saturday and Sunday seemed to be all about movies and TV shows (not that I’m complaining…ok, well maybe a little). However, these panels did not disappoint.
The first panel Saturday morning was Warner Brothers showcasing their upcoming movies, and giving fans chance for some Q & A. Warner Brothers knew their audience and got right to their biggest comic adaptation of the year: Watchmen.
After a brief introduction by Watchmen’s illustrator, Dave Gibbons, they showed us the first twenty minutes of the movie and another scene from later on in the movie. I won’t go into detail, as to avoid spoilers, but I will say that, based on what I saw, this movie is going to be amazing. My jaw dropped, it’s well acted and visually compelling. A lot of scenes are almost panel for panel reenactments of the comic. Seriously, I don’t think I can wait until March 6th for this one.
Then came the Q & A. There’s something about giving a microphone to a room full of people that always brings the stupidest ones to the front. Most questions were tolerable; we did learn something has been changed about the end, but nothing I think that has any impact on the story itself. We also learned that Warner Brothers retains the rights to make sequels and prequels to the movie, but if they do, a room full of geeks is willing to crucify them.
Next up was a peek at the new remake of Friday the 13th, which I’m sure will be in theaters by the time I finish this article. If you’ve never seen a Friday the 13th movie, here’s the gist: Jason Voorhees was a disfigured kid whose mom worked at a summer camp, Camp Crystal Lake. The kids made fun of him a lot, and then he died. Somehow he came back and now kills all teenagers as revenge. This is going to be more of the same, but this time there’s more of a budget so things are a little gorier. After the preview, someone asked a question of whether we needed a 12th (!) movie in this series, a fine question, to which the answer was: because we wanted to. Basically if you like horror, you know what you’re getting. It’ll probably be worth watching, but don’t expect to get blown away.
The last preview I stayed for was Terminator Salvation, the 4th film in the terminator series, which takes place after judgment day, when the war between man and machine is going on and John Connor is rising to be the leader of the resistance. It’s looking to be a good movie, and hopefully better than the last one was, but the most interesting part was the Q & A with director McG, who seemed genuinely interested in the source material, and talked about his experience making it, how he talked to James Cameron about it, and he defended Bale’s blow up on set (which if you haven’t already, you can hear here.
I left after that, as there was nothing else they were showing I was interested in, and moved onto the next panel, Robot Chicken, which was surprisingly packed with people wall to wall and they had to tell a large number of people outside that they couldn’t go in.
Robot Chicken is a sketch show by Seth Green and a few other people you’ve never heard of, about pop culture, 80s toys, and cartoons made with the use of stop motion using action figures. Running at fifteen minutes per episode, the sketches are usually hit or miss, but when they hit, they’re hilarious. There was a preview of the new season, but most of the panel was Q & A, where again, some of the stupidest people came up to the microphone. It was here I began to notice people have a habit of praising the creators of the show before they ask their question, which gets redundant after a while and wastes a lot of time.
They were all funny, explained some of the basics of how the show is done, and that the new season is coming soon. One fan even went up and asked about Austin Powers 4, to which Seth gave the sarcastic reply that they should call Mike Meyers and ask him about it, since he’s at home crying that no one saw The Love Guru.
Next up was the panel for The Venture Brothers, one of Adult Swim’s only character driven shows, that started off as a Johnny Quest parody, but has developed it’s own elaborate back story. A hilarious show—they showed us a few deleted scenes from the upcoming DVD, said the new season would be starting later this year and bullshitted with fans for an hour, which was funny, as they will make fun of people for asking stupid questions or doing stupid things, such as anyone doing an impression of one of the characters, Dr. Girlfriend.
Now imagine everyone in a room full of 1000 people trying to do her voice. Then jam needles in your ears.
Oddly enough, this is where I saw the most cosplay for the whole day. For those of you not in the know, cosplay is when people dress up like characters from movies, comics, TV shows, etc, and it’s almost always done horribly. Maybe I wasn’t paying enough attention throughout the day, but it seemed to stand out here.
That was it for Saturday panels, I came back early Sunday morning for the panel on Chuck, NBC’s show about a working geek who accidentally gets government information downloaded into his brain. I’m a big fan of the show, so I was really excited about this. A season preview was shown, which highlighted a few nice surprises, including guest stars such as Chevy Chase and Scott Bakula. This is also the panel where I saw the most sucking up. The show’s creators, and one of the actors, Yvonne Strahovski, were there. Everyone who asked a question had to verbally fellate them all for their work, or ask Yvonne for an autograph. It just felt like more people could have asked questions if they had gotten to the point quicker.
After that, I tried to get into the Dollhouse panel, but not even my press pass helped me there. The one thing I learned at Comic-Con was: Joss Whedon fans are crazy and dedicated. A half hour before the panel even started, the entire theater was packed and the line to get in was still clear into the cafeteria. So instead I took the time to wander the less crowded show floor, as it seemed half the people at the convention were at the Dollhouse panel.
If you’ve never been to a comic convention, the show floor is a place for a bunch of different vendors to sell you overpriced stuff that you may or may not have a chance to get autographed. They also give out a lot of free stuff: mostly posters and buttons, but sometimes companies will give it a little more effort, like giving away plastic Wonder Woman tiaras, which I was happy to get my hands on. I only have a little shame in admitting that. (editor’s note: I chatted with a guy from DC who gave the tiaras away. He told a sad tale of obese men with a penchant for this accessory who tried to snatch 3 or 4 while clamoring children behind them had to be told there was no more. Let me make it clear, Fly was not one of these men.)
A lot of upcoming games and trailers were shown and played on the floor. I’ll just mention the few that stuck out in my head otherwise this article will never end. Ghostbusters, one of my favorite movies, is getting a new game, which looks awesome…on the PS3 and Xbox. The Wii version is cartoonish–I suppose to make up for a smaller processor. It doesn’t detract from the gameplay, but with a side-by-side comparison, the difference is really noticeable.
Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars—plays a lot like the first two Grand Theft Auto games, before they jumped to 3-D, which is a good thing. The targeting system gave me a bit of a problem, but that just may be me not knowing what I was doing when I tried it; I was just blindly shooting at cops.
House of the Dead: Overkill—Sega’s taking the arcade game and bringing a new installment to the Wii. It feels just like the old games and actually seems a little easier. If you’ve played the arcade games, you know what you’re getting.
Madworld, Wii’s over the top violent beat-‘em-up is looking to be a major title for the console. I don’t think it needs to be in black and white, the only thing it really does is make the blood stand out. However, this doesn’t detract from the fact that it’s just fun to use a chainsaw to chop a group of people in half.
The convention as a whole was a huge success, and I think it may have been their best one yet. I will definitely be going back next year. I just need to get some exercise between now and then, so it doesn’t feel like my legs are still on fire three days later.
The countdown starts again:
And here is a tip, if you are an educator, librarian, or are in any way affiliated with a school or a library, get yourself a professional pass. They’re either cheap or free and last the whole weekend.