NYC Comic Con 2010 – Live Vicariously NOW
October 8-10 marked New York City’s fifth annual Comic Con, a celebration of all things nerdy. I was in attendance all three days, taking in the sights and getting as much free swag as I could. It hasn’t reached the size of the San Diego Con, but judging on the reports of three hour line waits from this year’s San Diego Comic Con, that’s probably a good thing.
Friday is the day to go to any convention if you want to check out the floor show in depth. Not as many people get off from work to go, making the crowd still very large, but not unbearable. I managed to check out a few game demos with very little wait. Saturday and Sunday, there was a minimum 20-minute wait to try out anything. So, naturally, I took the opportunity on Friday and headed straight to the Nintendo booth hoping the 3DS was on display. It wasn’t, but they at least had some game demos up.
Donkey Kong Country Returns
In the past year, Nintendo finally gave into fan demand and has been releasing new titles for all of their most popular franchises. This is both a good and a bad thing. From what I played, Donkey Kong Country Returns is very loyal to the old SNES games in the series. The problem is, it might be a little too loyal. Aside from some updated graphics, I really didn’t see anything new. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, since they say don’t fix what isn’t broken, but after so many years, you would think they would try to innovate some. It looks like it will be worth picking up if you’re a fan, just don’t expect to be blown away. It will be available on the Wii November 21, 2010.
Kirby’s Epic Yarn
This is a simple game, but a lot of fun. You move Kirby through a world made of yarn, collecting beads and fighting enemies by unraveling them. The game is available now, and I’ve played it more since the Con. My quick review: it’s great, fun to play, and even better when you have two people, although a little too easy. The music is so cute as well as somber and unfortunately annoying. Maybe it’s just me, but the game seems like it would be more fun with Slayer playing in the background.
I didn’t actually play this one, because all weekend long the lines were out of control. It’s a remake of one of the most popular console games of all time, so it’s easy to see why it was bumrushed. I did watch a few matches, and it looks good. Very faithful to the original, here’s hoping for extra content. A remake is nice, but it needs more than just updated graphics to justify a purchase.
That was it for Nintendo, and then it was onto Capcom to play a game I’ve eagerly been awaiting: Marvel Vs. Capcom 3. Which is a really fun fighting game, but I suck at it. So it’s just like Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 in that aspect.
The last demo I checked out, and the one with the longest wait was for Dead Space 2. Not much to say about this one, it’s a lot like the first. Which is a good thing. The first game was great and so is this one. It looks and sounds very creepy, with improved weapons and an atmosphere that leaves you filling your pants. With the demos out of the way, I finally wandered off to see some panels.
Robot Chicken was great, as it is every year. The upcoming fifth season of the show, along with the Star Wars special and the Christmas special were all previewed, and they look hilarious. There was some Q&A with the show’s creators after that, and they brought along Macauly Culkin, who did work for the Christmas special. It was there that I learned that Culkin could do nothing for four years and still be more relevant than I’ll ever be, which was a great boost for everyone’s self esteem. The summary of the whole panel is that the show is still going strong, five seasons later. Who knew making fun of pop culture using stop motion animation and toys could be so profitable?
The Venture Brothers
The Venture Brothers is having one of their best seasons ever, but the panel itself was a bit lacking. One of the problems with the convention this year is the time of year they picked to have it. October means a lot of shows are in production, which doesn’t give people a lot of footage to show, and many can’t take a break to come to NYC for a weekend. This was the case with The Venture Brothers, as only the show’s creators, Christopher McCulloch and Doc Hammer, were there, along with one of the show’s voice actors, Michael Sinterniklaas. There was no footage to show, or anything to announce, but they still managed to pull together a decent panel with nothing but Q&A. At least no one did any horrible impressions this year.
This year, Comic Con was combined with the New York Anime fest, which is apparently one of New York’s biggest anime cons. I don’t know whose shit idea it was to combine two major conventions together, but shit it was. Saturday was packed from wall to wall. Walking anywhere seemed impossible, as you had to push through large groups of people. The convention hall may be big, but it was not big enough to hold everyone.
While it seems like comics and anime overlap, in reality they really don’t. Anime is an entirely different subculture, and as a whole, from what I saw, a much younger one. Kids to young teenagers seemed to be the only ones I saw dressed up in anime costumes. Combining a large crowded convention center with young kids is never a good mix
A lot of panels were anime-focused on Saturday, so I spent most of the day checking out the show floor. However, I did manage to get to one small panel, for the sketch comedy group SMBC Theater. I usually skip over the smaller, Internet-based panels every year in favor of major TV and movie panels, so it was a nice change of pace. SMBC Theater puts out a video once a week and they are always good for a laugh.
They showed some clips and behind the scenes footage, and did some Q&A. They’re a funny group and their videos are worth checking out. They are easily funnier than anything SNL has done in years, and taught me that it’s not stealing if you take an idea from someone who is dead.
That was it for panels on Saturday. Saturday is usually the busiest day, but there was nothing there that I felt an overwhelming need to go see, which was honestly very disappointing.
Sunday was the final day, and the shortest, since it ends at 5 P.M. If you’re looking to get something cheap, this is the day to do it. People on the show floor generally cut their prices on Sunday, because it’s easier to sell things than to haul them back to storage. Other than last minute shopping, Sunday had two panels I was really looking forward to. One delivered, one didn’t.
For those of you that don’t know, Unbreakable is one of the best super hero movies ever. If you haven’t seen it, hunt it down. Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson both perform amazingly in it. It’s also M. Night Shyamalan’s best movie in my opinion. Originally intended as a trilogy, poor box office sales meant that the two sequels were never made. After ten years, Shyamalan came on stage to talk about the movie, in his first convention appearance ever. He’s probably never been to a convention before because he knows his reputation in Hollywood for making movies that only rely on their twist endings. The people running the panel seemed to know this, as questions for M. Night had to be written down on cards before he came on stage, so no one could come to the microphone and tell him his movies suck.
As for the panel itself, it was interesting if you’re really into making movies. Shyamalan talked mostly about the technical details of the movie itself, and how it only had about 400 cuts in the whole movie, meaning a lot of takes were complicated and had to be done in one long shot. Not an easy feat, but I took a few classes in college about all that stuff, so the panel wasn’t as interesting as I’d hoped. I was looking for more information about the story itself and where he intended to bring it with the two planned sequels. Shyamalan also doesn’t really seem to know how to talk to a crowd. The whole thing felt like a small formal interview.
The Walking Dead
The Walking Dead was the very last panel at comic con and the one I was the most excited for. The walking dead is an ongoing comic about a group of survivors surviving during the zombie apocalypse. It’s being adapted to a TV show on AMC and I’m very excited for it, since AMC has made some high quality original programming, like Mad Men and Breaking Bad.
The whole cast was there, talking about their experience with the source material and what it was like making it all come to life. A clip was shown from episode two, and I will say this is looking to be a very suspenseful, action and drama filled show. The source material is great and I’d recommend picking it up, and watching the show. The third episode has since premiered since the con, because I am a terrible procrastinator and took forever finishing this article (editor: and I suck too, and took forever to edit), so you can watch it Sunday nights on AMC.
Overall, this was not one of New York Comic Con’s stronger years in terms of content being shown and guests at the show. It should not have been combined with Anime Fest, because of the congestion. That does not mean it was a bad experience. I enjoyed all three days and look forward to next year, even if it is planned for the same inconvenient time of year.