New York Comic Con 2011 (With Slideshow)
(Writing by Fly and Photography by LaFemmeLuna)
October 13-16 marked another year for New York Comic Con at Jacob Javits center, and as always, I was there. This is the first year that it was open for four days, Thursday being open to press, professionals and people who bought special four day passes. I was unable to make it on Thursday due to job commitments, but the extra day is a good idea. This convention seems to get bigger every year, and three days doesn’t feel like it’s enough time to see everything. As always, I really have no idea how to summarize 3 days of nerd sensory overload, so I’ll point out the highlights as best I can.
Batman: Arkham City
After getting my press badge, the first thing I was greeted with was an extremely long line that wrapped around the food court and down into the hallways of the Javits center. So naturally, I stood on the end of it. This is a recurring theme at comic con, which gets worse every year. More and more people are lining up for panels earlier, so if you really want to get into something popular, you may have to sit through the panel scheduled right before it, or at the very least stand on a very long line for a while. The officially policy is not to clear out rooms in between panels, but they may want to start rethinking this, as the con gets bigger every year. I managed to get in though, where they were showing off the latest Batman game: Batman Arkham City. The lead designers were there, along with Kevin Conroy, who voiced Batman in the animated series in the 90s, and Claudio Sanchez of Coheed and Cambria, who wrote a song for the soundtrack.
The game looks amazing, an improvement on Batman: Arkham Asylum, which was a great game to begin with. It is out now for the PS3, Xbox 360 and the PC. I highly recommend it. For everyone who stayed through the entire panel, they gave away batarang shaped controllers and an Xbox to a few lucky people who had cards taped under their seats. Sadly I did not win, but I still think it’s a great idea, and hope other companies follow suit in the future.
The Venture Bros.
There isn’t much to say about the Venture Brothers panel. They’re in the middle of writing and animating the new season, so they didn’t have anything to show, and there’s no definitive premiere date yet. The whole panel was Q&A, with most of the questions submitted on-line beforehand. I hope is a method everyone uses next year, because it eliminates all the people sucking up, or asking really stupid questions. This usually wastes a good amount of everyone’s time in panels, leaving less time for the more interesting questions. The panel was funny, but honestly nothing special.
While Venture Bros. had nothing to show, Robot Chicken was the complete opposite. The second half of Season 5 premiered on October 23, and on October 25 the season 5 DVD was released, which included all the unaired episodes for Season 5 so far, which I thought was an interesting way to sell a DVD, and I wonder if it will have any effect on the ratings, positive or negative. Among the panel, aside from the writers, was Macaulay Culkin and Geoff Johns, chief creative officer of DC. Culkin had no real reason to be there, aside from being friends with Seth Green, but it’s always nice to see child stars in a context that isn’t some kind of media scandal.
Johns was there because they are working on a Robot Chicken DC special, which judging by the preview shown, will be hilarious. No release date was given, but they said probably by next summer.
Finally, prompted by a fan question over whether they had exhausted Star Wars comedy, Green announced he was working with LucasFilm on an animated comedy. The Star Wars universe is still very ripe with comedy that will be exploited. Green couldn’t say anything else on the subject and ended the panel there.
Saturday began with me remembering how much I dislike large crowds. Even getting there early as hell, there is an overwhelming amount of people everywhere you go. The convention also seemed bigger this year, probably because the show floor also expanded into the space usually reserved for Artists’ Alley, which this year was only half as big.
There is so much to see, it’s so easy to miss things. Over in the autograph area they had the Adam West era batmobile and the Delorean from Back to the Future, which I missed because I never visit the autograph area. Paying 50 dollars for someone’s autograph or a picture with them is just something I refuse to do, but that is a rant for another time.
Pushing through the crowds, I did manage to find my way to Nintendo’s booth and check out a few games. First up was Zelda: Skyward Sword, which if you’ve played any 3D Zelda in the last 15 years, you’ve played this one, except now there are accurate motion controls. Seemed fun though and they were boasting that the story will take over 30 hours to complete. I’d think to probably get sick of the game before it ends, but can always hope that I’m wrong there. The game is available in stores now.
Next up was Super Mario 3D Land on the 3DS, which again if you’ve played a 3D Mario game, you’ve played this one. While it isn’t the freshest thing, it’s still fun. This was my first experience with a 3DS in person though, so I turned up the 3D all the way…and then immediately turned it off. If you’re not holding the console at the exact right angle, you don’t get a 3D effect, you just see double vision and get a headache. Luckily, the game can be enjoyed without the 3D on and is now available.
Last was Mario Kart 7, which like the last two, feels like more of the same. I like Nintendo, and I’ll probably play all of these games, but I wish they would come out with something new at the same time. Nostalgia can only take you so far without innovation, and I do not count 3D as innovation. There really isn’t much else to say about it aside from the fact that Mario Kart 7 will be out December 4th.
Saturday’s main attraction was the “Avengers” panel. I wanted to see that, and the “Walking Dead” panel that was right before it. However, due to comic cons policy of not clearing out rooms between panels, people walked into that theater at 10 in the morning and waited until 6. Never doubt a nerd’s dedication, or his/her bladder control abilities, apparently. My friend managed to make it into the “Avengers” panel though, and he said “It looked amazing and Chris Evans is dreamy,” which is pretty much what I would have said [hehe, editor editing a bit of a subtext into that].
At the end of the day, I managed to get into the panel for “Tell Your Friends! The Concert Film!” Which is a movie showcasing the talents of many “alternate” comedians, including Kristen Schall, Rob Paravonian, Reggie Watts and Christian Finnegan to name a few. The panel was small, and the panelists were funny, and gave a lot of insight to what it is to be a stand-up comedian. This was also the first panel I have ever been to where all the questions asked were actually thoughtful, which is a huge relief after hearing so many people go up to that microphone just to ask for an autograph. The short trailer for the film was good, the movie looks like it will be funny. They are currently in search of a distributor, so no release date yet.Sunday
Portlandia/The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret
IFC had a panel for their two original shows, only one of which I watch. First up was David Cross’s show, “The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret”. The show is a collaboration with the BBC, about a man who lies his way into a job in England selling energy drinks. When he arrives, he continues to lie to everyone he meets, making his life situation even worse every episode.
The panel was hosted by Jon Benjamin, making the whole thing twice as good. They started with a short trailer and announcing the new season would start on January 6th, after that Jon spent the next 10 minutes of the panel asking David questions that had nothing to do with the show. When David finally told him he should ask questions about his show, Jon started asking about made up characters and events. There was some Q&A afterwards, and both David and John mocked any stupid questions they came up, which was very fulfilling for me. This was probably the best panel I saw, even though they didn’t say much about the show, the banter between David Cross and Jon Benjamin was well worth it.
I stuck around to check out the Portlandia portion of the panel, even though I don’t watch it. The show is a sketch comedy show about people living Portland. It didn’t seem bad, but it wasn’t for me. It felt like they were trying too hard to be weird in their sketches, if that makes any sense. There were some funny moments, but overall I don’t think I’ll be watching it.
New York Comic Con this year was awesome, like it is every year, but it feels like it’s trying to fit too much into a little space. They clearly want to be what the San Deigo con is, but the Javits Center doesn’t seem big enough for that, despite its size. There are thousands of people there, and getting into anything now means you usually have to show up at least an hour early. Despite this, with the atmosphere, the showroom and the panels, it’s still a great experience. I’m already looking forward to next year.