New York Comic Con 2013 aka “The Mothership Called And We Answered”

Well, another New York Comic Con has come and gone, laying siege to the local (and not so local) geek population once again. This was the first year that I made it my business to get to more than one panel and, while I greatly enjoyed the ones I made it into, it does take up a significant amount of time away from general strolling of the show floor/Artist’s Alley. Never mind that you’re lining up for popular panels AT LEAST an hour before they begin; each panel is about an hour on top of that. The more panels you catch, the less time you spend on mingling, shopping and basic things such as eating. Do I regret my decision? Eh, not really. It may have saved me a bit of cash, though panel hopping can be just as exhaustive as spending the majority of your con days on the massive show floor.

This was also the first year where I decided to cosplay each day I attended i.e. Friday, Saturday, Sunday. I didn’t even do anything all that complicated and, STILL, I found it to be a hassle between getting dressed and getting to the Jacob Javits Center on time to actually BE at NYCC. For the record, I went as Art Nouveau on Friday, Lieutenant Uhura (original flavor) on Saturday, and Stormy from ‘Rainbow Brite and The Star Stealers’ on Sunday. As I said, nothing too involved, but I think I’ll stick to dressing up for only ONE day next year! And speaking of cosplay, who doesn’t die over the epic get-ups other con-goers put together! NYCC is a place where passions and creativity beautifully collide to beget stuff like this:

NYCC similarly decided to step out of their box by using a new system to keep track of attendees this year, as well as to combat counterfeit badges: All official badges contained electronic chips and had to be tapped with a matching device upon entry and exit. Purchasers needed to register their badge(s) online prior to the even so that HOPEFULLY, they could be tracked should they be stolen. It wasn’t a flawless system and friends of mine discovered a few ways around it if a person were extremely determined to beat the system but, for the most part, the idea made sense and I hope it’s something they stick with. I honestly think it’s more a way to track traffic/capacity better, instead of using manual number counters, on top of catching counterfeiters (or just wily folk trying to use last year’s passes).

Every year, as can be expected, NYCC gets bigger and bigger. It really is trying to keep up with the demand of trying to match SDCC in it’s awesomeness, despite having to compensate for a smaller convention center. And in terms of draw, NYCC is doing exceptional in that regard as well. When we at Meandering Entertainer first started going, Sunday (Kid’s Day) was relatively calm. Now? As my friend, Nancy, said “Friday is the new Saturday” which leaves Saturday to be utter madness (I didn’t even bother attempting the show floor until the evening) and Sunday to not be ANYWHERE near as calm as before. It didn’t hurt that there were several quality panels on Sunday which may have brought in folk who usually avoid Kid’s Day. And here’s where I have to give props to the organizers at Reed Pop and the Jacob Javits Center for doing a better job in making this year’s con much smoother than last year. Cell phone service? Greatly improved. Charging stations? It seemed there were double the number. So, yes, that’s definitely worth a mention.

On the other hand, the lack of space for all the attendees is something that can no longer be ignored. Most of the rooms available for panels (outside of 1-D and 1-E) are simply too small to handle participant interest, leaving plenty of folks locked out when the line was “capped” if they hadn’t had the time/foresight to queue upwards of an hour beforehand. And having to squeeze THROUGH the food court to get from one end of level 1 to the other was a goddamned nightmare. Just…no. Too, with so many lines flush against each other or against booths on the show floor (like for Stan Lee’s autograph), walkways were confusing and muddled.

While it’s great that NYCC is getting more recognition, it looks like they’ve essentially run out of space to put everyone. Being made to constantly feel like a salmon swimming upstream is something that can very easily destroy one’s experience there. Not that I have the slightest idea of where else the event could be hosted! But something will have to be done before it may seem like too much frustration to bother with.

Panel talk:

-I managed to get into the one for ‘Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D’ only because I made sure to sacrifice a kitten beforehand! Okay, no, I’m clearly lying but I DID do the NYCC equivalent i.e. line up hours before for a panel in the same room (which I missed, by the way) and staying put. That’s right, y’all. Speak not to me of bathroom breaks for I took none. The only members of the cast able to attend were the actors who play “FitzSimmons”, Elizabeth Henstridge and Iain De Caestecker (respectively) though I’m not sure many of minded as we got to watch the fourth episode of the season before anyone else in the world! Hell yeah! If you’re wondering how Marvel manages to keep all this juicy stuff from leaking in this wonderful age of technology, let me tell you that security is TIGHT. Every entrance to the hall is shuttered and guarded, and “agents” ceaselessly patrol the audience to check for any recording devices. If you’re caught, you’re equipment is confiscated while you’re given the boot. We were told that the agents were in possession of night vision goggles; I didn’t see any for myself but I wasn’t messing with those dudes. Besides, it’s nice to have something special, if only for a few days before it’s released to the rest of the fans.

I happen to be enjoying S.H.I.E.L.D. a fair amount. I think the show has really found it’s rhythm now because there wasn’t a person in that audience whose attention wasn’t rapt. It’s a show whose success will inevitably open more doors for Marvel on TV which I am SO ready for.

‘DaVinci’s Demons’ panel

-Now I get to gush a bit about the Starz panel! Though it included their hit ‘DaVinci’s Demons’, I was mainly there for the shows that HADN’T aired yet. Specifically, ‘Black Sails’ and Diana Gabaldon’s ‘Outlander’. Not having watched Demons before, and having heard it was more on the ridiculous side, my interest is piqued for the second season due to the awesome cast chemistry, as well as the fact that a new Latina character will ACTUALLY be played by a Latina. For those of you not in the know, this isn’t something that happens as often as it logically should, a situation that the actress in question made a point of. And, really, since when do I not enjoy the ridiculous?

‘Black Sails’ panel

‘Black Sails’ is something I have waited for since a friend linked me to the trailer several months ago. Bear in mind that the show doesn’t debut until January! Starz started pimping this show early and the campaign has been such a success that it’s been picked up for a second season before it’s even begun! Has that ever happened before?! It’s a bold move but it assures that all actors involved will be booked for filming way in advance to avoid a huge gap between seasons. What exactly is ‘Black Sails’? Simply put, PIRATES. And I…have a long standing obsession with them in all their grim glory. The show promises to be a stark, if partially fantasized, look at their treacherous world, including famous seafarers such as Captain Flint and John Silver. They showed us the first 6 minutes of the first episode and I may have been so excited that I Care Bear stared. These things happen! Best description? INTENSE. So wonderfully shot that you feel as if you’re THERE. For someone like me, that sort of effect is priceless.

‘Outlander’ panel

-Full disclosure: I haven’t read the ‘Outlander’ series and probably never will. Not because they aren’t fantastically written and plotted because I know they are. I trust the opinion of those I know who’ve read them. But there are some truly emotionally trying moments in those book that I’m positive will leave me quaking in a corner. I rather not. That being said, watching a television show based on the first book is something I CAN do because TV/movies don’t effect me as strongly as the written word. The story centers around a woman, Claire, a WWII nurse, who’s mysteriously transported to Medieval Scotland. It is there that she meets, and eventually falls in love with, Jamie Fraser. Jamie Fraser who is, from what I hear, the “most perfect man in existence”. I’d scoff if everyone who’s EVER read the books didn’t unanimously agree to this. The time travel aspect is naturally a bitch for Claire. Worse than that? She’s a happily married woman whose heart is now pulled in too very different directions. Thoughts of “must find a way back to MY time” war with “but, but, but, Jamie”. How much does it suck/not suck, to be Claire? I guess us newbies will find out.

By the by, Diana Gabaldon did this panel solely with the show’s creator. The cast is still in active filming though we were treated to some behind the scenes footage that looked VERY promising. I am so excited for the fans who adore this series. It’s being taken seriously by all involved with direct input from Diana herself, a positively lovely woman. While MY spaz was activated by ‘Black Sails’, my buddy teared up and nearly passed out during the ‘Outlander’ portion of the panel. My final thoughts for Starz? They’re going to need to be in 1-D next year.

Did you or anyone you know make it to NYCC this year? What were your general thoughts/impressions?

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