Unauthorized Dispatches, New York Comic Con: First Pants, Then Shoes / by David Anderson


Being a suburbanite all of my life, I am easily frightened by loud noises and fast moving things. Consequently, the city has always been a source of consternation for me; I prepare myself for a trip to it under the anticipation of a non-zero chance of being mugged. And yet, once I am in the city, angst vents itself from my body as fascination displaces it. I always like to downplay New York City. "What's the big deal," I say. It's loud and noisy and there's people everywhere. Why are people proud to live in this city? Of course, once I stepped out of that subway access stairwell and saw the lights of Times Square flashing all around me, I was reminded of my first foray here, and how awestruck I was having finally found the nexus of the most famous city in the world.

Don't get me wrong, I still don't want to live here. The rent is insane and if the entertainment industry is any indication, every single major disaster, terrorist organization, foreign power and alien invader is going to demolish this city the first chance they get. My Scared White People Syndrome simply is too strong for this city.

There were two major events happening in NYC this weekend: The Occupy Wall Street protests and New York Comic Con. Owing to my general inexperience as a journalist and my role as a comics journalist, I was drawn to NYCC to cover the newest things happening in comics and entertainment. So, let's talk Comic Con. No politics allowed unless they are presented in panel form.

There were more people here than I typically see in a whole year. There was a bald man dressed as Princess Leia. A hell organ thrummed beneath the Take 5 Gum booth, and the Adventure Time Booth consisted of a monstrous inflatable dog that loomed over everyone sitting beneath it. I was a little nervous.

Crowds were never my thing, but I've always liked being an observer, and so scanning the throngs of people was always an entertaining part of any convention. The sheer number of people here actually dilutes the number of costume players/cosplayers/whatever you want to call them, and so it feels a bit more professional in atmosphere to see people in jeans and T-shirts juxtaposed with the dedicated fans who celebrate Halloween a bit earlier than the rest.

I am only here for a day, so I guess I better make the best of it, I think.

I don't think I made the best of it. Okay, not from a journalist capacity anyway. I sat in on the Marvel panel and took like two notes, in which they talked about how they were going to distribute comics over their smartphone apps and tablet PCs, and how they plan on using it as a supplement to their print media and not planning on replacing comic books. I don't think I can really stomach panels, in the end. Too banal. I need--entertainment, I suppose.

I tried plugging the site a little with some people. I talked to Ivan Brandon, who wrote the story for Men of War and a few other comics, and checked out Oni Press, Avatar Press and ForBeginners Press. I spent a lot more money than I thought I would, but it has netted me some review material which I hope to have stuff up for in the next few weeks.

It's called a Comic Con, but there is a lot more than comics here. IGN set up an entertainment theater and hosted a few video game booths, Uncharted 3 and The Darkness 2 were being playtested alongside the next Legend of Zelda game, and a Starcraft II tournament was playing on a giant screen. Vintage cars from big name movie franchises were on display. Famous names like Mark Hamill, Peter Mayhew and Stephen Lang were manning booths for autographs.

At some point in the day a massive cabal of Homestuck cosplayers took up an entire hallway and spent the next hour taking photos and cheering for reasons that I never stuck around to observe. If you don't know what Homestuck is, Google it, because the comic and its fandom is such a deep, deep rabbit hole that a simple synopsis is impossible. The rest of the universe has something of a love-hate relationship with the fandom, but personally I have always been slightly fond of it. Key word: slightly.

This is really a place for a social person to go to. As a shut-in myself, the day consists of a lot of walking, with few words for people I have never met. I'm not sure if anything I did Friday counts as worthy of wearing the Press Badge, but I tried, at least. If nothing else, I acquired a number of comics that I'll be making you aware of in the future, and if you don't buy them after reading my reviews then my coverage will have been a waste and the NYCC staff will put out an APB for me.

You don't want that, do you?