Since becoming a reviewer for The Qwillery, Qwill (Sally) and I have had some excellent genre adventures. The most memorable has to be New York Comic Con 2013. I was beyond excited and a little nervous too. I knew the Jacob Javits Convention Center was huge and it would pay to do my homework ahead of time. I dutifully went on the New York Comic Con website and checked the guests, exhibitors, panels, etc. I set up the "My Comic Con" planner. I read the NYCC's survival guide. I grilled Sally, a five year veteran, about what to expect but she sagely advised me to "Go with the flow". We had a game plan that we stuck to for the most part, but we also enjoyed some random, unanticipated moments as well. So without any more fanfare: #NYCC!!!!
As I am a first timer and could only attend one day, I chose Friday and had a regular Friday pass. The line moved steadily towards the entrances, the scan tickets seemed to work really well and security checked bags pretty quickly (Maybe a little too quickly in today's world). Eventually people began milling around different sets of doors. I was busy checking out the crowd for cosplayers. I love the creativity and the attention to detail that goes into people's costumes. Most people around me were just like me, dressed rather boring, with the exception of Ghost Rider, his pal, Ash from Pokemon and Cat Woman. They were not together, but Ghost Rider seemed super excited to meet Cat Woman. They took a host of pictures and his photographer friend asked Cat Woman to pose like the cover of such and such comic book. She admitted she had no idea what that looked like. She didn't really read comics, this Cat Woman was a movie fan. Ghost Rider, Ash from Pokemon and their civilian friend were slightly disappointed but undaunted. Ghost Rider took some homemade felt flames and inserted them into his eye sockets to further impress Cat Woman.
Their interaction was an interesting way to start the day. He was very enthusiastic and Cat Woman, much like Ann Hathaway's version seemed a bit standoffish in the face of his enthusiasm. I turned and began talking to a family that I found out was from Canada. It was their first Comic Con as well. They had come to NYCC, Thursday night and the small boy had been slightly injured. He told me "Two men began pushing each other and the really large one fell on me and hurt my leg". The boy, about 7 or 8, was already cranky before even being let into the building and I felt sorry for his mother. I asked him what he hoped to see and do. He pointed to his shirt. He was a Marvel Superheroes fan. He proceeded to quiz me on the characters on his shirt. I could see I was disappointing him by knowing Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor so when he finally got to The Hulk, I miss guessed on purpose and said, "Wonder Woman". He laughed and was happy that I was sufficiently dumb enough to mistake a beautiful woman for a giant green man. His mom looked relieved that he had stopped whining. Good deed of the day accomplished. At this point the line began moving again. It was now about 10:06 and I was getting a bit antsy. As we starting moving, we unfortunately were not moving towards the welcoming glass doors of the Javits Center. We were being herded under scaffolding and construction to another door. When we got there, THOSE doors were not open. PUNCTUALITY PEOPLE!! It was about 10:20 (maybe later) before they let us into the building. (20 precious minutes wasted!!) But.......
I Made It To COMIC CON!!
Upon entry, I tried to get my bearings in a building I had never entered before. There were stairs going up, stairs going down and I had no idea where I was supposed to meet Sally. (Sally had a press pass and went through a different entrance). Her instructions for me were to go up the left staircase and look for the bag check area by Starbucks. O.K., since our forced migration to faraway doors, there was no staircase to the left. But I chose the first staircase up and began climbing the steps, it was there that I had the unfortunate experience of spotting the dreaded fleshy Kraken. This is not a cosplayer but a dude whose pants were falling down. Newsflash! Most sweatpants have some sort of drawstring. Please use it. Neither I nor the guys next to me will be able to remove the image of that large hairy male with his drawers falling down, out of our memory banks any time soon. Sally texted me that she had completed mission; bag check and to meet her by Mattel. Sally has covered Comic Con for The Qwillery for five years. Does she not realize I have no sense of direction, no map and no idea what the heck I'm doing? A nice exhibitor took pity on me. He looked on his iPhone and was somehow able to tell me where Mattel was. Granted, I had the same app and phone but at that point no clue how to work it. I was disoriented, disjointed and extremely daunted by the sheer number of people and the vastness of the facility. Once I got to Mattel, I walked around the exhibit about 4 times and still did not see Sally. Frustrating. She texted me her exact location; The Monster High display. Sweet Success! But we must have spent 15 minutes or so just trying to locate each other at the Mattel booth, there were just THAT many people.
Tag Teaming the Literary World
Time to explore. As a newbie it was really overwhelming. I planned on meekly following in Sally's footsteps as she is the pro. (Aside from Sally: Not really. It just looks that way.) This worked out really well. She had events marked on her phone and knew exactly where and when to be at such and such booth to be at a book signing or meet an author. She had spotted Scott Lynch and brought me to meet him, knowing that I had his hardcover, Lies of Locke Lomara in my bag just in case we ran into him. This was the first author I met of the day and he was very kind. Scott has gorgeous long blonde hair and I must admit to experiencing a bit of hair jealousy. He was very well spoken and his appearance and manner reminded me of a medieval prince. A genuinely nice person, he started off my literary journey through Comic Con on a high note.
In a whirlwind of signings and author greetings, Sally mysteriously knew where to go (aside from Sally: I had a map and print outs and had sacrificed a comic to the Comic Con Lords). Next we ran into Michael R. Underwood, on the floor, author of Geekomancy and Celebromancy and a genuinely cool guy. Sally introduced me to Michael and then who should appear, but the terrific trio of ML Brennan, author of Generation V, Myke Cole author of the Shadow Ops series, and Benedict Jacka, author of the Alex Verus books among other titles.
Three enthusiastic writers signing copies of their first books. It was a book nerd's dream come true and the day had just begun!! I also had the privilege to meet Michael J. Sullivan, Sam Sykes, Max Gladstone, Christopher J. Bennett, Diana Gabaldon, Victoria Schwab, Brian Staveley, and Peter V. Brett, all in one day! it was truly amazing to meet these talented authors!
Close Encounters of a Star Wars Kind
I am a huge movie fan. As I went downstairs to autographing tables, the first area that caught my attention had the Batmobile, the Back to The Future DeLorean, and the Ghostbuster mobile complete with Sta-Puff marshmallow man and Slimer.
There were tons of great entertainers on site but there was one entertainer that I positively had to meet. Sally went off in search of one of her favorites, Garreth David Lloyd (Torchwood), while I got in the considerable line for Anthony Daniels, the one and only C-3PO. The line was
slow-moving and I spent time chatting with the man behind me. He brought a C-3PO trading card from the 1970's that he wanted to be signed. Big surprise, we found that we are both avid Star Wars fans and when Sally texted me to see if I was done yet and I texted back "Almost There", that guy immediately got it. I'm sure that the subtle reference to the X-Wing's approach to the Death Star at the end of A New Hope was totally lost on Sally. We shared a laugh and camaraderie as only fans of the same franchise can understand. I waited about 35 minutes for my signing. There were about 8 different 8 X 10 glossies to choose from. I chose the quintessential photo of C-3PO standing with R2-D2. My line friend approved, saying it was the obvious choice. I then walked over to Mr. Daniels. He said hello and I handed him the two photos, leaning my forearms onto the signing table without realizing it. I was very excited to meet an original part of the ensemble that had brought Star Wars to life on the Silver Screen. He politely asked me to move my arms. I was taken aback, I hadn't meant to encroach on his personal space. I hastily apologized, and then he looked up at me and smiled. Gently, he told me that he wouldn't mind my leaning in but that he was worried because the tables were wobbly and that he didn't want to ruin the autographs. I smiled back and made a joke about cheap tables at conventions. I think I shocked him when I continued, "Oh, don't worry, I took a shower, and wore deodorant and even put on some perfume before I came." He was perplexed and I laughed and told him that in "The Survival Guide to NYCC" there is an entire section dedicated to hygiene. In it, it asks that all attendees shower with soap and use deodorant prior to attending NYCC. He thought I was joking but the security guard and I assured him that it was true. We had a laugh about the sad state of world affairs when you have to remind people to bathe before attending an event with thousands of people in close quarters. He then admired my lanyard. I had attached Star Wars pins, and a few Wonder Woman pins to it. He smiled and pointed to his favorite. The one of R2D2 and C3PO was very similar to the photos he was going to sign. I told him of my adventure to Forbidden Planet in NYC and thanked him for the compliment. We actually chatted for a few more minutes and then he signed the photos. He was very meticulous, proper and polite and I was surprised and delighted when he shook my hand and told me it was very nice to meet me. The cost of that encounter: $50.00. Was it worth it? ABSOFUCKINGLUTELY!
My First Interview
Because The Qwillery is such an awesome genre blog, Sally was asked to do an interview with the creative team behind RWBY and Red vs Blue; Kerry Shawcross, Monty Oum, and Miles Luna. Sally and I both love RWBY and I was privileged to accompany her to the interview. I arrived a few minutes early and met Brad Johnson, a publicist for Rooster Teeth and we chatted. Soon after Miles and Kerry arrived and we were introduced and made some small talk. Arryn Zech, the voice behind RWBY's Blake Belladona popped in and out and we said "Hi" to her as well. I am a big fan of RWBY but since that was what the interview was about, I spoke to Kerry about A Simple Walk into Mordor. If you are not familiar you should check it out, Kerry, Chris and their guide Nick walk 131 miles in 6 days from the place where they filmed Hobbiton to Mount Doom in New Zealand. I asked about future plans to do a Hobbit based sequel; Hobbiton to The Lonely Mountain. Unfortunately, they used the same mountain in both series so Kerry didn't see the point. I asked him if they had gotten into any trouble after the adventure aired on the internet and he said no. He laughed and said his biggest fear during the entire trip was to get arrested and end up in a foreign jail. We began setting up our equipment and since Monty was delayed we opted to film the interview without him. I ran the camera and Sally asked the questions. Kerry and Miles were enthusiastic, witty, and lots of fun. They hugged us goodbye and Kerry and I took a photo.
They also were gracious enough to sign my sons's Red vs Blue DVD cover. I wish them great success in the future. They are young guys with a lot of talent and I hope they go far. This was definitely a highlight of Comic Con for me. (Link to interview here)
Cosplaying at Comic Con
I was expecting to be blown away by the cosplay and I was not disappointed. I took quite a few pictures of some of the best. After our interview with the guys from Rooster Teeth I was rewarded with spotting a beautiful Weiss, from Team RWBY.
My favorite is my "selfie" with Darth Vader, who was very accommodating for a Sith Lord.
Sally and I spoke to two girls who were dressed as Bioshock and little sister from the Bioshock videogame franchise. They were spot on and the Bioshock costume, complete with helmet and metal workings was amazing. The girl told me it took her about fourth months to construct the costume. Interestingly enough when I mentioned cosplay, the little sister with her blood spattered dress and green alien contact lenses told me they weren't really into cosplay. Before I could pursue this conversation further, people began lining up to take their photo. The cool thing was watching other Bioshock cosplayers appear seemingly out of thin air to take a group picture. The interaction between these strangers was amazing to witness. Brought together by a love for one common theme, at least a dozen people became instant friends which I found amazing.
Avatar was also displayed in very high quality. I enjoyed spotting two separate Gandalfs, one who was traveling with Frodo, a fantastic Green power Ranger waiting in line to see David Jason
Frank with his arch-nemesis, Rita, two sexy warriors from Mortal Kombat, 2 members of the Fantastic Four, Daphne and Thelma from Scooby Doo on a Girls Day out at Comic Con.
This family dressed as the 11th Doctor, a Sister of Plenitude, the 9th Doctor, a Cyberman and the TARDIS and were awesome. A family who cosplays together sticks together, right?
There were more jokers from the Batman franchise than I would have thought possible. But all the cosplayers were very accommodating to anyone that asked to snap a picture. NYCC was really a pretty friendly place. I want to end this segment with these cuties, (Parental permission was obtained) In my book, these twins win the prize for cutest cosplayers.
The Party is Over
To recap, NYCC was absolutely fantastic. I am definitely coming back next year. Notes to self for next year include allowing more than one day, as you definitely can't squeeze in everything in a day. Learn how to use the comic con app on my phone. I never did master it and I know this would have been extremely helpful. The last thing is to attach a tracking device to Sally. It was laughable how many times I stopped to snap a photo of something or someone cool and in 5 seconds had already lost my friend. My experience was truly fantastic and I encourage all other newbies to take the plunge, its exhilarating!