Back for its 12th year, New York Comic Con gathered together geeks from all over to celebrate comics, movies and fandom for four straight days. Held at the Jacob Javits Center, NYCC is one of the largest conventions that brings in over 180,000 attendees and holds multiple events through New York. Our Con-man Chris was there to take in the sights, sell merchandise at a vendor booth, and try not to collapse from exhaustion from partying too much.
October is an awesome time to be in New York; the weather is cooling down, October fest beers are in stock, and New Yorkers have to put up cosplayers public transit. For a good amount of time in city, nerds take over the streets and shift the tide on non-nerds to make them feel out of place. Once again I teamed up with Super Sox Shop and Digital Pimp to be my base camp booths on the showfloor to take breaks between laps around the place. I’ve definitely stepped up my elevator pitch skills since I received more human conversations than lifeless stares and mumbled words thrown at me. It also might had helped that I cosplayed this time around.
Yes, I am a Rick and Morty fan and proud of it. But this lazy man’s Rick was put together when I realized I owned almost everything that could make a Rick costume. The only thing I had to shop for was a wig. One Amazon order later, I was ready to cosplay at comic con.
Early Hours of the Showfloor
Early hours to the showfloor let me take some cool pictures of the displays and toys without bumping into or stuck into one of those traffic aisles that no one moves. There’s something ultra nerdy about waking up at the 7 am, and eating breakfast while getting first glances at awesome upcoming geek products. On Friday morning, one of the first things I did was grab a shirt from the Sy Fy Fan Lounge and a few bags of candy. You can’t beat a free shirt and you never know when you need a sugar rush.
Working at the Super Sox Shop
Working for the Super Sox Shop is always a blast to stand on soft flooring and chill out by a felt fireplace. I learned a lot from my experience from last year’s NYCC to know that one of the most important tools is your voice. It’s all about management on how to pitch the goods fast and converse on energy to last throughout the day. For most of the time, the products speak for themselves, so pitching them is only matter of pointing out facts and multiple usages. Some of my pitches were: “This pillow sword can’t break the skin.”, “There is no law against hanging a Christmas Socking for Thanksgiving.”, “If they can eat this block size pillow in one bite, nothing will stop them”. One of the fastest items to sell was the Sox Shop’s NYCC exclusive, Pickle Rick. It was kind of fated to be since I saw a prototype Pickle Rick from the shop and knew that being a Rick at the booth would get people interested.
Besides the usually people walking by and saying “Wubba Lubba dud-dub”, countless people would be screaming at us at the booth “OH MY GOD, A PICKLE RICK!, I’M PICKLE RICKKKKKK!”. The look of excitement on potential customers was pretty cool. This was a fast moving item, and it sold out completely by Friday morning. I knew how it was going to be a desirable item, but I did not expect it to move that quick. I had my whole adventure planned on making pickle jokes and getting people to touch my jar of pickles. I learned that humor can make or break a sale and aiming for low brow pickle humor was going to be my edge. That was all ruined since people weren’t putting up a fight over the pickle ricks and many people directly came to the booth for the pickle. No sales pitch. No jokes. Just a ringing up plushie pickles.
Interviews with Comic Creators
Once again at NYCC I got to interview some very talented comic creators. I always enjoy chatting with the people behind the comic pages and learn a thing or two about their creative process.
Kirsten Gudsnuk – HenchGirl
I stopped by Kirsten Gudsnuk to get my copy of Hench Girl signed. I interviewed Kristen last year about Hench Girl become a complete collection from Dark Horse and the new experiences in the comic industry. I picked up her book sometime later and finally got the time to get it personalized.
Alex de Campi and Chris Cross – Bankshot
Back in June, I picked up an issue of Bankshot and was instantly of fan of the story. Bankshot is a series about Marcus King, a former American solider turned billionaire and mercenary. King is on a path of revenge to solve to find those responsible for the events that lead to the deaths of his squad mates and severely injured King. Using the soviet era 80’s nanotechnology, King is able to make himself stronger and deadlier in his quest. Along the way finds allies and new enemies that will bring him closer to the his chance for revenge. I got the chance to interview two of the creators at the Dark Horse booth and I picked their minds for a few minutes.
The story is written by Alex de Campi, who has written the stories for Mercy and Archie vs. Predator. I asked Alex about her typical writing process, how she beings to form her story. “I usually start with a idea for a thriller, then find a way to make it into something else” explained Alex. At the core of Bankshot’s story, the complex steps for Marcus King to reach his goals are not easily obtained. There is a lot of struggles for Marcus and his friends; between caring for each other and fighting off a growing list of enemies, Marcus cannot simple punch his way through everything. The characters were visually brought to life by comic artist Chris Cross, who has previous worked on Captain Marvel and Justice League of America. Alex and Chris were able to “vibe” off each other’s work and create moments within the pages that require little or no communication. “It was like having a jam session, making art jazz with Alex”. Chris was able to find some character models based on real life people he has met in person or reached out to online. Chris talked about how social media has helped him find inspiration for his character designs. “When I was looking to make Soraya, I found a model online that had the features that matched the character….even though the model wasn’t from the middle east”. Chris’s instagram shows how he could transform a head shot into a dazzling cover art.
Chris utilizing the internet for find resources to build his characters is a neat reminder of how far comic creations have come. Creators are no longer bound to just what they see by conventional means, but now inspiration can be found across multiple borders and languages. The first three issues of BankShot is now available and the fourth issue being released in this upcoming November.
Chris and I got to geek out for a bit; sharing convention experiences, jersey traffic and if pineapples go on pizza. (Not all the time, but once and awhile a Hawaiian style is amazing.)
Daniel Kibblesmith – Quantum and Woody
Over at the Valiant booth, I met with Daniel Kibblesmith, the writer for the upcoming volume of Quantum and Woody. I first was introduced to Quantum and Woody from other comic fans that were looking for a blend of comic and whacky action. Quantum and Woody are two foster brothers that have lead completely different lives. Eric Henderson (aka Quantum) is a intelligent and honorable person while Woodrow Henderson (aka Woody) is a slacker and undisciplined. The two work together to solve the murder of their father. After discovering and activating experimental wristbands, the two are granted powers, but are now required to slam the wristbands into each other’s every 24 hours or become de-atomized by their powers. The series was original created by Christopher Priest and Mark D. Bright in 1997, and has been a cult favorite among comic fans for its commentary on the superhero tropes.
Daniel Kibblesmith is tasked with carrying on the antics of Quantum and Woody, the series is known for its tongue-in-cheek humor and the violate relation between the two brothers. Daniel is a writer for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and has authored a few books, my favorite title so far has been How to Win at Everything Even things you can’t or shouldn’t try to win at. Daniel has the went with a improve comedy sense that tries to utilize everything about the tense and close relationship between the two brothers. Quantum’s stern and serious attitude heavy clashes with Woody’s lazy and wreck less nature causes daily rifts, all of that has to be overlooked so that each of them can “klang” their wristbands to avoid death. “The challenge is finding fresh ways to keep this going” Daniel stated. There have been many superhero team ups before, but Quantum and Woody have embraced being the worst kind of team up and have created some very interesting story arcs. From bumbling through fights with super villains, being rescued by a goat on multiple occasions and never agreeing on battle attire, Quantum and Woody is a comic books fan’s must needed parody of the average always saves the day superhero. The new series of Quantum and Woody is being released this upcoming December.
Dinesh Shamdasani – Valiant Entertainment CEO
While hanging around the Valiant booth, I got to check out the massive collection of stories created in the last five years since Valiant held their Summer of 2012 launched that reintroduced Valiant characters. Over five titles during that launched had received multiple awards and recognition in the comic industry. One of the people responsible for the successful growth of the company is Dinesh Shamdasani, the Chief Creative Officer and CEO of Valiant.
Dinesh’s journey from comic fan to CEO is amazing tale. Starting as a child reading comics in aboard, Dinesh would later work with college friends raised enough capital to obtain licensing rights to Valiant characters, and then assembled a team of eager writers and artists to make comics his way. It was pretty cool to meet Dinesh at the Valiant booth with all of his convention staff, and he made just enough time for an exchange for quick words and a picture.
Council of Ricks
On Friday as I was walking the showfloor as Rick, I was approached by many Rick and Morty fans that notified me about a big fan meet up at a panel room later in the day. Now, Rick and Morty fans come in many forms, but I was reassured that this won’t be one of those loud annoying “LOOK AT ME, I’M MAKING NOISE” events. (I’m looking at you conga line of Deadpools that think it’s awesome to do it in crowded aisles.) My wig was just the right shade of blue to get away with it, and I do not have the Rick tone mastered. I think my Rick voice is what happens when you google translate it into Russian, then translated it back. At the appointed time in the evening, I gathered with a decent size group of Rick and Morty fans, and joined in as the group of Ricks; thus forming the Council of Ricks of NYCC.
Rick and Morty fans of all ages were welcome to come hang out and take group pictures. Fans showed off their awesome costumes, repeat catchphrases, and even held a small Pickle fight.
This group was pretty friendly and organized fast to get a lot of different photos together. Not many people knew each other, so we just referred to each other by height and accessories. Saying “Hey Morty, move over” not going to help get people in order. However, out of all the cosplayers, there was only just one Jerry. And boy did the group treat him like a Jerry.
The guy took it in stride to get a few insults thrown at him. But in the room full of Ricks, being the only Jerry makes you unique.
It’s a NYCC tradition to celebrate a long day on your feet, being packed together like cattle at the showfloor and take a few moments to look at nerdy things, you have to head to an after party to once again; spend more time on your feet, get packed together like cattle at a bar, and take a few moments to figure out what you are seeing is a nerdy thing. I’ve been hitting up SonicBoomBox after parties for a few years now and it’s been a great time partying it up with friends into the night. Once again, Friday night was at the Bowler at Time Square, where people can bowl, get a few adult drinks and party into the night in the heart of NYC.
Revolution Brewing stocked the event with Mosaic Hero, a IPA that tasted really light and has some power behind the flavor (7.50% ABV). A couple of cans later, and it was time to hit up the photos!
Along the way, we tried to see what was the best at the Mario Kart DX arcade cab.
Saturday Night, the party was a Slake and Mega Ran was the opening entertainment to get the party pumping. I saw a clip online earlier in the day of Mega Ran freestyling rapping around NYCC, finding people and objects to rap about, and I was hoping he was going to do it again for the show.
Near the end of his set, he asked the crowd to come forward with whatever objects they had in their pockets and show it to him for his next song.
Slake was packed with people checking out all three floors of the place. It does help that every drink ordered came with a freshly baked small pizza. I couldn’t go wrong with ending my Saturday night surrounded by good music, good people and free pizza.
If I wasn’t tired by now, I was sure was that Sunday morning. It was the final push to get every last moment of NYCC, and I hated the thought to waste it on oversleeping. And if I wasn’t awake by the 3 cups of coffee I had a breakfast, the weather decided it would be a great time to rain. This was my first time watching how NYCC gets packed up and I started the day already uncomfortable. The early hours of the day moved pretty fast with tons of people stopping by to pick up last minute purchases, plus returning people that had stopped by the previous days promising to buy on Sunday. However, the last 2 hours was agonizing. My legs started to hurt and I just wanted to a soft surface to lay down out on. It didn’t help that I was already surrounded by comfortable pillows that were daring me to take a nap on them. As soon as 5 pm hit, the lights changed and sweet sound of forklifts backing into the showfloor filled the air.
By 7 pm, the once crowded aisles were stripped bare and the whole place was cleaning up all the evidence that comic con was there. There was so many cool things to do at the event that my coverage is a tiny fraction of the overall experience. I missed out on many fun moments that I only got to see through internet postings and messages from friends. My biggest regrets are that I couldn’t spend more time in artist alley to chat and I couldn’t attend any panels. If I had a choice between using my time to get food or get seats for a panel, food is going to win 9 times out of 10. If you have the time and patience for it, New York Comic Con is a fun show that offers a ton experiences waiting to be found. I look forward to the amazing sights and wonderful people I meet, and hoping the NYCC 2018 is even better.