EA at NYCC 2018

If it was October, it was time for New York Comic Con. This recent October gathered over 200,000 attendees to take part in four days of the annual celebration of fandom in the streets of Manhattan. Fanboys, movie stars, comic creators and everything in between were in attendance. Everything Action’s own Chris was at the scenes to capture the events when he wasn’t getting lost in the activities, getting birthday drinks or trying to eat a lot of $1 pizza slices. Here are the highlights of his visit.

NYCC was back in town, just at the early start of October when the weather is slightly chilled and everyone is ready to have one more convention experience in the city before the holiday season takes over. I’ve been doing NYCC for a few years now and it’s been a tradition to hang out with friends, see some awesome sights, make new connections and have fun with people with the same big passion for geeky interest. This time around, NYCC fell around my birthday, so I started the whole show with a sushi dinner and some sake bombs to get things started.

Early Show Hours:

NYCC opens to the general public at 10 AM, but the show floor opens even earlier for vendors. It’s fun to watch the busiest area prepare itself for the massive crowds. I got to get inside a little early to help a few friends set up and scout out some booths to check out once everything kicks off. Plus it helped me plan an ideal route to collect free stuff in my swag bags. You can stare at the map of the show floor for hours, but it’s way different once the place fills up.

Having a whole aisle to yourself is a fine luxury in the morning, especially when you are slowly waking up. It’s always a bit difficult to get a restful night’s sleep before NYCC since the anticipation kept me up. You never know what you will see, who you will meet and what crazy events friends will bring you.

Although most of the action takes place inside the Javits center, the fans had things to do in the morning hours before they got inside. There were a few large booths that people could kill time in. Starz had an area for American Gods and Outlander. People with the Starz App could come inside a mock diner for some breakfast and a photo and hear about the upcoming new season.

Once 10 AM hits, the doors open for everyone and the fans come flooding the place. So goodbye double-wide lanes for leisure strolls and hello line marches. Thursdays and Friday weren’t bad in the mornings, everyone was orderly and the lines flowed evenly. It never felt too overwhelming during those times. However, Saturday and Sunday are the busy days, and that means lots of stop & go traffic.

Show Floor Finds:

Digital Pimp Online booth

Our friends at Digital Pimp Online were back, selling their prints, cartoon animal tees, and two exclusive NYCC shirts.

World’s Greatest Grandma from Antman and the Wasp.

Rocket’s Parts Emporium from Avengers: Infinite War

When I wasn’t running around the place, I’d come recharge at their booth and try to sell some merch. It’s fun to interact with people who are curious about the designs and the people behind them. But since I did not write or draw any of the stuff, it’s mostly pointing at the other guys and slipping away.

DC Comics booth

While the 2017 Justice League movie did not receive well with critics, I think Jason Momoa was a fine Aquaman and one of the highlights of the movie. The DC Comics booth had a set up for the upcoming Aquaman movie that I hope improves DC’s movie reputation.

The Aquaman exhibit had the costumes for Aquaman, Mera, and Black Manta. The designs were cool, definitely showing off the comic inspirations and adding new details for the movie universe. Black Manta stood out, breaking away from his comic version of a simple wetsuit, now featuring some advanced body armor and tech.

If you ever wanted to know what Jason Momoa would look like as Legos? Then here it is:

Built out of a ton of Lego bricks, this status captured the size of Jason and the classic Aquaman attire. It must have taken some time to size up Jason in bricks and figure out how to assemble him correctly. That’s a lot of Lego Manica hours to invest.

Funko Pop

What’s NYCC without a visit to the Funko Booth? I am not a big Funko collector cause I can see myself with a room filled with nothing but Funkos. I enjoy how many characters get turned into a Funko and what popular trend gets to become the big display model.

Proudly on display at the Funko booth was a giant Hulk in gladiator attire from Thor Ragnarok. This statue was something every Funko and Hulk fans want to have, but probably only a few can house. Extreme fans would give up a bedroom for the chance to have this tho.

Side Show Collectibles

For people that don’t want to sacrifice an entire area for one statue, Side Show Collectibles is there for incredibly detail stuff to decorate a room with.

Some of these items would be great on bookshelves, wall mounts or by windows to scare your neighbors.

Diamond Select Toy

Diamond Select Toys featured some new collectibles that would make any Ghostbuster fan proud. It’s great to see new items made for the 80’s cartoon version, and with improved designs. 

I played with the original toys and were great in their own aspects, but the Diamond Select Toys offers far greater articulation and nuance in the characters. I like that the Slimer model can swap out faces to be happy, sad and angry. Something to proudly display and swap out whenever the Ecto-Cooler drink gets re-released, stopped and then re-released again every few years.

I spotted a set of John Wick playsets from the first two movies. Diamond Select Toys perfectly captured the intense stare of Keanu as the hitman with a vengeance and makes a fun gift for any fan of the John Wick series. I was hoping there would be something for the upcoming John Wick 3, but maybe next year it would be revealed. I think John riding a horse would go great with this set.

Mortal Engines

In the lobby of was an interactive booth for the movie Mortal Engines, where attendees could dress as background extras and react to scenes from the trailer. The reaction footage was spliced to be included in a custom trailer. I joined my friends and got some clothes to throw on, looking kind of a like a post-apocalyptic sushi chef, probably as karma from all the sushi I forced the sushi chefs to make the night before. Mortal Engines is based on a novel by Philip Reeve and is adapted by Peter Jackson. The movie comes out December 6th, 2018 and looks to be a grand fantasy adventure.

Puglie Pug

IT STARES INTO YOUR SOUL AND LOVES YOU ANYWAY

One of the cutest booths was the Puglie Pug booth with a huge Pug dog looking into the distance of the show floor. Created by Euge Leung, Puglie Pug features the pug dog in funny looking poses and costumes. There were stickers, bags, and plushies to check out. And an awesome experience to be surrounded by all the cuteness.

Inside a dog house was hanging pug plushies. People could hop inside and get a few photos, staring into the puppy dog eyes or the tiny rear ends. Depending on what catches your eyes first.

Capcom booth

A change of pace from all the pug cuteness, I stopped into the Capcom booth to play a demo of the upcoming Resident Evil 2 remake. This game has been in development for a while, working alongside the Resident Evil 7 production. This game is a complete overhaul of RE2. Not a simple HD release, but a how reimaging. While it does follow a similar structure of the Resident Evil 2 game, there’s new story elements and game design that should interest gamers.

During the demo session, there was an option to try out Claire or Leon’s story, each showcasing something different in the game. Leon’s demo story follow something like a tutorial, introducing the new control schemes and actions. And the difficulty of the zombies. Claire’s demo was a boss battle with a mutant Dr. Birkin and it was an intense gunfight. After finishing the demo, I got an RE2 t-shirt.

I stopped by the Mega Man 11 demo to get a quick shot of me on the blue bomber’s loyal dog, Rush. The game had come out early in October, and the demo was a great entry to the series. It has all the elements of the previous games, plus a new mechanic that combines the powers of defeated robot masters.

The Haunting of Hill House: The Bathroom

Netflix tried something really daring to promote The Haunting of Hill House by taking over a bathroom and turning it into an attraction. It was a haunted bathroom that was dressed up as a study and had ghostly sound effects and an LCD mirror that a ghost would appear out of.

I didn’t take photos inside the bathroom cause it still was a bathroom. It was an all-inclusive, so men and women were inside. The one perk was that this place was routine cleaned and was 18+, which meant clean seats and no children to deal with. Of the few times I went, there was a small wait and some people just wanted to see inside. And its kind of hilarious to do your business with the moans of the dead over your head.

SyFy Fan Lounge

At the top floor was the SyFy Fan Lounge, an area dedicated for Cosplayers to relax and repair their outfits. There was plenty of space for people to hang out and chat with others, and a small panel for people to talk about different cosplay topics.

The area was needed for cosplayers that could not safely check their stuff without taking up precious floor space and was a big gathering point for groups.

Cosplay

Wandering the show floor was the official cosplay of Maurice the Hormone Monster from Big Mouth.

While I don’t think Nick Kroll was inside, Maurice was convincing people to hug him and offering some words about puberty.

On the ground level, just outside the doors of the Javits, was a gathering of Pacific Rim cosplayers I saw when I was waiting in line for the food trucks.

Kaijus, Jaegers, and pilots posed for the crowd. One set of the Jaegers even had a mock battle with a Kaiju which was entertaining to watch. It was a playful flight with each person trying not to ruin their costume but make each blow look powerful.

Interviews:

As a big fan of comics, I always look forward to meeting the people behind the comics. NYCC was a great opportunity to meet editors, creators and the rising stars in the industry. I like to find out what goes on behind the scenes and where these people found their inspirations to build amazing content.

Dark Horse Comics

Evan Dorkin, Andy Fish, Veronica Fish

I sat with Evan Dorkin, Andy and Veronica Fish to talk about their series Blackwood, a fantasy horror comic that takes place in the magical and creepy Blackwood College. Evan Dorkin has created the unapologetically funny Milk and Cheese and Dorkin comic series. Andy Fish is an artist that has known for his works in comics, educational material and his teachings in college classes. Veronica Fish is an artist known for her works in Marvel’s Spider-Woman and Silk comics, Archie comics, and other publishers, and also an instructor for college classes in Massachusetts. The three creative minds developed a spooky tale that finds humor in the horror. Evan’s had previously worked in the horror genre with Beast of Burden series and wanted to explore new possibilities to frighten comic readers. He saw Veronica’s artwork and knew he found the right artist to bring his story to life. With Andy designing the layouts and extra fine points between panels, Evan and Veronica stuffed each comic issue with much features that comics require a second read to catch everything. When I talked to them, they pointed at just some of the subtle hints of the story that were hidden in plain sight, making me eager to revisit the comics to see if I could find all the foreshadowing. Blackwood was a great mini-series that felt like a mix of Scooby-Doo and X-files that sort of meets Harry Potter. The characters were given enough presence to build interest to care for their safety and the mystery of Blackwood clouded some early predictions to guess where the story would lead. I enjoyed the first volume as a short and solid horror tale, and it was announced early in the fall that a second volume would be added, expanding further into the world of Blackwood.

Chris Cantwell and Martin Morazzo

I met with Chris Cantwell and Martin Morazzo to discuss their work on She Could Fly, a comic series about a troubled young girl that gets involved in a conspiracy about a jetpack flying woman. Chris Cantwell is a writer and a producer, having co-created the AMC TV show Halt and Catch Fire. She Could Fly was Chris’s first entry creating comics and this was partially based on his experience having anxiety and depression. Chris wanted to share something on a deeply personal level that reflects the troubles with mental health. Martin Morazzo started his career as a comic artist since 2008, gaining fame in American from his comic series Great Pacific in 2012. Martin has worked with different studios over the years, lending his talents to build up incredibly detailed artwork. His collaboration with Chris Cantwell works perfectly as She Could Fly has many visual intense sequences that Martin delivers in great depth. I reviewed the first four issues of She Could Fly over the last few months, following along Chris’s dramatic and thrilling story. Each issue contained an afterword from Chris that explained his reasoning for his inspirations and where his mind was when he decided to lead his characters. Much of Chris’s work in Halt and Catch Fire helped shaped a few characters, mainly the secondary protagonists Bill Meigs from the character Gordon Clark. Bill Meigs is character rides the middle line of hero and villain but can appear more on side than the other. Bill’s paranoid and anti-social tendencies are something that Gordan Clark exhibitions, creating a character that is hated but sympathized.

Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá

Passing by the Dark Horse Comic signing area, I was able to quickly chat with Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá about their series The Umbrella Academy. Gerard Way had created and wrote The Umbrella Academy as a side project during his music career and teamed up with Gabriel Bá to captured his vision for a gothic team of unlikely superheroes. Their latest volume, The Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion was released in early October and follows the mature but shattered members of the Umbrella Academy. Netflix will be premiering a live-action adaptation of the first volume on February 15th, 2019.

Jackson Publick, Doc Hammer, Ken Plume

I caught the signing of the book Go Team Venture! with the creators of The Venture Bros. Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer, interviewer Ken Plume. The Venture Bros. is one of my favorite TV shows and I had the great opportunity to interview the creators a few years ago at NYCC 2015 to talk about season 6 of the series. Go Team Venture! delves into the creative process behind the cartoon and gives an insight into why it takes an extended time to deliver new seasons.

Valiant Comics

Joe Illidge

Over at the Valiant booth, I talked with Joe Illidge, the executive editor that is overseeing the process of characters and stories that will lead the next step in the Valiant Universe. Joe had previously worked in editing positions in a few companies, working in DC Comics to edit Batman’s No Man Lands storyline. He started his position in April and helped develop the Harbinger Wars 2, the mega-crossover event that greatly effects every major character in the Valiant Universe. It’s a tough job to piece together the interconnecting storylines that already exist, and figure out where the lead the direction for newer and more daring stories to go. The troubles that began in Secret Weapons lead to the events for Harbinger Wars 2, and the aftermath has heroes crossing into villainous roles, friendships are challenged and the world is left vulnerable.

Lysa Hawkins. Photo from Valiant Entertainment

I met with Lysa Hawkins, one of Valiant’s newest editors and is part of the Valiant Beyond initiative. Lysa had previously worked with Marvel and DC Comics, developing storylines for X-men, Spiderman, Batman, and Teen Titans Go. Her first experience with Valiant was reading Bloodshot comics. She enjoyed the mature art style and storylines that made Bloodshot a fan favorite and hopes to continue bringing an authentic comic experience for new readers. Lysa is currently working on Faith: Dreamside and a few upcoming projects that will highlight more characters from the Valiant’s expanded universe.

 

Vita Ayala

I met with Vita Ayala, the rising comic star that is going to lead the character Livewire in a bold new direction. Vita had developed their talents in DC Talent Development Workshop in 2016. They had worked on various DC Comic titles such as Batgirl, Batman Beyond and Suicide Squad. Vita has worked on other independent projects such as The Wilds and Submerged, where they are free to push comics into new boundaries. Vita is the writer for the upcoming Livewire series, where the titular Livewire is on the run for causing a massive technology blackout in America. Writing for a hero turned fugitive does not follow the traditional superhero story arcs, Livewire was once an honorable protector that has been pushed too far and bite the hand that feeds very hard. They have been working to keep Livewire as authentic to what fans expect but added in some twist that will surprise any reader. Vita had described the process as “ripples in the universe” where everything choice has great consequences. Livewire is one leading characters in the evolution of Valiant Universe, and others characters will be brought to the front lines to deal with the changes as well. I talked with them about their experience reading comics their childhood, watching dorky tv shows for inspiration and finding their break into working their dream job. Vita brings a great deal of passion for their work, embracing the opportunity to create amazing stories. 

Ken Lashley

I watched Ken Lashley sketch a picture of Bloodshot in a fan’s notebook. Watching a picture slowly morph from a few swirls of circles into the grizzle cold stare of Bloodshot was incredible. The speed and techniques that go into making detailed sketches really showcases an artists talent. Especially when the average person with no skill can’t draw hands correctly. Let along a hairline or jawline. Ken Lashley will be an artist for the upcoming Bloodshow Rising Spirit releasing this November.

After Parties:

Each day after the sun goes down and the attendees get a break from the crowds, every bar, restaurant, and hotel nearby gets a visit from weary con-goers. Good friends, tasty foods and strong drinks ended each night. I had to pace myself from not over indulging too much, too fast. The first party you hang out in sets the tone for all the after parties, and burning out too quickly can ruin the whole experience. This year, there were tons of places to hit up in the after party circuits. More places around Manhattan were embracing the crowds, offering some drink specials or having a geeky theme. It was a great time to be of drinking age and a nerd in the city.

FUNimation

FUNimation had taken over a Friedman’s close by the Javits center, redecorating the place out to the anime One Piece. There was free swag, a custom dining menu, and prizes for cosplay. The place was busy, there was a lot of foot traffic and the event started early. This was going to be one of the stops to grab food, but we couldn’t get a seat in time.

Line WebToons

One of the exclusive parties at NYCC was the Line Webtoons that offer amazing drink specials, a chill group of people and some unique partying experiences. Line WebToons gathered comic creators, industry figures and special guest in a nice rooftop bar. It was refreshing to be kind of in outdoors after spending long hours inside.

Strong views with strong drinks!

Line Webtoons started in Korean in the early 2000’s as a hub for artists to promote new cartoons in a digital platform for free. Its popularity has grown over the years, gaining the attention of many comic creators brings their creations to the website. I’ve been visiting the site to read panels of My Giant Nerd Boyfriend, Girls of the Wilds, and Cyko Ko, all of which are free to view for anyone. Some of the comics have more features like animation and music, allowing for an immersive reading experience.

It was fun to sit with random people that all shared an interest in comics. There was music to dance to, food to snack on and a wide selection of drinks. After a few beverages, I chatted up with all sorts of comic creators and business types that were all there to have fun. Then hit up the photo booth for some silly group photos. But one of the highlights was the tattoo station.

You can’t get a little buzzed and not think of getting tattoos when they are both available and free. There was a preselected menu of designs to pick from, and a clean station to be inked at, so this wasn’t a rushed operation. My birthday weekend would have been the perfect time to get something tattoo to celebrate my milestone, but I couldn’t make up my mind on the design and all the time slots got filled up quickly. Things might have been different if I had downed my drinks quicker.

Sonicboombox

I was at one of Sonicboombox’s parties, a Loot Crate sponsor event at the Bowlmor Lane in Time Square. I was at their previous party at the same venue and was looking forward to all the party animals that managed to have enough energy to close the night out. Bowlmor Lane’s is two floors of bowling lanes, bars, dance rooms, and arcade. Loot Crate offered free swag, discount codes to their subscriptions and a special cocktail drink for $7.

Definite a fun spot to get all your friends in one location to recap the convention and take a bunch of slightly drunk selfies. With so much to do, its hard to keep hanging out till closing, but I had some morning events to attend. Plus a few great food spots were going to close and I didn’t want to settle for a 7 Eleven hotdog if I could avoid it. For all my years in NYC, I haven’t seen anyone happliy eat one of those, and I refused to be that guy that can’t get a decent $1 Pizza.

Final Thought

Another NYCC is in the books, and it took me like a month later to collect my translate my experience into the proper words (Or an attempt at it). I love spending time in the show floor meeting creators and their fans, seeing the passion for geek culture thriving.  Between what I could capture in pictures, making shout-outs on the social media, the four days came and went very smoothly. The city returned to its usual hustle after NYCC closed its doors for the year, but there is a ton of content to look forward to. New comics, movies and TV shows are on the way to fill up every possible moment, and there are still a few things I can’t disclose just yet until the new year. Waiting till NYCC 2019 is a pain, but that gives me plenty of time to prepare for this all over again.

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