Pop-Break Live: Big Apple Con 2015
When comic book fans think of New York City, images of the Marvel Universe or Gotham City immediately come to mind as the glorious borough of Manhattan serves as a major source of inspiration behind our favorite characters including Batman, Spider-Man, and Daredevil. The darkness yet elegance associated with this concrete jungle brings out the utmost creativity in comic book writers and artists alike.
Speaking of heroic settings located in Manhattan, last weekend’s “Big Apple Con” served as a clear reminder why this city remains the comic book capital of the world. I’ve long been an advocate for the increased popularity of comic cons as they bring out the utmost creativity from fans and artists alike. Within the last few years, these events have attracted mainstream media attention and record breaking crowd attendance across the country. The actual title ‘comic’ sometimes gets lost in the shuffle as major film studios and television networks bring our favorite heroes to life, however, this comic con focused on the beloved history of our favorite form of literature.
Mike Carbonaro, one of the world’s largest comic book collectors, celebrated the 20th anniversary of his premiere event in vivid fashion. For anyone unfamiliar, “Big Apple Con” is hosted at the Penn Pavilion Plaza right across the street from Madison Square Garden. Talk about primetime location, fans traveled from all around the east coast to spend their Saturday in the heart of midtown among a plethora of cosplayers, artists, and television heroes alike. Whether someone wanted to indulge in back issues galore or meet their favorite actors, this event offered a diverse selection of entertainment for fans of all ages.
Right off the bat, the artistic talent within this building was simply off the charts. I’d like to mention a few names: Damion Scott (Batman), Joe Sinnott (The Fantastic Four), Herb Trimpe (The Incredible Hulk), and Mark Bode (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles). If you’re unfamiliar, please google these names immediately. Simply stated, this event featured some of the greatest artists in the world – this purposely excludes the title “comic book.” So many fans love the in-screen incarnations of these characters but everyone should recognize how these artist’s creative interpretations made a significant impact on modern day superheroes. Unfortunately, I excluded some names for time’s sake but I’d encourage anyone who appreciates artistic innovation to research the guest list from this show. Honestly, I wanted to spend a fortune on the endless amounts of original artwork, as there were so many amazing pieces on display.
In terms of celebrity guests, this event featured professional wrestlers “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and Jake “The Snake” Roberts, Family Guy’s Johnny Brennan, The Walking Dead’s Moses Mosley and Theshay West, and Comic Book Men’s Ming Chen and Mike Zapic. All these guests have incredible resumes but “Power Rangers” fever is mightier than ever. No questions asked, Mighty Morphin’ Power Ranger’s Jason David Frank (Tommy Oliver) and Steve Cardenas (Rocky DeSantos) were the main attractions of “Big Apple Con.”
Personally speaking, I’m a lifelong Power Rangers fanatic and it’s amazing to see how this franchise still resonates with such a large demographic of viewers. While St. Patrick’s Day events took place around the city, thousands of fans wore green to meet “The Green Ranger.” Jason David Frank was scheduled to sign autographs at 1 o’clock and people were lined up by 10 a.m. to secure their spot. Back in the day, I attended autograph signings for professional wrestlers like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Mick Foley and the autograph line for Jason David Frank outnumbered both by a significant margin. There almost wasn’t enough room in the building to satisfy the demand but both Power Rangers heroes stuck around the entire show to hang out and meet their fans.
To conclude my story, I applaud all of the cosplayers for their effort, as I found myself blown away by the level of creativity. As I walked around the venue, I saw some astonishing renditions of my favorite characters including the wounded “Punisher” and Scarlet Spider-Man. My personal favorite cosplayers were the families who dressed up together – I saw a father dressed up as Daredevil and his daughter was dressed up as the Pink Power Ranger from Super Megaforce. This represents everything I love about Comic Con culture – nobody feels judged for celebrating his or her favorite characters. The overall vibes are extremely positive and most of the crowd is super friendly since we share similar interests. I’d encourage anyone in the tri-state area to check out next year’s “Big Apple Con,” especially since it’s a Saturday event. Even for casual fans, it’s an incredible opportunity to let out the inner geek and meet some amazing people. In my eyes, these bombastic moments of celebration will forever preserve the fandom and keep the comic book culture alive for generations to come