logan j. fowler visits the famed comic convention …
Every year, the countdown begins to a three-day event that I attend with a good number of friends. It’s in these three days that I take mass amount of pictures, spot various celebrities, and purchase loads of crap that I probably don’t need. It’s something that I look forward to immensely and have dubbed it “my own personal Christmas.”
This, my friends, is New York Comic-Con.
Now last year, I had a blast at the con, even stating that it was the one to beat. Did this Comic-Con do it? Read on, true believer …
Friday, Oct. 14
Armed with my three day pass and decked out in my Shaun Of The Dead t-shirt, I followed behind many geeks in an outdoor line waiting to get into the Javits Center, where the convention is held. The weather was overcast but mostly, it was bearable to wait among the mob of Comic-Con attendees. Cosplay was also a sight to see while boding my time while standing next to my buddy Harry; you could see the amount of effort put into their costumes. While I was sporting regular gear, my wardrobe would take on a more horrible format the following day, but we will get to that later.
As we finally got into the Javits center, I could tell the organizers of all the booths and what not had done a better job arranging everything. The comic book/video game/merchandise booths were more in the main rooms, while the anime festival portion was relocated to upstairs, a great idea for those who were looking to stay away from one or the other.
The convention took on even bigger size, but like I said, the arrangement worked. Harry and I did our best to cover everything we needed to on Friday, due to the fact that nothing would be touchable or within reach on Saturday, the con’s most crowded (not to mention sold out) day.
Among the highlights, I got an Avengers tee with a Hawkeye logo on the back, saw some neat movie props /costumes in the Legendary Pictures booth, and I chuckled heartily at the Robot Chicken panel, in which actors Maculay Culkin and Seth Green appeared, along with comic book writer Geoff Johns. During the panel, Culkin actually licked Green’s face, and I broke out in uproarious laughter while I subconsciously damned my camera for not catching the moment in time. Just take my word for it. We also got a preview of the upcoming season and a Robot Chicken DC Comics Special, which both looked to be in the same vein as previous Robot Chicken sketches. In other words, hilarious, yet random. I’ll be checking them out for sure.
Friday was also the day to catch all the video game action, as Harry and I tested out some new Nintendo games, including Super Mario 3D Land, Mario Kart 7 (both of these games are for the 3DS), and the Legend Of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Wii). These three are huge holiday releases, and while I already have 3D land and Skyward Sword preordered, I may add Mario Kart 7 to that list very soon; the game has some new features that make it stand out, including the hang gliding, that made me crack a smile while playing.
The Wii Motion Plus Controls for Skyward Sword are extremely tight and responsive, and my battle with a boss, as I played in the demo, was frustrating, yet fair. I believe that this will be the Zelda game I waited for when the Wii was released, as Twilight Princess was below my expectations. I look forward to when the game is dropped, and in addition my demo time with Skyward Sword earned me a free tee.
As for Super Mario 3D land, the game looks glorious, and is kind of a mash up between old-school and new-school Mario. Graphically the game looks on par with Super Mario Galaxy, although not as crisp, but still, impressive. The game functions more in the realm of Super Mario 64, with a throwback to Super Mario Bros 3 with the addition of the Takooni suit. The game reminded me both of SMB 3 and 64, but with graphics meeting the Galaxy nature. All in all, all three Nintendo games have this fan boy pretty pumped for November, when all three games hit stores.
Stepping away from Nintendo, I hit the Rockstar Games booth in the course of the day. They were celebrating the 10 year anniversary of Grand Theft Auto III, which was the first GTA that brought us the “sandbox game,” allowing players to go anywhere and do anything in an open world environment. My real desire, though, was to see what Rockstar Games had done with Max Payne 3, a game that has been in development hell for years. I originally stated that the game would release in December in my Fall and Winter Games guide, but the date has been pushed back to March, which is concrete.
Entering into a demonstration room, I got to look at Max Payne 3 in action, and I was taken aback by how much detail was put into it; visually, the game looks stunning, with the character models getting major detail along with the environments. Speaking of which, those said environments have destructible areas, allowing Max to shoot windows to break them, or blowing up gas pumps, or even chip wood away, as bullets that hit the wall will cause it to crack and break.
Max Payne also embraces its noir atmosphere, as the game breaks up the play with graphic novel style cut scenes, which improve upon past games with a new look, while still retaining the idea.
The game looks awesome, visually and gameplay wise and I am looking forward to it when it drops in March. Another free tee earned here too-as I departed the demo room, I was handed a Max Payne 3 shirt. 3 free shirts in one day; not bad for this geeky tee lover.
As Friday closed out, I was supremely happy with my first day of the convention. I got to try out some stellar games, see one in action, and even nab some purchases along the way. However, Saturday was on the horizon, and while my booth time was limited on said day, my photo time was abundant.
Saturday, Oct. 15
Boots. Goggles. Lab coat. Gloves. It was a brand new day.
Last year, my cosplay wardrobe was simple. This year … it was a little more elaborate. As a person who has been constantly told he resembles actor Neil Patrick Harris somewhat, I decided to capitalize on the idea with a horrible plan.
I took to the con floor dressed as Dr. Horrible, the titular character in Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. For those unaware, Dr. Horrible was a 45-minute musical written and directed by Joss Whedon, who is helming The Avengers movie. He also created Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dollhouse, and Firefly/Serenity. The musical was a gem to come out of the writer’s strike, and it was released in 2008 online. It introduced the quotable Doctor and his nemesis Captain Hammer (played by Nathan Fillion), who both pine for Penny, played by Felicia Day (who I happened to see on the floor the Sunday of Comic-Con).
My lab coat was bought premade to fit. Everything else was already in my wardrobe or I had to buy. I roamed around the many rooms, thinking people would enjoy my costume, but I was stopped multiple times to get a picture taken solo or with someone. To be honest, this would be the first time in my life I felt like a celebrity, almost like a rock star. Attendees would actually tell me that they were searching ALL DAY for a Dr. Horrible, to be glad that they found one finally. Some of these people who told me that were cute ladies. I am not one to argue with their wishes. In addition, some booth employees asked to take my picture, as well as a couple websites.
People were shouting my-well, shouting “Dr. Horrible! On the floor,” while others told me great costume, and to be quite honest, it was a huge deal for me.
Thankfully, no one asked me to sing.
But as many props my costume got, my friend Harry and his girlfriend Brittany had worked up an even better cosplay idea; the two came dressed to impress as Two-Face and Poison Ivy, respectively (obviously). The two looked amazing as two vital members of Batman’s rogue gallery, and soaked up constant attention and awe from those walking around on the show floor.
During the course of the afternoon, I split from them to join forces with my friends Matt, Joe, Paul, Jamie, and her two siblings Michelle and Joe. We were planning to park our tired rumps in the IGN theater, where we were going to view The Walking Dead panel and The Avengers panel, both featuring very special guests. However, the IGN theater doesn’t clear out guests between panels, and we were told it was filled to capacity an hour and a half before The Walking Dead panel. Believing we had little to no chance of getting to see this two panels, pretty much two of the biggest in New York Comic-Con’s history, we bailed, and continued to roam the show floor. Despite the fact that I was mildly disappointed by missing the panels, the opportunity to take more photos while paired up with Two-Face and Poison Ivy one more time was fine by me.
Amongst the walking, Matt rejoined the trio to become a quartet, and we headed over to a newer area of the con, a room which had not been used in previous years. Our jaws dropped as we saw three cars that made their way into our hearts through tv and movies-the 1960s Batmobile, the 1989 Batmobile from the Tim Burton films, and a car that Harry and I both love to death, the Back To The Future DeLorean time machine. We would return to this room the following day, and a dream would be realized for us two geeks …
Saturday at the convention was met with mild gripes, as I really feel the IGN theater security should’ve kicked people out between panels. However, my rotation of the show floor in costume made me feel really awesome, and just like last year, seeing friends get hard earned attention for great homemade costumes made me really feel proud to be amongst them, and also of them.
One day remained …
Sunday, Oct. 16
It was on this day that I had a couple of missions.
Number one was that on Saturday I saw that one of the writers of my favorite comics, Deadpool, was doing a signing on this Sunday. I picked up a specific comic by the writer for purchase on the show floor, featuring the aforementioned titular character along with my favorite superhero, Spider-Man, on the cover. I headed over to the artist alley where Daniel Way, the writer of the comic, would be applying his John Hancock to the cover. However, when I arrived at the booth with comic in hand, Mr. Way was MIA. So I roamed the show floor to kill time, heading back again a little while later.
As if the fates deemed it so, I ran into Mr. Way just as he was about to take off (literally in a sense-he had an early flight out of New York), and asked him generously if he could sign my comic and take a picture. He obliged to both, even handing me a free poster of exclusive format; it was the signing times with a picture of Deadpool on it and his signature. Needless to say, the timing of everything couldn’t have worked out better, and it was a comic-con story for the books.
Mission No. 2 was to get a picture with the famed DeLorean, as Harry told me they would take your picture in the or next to the car for a mere 10 bucks. When I got the chance, I took a seat inside the car, feeling chills run down my spine. It was all there — the time circuits, the flux capacitor, and all else that you’ve witnessed in the BTTF films. As cool as it was for me, Harry is the biggest fan I know of the franchise, so it must have been doubly awesome for him.
Being that I had spent two full days on the show floor, I decided to depart N.Y. Comic-Con somewhat early on Sunday. The idea in games of chance or specific card games is to quit while you are ahead. For NYCC, it’s no different. I walked out of the Javits Center with a good amount of cash left, as well as an autograph from one of my favorite writers, a picture of me in a Back To The Future DeLorean, and plenty of stories to tell, which I just laid out in detail for you.
New York Comic-Con 2011 was an absolute blast, one of which serves as the most memorable. It was an amazing time, one that will go in the books of Logan’s personal history, and the countdown to next year’s Comic-Con has already begun. Best NYCC ever? You bet your ass.