Friday, October 10, 2014

Thursday's Adventures at New York Comic Con 2014

I love comics, and I hate crowds. Those are two gross simplifications of two of the defining aspects of my life. My love for comics has been one of the driving passions of my life, and you get me in a big room of people just milling around, and panic attacks have been known to happen. So something like the mighty New York Comic Con tears at my very soul. Can my love of comics trump my absolute loathing of crowds? Well, sorta. I have found the best balance is to only do NYCC on Thursday, which is by far the least packed day. So yesterday morning, I headed into New York bright and early for a day of comic con excitement.

As a Dewey's employee, I got to go to the Diamond Comics Distributor Retailer Appreciation Breakfast. You don't go to this event for the food, but for the announcements. We got to see presentations form all the major publishers except for Marvel (they have their own retailer presentation on Friday) and Image. DC really just recapped other announcements, so nothing there. Titan, a first time presenter, announced a 9th Doctor mini-series in their Doctor Who line and Made Man, a new series from Fred Van Lente and Dennis Calero, which is a sci-fi mobster story, so it sounds cool to me. Valiant gave some details on their new #1s, including The Valiant, their universe wide team-up mini-series, which I'm excited for , and Ivar, Timewalker from Archer and Armstrong original creative team Fred Van Lente and Clayton Henry (more Van Lente news is never a bad thing). And Dark Horse announced Archie Meets Predator. Yes, in the grand tradition of Archie Meets Punisher, the alien that hunts the most dangerous game is heading to Riverdale. This mini-series will be drawn by Fernando Ruiz, one of the nicest guys I've ever met, Dewey's regular, and the first artist to give me a piece for my sketchbook, so I'm all over that.

So, with that done, it was time to enter the con floor. The Javitz Center is sprawling, and after walking quickly through the floor to get the lay of the land, I headed off the floor to my favorite part of any con: Artist's Alley. This is usually less crowded, and is your best opportunity to talk to creators.  And to get sketches. I've talked about my sketchbook before, but for those who haven't read about it, I collect sketches of Batman characters (a Batman themed sketchbook? I know, I was as shocked you are when I thought that would be a good idea for me). After walking for a bit, I found artist Jay P. Fosgitt, who wrote and drew the adorable all ages series, Bodie Troll for Red 5 Comics. Bodie is the world's cutest troll, who can't scare anyone. At Jay's booth, he had a friend dressed as Cholly, the waitress who is Bodie's best friend, and had a life sized Bodie puppet.

Isn't that cute? So I made my usual pitch to Jay, to draw whichever Gotham City themed character he wanted. While he worked, I got to wander around, talk to the Atomic Robo guys about my love of Robo and their Kickstarter, to Greg Pak about his work, congratulated Fernando on Archie Meets Predator, and picked up a little something as a gift form someone who might read this, so I won't show a picture right now. And upon my return to Jay's booth, he had this waiting for me!

Sorry that I'm not a better photographer with my phone, but that is a wonderful Poison Ivy sketch. It's the first Ivy I have in my book, so that makes it extra great. From Jay's booth, I headed over to Scott Hanna's, whose list I had already gotten on. Scott Hanna is one of comics' most accomplished inkers, and did long runs on Amazing Spider-Man and Detective Comics, so this is a guy I was sure knew his Batman characters. I had forgotten that he had inked my favorite Joker story of all time, the vastly underrated Devil's Advocate, so I got to talk to him about that, which made my day. With my usual  request made, I wandered off again, now hitting the floor. It's crowded, there's no ifs, ands, or buts about that, but I was able to get a nice stack of back issues. I also swung by the IDW booth and talked up Locke & Key to someone randomly, which is one of the great pleasures of a con: you can share your enthusiasm and everyone gets it. I also got to see the Kill Shakespeare Board Game, which I am waiting to arrive through Kickstarter, and it looks incredible. I'll probably be writing up a play experience post once I get my hands on that.

I also spent some time talking to David Campiti, the COO of Red Giant Entertainment, a company released the zero issues of their upcoming line of free comics on FCBD. It was interesting to hear about their business model, and the idea that they really want to help drive people into comic book stores. The free books start rolling out in December, including one called Tesla, so you know I'm in for that. Expect to hear more about Red Giant as we get nearer to that debut.

But eventually, I wandered back over to Scott Hanna, and what was waiting for me?

Another new character for my sketchbook, Killer Croc! Yup, that's a pretty sweet haul. I have to say, maybe I just got lucky and talked to the right people, but all the creators I talked to, the ones I mentioned here and some that I just got a few words in with, were all gracious and happy to be there. I love that feeling of camaraderie and excitement that everyone has some of at these cons.

With my sketches done, I made one more pass around the floor, and took a couple of pictures of cosplayers. You couldn't pay me enough to cosplay, it's not my bag, but I respect the time it takes to do it and the passion that requires, and I try not to be too intrusive, despite knowing that most cosplayers are more than happy to have their photos taken, but I stumbled across a couple people already posing, so I figured I'd snap a couple pics.

It's the baby Groot that really makes it.

You've got to love the commitment for a group theme.

So, that was it for me this year. Next year, I'm hoping to hit what was Asbury Park Comic Con, which is now East Coast Comic Con, and then if all goes according to plan, Baltimore Comic Con, which has moved the end of September, much better time for me. It's a great feeling to see the level of excitement that people bring to all of their fandoms, and how they're willing to share it with everyone, and discovering new creators and comics that you wouldn't have encountered otherwise. And thanks to everyone I talked to! See you again soon.


Nancy K said...

One of these years I'll go to NYCC myself. And another one of these years I'll get to meet the Robo folks in person. I love Robo! They came to Motor City Comic Con once, but so did Stan Lee that year and the traffic snarl was so bad I gave up and went mini golfing instead.

Glad you had a good time!

The Matt Signal said...

They're really great guys. Super friendly. And they were blowing out original art pages, which I only discovered after I had spent all my money on sketches and back issues.Maybe next year...