Good friends tell each other the truth. They are honest with one another. But sometimes good friends allow each other to keep certain “rationalizations.” I tell my good friends I go to the annual New York Comic Con (NYCC) for the sake of my kids and to fulfill my professional obligations as an educator. My good friends being “good friends” overlook my true motives and allow me to maintain my “rationalizations.”
Truth is I go every year to join thousands of other fans to ooh and aah at the amazing and creative costumes, to listen to favorite shows and publishers talk about future ventures, to gawk at industry icons, and to watch the official premieres and screenings. This year despite underestimating the crowds, I managed to relish all of the above.
Prior to the start of the convention I read an article on Comic Book Resources where Lance Fensterman, Reed Pop’s VP of Books, Publishing and Pop Culture, spoke about the combining of the NYCC and the New York Anime Festival (NYAF). He spoke about the challenging logistics of organizing the separate events and then those of organizing them into a single event. This year’s NYCC was the most crowded I’ve experienced so far.
That said, I believe Reed Pop successfully conquered the logistics involved. I was surprised by how easy it was to pass the time. It could have been my selection of panels or just my own keen super-heroic ability to kill time. My average wait time was 20 minutes. I timed it. I was all ready to be upset when I saw the lines but they moved pretty quickly. The only session I didn’t make was the one for Young Justice. The room was full 15 minutes prior to the start of the session.
My biggest complaint about the combination of both NYCC and NYAF events is because of the larger crowds resulting from the joining of the events there was very little opportunity to stop and talk – and more importantly – to take pictures without feeling self conscious about becoming a major log jam. I also didn’t budget my time well enough to wander into the Variant Stage area where the Anime related performances were. But this was minor in lieu of the panels and screenings I did attend.
Also unlike the previous years, I didn’t make it to the exhibit hall on the first day of the NYCC. I spent my day running from panel to panel, screening to screening. Not surprisingly the most surreal and entertaining panel was the Robot Chicken panel. Breaking from the usual moderated discussion, Seth Green immediately opened the panel up to fan questions which opened the discussion up to him and Macaulay Culkin (who was also on the panel) being asked if they wouldn’t mind giving DNA samples for “research purposes.”
DC’s First Look panel was probably the most energetic I attended. It orchestrated its All Star Superman tease really effectively – showing a healthy selection of lengthy clips from the upcoming movie. It also previewed scenes from a Shazam/Superman story in an upcoming collection of shorts. What really caught my attention was when two separate fans credited DC comics for helping them learn English. For me it was Marvel’s Spiderman. I have fond memories wishing I was the boy from Queens who got bitten instead of Peter Parker.
Though not as informative as either panels, my favorite event Friday was the screening of Sherlock. Tired and a little overwhelmed from a packed agenda that first day, I chose it over the Venture Brothers panel. I am a huge Venture Brothers fan but Sherlock premiering officially in the US on PBS instead of cable or commercial TV earned it Brownie points. It officially premieres October 24 on PBS Masterpiece.
Written by Dr. Who writer, Steven Moffat, the new Sherlock has Who-like quirkiness and charisma. The humor is intelligent and subtle. For example, the condescending Holmes corrects an officer who has just called him a psychopath: “I am not a psychopath, I am a sociopath. There’s a difference. Look it up.” (or something to that effect. I can’t remember the exact line but it brought a rousing laugh from the audience.)
Sherlock was a nice end to a great first day of the NYCC for me. I certainly got my psyche’s worth of oohs and aahs for the day.