The Lost Comic Con and the Missed Comic Con

The 2013 New York Comic Con was my “lost Comic Con,” I was there in body but my exhausted spirit was elsewhere. I unintentionally spent a lot of time in the exhibit hall, normally the highlight of the Comic Con. But just like having too much candy on Halloween, one too many hours in the hall made the experience nauseating and I swore I would never do it again.

I haunted the Hall because I was either frustrated at myself for being too late for a panel or frustrated that I was locked out of a panel because it was full despite my waiting the one hour on line or just frustrated that the panel I had waited for was just disappointing. Last year’s Marvel Television panel is a good example of a disappointing panel. I was looking for insight but just found myself watching episodes of Hulk and the Agents of SMASH, an animated series where the Hulk has gotten smarter but his story has gotten dumber.

The Vampire Academy panel I sat through in anticipation of the Marvel panel was better. The story of how the book was introduced to the director was funny. It was a year ago, so I don’t remember it clearly, but I think it was one of the studio head’s (or someone hugely influential) daughters that had him read the book that became the movie. The jovial teasing between the actors, the director, and the writer made the panel a fun experience and that much more interesting even though I had no interest in the movie. I am sorry to learn that no one else had any interest in the movie either. It seems the panel was a greater success than its movie.

At the closing Q&A a blogger (with an interesting name that I now cannot remember) asked the panel what or who their vampiric inspirations were. I was surprised one of the brothers mentioned The Hunger as his inspiration and by the knowledge that there is a whole generation only remotely familiar with Anne Rice, who singlehandedly resuscitated the vampire genre for my generation.

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The Fathers of the Dark Knight presentation on Kids Day was also a highlight of the 2013 New York Comic Con. A “Family Room” had been set up with programming and tables targeted to children. My kids and I sat front and center completely engrossed by a play about a play about the real world creators of Batman. Despite our enthusiasm, the months passed and the play had had its run before we were able to go and see it. I took some pictures of their Comic Con performance but had set it wrong. The pictures I took were all blotchy and blurry.

If 2013 is my Lost Comic Con, then 2014 is my “Missed Comic Con.” I was fortunate enough to get a ticket to this year’s New York Comic Con, which I had read sold out within 45 minutes online, but then a last minute work trip had me on a flight to Dallas Thursday afternoon instead of walking through the doors of the Javits Center. I was in Dallas through Saturday, so was able to participate in the Comic Con’s closing day panels and activities.

I was able to attend The Following and Sleepy Hollow panels. I missed the Gotham panel but as upset as I was about it, I liked knowing that I was not going to get in. Comic Con staff handed out colored wristbands were before the panel’s start. Those with the wristband were guaranteed a spot inside. Those without did not get in. Unlike the year before when my kids and I waited for an hour for the Superman 75th Anniversary panel only to be told at the door that it was full, this year I was saved the disappointment. I got a wristband for the Sleepy Hollow panel and considered myself lucky that I was able to meander into The Following panel. Both presentations succeeded in reinvigorating my excitement for their shows.

Kudos to the New York Comic Con programming and scheduling staff for spreading the more high profile panels across the length of the conference instead of relegating them to just the most attended days. Kudos to the staff also for the wristbands and the “Cosplay is not Consent” banners that lightly peppered the Javits Center.

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