It’s Comic Con time again! This year was rough, as I really had to fight for tickets amidst the madness. For those of you who don’t know, three- and four-day passes sold out online within two hours, and when retailers started selling the remaining passes months later, people were camping out several hours—even days—in advance, and the ruckus was astounding. So needless to say, once New York Comic Con 2014 (NYCC) started up on Thursday, people had already been lining up outside the Jacob Javits Convention Center hours before the doors even opened. So here’s my recap of those four days of craziness and nerdiness:
NYCC Day One: Thursday
Unfortunately, I had work, so I couldn’t get out to the Con as early as I’d like. I wasn’t too worried because in previous years, Thursday had always been the slow day. This year, NYCC was full of changes, so it should have come as no surprise to me that Thursday actually had a number of great panels, including an Alex Kingston and Arthur Darvill Spotlight for “Doctor Who” nerds, a big Disney sneak preview of two of its upcoming films, a “Game of Thrones” panel and a “Legend of Korra: Book Four” panel. Still, after I got myself over to Javits and finally nabbed a program (believe me, this is always an issue), I got to see some of the later Thursday panels.
6:45 p.m.: Adam West & Batman: The Complete Television Series (Main Stage 1-D)
I saw Adam West at NYCC 2012, on a classic Batman tribute panel with Burt Ward. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed harder at NYCC (although last year’s “Robot Chicken” / “The Venture Bros.” Adult Swim panels came pretty close). So of course I couldn’t pass up on this. West was completely ridiculous as usual, and we got a sneak preview of the remastered Batman, which will soon be released on blu-ray. The clips looked beautiful, with sharper picture and brighter colors. The collection also includes a bunch of special features, including interviews with West and a Hot Wheels Batmobile.
8:30 p.m.: WB Preview Night Screenings: The Pilot Episode of Constantine and the Season Two Premiere of the 100 (Main Stage 1-D)
I went to this panel out of curiosity about the new “Constantine” series (I wondered if it’d be better or worse than the 2005 film, because I really like the character of Constantine), but I ended up seeing some other interesting things instead. The WB premiered the second episode of new hero series “The Flash” nearly a week early, and it wasn’t bad. I hadn’t watched the first episode, but it was still funny and engaging. Don’t get me wrong—there were plenty of cliches and predictable plot twists, and it was kind of corny at times, but it definitely had its moments. We also got to see a trailer for the new animated Adult Swim series, which was a bit of Johnny Quest-meets-Indiana Jones-meets Scooby Doo. It was called “Mike Tyson Mysteries,” and stars an animated Mike Tyson and his colorful band of mystery solvers. It looks utterly ridiculous and in the same vain as “The Venture Bros.” Next up was “The 100” and the pilot of “Constantine,” but it was getting late and I knew I had to get up for day two, so I ditched “Constantine,” thinking I’d see the pilot at the Saturday night screening, if I got the opportunity.
NYCC Day Two: Friday
I didn’t really see many panels I was interested in first thing in the morning, so the first hour or so just consisted of me gallivanting on the show floor, checking out cosplay items, jewelry and miscellaneous weaponry—and posing for photos (while rocking some awesome Natsu Dragneel cosplay, if I say so myself).
3:00 p.m.: Spotlight on Bryan Lee O’Malley (1A21)
I love the “Scott Pilgrim” series, the “Scott Pilgrim” movie and O’Malley’s new graphic novel, “Seconds.” But I’m not going to lie—this panel wasn’t too riveting. O’Malley’s a pretty quiet and introverted guy, so there wasn’t much to this one. Still, it was good hearing him talk about his latest project.
4:15 p.m.: Doctor Who: 10 Years of New Who
Because I made the mistake of not skipping out of work early enough on Thursday to see the Alex Kingston and Arthur Darvill Spotlight, I tried to make amends by checking out this panel of “Doctor Who” comic artists and experts. There weren’t any celebs in this one, but it was still a really good panel on the last decade of “Who.”
5:45/6:00 p.m.: Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D./Birdman Panel with Michael Keaton and Edward Norton, Moderated by Chris Hardwick
My friend went to the “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” panel on the Main Stage, which featured a sneak preview of “Agent Carter,” another Marvel spinoff about the creation of S.H.I.E.L.D. that just started filming this week. Clark Greg (Agent Colson) even showed up for the panel.
But I’m not a fan of “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” (I went to the screening last year just as season one had premiered, but I wasn’t that into it), so I checked out the “Birdman” panel instead. It looks like a weird movie. In it, Michael Keaton is a washed-up actor who used to play a superhero—Birdman—and tries to stage a theatrical adaptation of a short story. And he has superpowers. Or thinks he is. Or is having a breakdown. Or some kind of awakening or revelation. We don’t really know, but it looks like a very interesting, very innovative film that will surely catch the attention of many filmgoers. The panel featured Keaton and Edward Norton, and they screened the first 10 minutes of the movie.
8:00 p.m. Sailor Moon
This was just a short screening of the first episode of the original “Sailor Moon” (lest we forget!). The room was completely packed, and the “Sailor Moon” fans were disappointed that they only got to see one episode. (NYCC organizers said Viz Media only sent them one episode for the screening.)
NYCC Day Three: Saturday
The big day! Saturday started with our trying to grab wristbands for the “Daredevil” panel on the Main Stage. (This year featured the start of a new system in getting people into the big Main Stage panels: NYCC workers cleared the Main Stage between panels, and you get wristbands for the panels earlier in the day, so you can go about your business and enjoy the rest of the Con without camping out in the Main Stage for the whole day. The only problem: people would still queue up an hour or two in advance just to get a wristband, so even though people weren’t hogging the Main Stage, you still had to wait around first thing in the morning to get entrance to events later in the day.) However, the panel was capped not even an hour after NYCC had opened for the day. Instead, we decided to get wristbands for the 1:45 p.m. Spotlight on Patrick Stewart and NYCC Eastern Championships of Cosplay. Until then, we browsed the show floor some more. But Patrick Stewart couldn’t make it to his spotlight, so we went for a lunch break and hung out until the next panel.
4:15 p.m.: Official Sailor Moon Panel (1A14)
This was all about the remastered blu-ray collection of the original series—with all-new English dubs. I definitely wasn’t into the English dubs, but the old-school “Sailor Moon” clips reminded me of how much funnier the original was than “Sailor Moon Crystal.” Plus, we all got free “Sailor Moon” posters, which made plenty of Sailor Senshi fans happy.
Next up should’ve been the 6:00 p.m. “Doctor Who – The Legend Continues” panel, but the room was so packed that we—along with the long line of Whovians who had been waiting over an hour to get in to the panel—couldn’t get in. So we headed back to the show floor so I could get an amazing new “Doctor Who” sweatshirt as a consolation prize.
7:30 p.m.: The NYCC Eastern Championships of Cosplay with Special Performance from KÀ by Cirque Du Soliel (Main Stage 1-D)
It was a difficult choice between the NYCC Eastern Championships of Cosplay and the Doctor Who Fan Screening with BBC America (as well as the Kill La Kill Episode 25 [OVA] U.S. Premiere and English Cast Meet and Greet), but we went for the cosplay. The cosplay competition began with an introduction and short preview performance of Cirque du Soliel’s KÀ, an Asian-inspired show that follows the story of twins who grow and change after a disastrous event in their kingdom. Incorporating martial arts, dance, puppetry and acrobatics, the KÀ preview was beautiful to watch. Each audience member also received two free comic books, a collaboration between KÀ and Marvel that delves deeper into the story behind the show. The cosplay contest featured cosplayers from all around the world and with different levels of experience. Every single costume was so elaborately designed with such attention to detail, and the cosplayers all made sure to stay in character as they showed off their designs onstage. This was NYCC’s first big cosplay contest in a few years, and it was worth it to see the cosplayers’ talents.
NYCC Day Three: Sunday
11 a.m.: The Following Special Video Presentation and Q&A (Empire Stage 1-E)
No, I’ve never watched “The Following.” No, I don’t know anything about it. But Sunday’s always my slow day, and sometimes I just find myself in random panels. That was definitely the theme for Sunday. So I got to see “The Following” Executive Producer Marcos Siega and stars Kevin Bacon and Shawn Ashmore talk about serial killers and, in the words of Bacon, “stabby stab.”
12:15 p.m.: Cartoon Network Presents: CN Anything (Empire Stage 1-E)
I love me some cartoons, and I love comedian Adam Devine, who I heard was supposed to be hosting, so I decided to check this panel out. I don’t want to sound like a grouchy old lady, but I tend to be skeptical of this generation’s cartoons, because they tend to be gross and random and lack a basic plot structure. It’s not like it was in the good ‘ole days of shows like “Hey Arnold” and “Doug.” However, I still have a weak spot for shows like “Adventure Time,” as random and ridiculous as they are. Devine couldn’t make it (he just sent us a funny video of himself to apologize), but this panel was still packed with stars from shows like the aforementioned “Adventure Time,” as well as “Steven Universe,” “Uncle Grandpa,” “Clarence,” “Regular Show” and the brand-new “Over the Garden Wall.” This was easily the biggest panel I’ve ever gone to in all my NYCC adventures. It featured Jeremy Shada, Tom Kenny, Estelle, Melanie Lynskey and Elijah Woods, among many, many others. I have to say—I feel like I need to up my cartoon game for next year. I need to start watching some “Steven Universe” and check out “Over the Garden Wall” when it premieres next month, because that looks like it’s going to be a good one.
3:15 p.m.: Forever Special Video Presentation and Q&A (Empire Stage 1-E)
Again, I’ve failed to watch the first few episodes of “Forever” and only know what I’ve seen on commercials, but my friend has watched the first few episodes, so we checked it out. It looks like it’s pretty interesting, and the panel speakers weren’t shy in discussing what fans can expect in upcoming episodes. There’s a Jack the Ripper one coming up that sounds especially good. Star Ioan Grufford attended the panel.
4:15 p.m.: Jeff Kinney Presents Diary of a Wimpy Kid and a Preview of Book 9, The Long Haul (1A06)
Attending this panel was just part of our secret plan to get to Cary Elwes’ panel immediately after. We had no interest in or knowledge of the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” series, and I honestly intended to just take a nap, especially because by the end of NYCC on Sunday, I’m usually running on fumes. But Jeff Kinney was extremely funny and spoke a lot about the start of his career and how he goes through the editorial process with his books. It turned out to be a surprisingly interesting panel that my friend and I (we’re both writers who got their degrees in literature and creative writing) found helpful, entertaining and educational. And we also got to read an excerpt from his next book in the series, “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul.” I have to say, I was laughing. I’m sure kids will be snatching it off the shelves soon.
5:15 p.m.: Cary Elwes, Author of As You Wish, Discusses the Making of The Princess Bride (1A06)
Oh man, we made a good choice in camping out at the previous panel to get into this one. A good amount of the people already in the room did the same thing we had, and hundreds of people were lined up outside, still trying to get in. Plus, it was the last event of NYCC 2014. And who doesn’t love “The Princess Bride?” No one, that’s who. Cary Elwes showed up and was hilarious. Remember how I said earlier that the Adam West panel was the funniest NYCC event I’d been to? Well, I’m not sure now. Elwes was hamming it up and loving it, and he told us so many great stories about the making of “The Princess Bride.” And of course, we watched some of the best clips from the movie. It was really a great end to NYCC 2014. I can’t wait until next year!