Monday, January 7, 2013

Con Girl: NYCC 2012

Multiplayer Cosplay
I'm going to dedicate my first content post of 2013 to an event I should have written about months ago: New York Comic Con 2012.  This past October, I was determined to make my second outing to the massive east coast pop culture convention even better than last year.  In short: I succeeded, and exceeded my goals.

The first step I made to improve my experience was to plan ahead, something I didn't do the previous year.  In 2011, I only found out the fact that NYCC even existed about two months prior to the event.  Of course, I was well aware of the "big one" in San Diego, but I seemed to ignore the existence of the one on the East Coast, aka the one that would be much easier for me to get to, aka the one actually on my coast.  So instead of taking a bus in for a day trip and trying to cram as much as I could into one day, for 2012 I used my well-earned vacation days and booked a hotel close to the Javits Convention Center.  Hey, if I'm only going to take one vacation this year, why not make it the largest nerd convention on the east coast? 

I also spent enough time making a plan of attack for the con.  I mapped out which booths I wanted to be sure to hit, which panels I didn't want to miss, and determine whose autographs I could easily obtain (for free).  With my itinerary all mapped out, my suit case secured in my hotel room, and 4-Day Badge in tow, I stormed to the convention center in confidence.  I came, I saw, I dominated.
The Oatmeal also drew me a picture of Tesla's laser pigeon (at my strange request).
If at all possible, I highly recommend getting the 4-Day pass.  While the day is much shorter and there are no major panels, Thursday is a much more relaxed day on the show floor.  Unlike Saturday, it is entirely possible to look at an entire booth by yourself instead of crawling over people to get a look at anything.  I was easily able to try out the WiiU whereas on Saturday people needed to stand in long lines.  My autographing goal for the first day was from The Oatmeal, autographing his latest book How to Tell if Your Cat is Plotting to Kill You.  My favorite part of Thursday was the fact that there were basically no lines, and I didn't feel guilty asking The Oatmeal to autograph a birthday card for a friend who was not able to attend. 

Thursday was also the day I managed to wander in to a press-only event and caught a glimpse of Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy films, Pan's Labyrinth).  Oops.  Well, I think the security guards only would have noticed if I had actually walked up to del Toro and tried to ask a question.  (It was at that point I realized that I shouldn't have been there.)
So how many people can say that they have a Yoshitaka Amano original sketch inside their art book?  I know I can!
I managed to attend a fairly high number of panels this year.  (Even though anything would have been higher than the previous year's count of zero.)  I listened to a couple of film buffs discuss the comic book and film industry's effects on each other. I saw Adam West and Burt Ward reminisce about their days working on the Batman television show. I watched Final Fantasy artist Yoshitaka Amano draw a few sketches that were to be put up for auction.  I laughed my way throughout the Robot Chicken panel and was skeptical of the audience's persistent questions of the staff's sex lives... and some of the responses.  ("Who would you go gay for?" "David Tennant.  In the TARDIS.  With the sonic screwdriver.")  I learned a bit about the comic series Fables while I was waiting for the Hellboy panel to begin. 

Hellboy creator Mike Mignola gave a great piece of advice to an aspiring comic book creator when he was asked what kind of work he needed to do to become successful.  His response was to only do something if you are passionate about it, because if it isn't successful, at least you enjoyed it.  But if you hate it, and it does become successful, you'll be stuck doing it forever.
I was one of 200 people to get Chuck Palahniuk's (Fight Club) autograph and a free copy of his latest novel Damned in paperback.  I was also able to speak a few words with him and I attended his talk later in the day.
Unlike many of the attendees whose one wish was to get an autographing ticket for The Walking Dead and ended up being horribly disappointed when there were about only 50 tickets given out, I managed to get every autograph that I wished to acquire that weekend.  If you set your goals at a reasonable level, everything else is gravy.  If you wanted a chance of getting a Walking Dead autograph, you seriously needed to line up at midnight and wait until 7am.  In addition to the very limited number of tickets for that group, there were problems near the front of the line with one person saving a number of spots in line for friends who didn't arrive until 5 or later because staff wasn't enforcing line etiquette.  To put things lightly, people were pissed.

Yes, the crowd on Saturday was fairly ridiculous.  It was very difficult to get anywhere in a reasonable amount of time.  Thankfully, as I saw most of the show floor and did my shopping on the previous two days, I devoted Saturday's activities to getting autographs and watching panels (which translated to a lot of waiting in line).  This is where I do truly feel bad for the people who were only able to attend Saturday, as they did not get the full experience and likely left disappointed in some respect. 

I didn't leave New York Comic Con disappointed.  Not at all.  The three previous autographs I mentioned where the three I thought I should have no problem getting if I planned things right, and they were all from people whose work I admire.  It was the final autograph that I received that was the ideal, the "if things go right," the "icing on the cake," the "cherry on top," the one extra event that would put my experience from "pretty cool" to "pretty effin' awesome!"

Yeah, I got my picture taken with Seth Green, by Seth Green.  Deal with it.

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