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October 16, 2015

New York Comic Con 2015: Heroes and Villains Take the East Coast

Posted by emily

Any nerd worth his or her comic book collection knows that Comic Con is one of the biggest pop culture events on planet Earth (and probably others, too). On October 6-9, East Coasters had their turn to dress up and head out for a weekend of fascinating panels, screenings and surprise trailer drops at New York Comic Con. Our very own Carol Fitzgerald braved the trip to the Javits Center --- unfortunately not dressed in costume, unless you count her signature turquoise digs --- and here, with the help of four TBRN friends, reports on all the crazy things she heard and saw. No spoilers, although multiple reports claim Jon Snow is alive and well and ate a BBQ brisket sandwich at the food court. Keep scrolling for some amazing photos, courtesy of Maya Gittelman.


Question: How many times have you been to NYCC?

Carol Fitzgerald: I guess this is my 10th! I still remember the first one, where the show shared floor space with another at Javits. I was at the press preview day, and it was very, very clear that this was the start of something big. The next day, the crowds were so big that the fire marshals were called in! Love to see how it has grown since then beyond Javits to events around the city for Super Week. Seeing NYCC trending on Facebook and the press coverage everywhere this year was really cool.

Maya Gittelman: Only once before, many years ago.

Jeff Ayers: This was my fifth time, and my wife and I go every year to celebrate our wedding anniversary!

Rebecca Munro: This was my first time! 

Matthew Burbridge: Five times.


Q: What panel or event were you looking forward to the most?

CF: Sadly my schedule this year meant that I could only be there at the end of the day on Thursday. ICV2’s private reception that day gave me a chance to connect and catch up with industry colleagues quickly. NYCC is always about reconnecting for me. The floor that day was crazy busy, thus it was nice to saunter down there around 5:30 and catch the last one-and-a-half hours when the pace had quieted a bit.

MG: “We Need MORE Diverse Comics!”

JA: The “Comic Creators Consuming Coffee” panel, because a bunch of fun comic writers and artists get together and talk about their process, and their love of coffee! Plus, it was sponsored by the best coffee in the world, Death Wish Coffee Company.

RM: I was really looking forward to seeing the trailer for “The Magicians” --- the new SyFy show based on Lev Grossman's books --- and the We Need MORE Diverse Comics” panel. John [Maher] recommended it after last year.

MB: Went in blind this year. Was mostly looking forward to catching up with friends.


Q: What were your favorite panels? You can name up to three.

MG: “We Need More Diverse Comics!” 

JA: Honestly, I didn’t go to many panels this year, as my wife and I love hanging out at artist alley way more, because we get to meet and converse with our favorite artists and writers.

RM: “We Need More Diverse Comics.” 

MB: Dark Horse, The Expanse.


Q: What was the best costume you saw? You can name up to three, and it could be your own!

CF: It actually was the McCall’s booth where they were selling costume patterns. Heard that they started exhibiting last year and that seemed really smart. Here’s a piece on this from Bleeding Cool from last year that is worth checking out.

MG: The absolute best was the Sugar Plum Fairy from the Cabin in the Woods!! She was phenomenal! Runners-up include the Doc Oc with giant arms and the beautiful couple as Ruby & Sapphire from Steven Universe.

JA: Well, there was an amazing Darth White (Darth Vader/Snow White) mashup costume, a really rad BARF from Spaceballs and the Hulkbuster guy was just incredible --- it was like watching a movie come to life!

RM: Ugh, I hate the costumes, tbh (sorry if that's blasphemy). I did see a picture of a guy dressed in a big, brown robe with a box of Raisin Bran taped to his back and everything but "BRAN" crossed out (a.k.a. Hogar from “Game of Thrones”). I also saw two girls in period dresses with full hoop-skirts and Marie Antoinette-style hair and makeup. They were gorgeous, but ultimately a PAIN to walk around. 

MB: Hulkbuster, War-Boys (any and all), Transformers.


Q: What was your best unexpected encounter with an author or fan?

CF: For me, I was on the 4th floor at one point overlooking the floor. I loved watching the excitement and energy as people moved from booth to booth. It was palpable even from my on-high perch. There is something wonderful about seeing people with a common passion coming together to celebrate, discover and buy. Also, seeing the big brands like Chevrolet, AT&T and Pepsi with promotions aimed at millennials, among others, was very interesting. There’s a good piece about this here.

MG: I met Erica Henderson, the author of the fantastic Unbeatable Squirrel Girl!! 

JA: I got the awesome privilege of talking with one of my favorite artists, Nick Dragotta, along with the rock band The End Men because they wrote a song about his comic East of West, and he drew an exclusive piece of art for them! I got the whole conversation on tape; look for it on a future podcast from FanboysInc!

RM: Running into Ian McGinty, from Z2 comics. He and his girlfriend were super sweet, and both of them signed my comic! 

MB: I really only run into people I know at the con.


Q: And, of course, the books! Tell us some of the books that you came away wanting to read. You can name up to three.

CF: TRASHED by Derf Backderf, which is coming out November 3rd.  

MG: WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE, Jennie Wood's Flutter and A BOY LIKE ME!

JA: Well, I was really stoked to get VIRGIL by Steve Orlando; I picked up the first four issues of WE CAN NEVER GO HOME by Matt Rosenberg and Josh Hood; and the newest trade of THE ACCELERATORS from Blue Juice Comics, written by R.F.I. Porto and art by Gavin Smith and Tim Yates!

RM: This is an oldie, and not totally comics related, but Random House was there selling the new collector's edition of THE GOLDEN COMPASS and I snatched that up IMMEDIATELY. I also want to read Judah Friedlander's book because I missed his signing but heard he was awesome. 

MB: The entire Ancillary Justice series, put out by Hachette, a hard copy of a short story originally only published online for the Expanse also put out through Hachette, and a variant-covered edition of a new series, Welcome to Showside, by Ian McGinty coming out through Z2 Comics.


Q: What’s your wildest memory of this weekend?

MG: Glimpsing Natalie Dormer and Norman Reedus from not too far away --- I WAS VERY EXCITED!!!

JA: Definitely a tie between an amazing time hanging out with Dean Haspiel and Christa Cassano at Hang Dai Studios in Brooklyn, and then drinking well into the night with Steve Orlando and sculptor Paul Harding.

RM: I guess just seeing the show floor and the crowds. Since this was my first time, it was all really amazing to see and people-watch.

MB: Catching up with every friend I had from college at the Gotham Market.


Q: Any additional thoughts?

CF: The extension of the 7 train to 34th Street/Hudson Yards is a dream come true for getting to/from Javits. What was always some version of hell has now turned into a pleasurable show add-on. The steepness of the escalators to and from the Hudson Yards stop have a thrill ride to them that seems to set the right tone. And the costumed folks on the train made it all the more fun. It was like Hogwarts Express, but the Comic Con version.

MG: While it was impressive that there was an emphasis on diversity in terms of the panels --- and this was the safest, most comfortable con I've ever attended (in terms of not getting harassed/witnessing harassment, etc.) --- I still did not see a wide assortment of diversity represented in the actual booths and merchandise. Despite the amount of Steven Universe and Welcome to Nightvale cosplay for example, they neither had official panels nor any amount of fan art comparable to mainstream media. Most art booths were still gratuitously filled with sexualized, objectified women, and actual queer/nonwhite representation (in terms of creators/artists/authors and products alike) was few and far between. One booth sold "Strong Female Character" t-shirts, and that tongue-in-cheek homage was the closest the con floor actually came to addressing misogyny and patriarchy in comics and nerd culture, which I found ultimately surprising. They talked the talk and it was great, but only the fans were really walking the walk. I hope the con catches up soon! 

RM: They should hand out complimentary deodorants. 


[From top to bottom: Maya with Erica Henderson, creator of the The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl; R2-DToo Cute!; Maya fraternizes with the enemy; Maya with Dr. Travis Langley, author of WALKING DEAD PSYCHOLOGY/STAR WARS PSYCHOLOGY; Maya with Katie Cook, from MY LITTLE PONY: Friendship is Magic and the webcomic Gronk; Maya with Ana Matronic, former Scissor Sister and author of ROBOT UNIVERSE; Maya with Vish Singh, creator of the documentary “Red, White, and Beard”; the force is strong with this one.]