If you are reading this, it means you have successfully navigated and survived yet another New York Comic Con experience. Whether you have emerged from said event both physically and mentally unscathed is another matter. With crowd totals roughly reaching 167,000, NYCC continued its upward trend of packing the Javits Center like a sardine can full of geeks from every possible walk of life. With a census like that, one can’t help but wonder if the venue is slowly morphing into Manhattan’s own version of the TARDIS.
2015 was our fourth year attending NYCC with the first being extremely hectic and stressful with little to no preconception as to what to expect other than “a lot.” We have since figured out how to dial down the chaos factor in order to enjoy ourselves while still managing to cross off as many bullet points as possible from our agenda.*
*NYCC Sanity Retention Tips: pack lightly, bring snacks/ibuprofen, and get as much done on Thursday/Friday as possible. Otherwise, you run the risk of being in too much pain to finish your mac-n-cheese (see below).
Whether you prefer panels over signings or shopping over photo-ops, NYCC 2015 provided a bevy of fantastic highlights to quench the palate of even the most discerning geek.
One of the biggest personal draws of NYCC is the abundance of creator signings that is attainable. Whether your loyalties lie with Marvel, DC, or any number of independent publishers, you’ll undoubtedly find at least a handful of your favorite writers and artists to schmooze with while they autograph or doodle in your books.
This year’s highlights began with the talented and fashionable Marguerite Bennett (A-Force, 1602: Witch Hunter Angela). I had the distinct pleasure of initially being introduced to Marguerite through Daniel Ketchum at Flame Con, but this time I came prepared with a veritable pack mule’s worth of material for Ms. Bennett to sign. We discussed her original concerns over 1602: Witch Hunter Angela being too offbeat and bizarre to reach an audience and, also, how she insisted on the inclusion of those final memorable pages in A-Force #5.
Noticeably absent from the 2014 lineup, Marjorie Liu (Astonishing X-Men, X-23) was another of this year’s must-see writers. After meeting Marjorie at a signing in Boston prior to her marrying off Northstar in the pages of Astonishing X-Men, I’ve been a huge proponent of her work. Always eloquent, gracious, and just generally wonderful to talk to, I was looking forward to hearing all about her upcoming Image title, Monstress.
As the weekend progressed, I was able to rub elbows with Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie (The Wicked + The Divine, Phonogram: The Immaterial Girl), Dennis Hopeless (Inferno, Avengers Arena), Robbie Thompson (Silk), and a plethora of others.
Of course, no visit to NYCC would be complete without a visit to my favorite Brit and shipper of all underappreciated Marvel characters from across the pond, Si Spurrier.
Whether it be original pencils/inks from a comic book issue or specific commissioned piece from the artist, I could not label NYCC a success without bring home an abundance of artwork. This year was no different.
Ever since his criminally short-lived run on The Fearless Defenders, I have been a fan of Will Sliney and his work. The last few years, I have managed to snag a few original pieces from the artist to add to my collection (which he graciously shipped from Ireland). This year, I decided to combine my love for Valkyrie’s underrated team and my shared cultural heritage with the artist. The result would be Mr. Sliney’s first commission of the superhero, Shamrock.
Phil Jimenez is another must-see artist at NYCC. If you have the stamina to stand in queue for hours while he works, the artwork he will churn out for you is well worth the wait. Following last year’s stellar sketch of Alpha Flight’s Aurora, I decided to ask him to try his hand at the Arctic Canadian goddess, Snowbird.
One of the highlights of this year’s convention came after we elected to throw caution to the wind and try something new… a.k.a. the charity art auction. Originally under the impression that the event would merely be a silent auction with people quietly guarding the pieces they were bidding on, I was elated to find out that this was a legit auction… complete with the numbered paddles and everything. It was all I could do to not reenact (re: I totally did reenact it) that scene from The Golden Girls. You know the one.
To wrap up a weekend of visual stimulation, Kris Anka and Kevin Wada (perhaps underestimating the vastness of their fanbase) opened up their artist alley booths to con-goers looking to get free, quick sketches of their favorite characters. Staking out my place in the queue early guaranteed my going home with Selene (Anka) and Madelyne Pryor (Wada).
While it’s true that little can compare to my first celebrity photo-op from 2011’s NYCC (Carrie Fisher in all of her cigarette-smoking glamour), 2015 wasn’t without its memorable encounter. Drea de Matteo (best known for her role as Adriana La Cerva on The Sopranos and, recently, as Karla Faye Gideon on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D), was signing and taking selfies with fans on the main floor. Being that my comic book loyalties lie with Marvel, I was eager to chat her up about her appearance on AoS. Despite the makeup being as painful as it looked and requiring an assistant to do even the most basic of tasks for her, Drea would eagerly welcome the opportunity to return to the show.
Let’s just call a spade a spade… NYCC 2015 was ALL about Jessica Jones… at least it was for me. Being a huge proponent of all things Krysten Ritter, I was eager to see how much hype and promotion Marvel shelled out at this year’s convention. Of course, they did not disappoint.
The sidewalk down 9th Avenue outside the Javits was sprayed with “graffiti” while the Marvel booth set up a makeshift Alias Investigations office where fans could channel their inner “badass private investigator with a penchant for brown liquor.”
Saturday saw the cast turn up for an epic signing on Marvel’s main stage. Save for David Tennant, the entire main cast was in attendance and I resolved myself to not turn into a bumbling fanboy while moving down the signing line. I think I managed to accomplish that goal successfully by not being escorted out by security.
The signing panel included the flawless Carrie-Anne Moss, who is set to play power-lesbian attorney, Jeryn Hogarth. Undoubtedly, most people would talk to Ms. Moss about her time on the set of The Matrix and what it was like to be part of that iconic trilogy. I am not most people. I talked to her about my love of her on the 90s primetime soap opera and Melrose Place spin-off, Models Inc.
After discussing a shared love for Patsy Walker and the character’s history with Rachael Taylor and his character’s role in Kalinda’s exit from The Good Wife with Mike Colter, I was able to meet Jessica, herself. Krysten Ritter was lovely, gracious, and elated about the event’s massive turnout. I even got a genuine “YASSSSSS!” when I handed her the DVD art for Don’t Trust the B---- in Apt. 23 to sign.
Weekend = made.
Did you attend NYCC 2015? Feel free to share your highlights and lowlights via the comments section below.
Follow Shaun N. on Twitter at @ThatShaun.