NYCC 2014 Wrap Up: Four Days in a Glass Castle of Fandom
NYCC 2014 was the biggest comic book convention this year, surpassing SDCC by quite a margin. When walking towards the Javits Centre on Thursday morning, even several avenues away, it was already apparent that there was something going on in the city. Captain America walked side by side with Princess Bubblegum, while a Ghostbuster and Green Arrow waited in line at Starbucks on 34th Street. This is strange even for New York City.
Though New York Super Week started October 3rd, the main event – NYCC – kicked off on October 9th. It was the biggest Thursday the convention has ever had, and it was just an omen of things to come. I arrived early, press badge in hand, but instead of going to the Javits Centre, I went to Cafe Grind for an Arnold Palmer and a sit-down with Curtis Armstrong. That was only the first of many one-on-one interviews I would have throughout the weekend. Armstrong let me indulge my inner nerd, as I asked him about movies and television shows I hold dear to my heart. I’m still kicking myself because I forgot to bring my Supernatural poster for him to sign, and that was the only autograph I actually wanted last weekend. Oh well, there’s always next year!
The Javits Centre is on 11th Avenue between 34th and 40th Streets in Manhattan. Plans for a convention center date back to 1962, but the massive glass building that thousands of people entered at noon on Thursday was completed in 1986. I remember a Star Trek bloopers VHS that I bought at some convention that had parts of William Shatner’s SNL appearance from 1986 on it. One skit, entitled “Get a Life”, has stuck with me since. It’s easily findable on YouTube, and if you watch it I’m sure you’ll see why I can’t forget it.
Anyway, I made my way over just after the doors opened and was overwhelmed by the vast nerdom and geekery before me. This was nothing like that makeshift set of a hotel ballroom – I felt as if I was finally home.
As the only member of The Geekiary with a press badge (harder to get than you think), I had a lot on my plate, including panels, interviews, and press rooms. As this was my first NYCC, and first big convention, I did want to carve out some personal time. That was limited to tracking down Funko Pop Vinyls of Dean Winchester and a non-winged Castiel from Supernatural, collecting badges from the superherostuff.com booth, and attending a panel for The League on Saturday morning. (I shook the hand of The Shiva. I am forever clean!)
The amount of effort put into cosplay is only one of the highlights of NYCC, but definitely up there with the best parts of the extended weekend. Marvel and DC characters were everywhere, as were anime, television, and film characters (even from properties unrelated to sci-fi and comic books). Some personal favorites included the silhouette from Mystery Science Theatre 3000, an adorable Hawkgirl, and a friend showing up with his fiancé as Jay and Silent Bob. Imagination can trump cost when it comes to costumes, and that’s something that fans shouldn’t forget if they want to dress for conventions. It’s also worth noting that not only are the vast multitudes of Deadpools good fun, but my favorite game this year was “Castiel or Constantine”. A lot harder than you think, sometimes, especially depending on the angle from which you see them!
On Thursday I was able to also speak with Warehouse 13’s Eddie McClintock and Once Upon A Time’s Giancarlo Esposito. McClintock is just as you’d expect, an all around great guy, and very similar to his character Pete Lattimer in many respects. He even advertised “free hugs”, and many took him up on that offer (myself included). Esposito, who I had the fortune of meeting several years ago on the the set of Rabbit Hole, actually remembered me, which was a complete shock. Both added to the constant stream of celebrities who were genuinely wonderful and happy to be at NYCC. They loved seeing their fans, and vice versa.
After lugging around a bag full of camera equipment and various electronics (despite the severe lack of free and accessible wifi), Thursday was over. It was much more quiet than rest of the weekend, which I wasn’t prepared for. On the subway ride home, I looked through the hundreds of photos I’d already taken, and began anticipating the next day.
Friday morning was met with sunny skies and an early opening time for NYCC (10am). I was also scheduled to attend the panel and press room for TNT’s The Librarians, as well as Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. There were other panels I would have loved to attend both that day and the entire weekend, but you’d be surprised how much time you don’t have as press. I missed many panels I would have loved to sit in on, but alas, it wasn’t meant to be. This was very apparent for me on Sunday, when I had to run between two press rooms at the same time and failed to get all the interviews I needed.
The Librarians is based of the trilogy of Noah Wyle films that first aired beginning in 2004. As a lover of both history and a massive Indiana Jones fan, this was something I was definitely looking forward to seeing. We were given a sneak peek of the series, which premiers on December 7th, exactly 10 years after the first Librarian film aired. Suffice it to say, I will be watching this, just as I did each of the movies and the television series Leverage (which shares show runners, producers, and Christian Kane) before it. I’ll have a review up for that soon – even after NYCC has ended, there still isn’t enough time!
As I mentioned earlier, NYCC, like SDCC is not entirely devoted to comics. Some have noted this as a bad thing, and I’ve quoted one of those people [Mark A. Sheppard] elsewhere – “I am very wary of people that aren’t fans of something”. I think as long as there are fans and fandoms, why not include them? It’s not like you are going to get specific conventions for every single property. Yes, there are conventions specifically devoted to certain television shows and films (i.e. Teen Wolf, Game of Thrones, Walking Dead, and more), but not all of them. Why not be inclusive? This is how you get to run into Tom Everett Scott and talk to him about taking his son to NYCC for the first time and how much fun they’re having; it’s how you get Nick Kroll to take selfies with your mobile phone.
I also got the chance to talk to Sean Maguire. I love Once Upon a Time, and I am a fan of the Outlaw Queen pairing, so to meet Robin Hood himself was a treat. A thorough gentleman, he was just so grateful for the love the fans brought when they came for photos and autographs. Like I said, the celebrities at NYCC were genuinely happy to be there.
Friday evening rolled around, and with it the panel for Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, where Jeph Loeb (head of Marvel Television) and Clark Gregg (the beloved Agent Phil Coulson) took the stage and gave the audience not only an early screening of the next episode, but also just-filmed footage of Agent Carter that doesn’t air for several months. These are the nice perks of big conventions – you get to see things before anyone else. This is a great gift by TPTB for being a dedicated fan, being rewarded for your love and loyalty.
Saturday morning was meant with rain. A lot of rain. It was also my one “me time” and non-Geekiary related event. If you have not seen The League, you should. It’s similar in vein to It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, but not exactly the same. It’s based around a group of friends who play fantasy football, but it’s so much more. The characters of Taco and Rafi are my personal favorites. I’ve never put $7 worth of Hoobastank on a jukebox yet, but perhaps the occasion will one day arise.
Two lauded events at NYCC were the Patrick Stewart and Stephen Amell panels. Minus special drop-in guests, these actors had their panels all to themselves…but I saw neither. Instead, I interviewed Manu Bennett and Lucy Lawless. It’s tough call regarding whether it the panels would have been better than the interviews, but I have no regrets at all with the choice I made. Both Bennett and Lawless were wonderful, and their taking the time to talk to me was so nice of both of them. Also, instead of seeing Stephen Amell on stage, I was booked for the Constantine press room.
I was lucky enough to see the pilot before NYCC, though there was a screening of it on Thursday night. I’ve always loved the Hellblazer comics and even enjoyed the Keanu Reeves version, so I was definitely looking forward to the chance to speak with Matt Ryan, Angélica Celaya, and David S. Goyer in person. While finishing up the pressroom, before cracking jokes with Ryan about his hometown of Swansea, I stepped into the hall to find the cast of Daredevil and Jeph Loeb standing before me. And earlier, I’d managed a selfie with Joe Quesada (a true fangirl moment), as well as having a brief conversation with Loeb. Not the people you’d expect to fangirl over, but I’m a true Marvelite, so I’m not sorry.
The rain lifted and the sun was out again, though the temperature had dropped by Sunday. This was also my most hectic day by far. I was scheduled for four press rooms (Gotham, The Following, Forever, and Sleepy Hollow), and there were overlaps a-plenty – the Forever panel and the Gotham press room, the Gotham panel with the Sleepy Hollow press room, the Sleepy Hollow press room with the Forever press room, the Forever press room with the Sleepy Hollow panel, the Sleepy Hollow and Forever panels with each other and the SpiderVerse panel. This meant that I was running around a lot, and missed a lot despite everything I attempted to – and did – accomplish. I was also able to squeeze in rushed interviews with Orlando Jones and Robbie Thompson, both of whom I was looking forward to meeting all weekend. I’m glad I had on some comfortable shoes, even though they were motorcycle boots.
As I am not James Mardox, I wasn’t able to see and do everything at NYCC. I found out a day later that George Clooney took the stage on Thursday and apologized for Batman and Robin, I completely missed out on seeing Christian Slater at the Archer panel, and I arrived late on the show room floor for the Daredevil cast. Though there was a lot that I did get to do, and I wouldn’t trade the weekend for anything! Well, maybe I would have been a bit braver in talking to Karl Urban when I saw him walk the floor in a V for Vendetta mask (not as unrecognizable as he thought), but that’s about it. I am definitely looking forward to NYCC next year…I just hope they get the wifi fixed.
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