This is the ninth year for New York Comic Con (NYCC), and for someone who’s never been to a fan convention or “con” before, it can be a little overwhelming. Luckily, this is my tenth so I feel like a pro and couldn’t wait to get there and cover it on behalf of LD!
My first stop of the day was the Game of Thrones fan panel, featuring Kristian Norn and Daniel Portman or Hodor and Podrick from the show. The panel was a mix of fan questions and questions from moderators and panelists, who were creators of prominent Wikia pages such as the Game of Thrones. Both Norn and Portman were hilarious and gave a great insight into the GoT world, sharing their favorite filming locations and talking about their connections to the books. Norn admitted he hasn’t read any of them though they’ve been dinner conversation with his mother for the past five years. That sort of counts right? My favorite question was from an audience member who wanted to know what Podrick did when he was given a gaggle of women to “have his way with,” inspiring raucous laughter from both audience and panelists alike. His response? He put on a smooth smile and sunglasses and double checked with the moderator that the panel was rated PG-13.
Next up for me was Arthur Darvill’s spotlight panel. For those of you who don’t know Darvill played Rory, a companion for two and a half seasons on “Doctor Who,” as well as starred on Broadway in “Once” the musical, and was also in “Broadchurch” and “The White Queen.” It’s no surprise that many of his fan questions concerned “Doctor Who.” His warmth and enthusiasm for the show came across, as did the fact that not quite all of Rory’s awkwardness was an acting job, which set the fangirls squealing. Best question he was asked? “Who’s a better kisser, Karen (Amy) or Matt (The Doctor)?” In true Rory style, he answered that they were both equally as good. He went on to reveal that Matt’s kiss was completely unplanned and came as a shock to both him and the crew, who all immediately started trying not to laugh. His reaction to fans who called him Rory instead of Arthur was also priceless, he’d spin around looking for Rory.
One of the best things to do at any con is wander the convention floor. If you love people-watching there are great cosplays to see. If shopping or art is your thing, there are more comic vendors, shirt sellers, and bookstores than you can shake a stick at. Pretty much any and every form of geeky memorabilia (not all are PG-13) can be found at a con. From silver and gold aged comics that can cost an arm and a leg, to rare first edition model replicas of the Tardis, there’s something for everyone to see, enjoy, and buy if you can. You could spend every day of a con on the floor with the exhibitors and never get bored—though you might get hot and thirsty. Cramming thousands of people into one room, no matter how big and how high the ceilings are, isn’t fun.
My last panel of the day was “How to Survive in a Dystopian World,” featuring several YA authors talking about their dystopian civilizations, how they created their worlds, and the little ray of light that shines through the books. Moderated by Scott Westerfeld,“Uglies,” the panel included: James Dashner, “The Maze Runner,” Margaret Stohl, “Idols,” Pierce Brown, “Golden Son,” Rachel Cohn, “Emergent,” Alex London, “Proxy,” Maya Rock, “Scripted,” and Joshua David Bellin, “Survival Colony 9.” It was a great panel with both a lightning round and audience questions. Authors discussed what they think of the future of dystopian novels in the YA marketplace (spoiler alert, they don’t think it’s going anywhere) and the thematic presence of hope in their novels which can sometimes seem overly bleak. They also talked about lighter topics such as, “Do you have a real life panic bunker and if not, where would it be if you had one?” and talking about too much or too little control in fictional dystopian societies.
Day two started off early with my favorite panel to date: Voice Acting Master Class with Andrea Romano. For those who don’t know her, Andrea Romano is a voice director who has won several Emmy awards for her work and has worked on everything from “Tiny Toon Adventures” to “Teen Titans.” She explained how she got into voice directing, her background in acting, and there was a surprise guest appearance from Greg Cipes, who’s worked with her on several shows. Though he’s one of my favorites, my first thought when he skipped down the aisle in the middle of the panel was “Why did security let the scruffy ragamuffin in?” He turned out to be just as fun as Beast Boy and gave insight into what it’s like as an actor to work with a voice director in the business.