Hello Darlings and welcome back to our coverage of NY Comic Con 2014, part two!
For anyone who’s ever been to a Con, it’s common knowledge that no matter how small or big the con, Saturdays are the most lively and crowded days. NYCC is no exception. However, while there are some downsides to this—getting locked out of panels for one—there are some definite advantages to going on Saturdays.
For starters, Saturdays have the greatest panels, if you can manage to get into them. Also, they have the best cosplayers hands down. It’s the day when all of the flashy, elaborate cosplayers strut their stuff. And by strut, I mean “Walk five feet down the aisle before getting stopped for five more minutes by people taking pictures.” From a life-sized Dalek to R2D2 to Teen Titans and Loki, they looked like they’d come straight from the comic pages and movie screens, and made walking through the building a surreal experience.
Saturday was also the day I braved an autograph line. Not a paid line, but for autographs from the cast of the new Playstation Network series “Powers” based on the graphic novel series by Brian Michael Bendis. At cons there are autographs you have to pay upwards of 30 bucks a pop for (usually big name talent like Patrick Stewart, Stephen Amell, etc.) and there are a limited amount of free autographs you can get. Free lines are usually for authors and people trying to promote books or TV shows like “Powers.”
While I’d never heard of the show before, I saw that Eddie Izzard was part of the cast, and I wasn’t going to miss it. Even though we waited over an hour and a half for autographs it was a great chance to take a break and get to know some of my fellow con-attendees, which was fun. It’s difficult to explain, but going to a con creates instant kinship. Everyone has a connection because we’re all drawn to this same event, even if it’s for different reasons. It may have been the fact that we were huge and unashamed fans of a cross-dressing British comedian and that’s why we got along, but I like to think that’s not the only reason.
Another downside of Saturdays at a con is time. After my autograph adventure I checked my watch and realized there was no way I was getting to the xkcd/Bill Nye panel. This followed a rather distressing pattern all day, as I also got locked out of the two other panels I’d been hoping to attend—one centering on creating villains in fiction and the “Doctor Who: The Legend Continues” panel. It’s really a symptom of the fact that, more than anything else, the Javits Convention center where NYCC is held is no longer big enough to accommodate the massive amounts of people it attracts. It doesn’t matter that it’s the largest convention center in NYC and indeed in the Northeast United States.
However, I didn’t waste the whole day. Rather than walking around the exhibition floor taking pictures, I made it to the “Women in DC Entertainment” panel, which was fascinating. Featuring Amanda Connor, Gail Simone, Caitlin Kittredge, Becky Cloonan, Babs Tarr, Marguerite Bennett, Shelly Bond, Meredith Finch, Amanda Salmons and Bobbie Chase, it centered on the women behind the superheroes working in various imprints of the comic book industry. They discussed how they came to their career and why working in comics is important to them, and why they were drawn to it. The answers were so diverse and the panelists themselves are all amazing ladies.
Sunday was slightly less crowded, but it was family day so the center was swarming with more kids than the previous three days. By this time, I was lagging and nothing but the thought of meeting Cary Elwes sustained me. Cons can suck your energy, and after a quick interview I literally ran to the autographing room to get in the enormous line for the signing. This was another free signing as long as you purchased the book he was there promoting “As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride.” So, I stood in line for 2 hours reading the book. It’s absolutely fantastic and a must-read for any “Princess Bride” fan with excerpts from other cast and crew members from the film fleshing out the behind the scenes story. By the time I got up to meet him, I was shaking and barely speaking trying to make sure my knees didn’t give.
Sundays are the best days to get deals from Exhibitors, as a large amount of them offered steep discounts on Sundays to avoid a unsold merchandise. So after a quick perusal of the floor I stopped to snag a couple of last minute deals, and I tried to head over to the “How Game of Thrones Changed Fantasy…or Did It?” panel, only to find myself locked out again. Frustrated, I ended up heading over to the author autographing an hour early where I sat on the floor reading “Sabriel” while I was waiting for Garth Nix to sign it.
Getting locked out of that panel made me more determined to NOT get locked out of the Princess Bride panel. I headed over to the room early, and took the advice of a guard to sit through the panel before. The panel I ended up attending was a focus on Jeff Kinney, the author and illustrator of the popular book series “Diary of a Wimpy Kid.” Going into the panel the only thing I knew about the series was the fact that it was recently made into two movies and there was a number of books. Despite this, I was surprised to find I enjoyed myself. Kinney is a engaging speaker and he explained how the series developed out of his original desire to be a comic strip artist, as well as his unique process for getting ideas for each book in the series. He was there promoting the ninth book in the series that comes out in November, which I’m now quite interested in checking out.
The piece de resistance was the Princess Bride panel. They told us they turned away about 300 people, because the room wouldn’t fit everyone. Why they didn’t decide to use the main stage, which was empty at the time, I have no idea. After row hopping through vacated seats and accidentally kicking a small child I got a pretty good seat 10 rows back from the front. Everyone waited anxiously, since most people also sat through the previous panel or two. After playing a quick clip of the movie, Cary Elwes finally came on stage to a rousing round of applause.
It was hands down the best panel I’ve ever attended. Quite a showman, Elwes posed for a few pictures before getting down to telling some tales from the movie. From being cast as Westley to meeting Andre the Giant and Robin Wright, the audience was in stitches the entire time. He told genuinely funny tales that conveyed the feel of the movie. His transitions between voices and mannerisms of different members of the cast and crew were seamless. I’ve seen few actors who are good enough to completely change characters at the drop of a hat. Even if the last panel had ended up being a complete wash, it still would’ve been worth sitting through every second to listen to Elwes talk about the film. My favorite anecdote of his was when he broke his toe a week into filming after he thought it would be a great idea to try out Andre’s ATV up in the hills of Darbyshire, he promptly panicked thinking he was about to get fired on the spot. Of course he did his famous “As you wish,” line for the audience. It wouldn’t be a “Princess Bride” panel without that (or the woman next to me yelling “Have fun storming the castle!” at the end of it).
So Darlings, that wraps up our coverage of NYCC 2014! Still can’t get enough? Look out for our interviews with Con attendees in the coming weeks, including Cory Doctorow, Art Balthazar and Franco, and Amber Benson, YA author and actress from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer!”