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Confessions of a New York Comic Con Virgin – Part 3: Dirk Gently, Shut Eye, Starset and more

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During the past few days I have been over in New York for the New York Comic Con. It was the first time I had ever been to the convention and it was a little overwhelming. I had an amazing time, met incredible people and saw fantastic things. I wrote down my thoughts and experiences. Now I am back home so thought I would share it with you.

Be sure to read part one and part two.

Day Two of NYCC

6th October 2017.

Walking into the gents in the press area I was greeted by Lex Luthor in full power armour. He was washing his hands. We paused, looked at each other, and both smiled at the absurdity of it all. Turns out he spent 5 months making the suit and it was amazing.

Just another random encounter at NYCC.

The press area is an oasis of calm in the manic hustle of bustle that is Comic-Con. Journalists I met yesterday stop to say hello and new connections are made with others.

I am just out of the Dirk Gently roundtable. Elijah Wood, Samuel Barnett, Hannah Marks, Jade Eshete, Fiona Dourif, Mpho Koaho and Max Landis. All there and all answering questions I ask. So surreal.

The first season was great and I am looking forward to seeing what happens to everybody in the next one.They all love the show and season 2 promises many things they could not say, but the characters will grow and go on incredible journeys. Fiona said that Ken (played by Mpho) has the biggest journey, and Max said the new season would be awesome thanks to the great writers on the show. I also watched as a reporter from Newsweek asked Max over his past comments about Rey from The Force Awakens.

“I’m sick of being a controversial figure,” says Landis, “If Pajiba, or The Mary Sue, or any of these sites want to interview me, I’m here. I deserve the scrutiny I’m getting,” Landis concluded, “but engage me. Don’t make me a figure. I’m not a cartoon.”

Earlier on Mike and I had been talking to Dustin Bates, lead singer of multimedia rock band Starset. In Starset’s alternate universe, the band was created by “the Starset Society” to publicize emerging technologies and their impact on humans. Bates is an extremely interesting chap with a background in science and engineering. We talked about the band, Elon Musk and the new Marvel comic, The Prox Transmissions, he has co-written with Marvel’s Peter David.

Mike, Dusin Bates and me

This is the synopsis for the comic:

A secret transmission from the far reaches of the galaxy falls into the hands of SETI radio astronomer Dr. Stephen Browning. His world begins to unravel as he discovers the cryptic message includes information on advanced technology and a dire warning from the future.

After Browning seeks aid of brilliant-yet-impetuous playboy Dr. Aston Wise, the two set off on an epic journey to discover the meaning of the transmission, only to discover they are pawns in a much bigger game. Humanity hangs in the balance as powerful forces vie for control of the future, with only Wise and Browning to stop them.

It looks and sounds great and I am eager to read it once I get a chance.

The main floor is busier than yesterday, but getting in just before it opened to the public we had a chance to wander and actually see things.

Then a combination of jet lag, a long day yesterday and eating lots of bread type food – burgers, bagels and breakfast rolls – hit me like a super doughy sledgehammer and I had to sit and collect myself for a while.

It gave me time to sit and contemplate the comic-con and a chance to write an awful lot of this.

A green tea and a banana saw me right and then I was soon ready to rejoin the masses on the main floor.

The next stop on our schedule was to crawl across the ceiling of Peter Parker’s room from Spider-Man: Homecoming. Just another random moment of surrealness from comic con! There was a video, but as my water bottle fell out of my bag and landed on the ‘ceiling’ the illusion was broken. The things you don’t think of. We also got a very cool Spider-Man poster,

Mike got to meet artist Greg Hildebrandt and bought a lovely piece of artwork from him.

Mike and Greg Hildebrandt

Now it is time for me to head off to the Shut Eye roundtable. Jeffrey Donovan and Isabella Rossellini await.


Check out our New York Comic Con coverage
Two spider-men pose and tumble. Practicing something that is at once rather silly yet also shows the passion that comic books can instil in people.

A beautiful ethereal woman painted up as a winter queen removes her elaborate dress in the press area. She stands topless and patient as a makeup artist and photographer adjust the makeup and dress, while journalists simply carry on writing, chatting and eating bagels. Once again, another strange moment in a place full of dreamers.

Tony and I pass and say hi. He is heading to the Orville, I’m waiting for Shut Eye.

Youtubers stalk the aisles and hallways like demented wanderers as they look only at the camera held before them as they spout a never-ending commentary on what is happening around them without actually experiencing it.

The quest for hits, views and followers is an albatross around your neck when your work online.

Mike, his Pennywise Funko Pop purchased, had been on a quest for a photo with The Last Dragon’s Taimak and it finally happened. Taimak was cool, gracious and ageless. He spotted the press badge and we then spoke of his next project.

People of all ages – some I think older than myself until I catch a glimpse of my reflection or Bruce Timm says, “we look about the same age.” He is 56 and I am 44! I need to work out – dress up as their favourite characters. Mothers and/or fathers dress up along with their kids. Sometimes it is hard to tell who is the bigger fan. Patient boyfriends pause over and over while strangers ask their scantily clad girlfriends to stop and strike a pose for a photo or three.

Muscled men, who in another time would have been the jocks, are now the new nerd as they pose as barbarians and superheroes and fanboy over action figures.

This truly is a glorious time for the nerds, sportos, the motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, wastoids, dweebies, dickheads – we all adore these absurd things. We feel righteous, dude!
Maybe the world is a slightly better place because of all the creative people here. Who knows?

Frosty from Collider walks bye and I stop and say hello and thank him for being one of the inspirations for me doing what I do. Such a nice guy.

Mike follows shortly after. His roundtable is over but his next is beginning shortly and we swap a few words before he heads off.

Shut Eye roundtable was great. No Isabella Rossellini but my table had lots of quiet interviewers with nothing to ask. To fill the gap my tired mind had to think of questions on the fly but the cast went for them well.

Excuse me while I change seats to be nearer to the power cord. That most blessed, most rare of items as the phone and laptop batteries continue their endless quest to discharge all that they hold.

Okay. Batman is being professionally photographed while Wonder Woman and Captain Jack Sparrow hold up his cloak in that the essential billowing Batman way.

Jeffrey Donovan and KaDee Strickland were brilliant. I asked how things had changed for season 2 of Shut Eye and it seems that everything except the actors was the answer, but they went on and you could genuinely see the passion they had and how the input that everyone had was a wonderful thing leading for more satisfying work and the ability to take more creative risks knowing that the safety net around them was always there.

Aasif Mandvi (new to the show) was so funny and said it was fun to take his shirt off so much! The Matthew McConaughey Of Shut Eye!

We then talked about the appeal of psychics through the ages and how they are simply a by-product of mankind’s never-ending quest to find the meaning of it all and what happens next.

Then it was over. I watched as KaDee and Jeffrey stood still as makeup was made just so before they walked the line of photographers and video hounds. The actors once again bound by the laws of looking good for the camera.

I had time to thank KaDee for a great interview and received that most rewarding of phrases for one in my position, “no thank you. You asked some great questions and it was a cool conversation.”

Then, with a wink, a wonderful smile and a handshake, she surrendered once again to the makeup brush.

Next to me a woman curses at her laptop as a response she wanted failed to appear.

A guy waiting for his colleagues drops the expensive looking camera rig he has been holding so reverentially for the past half hour. “Oh no,” he cries as two parts are no longer connected as they should. It is perfect timing as his friend/workmate shows up at just that minute and expletives fill the air. They leave only for the original guy to return sheepishly to collect his backpack.

I pause from typing to go and grab the Justice League’s Trinity and ask if I can take their photo. The Work and dedication the cosplayers put into their costumes and performance is astounding. They are all smiles as you ask and then when the camera is raised, they swiftly strike a pose, totally in character. Then, the photos taken, they smile once more, pick up their stuff and leave once I’ve thanked them for their time.


Friday afternoon, sat in the press area after a busy day of walking, talking, looking and waiting. Time to decompress and check notes, do a spot of writing and wait for the others.

Huddled around the precious power strip, I chatted to those other souls gazing at the phone and laptop power. A guy asked me to watch his phone as he went to buy a bottle of water. He didn’t have a press pass so returned to grab his things as security waited for him to leave.

Leah from Tor Publishing asked me to then watch her laptop as she dashed off to grab a photo of an incredible Swamp Thing cosplay. She returned, we talked comics, swapped business cards and chatted some more. People I had met over the past few days stopped to say hello before rushing off for their next panel or interview. We talked about the convention, what we had seen, who we had met, and so on and so fourth. The talk turned to TV shows The Expanse, The Man In The High Castle and many more. People came and went.

Cosplayers in ever more elaborate costumes walked by.

Mention of The Tick brought the news that Peter Serafinowicz was going to appear at a comedy show at midnight for The George Lucas Talk Show. His Tick co-star, Griffin Newman, co-hosts the show. It sounded great, but was too late for these tired, slightly less jet lagged bones.

Mike appeared and it was time for us to head off as the Con came to a close for the evening. So we said goodbye to new friends and acquaintances. My peers, lovers of comic books, TV shows, movies, and so much more, who all worked to either make those wonderful things or reported and promoted on them.

We met up at the Darby Pop comic booth where Russ and Asaad had been working all day. The daughter of the owner, her name Darby, looked at some of the things I had got my daughter, Hannah, for her birthday. I mentioned that fact and we then learnt in astonishment that Darby and Hannah had the same birthday.

Checking we had all of our belongings, the four of us slowly shuffled through the crowd as the mass of people left the Javits Center into New York City.

Mike, Asaad, Russ and myself wandered slowly down 9th Avenue towards 23rd Street. Stopping for the lights to change, an old woman turned to Asaad and out of nowhere cackled, “you think you’re tough?”

“No, not even a little bit!” Was Asaad’s perfect response.

She wandered off, crying out “only God is tough.” We all stared and watched an another strange New York encounter walked away.

Nearing the hotel, we saw a line of strangely dressed people queueing for something. Not sure if it was part of the Comic-Con, Russ asked a young woman what it was for. She stared, like a rabbit in the headlights of an approaching car, and blurted out, “a show!”

Still none the wiser, we thanked her and then some other members of the line explained it was for a showing of Rocky Horror. It now made sense.

We quickly freshened up at the hotel and headed out to the next block and the Malibu Diner. Another cool New York diner like the ones from the movies. We had a booth….the smallest booth possible for four grown men. I ordered the chicken gyro and we ate our fill.

Then back to the hotel and the discussion turned to comic books, films and whether Wonder Woman was one of the best comic book movies ever (it’s good, but there are better).

Part 1. Part 2. Part 4 coming soon.

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