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Confessions of a New York Comic Con Virgin – Part 2: DC Animated Movies, Troma, doughnuts and more

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. You can read part one here.

Day One of NYCC

Sat in the press area of New York Comic Con. An oasis of calm in a maelstrom of glorious, multicoloured chaos.

Thousands of people wander the main floor, fighting the way through the ever moving crowd. Cosplayers of all shapes, sizes and universes add to the surreal quality of it all. Harry Potter Ghostbusters, Multiple Harley Quinns, variations on The Avengers, X-Men, and Justice League walk side by side with The Warriors who finally came out to play. All incarnations of Doctor Who are here (one of them must be the real Doctor) while so many anime characters from shows I’ve never watched simply add to the madness of it all. Click after click after click goes my camera (see the cosplay photos here). Only the terrible WiFi and horrendous data roaming charges thwart me sharing everything straight away. A temporary blessing for those following me, a curse for me.

Me and Joel McHale

I’ve had my photo taken with Joel McHale (he’s so Winger) – who was so nice as he stopped and said “lets get photos with everyone” once his interview was over – J Scott Campbell gave me a cheeky smile when I took his photo, and Nate Melendez talked about his awesome Bruce Lee Iron Fist cover. I have seen so many things I would love to own. I wish my daughter was here with me to see it all. Like me, she would feel overloaded with the magnitude of it all but have loved every minute of it.

Booths for all the TV shows, all the comics, all the artists, writers, publishers, toy makers, sculptures, game makers and the rest fight for my attention. I wish the indie comic book artists would soon have someone else looking at the beautiful words and pictures they have sweated over. I wish that guy would get out of the way so I could take a photo of Captain America’s shield. I wish the queues weren’t so long at The Last Jedi booth. I wish I could remember those missing X-Men issues that would complete my collection but it has years since I carried those pieces of paper with comic book names and numbers that I had to have but could never find. They would all be here in the many stores, their longboxes filled with glorious, colourful issues of larger than life characters. My wallet has already threatened to explode so my will Power is like Hal Jordan’s.

Check out our New York Comic Con coverage
Before the show, I finally met up with Mike Spring, my co-host on After the Ending. We’ve known each other for almost 10 years online and have been doing the After the Ending podcast for a year and a half. Then suddenly we are saying hi, hugging, laughing and we are in New York City. With him is his friend Asaad Loiseau, a comic book writer, and later I will meet Russ Brettholtz (writer of the excellent Side-Tracked), which I thoroughly enjoyed) who is at the Darby Pop booth in the show.

Doughnut Plant

We ate $4 doughnuts at the brilliant Doughnut Plant on 23rd that were worth every cent and then walked to the Javits Center, that big glass edifice that so wants to be the Tyrell Corporation building.

Then, with a flash of the press badge, we are in.

My first roundtable interview is the 10 year anniversary of DC animated movies. Mike introduces me to some of the other journalists, podcasters and reporters before he heads off to speak to Carl Weathers, Vivica A. Fox and Michael Madsen about Explosion Jones.

As I wait to be let into the press room I chat to some of the other reporters – Tony Tellado of Sci-Fi Talk, a podcaster of over 10 years and one of the nicest guys you could ever meet, Den of Geek’s Mike Cecchini, Mike Mettler of Digital Trends and Bryan Reesman to name but a few. Then we are in and I am talking to Jim Krieg, Jason O’Mara, Alan Burnett, James Tucker, Venessa Marshall and Bruce Timm. All are legends, all are so nice and I am asking them questions. The new box set for the animated films is a thing of beauty and everyone is so proud of being involved. I ask Jason O’Mara how he would change his portrayal of Batman if he ever had the chance to play him in a live-action movie. He said that would be the dream and that he had seen the Ben Affleck batsuit which was amazing. While the talent swap tables I chat to the other journalists about what we’ve just heard and what our favourite moments from the animated films are. I ask Vanessa Marshall if I can be cheeky and take a selfie with her. She smiles and says, “of course.”

There will be more about the various interviews in later posts and on After the Ending.

Only the one roundtable today, but a great way to begin.

Then it is time to hit the floor once more.

The blisters tell me to sit and give up, but adrenaline and curiosity tell them to shut the hell up.

Again there is just so much to take in. Publishers give me free books, I stop more cosplayers and take photos, then suddenly Lloyd Kaufman is there with the Toxic Avenger and more Troma buddies. We ask to take photos and he moves Mike to a better position to get everyone in. Then Lloyd Kaufman is shaking my hand, the real life Lloyd Kaufman, and asking where I am from. When it is my turn to be in the photo Lloyd calls out “say Mersey!”

Lloyd Kaufman and The Troma Team

Mike takes me to Artist’s Alley and I meet legends. Comic book artists I have loved for years. Huge talents who have drawn incredible images and made me wish I could draw like them and I am talking to them and shaking hands. Arthur Adams, Erik Larsen (how does he draw like that?), Adi Granov, Larry Hama, Terry Moore, Geoff Darrow, Frank Cho, Ben Templesmith, David Mack, Cary Nord and so many more. So many who I don’t know. I am out of touch with the comic book world as I don’t have the chance to collect or read as many as I used to. So many creators who make incredible images. I swap cards with a few new comic book writers and artists who ask if I can share their work.

I talk to Stephen Byrne and he remembers me sharing some of his earlier work on Live for Films. He thanks me and then talks about how he is now doing what he always wanted to do.

I buy some art and on a piece I get for my daughter’s birthday the artist very kindly does a quick sketch of one of her favourite characters. I cannot say which one in case she reads this!

Then back to the main floor once more. It is getting later and the crowd is beginning to thin. Everything becomes easier to see.

Then it is 7pm. It is dark. Mike, Russ, Asaad and myself make our way through the crowd and head back to the hotel. The walk back sees us talk about the difference between the words we use on both sides of the Atlantic. Russ asks me what a crumpet is and I find it hard to explain. The city carries on around us.

We pass some trailers at the side of the road. On the doors are the names Bell, Ramano, and Director. Kristen Bell and Ray Ramono maybe? Who knows what is being filmed?

We drop off our bags. It has been so warm on the walk back that the air conditioning in the hotel is a gift from (insert deity of your choice) All of us are tired so the choice of restaurant is now determined by how far away it is.

We settle for Dallas BBQ and pass another film crew. Four beautiful models stand, waiting to cross the road when action is called. Three wear shimmering gold dresses, The last wears black and a polka dot skirt. I ask one of the tired looking crew what they are filming. “A commercial” is his tired response. Making films and adverts always looks so cool to the outsider but for the crew it ends up being another job with a lot of waiting around while someone decides something that may or may not be important.

We order food. The waitress is friendly. We talk, we laugh, we eat, we drink. We are all tired. We head back to the hotel. We sleep.

Tomorrow is another day.

Read Part 1. Part 3 coming soon.

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