Techland’s Best of the Bunch: Highlights from New York Comic Con

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New  York Comic Con might not be the biggest comic convention out there, but don’t tell that to the over 100,000 reported people who showed up wearing cosplay and bearing comic books. The East Coast’s biggest comic book convention sold out Saturday, with many in attendance making the three-day endurance battle to buy exclusive merchandise and limited edition items. Partnered with the New York Anime Festival, it was a geek fest that all in attendance were eager to explore – especially if they were able to get through the crowd. Here’s what Techland staffers in attendance enjoyed the most.

Meeting People On The Way
You’ll never know who you’ll meet on the bus/subway/taxi ride over to Comic Con. As a New York Comic Con newbie (I’ve a seasoned veteran of Comic Con though: I’ve attended San Diego Comic Con six years and counting), I was surprised to see how much fanboys and fangirls live over on the East Coast, especially since everyone told me not to expect as much people as in San Diego. From the first bus ride to the Javits Convention Center where half the people on board started chanting “Comic Con!” repeatedly scaring the other patrons on bus to meeting a couple who started dating after her boyfriend mentioned she looked exactly like the character in the novel he had written (it was freaky how alike they looked), you never know who you’ll meet. Plus, it’s a great place to finally meet all those gamers you’ve been playing with online and finally buy them all those beers you owe them for all the bets you lost. – Michelle Castillo

The Smaller Exhibition Hall
The highlight of the show floor at NYCC wasn’t the big room, with its deafening Michael Jackson game and crowded publisher  areas and longboxes of back issues. The smaller room–which you had to get to through a weird, snaking tunnel, or go around a food pavilion to reach–was where Artists’ Alley was located, and it was the biggest artist area I’ve ever seen at a major convention. Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie were holding court; there were perpetual long lines at the Fabio Moon/Gabriel Bá table (and they even debuted a new minicomic); the octogenarian Gene Colan and nonagenarian Irwin Hasen were cheerfully meeting their fans. It was lovely to see. – Douglas Wolk

Overheard Lines
“That’s what they always say about the comics business: Nobody gets rich, but everybody gets paid.” – OH by Douglas Wolk

“Hey, you’re not as fat as you said you were!” – Online gamers meeting for the first time, OH by Michelle Castillo

The Games (More on Techland: #NYCC Rolling Diary)
DC Universe Online may restore my faith in the comic book video game. I can already tell you that I will spend most if not all of my time just using the character creator to perfect my ideal brooding vigilante. Somehow the Super Hero Squad Online game looks like fun. I really don’t like the whole Squad brand but then it’s not really aimed at me is it? Still, the promo video made it look fun and the creators claimed that they will keep adding more and more obscure characters as the game goes on, which I can get behind. Oh, and the original X-Men arcade game is coming back to next gen consoles. That will be downloaded wether I like it or not.– Mike Williams

The DC Universe Online role-playing game has been pushed back to early next year (it’s in beta now), but the panel for it was packed, and the demo they showed looked fantastic. It’s clearer than it had been before that Jim Lee is really into that project–this discussion was mostly about the character creation mechanisms, and he talked about making sure the characters’ outfits and movement trails are color-coordinated. It’s also curious how much of the language the game developers use for talking about MMPORGs is straight out of “World of Warcraft.” – Douglas Wolk

Lack of Movie and TV Presence
This is New York, not San Diego. We don’t waste time talking about movies. – Mike Williams

At Least There Was Some Movie/TV Presence
I’m going to respectfully disagree with my colleague. I know it’s a comic book convention, but I really like knowing all about the new movies that are coming out, talking to filmmakers about their techniques and seeing the brand new trailers and footage. Monsters, a new Independent film about human relationship in a time where there’s aliens trying to kill everyone, had a full house for their panel. Director Gareth Edwards filmed the whole project while traveling from Central America to the United States, employing only a producer, a translator, a sound person, himself and two actors – and had everyone else around them improv their parts. For those who like zombies, The Walking Dead revealed some footage from the upcoming show, which marks the much needed genre of zombie-themed television that will air October 31. Though fans eagerly wanted to know more about TV and film projects, there was plenty of stuff to mull about. – Michelle Castillo

The Cosplay (More on Techland: Photos from the Masquerade Ball at NY Comic-Con 2010)

While I enjoy dressing up on Halloween, I have to applaud the people who are brave enough to dress up like their favorite comic book character – and wear that costume with pride no matter how skimpy the outfit is. Some of my favorites? Proof that the family that cosplays together stays together: The Avengers (Dad was Captain America, Mom was Black Widow and their baby was Thor. The hammer was too big for the child to hold.) Definitely made me smile: Perfect Rorschach outfit with a sign that said “Free Hugs.” Couple That’s Meant To Be Together: Molotov Cocktease and the Monarch from  Venture Bros. (Both donned homemade costumes. What a great idea for a date night!). – Michelle Castillo

Cheap Comics
It’s fascinating to see how quickly the trade paperback side of comics is churning right now. Marvel, in particular, seems to be remaindering a lot of their line only a few months after it’s published–if you went over to the dealer side of the room, you could find nearly any Marvel paperback from the past few years for five or six dollars, and by the end of Sunday, several dealers were blowing them out at 3 for $10.  – Douglas Wolk

New Comics (More on Techland: Techland’s Comics and Digital Piracy Panel–Transcribed!)
The easy winner for me was the news that Astonishing Captain America, a new five issue series, will be written by Andy Diggle and drawn by… wait for it, Adi Granov. Praise be. Other good news from Marvel was a new Moon Knight series by Bendis and Maleev as well as Iron Man 2.0 featuring War Machine and written by upcoming star Nick Spencer. On the DC side Scott Snyder will take a turn on Detective Comics with artist Jock in a story that will stay true to the title of the book. I’m also looking forward to a few spinoff stories from last year’s comic/novel “45” by Com.X. – Mike Williams

As usual, the 2000 AD booth was a little oasis of crazily good British comics that don’t often make it over to the States. They were also debuting the American edition of Al Ewing and Flint Henry’s way-out-there zombie adventure “Zombo: Can I Eat You, Please?”; Ewing was there, handing out Zombo masks. – Douglas Wolk