New York Comic Con is always an experience to say the least, but this year it was much different for me. My grandfather passed away just before the convention began, and my wife and I spent the first two days of it in Virginia to attend his funeral. The idea of gawking over toys and taking pictures of super heroes didn't seem that important to us. It was one of the hardest things I've ever been through in my life, and the idea of sitting on the couch for the next few days and decompressing sounded really good. But then we talked about it on the drive back home and we decided that it was important for us to go. We needed a break from the loss we had just experienced, and when you really think about it, that's exactly why stuff like this exists in the first place. People read comic books and play video games and watch movies as a way to escape their own lives even for a brief moment. For an hour or two a day you don't have to think about the job you hate, or the bills you owe, or anything else that may trouble your head. You can live vicariously through vast stories in complex worlds and everything that bothers you just melts away. It's what we needed, so we packed up the car and headed north.
We're really into designer toys so the fact that they made The Block even bigger this year was a plus for us. We got to see a lot of old friends and finally meet people we had known online for years. And we bought a ton of stuff that I will now have to rearrange my house to display, but that's not the worst problem I could have. Here are some random highlights from the con:
1.) We discovered the press lounge.
Every year we wait in line to buy pretzels and then hunt for an open spot anywhere along the floor to sit down for a few minutes. Then we found heaven. The press lounge was about the size of a football field and filled with tables and chairs that sat empty, waiting for us to park our tired behinds in. And they had their own concession stand. And there own bathrooms. The latter of which may not seem important to anyone else, but is the most welcome sight to anyone at comic con. Sharon waited in line for a half hour the first day just to have her shoes soaked with toilet water and pee pee from the floor. Normally I would find that hilarious, but the germaphobe in me was quick to point out that we didn't take separate cars. But the bathrooms in the press lounge were pristine. It was as if they expected Beyonce to show up and drop the kids off at the pool. I felt guilty washing my hands.
2.) We went to our first ever panel.
We've been going to NYCC for years but have never actually attended a panel. So after I had checked our hotel room for bedbugs and dead hookers we perused the guide to see if there was anything that caught our fancy. We were obsessed with the tv show The Following and they were doing something with the cast and creators of the show to talk about the upcoming second season. So we thought ok, if we didn't have to wait in line for three hours we would check it out. Ten minutes before it was scheduled to start we walked right in and got pretty close. The guide didn't actually name any of the cast that would be there so we figured it would be "janitor number 2" or some other random dudes from the show. Oh no, it was THE ENTIRE PRINCIPAL CAST, which includes KEVIN BACON. That's right, I was officially like 1 degree from Kevin Bacon. I still have a bruise in the shape of my wife's hand wrapped around my arm when he took the stage. They showed a preview trailer for the next season and then talked about a bunch of stuff, answered questions, etc etc. It was pretty cool and will probably be the gateway to me attending more panels.
3.) On The Subject of Hotels.
If you think you got an amazing deal on a hotel room at the last minute, you didn't. You will be made well aware of this when you walk in and there are fans everywhere trying to dry out the first floor where your room happens to be and which also had just flooded a few days before. If you are still in doubts about your awesome deal the very rude girl working at the front counter will be happy to let you know with her horrible attitude and by the fact that "the stupid maids forgot to put towels in your room so you'll have to carry them." Your lack of deal will really be driven home by the six rooms on either side of yours that were too water damaged to be rented out and whose doors were left open to air dry and whose floors were covered in flood debris that no one bothered to throw out. I checked a few of them to make sure the smell was just mold and not something that I needed to call the police about. But I'll give them credit, I didn't find any bed bugs, so I actually slept pretty well. And I almost made it out of there without something under the tub giving way while I was taking a shower and the middle of it sinking a few inches beneath me. Almost.
4.) I Love Comic Con.
Seriously I do. They need to find a way to make comic con it's own sustainable community, with apartments and grocery stores. I would love to live at comic con. The booths could just update themselves whenever new stuff came out and it would probably be the happiest place on earth. It could be like the Vatican for nerds.
I'll be posting a lot of pictures up and talking about more of what I saw all week, so check back often.