Review: New York City Comic Con 2011

New York City Comic Con is a convention worthy of having returning fans and booths.  With a great lay out, fun panels, and a nice size crowd, guests for all sorts of people, games for young and older fans and tons of comic booths and artist for everyone to enjoy, this is not an event that disappoints the attendees.  Every year they try to make it bigger and better, with goals to become as big as San Diego Comic Con. Though, personally, I’d be happy if it stays at the size the convention is at right now.

The panels vary from Comics, TV shows, Cartoons, Anime, Movies.  The size of the panel rooms are not big enough for the people who wish to attend each event, as the lines stretch around corners and down halls, a definite sign of an event that knows how to hold things that people want to see.  Their IGN room is big, though would be filled up with every panel they held.  The small video rooms needed more space as people stood there wanting in, while there was standing room only in the room.

Last year I complained about New York Comic Con blending together with New York Anime Fest, they did this once again this year.  I stand my ground on how I felt before. The convention is big enough as it is and does not need to be merged together.  This is one of my few complaints about the convention as the anime section is not given enough highlight to really be part of the convention.  The artist alley was off to the side and up stairs. There was no other reason to go up there so it was a little background piece that you only knew about if you’re looking for it.

Most of this convention was laid out great, a huge floor divided into three sections easy to move though, aisles were numbered and easy to see.  When looking down upon the dealer room you could tell the different sections apart.

There were a lot of booths giving away swag for the fans who came.  Upon entering the convention, you get a bag with t-shirt, gaming cards, gum and more.  If you know where to go at the convention, you could get other freebies as well, including big bags, comics, LEGOs, and so much more.  One of the booths giving away the most swag was DC Comics as they had three freebie tables with posters, pins, and comics on them.  One of the items given out at the table was LEGO toys.  You only got one when you went through the line and you did not get to choose which one you got.  There was Green Lantern, Batman and Superman.  Superman was the rare one.

I went to a handful of panels this year, with panels I’ve gone to before such as Venture Brothers and Robot Chicken to a few panels I’ve never sat in on before like Dark Shadows and Adventure Time.  The panel I was most disappointed with was Venture Brothers.  I love the TV series and have been attending the Venture Brother panels every year, though this year was my first time getting my dad to their panel only for them to sit up there and talk about stuff no one was really interested in.  They didn’t have anything really planned out, as they just read stupid questions from the internet instead of taking audience questions.  As a fan of the show and someone who really enjoyed their panels in the past it was sad to see how much they did not try in this panel.  They finally opened the floor for questions near the end of the panel making it so not many people who went to the panel were able to take part in asking questions.  While on the other hand the Robot Chicken panel had video footage to share with us, opened the floor to questions early on and was entertaining the full time.

The panel that surprised me the most was the Cartoon Network panel for “Adventure Time” and “Regular Show”.  I’ve gone to a lot of cartoon panels in my many years of going to a conventions, though I don’t normally see them get so lively from the crowd.  People were quoting parts of the shows, a lot of people were cosplaying the characters in the shows, and the ages were wide range from little children to elder adults.  These shows were able to cross over the ages and bring a lot of people together for a fun and exciting panel.  The line was very long to get into this panel and ended up getting capped so people were not able to make it in.  Hopefully next year they may think of putting this into the IGN theater.

I do have mix feelings of one panel I went to, I paid $10 to go see.  It was “Jay and Silent Bob getting old”.  I knew going in that the jokes would be very dirty and a lot of drug talk.  Though I’ve enjoyed some of their films so I had to check out the panel.  The worst thing about it was how long Jay would drag out his sex jokes.  His first story felt like it was going some where, but it started to drag and drag to where we just wanted him to wrap it up so we could see more of the show.  There was no real joke to it, just a big lead on for nothing.  While these type of stories kept slipping into the show some real stories were put in there as well which made it so I did enjoy parts of the show.  Bob told how Jay and him first met, how much Jay was into comic books before he got into drugs and just how bad Jay got with drugs.  We learned that Jay is now clean for over 500 days.  We also learn of a story where Jay was mugged in NYC while Bob got a Bullwinkle poster.  They finished the panel with an acting bit which was fun to watch.

My favorite thing that happened over the weekend was being with my dad as he spent his time at New York City Comic Con.  He brought his Robot Chicken costume and really had a great time.  As soon as the costume was on, people kept stopping him for photos, everyone loved him.  Getting to see him enjoy this time meant a lot to Miki and I.  He brought the costume to the Robot Chicken panel, before the panel started he went up in front of the crowd and entertained everyone while waiting for things to get started.  During the panel he decided to stand up and a person there let him into the question line, but before my dad could get up to ask his question they said the panel was going to end with time for one more question.  The crowd started to chant for my dad to get his question in, since he was still in full costume.  So they decided to do two more questions, leaving my dad for last.  He asked if they were going to do an episode about the Scientist character, which is what his costume is of… and if he could get their autographs.  I don’t think they heard the opening question, though Seth Green yelled out to “Get this man a pen!”   Overall it was a great memory for my dad, which we got photos and videos of.

There are still things that New York City Comic Con could work at fixing up.  One thing I highly recommend for the convention is to take an example from San Diego Comic Con and take a few extra steps to take care of the handicap attendees.  San Diego marks handicap badges, has lines for handicap for panel rooms, and they reserve seats in the panel for handicap people.  This is very helpful for those of us with disabilities.  Another thing is not to hide the Anime section so much, if the convention is being made into one make sure that the Artist alley is more in the open so people realize it’s there.  A good spot would be in one of the halls between IGN and the panel rooms so people have to pass through the area.  And lastly would to have VIPs, Press and Pro badges to have early access to the floor by a half hour or an hour so they can do the set up or interviews they need to before the crowd gets in.  These people are there for more than shopping and would have an easier time doing what they need to do if they can get ready without a crowd of fans rushing in at the same time.

Overall I really did enjoy New York City Comic Con this year.  One thing that really stood out to me was all the people who wore Ninja Turtles, from shirts, backpacks, hoodies to costumes.  Even though there was no Ninja Turtle Booth or event this year, the fans were there in full force showing their support towards the Turtles.  I hope that next year we have some sort of events that reflect upon the new series that will be out around that time.  I look forward to New York City Comic Con 2012 and hope to meet even more TMNT fans there next year!


Photos by Miki Ivey

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