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Thursday, October 9, 2014

New York Comic Con 2014 - Day One

The con didn’t open up until noon today, so getting up at 9:30, I figured I had plenty of time to get there. Sadly, I never had a chance to get my stuff together last night and so I had some last minute additions to my con agenda to make. A stop at the ATM, at Dunkin Donuts and to the eye doctor to pick up my new glasses and I didn’t get on the ferry until 1pm. I got in pretty quickly, though, and went straight to the book booths so I could get all the schedules. Of course, it would have helped if I actually read them when I got them.

 For those of you that have not been to the NYCC, it is becoming a media circus. San Diego is the largest con in the country and I believe New York is trying to rival San Diego. It used to be a lot more about comics, but now the biggest draw is the celebrity autographing. Here are some of the big celebrities in attendance: Edward Norton, Christian Slater, Karl Urban, Keri Russell, Lucy Lui, Michael Keaton, Mike Tyson, Ron Pearlman, Lucy Lawless, Adam West, cast of The Walking Dead, cast of Star Trek, the Karate Kid and a lot of others. Not a big Star Wars year, though, probably because of Disney buying the franchise. There are actors from so many TV shows as well, like Robot Chicken, Archer, Once Upon a Time, The American’s Bob’s Burgers, Arrow, The League and Bitten among others.

In addition to all the media celebrities, there are a ton of comic guests and a separate book track. Comic Con used to share the Jacob Javits center, but now it fills the whole place. There’s a section for the book publishers, comic publishers, game company, comic book dealers, autographing tables and panel rooms. The autograph tables and panel rooms are all downstairs. There is a wing that is Artist’s Alley where the artists will sell their artwork, mostly comic art work, but not entirely. The place is huge and not a little crowded. Although, it will be worse the rest of the event.

So what is the book track like? Well, I’ll tell you. First off, the big publishers in attendance are Penguin, Random House, HarperCollins, Hatchette, Simon and Schuster, Disney, Chronicle Books, TOR, and Baen Books. They do have in booth signings, but it’s not all day long. Most of the booths will have only three or four during the day. Most of the booth signings are free, but for Simon and Schuster, you have to buy the book. Penguin is giving away tickets each morning for the signings that day and if I am not mistaken, you can only get one ticket for the day. But I got a ticket for a signing at 3pm and there were two authors and one of the authors signed two books. There’s not really a whole lot of signings I’m interested in this year.

There are also galleys to be had, but these are also few and far between. Every booth scanned my badge when I got a galley and some of them limited the number. For instance, Penguin was giving away four galleys, but you were only allowed two. Penguin is giving away Amber Benson’s up-coming release and there was a girl asking about it. They are giving it away tomorrow, but the girl will not be in attendance. She begged and pleaded for a copy, but Penguin would not budge. They said they don’t put out the better galleys because last year there were galleys given away on Thursday that were on eBay before the end of the con. Some of the con goers were also remarking that people have been known to grab multiple copies. So they are really tightening up the whole galley drop process. So while I did get a good number of books, I by no means got a ton. I picked up 13 books today and only five of them were signed. I need to make sure I get in on time tomorrow, though because Maureen Johnson is signing in booth at 11:00.

As far as the panels go, I don’t even bother anymore. In order to get into a panel, you have to line up at least an hour before the panel starts and usually more than that, depending on the panel. So forget anything that is Dr Who, Star Wars, Star Trek, Game of Thrones, anything big. You’ll just never get in unless you don’t mind waiting hours. We’ve tried in the past to make it to a Venture Brother’s panel, Firefly and maybe a couple of others, but it’s no use. We did manage I think four years ago to get in on a panel of Finding Bigfoot. Today I tried to go to a Dystopian panel at 6pm, I couldn’t get near it. It could be because James Dashner was on the panel as well as Margaret Stohl. Usually after the book panels, there is autographing with the authors, but the panel signings are not free. You have to either bring your own book or buy a book there.

So while I had fun walking around today, I was also a little frustrated about the inability to see any panels and the dirt of book giveaways. The other issue is that it is a big event for cosplayers. Some of the costumes are fantastic, but people stop them to take their picture and it is usually in the middle of a busy aisle. Foot traffic gets all bunged up. And I get irritated with the people who are either doing the mall walk shuffle or just come to a dead stop in the middle of the aisle for no damn good reason. There are unused spaces to congregate, people! Look lively!

You might wonder why I bother with so many irritating things going on. Well, for a geek like me, it is like Mecca. There are so many booths selling pretty much anything geek related. It’s a delight to the eye. Why today I saw a little kid. He couldn’t have been more than five if that and he was dressed as Robin from Teen Titans. He was actually posing for photos and I mean full on hero action stance poses! It was awesome!! If you’re lucky enough, you can see some great panels and if you don’t mind paying and waiting in line, you can get a lot of celebrity autographs. And there are con exclusives. A lot of the manufacturers have exclusives only available at shows. For instance, Hallmark has a con Star Wars ornament every year that you can only get at one of the big shows. This year it was the Wampa and for $35.00 I just didn’t care that much.

It’s getting late and I need to get some sleep, so I can be bright eyed and bushy tailed for tomorrow. Stay tuned for more…


  1. Looks and sounds like an amazing event, I look forward to reading/seeing more.

    1. After day two, my feet are so totally killing me. I didn't get so many pictures today, but will post what I did take. And today and tomorrow, hubby is with me.