NYCC 2016 [Wrap-Up Report]: New York State of Mine.
New York City is often rife with occasions. Two weeks ago, the Big Apple hosted New York Comic-Con 2016, one of the larger, more high-profile comic conventions on the East Coast, and despite having missed it last year, this year I battened down and made my online purchase (where’s my press pass, New York?! I live in New York! C’mon!). I was able to get through the closing day, Sunday, October 9th, but I managed to make an entire geeky weekend out of this annual event.
Saturday saw me finally taking the time to enjoy the Star Trek Experience, a 50th Anniversary exhibit at the Intrepid Air and Space Museum (conveniently located directly across the street from where I work! Sometimes fate works out). Set up right outside the docked aircraft carrier, the Experience offered lots in the way of Star Trek geeky goodness, mainly in the way of interactive exhibits and props on display, and allowed visitors to engage with one of the hallmarks of science fiction in a fun, refreshing way.
Celebrating 50-years of boldly going, the exhibit greeted visitors with a giant model of the original Enterprise. We carried interactive wristbands, which detailed stats and scores for the various activities therein. Early on, my girlfriend sat down for a session of learning Klingon, followed shortly thereafter with my trying out a transporter — merely a live projection of myself from one location to the next. There were a few fans dressed in Starfleet uniforms (confusing, seeing as a lot of visitors though they were employees). Elsewhere, props were on display, and interactive displays of the sick-bay, and some virtual games (try navigating an asteroid field! Practice firing a phaser!) I found myself utterly engaged in the behind-the-scenes trivia, as well as just taking in all the great sights: Original Series uniforms and props, including tribbles(!); PADDs from TNG; authentic Ferengi prosthesis. Coming from the world of production, I always find this minutiae fascincating, and was utterly enthralled.
There were original costumes on display, and there was obviously a great degree of care taken to preserve the tone of optimism, and the vibe of the Star Trek universe (specifically, The Next Generation era). Everywhere were fictionalized accounts of the future history of the human race, and the occasional production history of the series. The culmination of the Experience was a full-scale reproduction of the Enterprise-D bridge from The Next Generation, complete with a star-scape displayed on the viewscreen. It was a great second act to our weekend (the first being a boozy brunch showing of Beetlejuice at the Nitehawk Cinema), and we even stopped by the gift shop for some small souvenirs.
But Sunday, October 9th was the big day, the one I’d paid and waited months for: the New York Comic Con.
Arriving at 10am on the gloomy, rainy Sunday morning, we got inside nearly an hour later, with the lines wrapping themselves around from 35th St. and 12th Ave., all the way up to 40th St. and 11th Ave. We buckled down behind a couple dressed as Constantine and Zatanna, and encountered more than our fair share of Harley Quinns (thankfully, there weren’t too many Sad Hipster Jokers crowding our sights). Directly outside the massive Jacob Javits Center, after get our bags checked and badges scanned, a replica of the cabin from The Evil Dead greeted guests, the falling rain adding an additional layer of eeriness. Once inside…whoof. What a sight to behold! Here, care of photographer Drew Bakke, are some of the better shots of the convention (truth be told, I’m a crappy photographer):
We’d tried to make it to the panel for the new season of The Underground (we were hoping to see Christopher Meloni, but he was indisposed due to Hurricane Matthew and couldn’t make it; alas, there were no pictures during that panel, which oddly touched on relevant cultural and social themes, playing out more like a social lecture than a media panel), and afterwards, I’d hoped to make it to the “Women of Marvel” panel…but the line went on and on and on…with hundreds of people waiting for a chance to get in. I was both disappointed and happy with the fact that there were so many attendees, I wouldn’t be able to get in. Hopefully next time around…should a Press Pass be sent to a New York-based comic geek and reviewer…getting into a panel won’t b e so hectic and scattershot an ordeal
Following the panels, we perused the main floor, contemplating autographs from John DiMaggio (Bender from Futurama, and Jake from Adventure Time, amongst many other voice works), and walking the floor. My girlfriend stopped to purchase a custom shirt, and I took in the many sights, costumes, and fare for sale (specifically, trying to track down Hellblazer back issues). I’d then run into a good friend, who was cosplaying as Duke Nukem. She’d attended the previous few days as Tank Girl, which you can find right here:
Together, we went over to the North Building, where Artist Alley was set up. And, boy, oh boy, was there plenty to feast upon our eyes (and not just in terms of cosplaying guests). After strolling past two aisles, we happened across Chris Hamer and his fantastic, stylized bit of pop-culture infused creations. We purchased seven pieces of fantastic art, which now adorn our apartment, and hopefully will have the chance to purchase more great works from more fantastic artists in the years to come. We can always also look forward to the great visitors and fans as well, those who get decked out in imaginative and fantastic ways, such as this young couple (who also happen to friends of mine and my girlfriend):
The day ended a bit earlier than most others would have expected, but 3pm already saw massive throngs of people leaving early to beat the crowd (it’s hard to beat the crowd when there’s a crowd trying to beat the crowd). But NYCC is a unique beast: in a city that can often be jaded, cynical, and disconnected, there’s something fantastic when everyone comes together for a few hours just to share their mutual love of everything geeky. And with a contentious few weeks remaining up ahead (in regards to politics…whooof…why am I reminded of when Lex Luthor was voted into office?), sometimes we all need to get out, get dressed as our favorite characters, and spend a few hours talking about the highs, lows, and upcomings in regards to pop culture. Stories matter, and this year, the NYCC once again proved that.
Looking forward to next year, even moreso now.