Boy, what a year it was for pop culture. For me, it always feels like the year begins and ends with New York Comic Con, since that’s where I can check out a bunch of panels and it’s like one big celebration of nerdom. This year was definitely one of the best experiences I have had, not just for NYCC but for all my convention experiences.
Please note that I am not a professional photographer so all of the images you’re about to see range from good to awful quality so please bear in mind I did my best. Complain to the smartphone companies — what can I say?
For my recap, I am going to keep and short and sweet — comment on panels and booths I liked, what I felt was an improvement and what could be improved for NYCC 2014.
Friday, I did my general prowling about. Picked up a sweet 10th Anniversary edition of American Gods by Neil Gaiman with a free Doctor Who Vault tote bag to boot. It was as crowded as Fridays usually are so I bailed early when I couldn’t get into any of the desired panels and it was a mess getting through the exhibitors hall so I quit (I was also exhausted from a hard day’s work and I was just not ready for other human beings).
I spent almost all of Saturday with Fenrir (except we waited in separate lines), so if you’d like a detail recap of the Legend of Korra panel, as well as some insight into the Marvel gaming and Once Upon a Time panels, please go ahead and read Fenrir’s recap here. To give the short and long of my personal opinion, I thought the Marvel gaming team is doing a very solid job of pleasing Marvel fans but isn’t pulling much in the way of newcomers but that’s just a personal bias. I like the direction of Once Upon a Time and think that Jennifer Morrison is amazing as are Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz who have steered the show back to superb quality after a questionable second season and Legend of Korra is creating more questions than answers so I hope Mike and Bryan know what they are doing so this doesn’t turn into Lost.
Sunday was a ton of fun as I got to go to two different panels — The Following and Sleepy Hollow. I will say the Q&As were filled with people asking for hugs and photos which is fine but seemed sort of inappropriate when there were people with real questions. The Following will have a second season coming out in January which will be the end of one character’s life and a new love for Kevin Bacon. The cast worked off each other really well and had a lot of fun discussing the various deaths last season which basically made the panel worth it.
Sleepy Hollow, one of Fox’s newest shows, had a massive fanbase at the convention — so much so a girl stole my seat to be closer to the panel because con etiquette was severely lacking this year. The panel showed off some of the amazing new scenes from upcoming episodes and ultimately got the crowd pumped for what would be happening on the show in the coming weeks. I sadly haven’t been avidly keeping up but I’ll try and watch as much of it as I can in the weeks before the finale.
If you have never hit up the publishers booths in the exhibition hall you need to be sure to do so next year. From winning awesome new releases for free to buying some amazing edition books with amazing totes or other items, it is worth the money you’ll spend. Also, there are often times where there will be free releases or early versions at the booths so you can pick them up (they run out fast). I managed to pick up an advanced copy of Dorothy Must Die and the book I’ve been dying to read Doctor Sleep (shout out to the very helpful Simon and Schuster booth people!). More shout outs go to Tasty Peach Studios who were selling adorable swag including two cute t-shirts I bought, and to Hip Hop Candy who have now won over my heart with their delicious homemade lip glosses (their frosted cupcake one is heavenly!).
The organization of the convention was better this year. More ATMS meant less of a hassle and it felt like the aisles in parts of the exhibition hall were wider than before. There was definitely a better variety of food vendors which is great seeing as before it was ice cream, hot dogs, fries, cheesesteaks and whatever random vendor happened to have pocky. There was a Korean food booth — yum! Seriously though, one day I will sit down and write up a post about con etiquette cause I saw many people being rather rude and inconsiderate. There was a lot of litter. A lot.
A huge thumbs up for the tap-badge system. It cut down on badge sharing or faking, easier than constantly flashing your badge and helps improve security checks. I would not mind at all if they chose to bring this system back for a second year, even if it does take a few extra seconds. There didn’t seem to be any issues with the system when I was trying to get in or out. The artist alley was very good thing year but am I the only one who misses the crafts booths? Those were always the best to get cool jewelry and the like.
If there’s something to be improved it is definitely the flow of traffic in specific areas of the exhibitors hall, especially the part on the far right where there’s an awkward corner that makes three way traffic into two-way traffic. There has to be a better method for that. Also designated cosplay photo areas all around the hall would be beneficial rather than just the main one. I know this was in the cons from before but selling alcohol at a Con can cause issues and I know of some friends and colleagues who encountered some not-so-sober-and-rather-belligerent people with Con-bought beers in hand.
Overall, NYCC 2013 was a great convention with lots of amazing, mostly easy to access panel and growing improvements in all areas. I can’t wait to be back next year. Also, one more suggestion — chocolate fountain in the press lounge? Pretty please?