New York Comic Con 2013: Impressions From A Newbie

Lost in Traducción

A few weeks ago, I found myself in the company of  Storm Troopers from Star Warsseveral Daenerys Targaryens from Game of Thronesan assortment of Power Rangers and several variations of the TARDIS (Doctor Who for the uninitiated), along with a host of other fictional characters I didn’t recognize. Sounds like an epic Halloween party right? However, I am actually talking about New York Comic Con.

Billed as the East Coast’s largest fan convention, NYCC is a place for people to celebrate their love of comics, manga, video games, movies, TV shows, movies, among others. About 130,000 people attended this year, myself included. I thought the picture below was a good introduction. Because this has to be the most insane thing I’ve ever been to in my life!

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You may already have heard of San Diego Comic Con, which is easily the most…

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Wednesday Poll

Here is this Wednesday’s Post.  Its about this show:

SHIELD-cast

My Saturday/Hall H Experience aka the Greatest Day of My Life (sorry Tracy)

Saturday was a true tale of the human condition.  A day that spoke much about what makes us different than the other life forms on this planet.  Day four was all about hope and perseverance.

I had two goals on my mind for Saturday.  I wanted to buy one of Blizzard SDCC exclusive toys (shadow illidan) and I wanted to go see the Marvel panel at 6:00pm.

9:45am Saturday July 20, 2013

I headed to the exhibit hall as soon as I could to get in line at the Blizzard booth.  I was delayed a good 15 minutes by the Hall H line crossing in front of our pathway to the convention center.  Upon arriving at their booth, I was told where the line formed and headed to see about 60 people already in line.  The wait for that was going to be a long time and based on what I heard about the Hall H lines, I figured I would cut my losses and just head to the line for the Marvel panel.

9:57am Saturday July 20, 2013

I got in line for Hall H.  I was in line with a few people who had been to the last few Marvel panels in Hall H and they were extremely optimistic about how short the line was this year.  So we began to play the waiting game.

11:13am Saturday July 20, 2013

We wait.  We hope.  We dream of marvelous announcements.  Thankfully, I found a chair that was discarded and I claim it as my own.  I will attend this panel.

1:34pm Saturday July 20, 2013

We continue to wait, hearing news of amazing announcement from other panels, we are all excited to hear what is to come from the Marvel team regarding the next slate of movies.

2:47pm Saturday July 20, 2013

I was starting to get a little nervous about getting in.  We don’t appear to be moving.

4:25pm Saturday July 20, 2013

The nerves are mounting as no one appears to be leaving the other panels in Hall H.  The more people leave, the more people are able to enter the hall.  Still, we have hope.

5:46pm Saturday July 20, 2013

A few people have left, but not nearly enough to make way for the people in front of us in the line.  We will persevere and make it into Hall H.  We have to.

6:02pm Saturday July 20, 2013

It is now clear that we are not going to get into Hall H.  8 hours.  I waited for 8 hours in line and didn’t get into the panel I wanted to.  I have experienced my first comic con fail.  I headed back to the hotel and checked out information online about the upcoming movies and I am extremely excited.

Even with all this being the case, this was easily still my favorite day of SDCC.  On the way to the exhibit hall at around 9:40am, it happened.  The one thing that had never fathomed actually occurring really happened.  I am honestly not the type of person to get star struck.  I met a few celebrities this year and it was always cool, but I was never at a loss for words with the interaction.

Then I met Joss Whedon.

I was transformed into the biggest fanboy in the world.  I wanted to play it cool and not ask for a picture or anything since he was just trying to leave the hotel, but I knew at the very least that I wanted to say something.

Should I just nod my head and say something like “sup” while we walk past each other?

Should I say something more sincere and heartfelt?

Play it cool Eugene, play it cool.

Oh crap, we are getting close to each other and he sees me staring at him.  It’s put up or throw up time.  Quick brain, do something.

“Hey Joss…sorry to interrupt you.”

“Hey, what’s up?”

“I just wanted to tell you that I am a huge fan and you have inspired me to tell more stories.”

“Oh, thanks.”

“Also, I love you.”

“Uhh, thanks man.”

Then I realized that we were both going to walk out of the same door before I stopped him, so, instead of following that interaction up with me trailing him outside, I pulled my phone out and started pretending like I was doing something while he left the hotel.

Playing it cool: mission accomplished.

Still though, I met Joss Whedon.

Joss. Freaking. Whedon.

It made standing in line for 8 hours with no pay off totally worth it.  I mean, I wish I had gotten into Hall H, but I can now honestly say that I have gotten to meet one of my role models.

Overall, my SDCC experience was really amazing.  I know I am going to do all that I can to make it out here next year too.  It is my hope to bring some more folks from Denton with me next year too so I can help them navigate the area, deal with feeling overwhelmed, and truly get their geek on at comic con.

Tips For Your Next Geeky Adventure

How to Walk in Crowded Con Space

In her book titled On Looking: Eleven Walks with Expert Eyes, Alexandira Horowitz describes the art of walking in very crowded spaces.  She focused on crowded sidewalks in cities, but this is very applicable to walking in very crowded convention spaces too.  The wonderful thing about this is that it is based on actual research too.  It all boils down to three key ideas…avoidance, alignment, and attraction.

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Funnily enough, I naturally did some of this when I was in San Diego this summer.

Yup, I am a natural.

  1. Avoid bumping into others (while staying comfortably close). What counts as “comfortably close” — an animal’s “personal” space — will vary by species; what is similar for all animals is that if you follow only this one rule, it forces you to attend and react to the behavior of those in your vicinity. And that is the essence of what is called swarm intelligence: everyone must make movements that are sensitive to everyone else.
  2. Follow whoever is in front of you. “Whoever” need not know where she is going: she may herself be following another. And so on and so on, until you reach the very head of the pack. Even there, the animal at the leading edge is neither leader nor sovereign. In flocks and schools, the role of leader is constantly changing hands. For only a moment will she determine the group’s direction.
  3. Keep up with those next to you. Everyone must speed or slow with attention to those around them. This seems like an impossible calculation, until you realize how little effort you have to pay to walk next to someone else down the street, never once considering how you will be able to keep at the same pace.

How do you get around the crazy crowded spaces of cons?

SDCC – The Flight and Preview Night

Day 1 – Wednesday July 17th (The Flight)

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After waiting at my gate for a few minutes, I could tell something was going to be different about this flight.  I was surrounded by a lot of different people that were freely allowing their geek flag to fly.  I saw a variety of hats, shirts, bags, and shoes that were plastered with movie, comic, or video game properties.  My flight was going to get me to San Diego a few hours before preview night started.  Preview night is (explain preview night).  Our flight was overbooked, as is often the case, and when the airport staff made an announcement saying this, it was no surprise that the masses of SDCC fans who were hoping to attend preview night did not budge.

This feeling continued when we boarded the plan.  I heard one conversation in first class about Walt Simonson and another about GLaDOS and when I got to the regular seating, I hear even more conversation about Marvel movies in general, what autographs were most sought after and which “off-site” SDCC events people were looking forward to attending.  I was finally amongst my people.  Normally, I am not much of a “talker” on plane rides, but the woman I was sitting next to changed that on this flight.

Her name was Janna and she is a massage therapist from Dallas.  After I sat down, she asked if I was going to “the con.”  When I told her I was and that it was my first time, we talked for about an hour about SDCC and geekdom in general.  She told me she has been attending cons for the past ten years and this is going to be her 5th time attending SDCC.

It was a really cool conversation and laid out the first seeds of just how huge this was actually going to be.  I think she told me a few times, “it is alright to be overwhelmed.”  Although I believed her and everything, I did not know quite how true those words were going to right true before the day ended.

Day 1 – Wednesday July 17th (The hotel and Preview night)

Upon landing, I got my bags and headed to the hotel to meet up my friend Brian MacDonald who works up at Rutgers University in New Jersey.  He spearheads their amazing Geek Week (https://geekweek.rutgers.edu/) and does some really awesome stuff up there for their students.  This past year, they even had the Nerdist himself, Chris Hardwick as their keynote speaker.  Check out their site to get a sense of the amazing things happening up in New Jersey.  Once I got settled in our room and met his brother and soon to be sister in law, Brian took me to the convention center for registration and preview night.

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One of the coolest moments of my entire life was seeing my nametag with one amazing word written below it.  PROFESSIONAL.  Well mom, I finally made it…I am a professional geek and I have the nametag to prove it.

After that, we headed to the exhibit hall.  With it being preview night, I walked in knowing that there were not going to be too many people with passes that could get them into the exhibit hall that night.

SWEET

MOTHER

OF

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So, I was wrong.  The first thing that struck me was the size of the exhibit hall.  There were rows marked off by the hundred (100, 200, 300, etc.) going all the way to five thousand.  5-0-0-0. Sheesh there was a ton of stuff there.  I was legitimately overwhelmed (and I mean that in the best possible way).  I wanted to split myself into a thousand different people so I could go try everything.  I also wished each of those versions of me were rich so I could go buy everything.  Seeing booths of products/companies I had only ever seen online was amazing.  Seeing the intricate cosplay on display was breathtaking.  It was just…amazing.  I spent about 3 hours walking around looking at stuff.  I was experiencing such sensory overload that I do not think I took a single picture for the first hour or two.  The exhibit hall was pretty spectacular.

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From there, I headed up to the preview screenings (in Ballroom 20, the second largest room after the legendary Hall H) and caught the last half of Almost Human and the first ¾ of The 100Almost Human was pretty awesome.  A good mix of action and humor while still be extremely intriguing regarding where the story will go.  It is not too much of an original story (honest cop in the future who doesn’t trust machines), but it is a very interesting take on this story.  I will definitely be watching this in the fall. Check out IGN for a full review of the premiere (http://www.ign.com/videos/2013/07/18/almost-human-premiere-review-comic-con-2013).

That was followed up by a few short trailers for new shows and then the premiere of The 100.  This was a show that is very much a CW show.  If I end up watching this, it will be one of those “guilty pleasure” shows.  It wasn’t good.  There were a few parts that you could tell were not meant to be funny, but the whole Ballroom was laughing at together.  It was still fun and a little interesting.  We will see on this one I guess. Check out IGN for a full review of the premiere (http://www.ign.com/videos/2013/07/18/the-100-premiere-review-comic-con-2013).

After that, I was pretty much exhausted, so I headed back to the hotel and met up with my roommates.  Who knew that spending five hours being a professional geek would be so exhausting?

The greatest trip ever aka the four days I blew up my own Facebook feed #SDCC

San Diego Comic Con.  I have heard called a lot of names before.

Geek Mecca

Nerd Prom

Heaven

It is a place that, since I first learned of its existence, I have wanted to attend.  So much news comes out of SDCC each year, it is staggering.  I have legitimately taken time off work in the past to keep up with the coverage on G4TV (RIP Attack of the Show), IGN, and a host of other outlets.  I have never been to a convention before, so I did not expect to have my first one be one of the biggest.

This one was extra special to me though since I was not only a first time attendee, I was also lucky enough to be on a panel called geekED: Celebrating geeks in education.  In addition to presenting, I got to experience the SDCC joys of standing in a great many long lines, I was able to see some amazing panels, and I was lucky enough to meet some pretty amazing celebrities.

Over the next few weeks, please join me as I recap for you, my dear GeeKon Record reader, what all I experienced when I made this most holy of trips.