Oh, crap. New York Comic Con is here.
Don’t get me wrong – I love the show as much as the next comics/TV/movies/gaming junkie, but it just kind of crept up on me, like a guy dressed as Nightman… in the night! And if you’re like me, you’re probably feeling just as unprepared for the the East Coast’s massive celebration of pop culture and might be, just this very minute, scrambling to tick off all of the little things you need to add to your four-day itinerary.
Well fret not, friend! I’m here to help. With this handy list of things to do (and see) while you’re at the show (and beyond), whether it’s your first time or fifth time, you’ll be able to navigate NYCC like a champ.
1. Let This Con-Exclusive Kabuki Statue Stare at You While You Sleep
What’s the point of going to a convention if you can’t pick up a statue of some pale murder lady to watch over you at night? While I’ve never gotten the appeal of statues myself (I’m more of a connoisseur of poseable action figures), there’s something to be said of reproducing the stylish art of David Mack in three dimensions.
This Femme Fatales Unmasked statue is limited to 100 pieces, so if you want to pick one up, you’ll have to make a beeline for the Diamond Select booth where you can satisfy all of your not-so-secret toy hoarding needs.
2. Go See the Killer Fish Movie From Japan
We’ll have a couple of smaller movie and TV show panels on this list, but in general you should just go ahead and avoid the big, glossy panels featuring mainstream productions and their stars (it’ll all be online the next day, anyway), and check out indie panels instead (which might also end up online, but they’re typically more fun).
Anyway, the best way to describe Gyo: Tokyo Fish Attack Movie is it as an “animated amphibious murder fish porn set in the streets of Tokyo.” And if that’s not something you’re into, then I don’t know if we can be friends.
3. Support a Dredd Sequel in the Best Possible Way: Through the Conspicuous Purchase of Swag!
Look, I’m going to level with you: the chances of the Dredd sequel getting made are slim given how the very excellent first movie cratered at the box office. But let’s try to be optimistic: even if grassroots efforts for Firefly or The Sarah Connor Chronicles fell on the deaf ears of heartless studio executives, there’s always a chance that buying a shirt might convince Lionsgate to sequel-ize the Karl Urban kill-opus.
4. Get Drunk With Image Comics
Ever wanted to get tore up from the floor up with some of your favorite independent comic creators? For charity, no less?
Image, in conjunction with Multiversity Comics, is throwing a 21-and-up party on Friday from 8:00PM-1:00 AM at Stitch on behalf of the Hero Initiative. So for a good cause, you can tell that way-too-talented Kieron Gillen to his face just what you think of him or bug Jimmie Robinson about fulfilling your dream of having your head drawn on Bomb Queen’s body.
5. Go Dark With This Exclusive Man of Steel Figure
Sure, Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel was one of the most morally vacant and thematically incoherent movies of 2013 – but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a sweet new Play Arts Kai figure featuring the Superman redesign.
This $79.99 figure from Square Enix’s high-end toy division looks pretty cool and includes a second set of hands, possibly so the new movie Supes can look down at them, aghast at the horror of his first kill.
6. Kevin Smith Probably Has Opinions About the Latest Crop of Superhero Movies – And You Probably Want to Hear Them!
Smith is bringing a live version of his Fatman on Batman podcast to Caroline’s on Thursday night (details on the TicketWeb site). The Clerks writer-director may have given up on evolving as a filmmaker, but he sure does give good talk.
Note: he’s bringing along his goons from the retail minstrel show Comic Book Men, which, depending on who you are, might either sweeten or break the deal.
7. Talk Yourself Into Finally Getting a Wii U
Or, you know, remember that you have a Wii U as you hit up the Nintendo booth during the show and play platform-exclusives The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD and Bayonetta 2. The increase in game content at NYCC has been gradual over the years, so it still feels like a cool treat to be able to get hands-on time with some of the Big N’s fall offerings outside of SDCC, or PAX, or PAX East, or Wonder Con.
What I’m saying is Nintendo is everywhere.
8. Spend Some Time With a Misanthropic Dungeon Master
…and not just the one who won’t let you re-roll your ranger’s stats because he’s such a control freak and oh god, I’m going home because I quit, Greg!
Ahem, no, you should check out Zero Charisma, the indie dramedy from director Andrew Matthews. If you think that a film can’t wrest pathos from one man-child’s attempt to dominate his D&D crew, then you haven’t seen this poignant and somewhat dark festival hit.
9. Let Your Marvel Fandom Flag Fly With These Con-Exclusive Tees
I genuinely didn’t know what the logo that first shirt was supposed to be representing. The X-Men’s alien foe the Brood? Captain Cthulhu? Nope, that’s from the Spider-Man 2099 relaunch, looking far more odd and mutant-y than I remember (but apparently, my memory is terrible, so there you go).
The Spidey 2099 shirts being sold by Midtown Comics joins chest-area coverings for Captain Marvel and… U.S. Agent?
Okay, seriously, discount Captain America is shirt-worthy?
10. Hang Out With a Bunch of Hard-Partying Cosplayers
Midtown Comics is sponsoring a cosplay after party with “Heroes of Cosplay” judge and all-around awesome lady Yaya Han in attendance. Costumes aren’t exactly required, but then what kind of jerk goes to a cosplay party out of costume?
You can find more details on the NYCC Cosplay Afterparty Facebook page.
11. Drop Everything and Queue Up for the Bob’s Burgers Panel
This one’s happening Friday night, and it’s likely the Empire Stage hall will be filled to capacity with all of the media events that went on before. Still, if you can somehow squeeze yourself into this panel for the Emmy-winning show, you’re in for a treat.
The show’s cast will be on hand, likely telling dirty jokes and ignoring your requests to say something in character for your outgoing voicemail message. Or maybe they’ll do it because H. Jon Benjamin is a goofy, brilliant bald nutjob.
12. Get Someone on the Record About the Correct Pronunciation of “Ggrapptikk Grunts”
And while you’re at it, why not pick up one (or both) of these Power Lords action figures from Four Horsemen. Of course, as with all show exclusives, these will be available in limited quantities with the added bonus of only being available for a limited time: you’ll have to snag one of these pink and purple bad boys between 1:00 and 4:00 at the Onell Designs booth (#102).
Look, you probably don’t even know what a “Power Lord” is and you’re already thinking of getting one of these. But who are we to say you shouldn’t go with that crazy, spend-y instinct?
13. Get Cookie Monster’s Autograph
Well, not the Muppet, per se – voice actor David Rudman will be attending the con on Saturday and signing along with hundreds of other performers, creators and geek personalities that you might have been clamoring to meet for years.
Oh and don’t worry: it’s absolutely okay for you to go glassy eyed for a minute or two when you’re in the presence of, say, Stan Lee, because you want to tell him how much his contribution to comics means to you. Just don’t ask him to sign your Stripperella DVD because, man, really?.
14. Go to a Workshop or Educational Panel (AKA, It’s Okay to Learn Something At NYCC)
The Mary Sue will be presenting a panel on geek representations in media while animator Tim Fielder will be conducting a workshop around sketching for beginners – so why not expand your mind a little, friend?
It might be great to have an exhaustive knowledge of how many times Shatner crosses and uncrosses his legs in Star Trek, but wouldn’t it be great to dig a little deeper into the pop culture you so love? Or better still, learn how to create something of your own?
15. If Members of Westboro Church Protest, Conduct a (Peaceful) Counter-protest
The hate group typically attempts to spread their message of intolerance (via their vicious, cruel reading of the Bible) during San Diego Comic-Con, ultimately sparing NYCC attendees their noxious presence.
But on the offhand chance Fred Phelps and his joyless brood make their way to the Javits Center, why not offer a peaceful counter-protest to drown out their message of hate. Hell, even if they don’t show up, why not hold up a couple of signs calling for tolerance, love and hope?
16. Pester Valiant About the Return of Rai and the Future Force
The return of the Valiant line has been both exhilarating and a little anxiety-inducing for this OG comics fan. First off, some characters like Turok, Magnus and Solar remain in a rights tug-of-war, making the revamped universe feel incomplete. Plus, nostalgia dictates that I wonder when the books and characters I was really into back in the day will make their return.
So do me a favor: hit up the Valiant panel on Saturday and bug the creators about the return of the Spider Aliens, the Blood of Heroes, and when we’ll see Mothergod in all of her half-naked, timeline-murdering splendor.
17. Do Take a Ton of Cosplay Photos; Don’t Be a Dick About It
A general rule of thumb: if you want to snap a photo of someone who’s created an excellent costume, politely ask if you can do so. But don’t use that as an opportunity to leer/get grabby/say something you wouldn’t say to your mom or sister.
New York Comic Con hasn’t embraced a uniform code of conduct for attendees, and it sucks that we still have to state the obvious on this front, but let’s state the damned obvious on this front: the men, women, boys and girls who dress up for the show aren’t doing it for you and aren’t obligated to respond to your attentions. Admiration is great, photos are better, but dickery is unacceptable.
18. If You Can Hit Up an Adult Swim Panel, Do That
Dan Harmon will be there pimping his new animated series Rick and Morty, while Brad Neely will attend in the hopes of getting you to re-enroll for the second season of China, IL. How can you not want to hear these crazy people talk about their shows?
Harmon in particular is an effusive and energetic storyteller, and he (and co-creator Justin Roiland) will surely add tons of digressions about the creation of his first project with Adult Swim.
19. Don’t Buy Anything.
Know what that thing is up there? Neither do I, but we probably both want to buy one, don’t we?
Commerce is the lifeblood of a convention and I don’t want to take any money out of any retailer’s mouths, but… I don’t know, maybe don’t spend any money this year?
Or how about this: plan to spend less. I know we’ve listed a bunch of exclusives vying for your hard-earned dollar, but consider, for once, just walking off of the show floor with nothing in your hands. Just for one of the days you’re there. Don’t be the guy or girl who has to play a brutal game of luggage Tetris because that MIB Inhumanoids figure needed a home.
Your ever-dwindling shelf space and wallet will thank you for it.
20. Seriously, Go to Chinatown
Here’s the thing: if you get to the show on Thursday and try to hit everything, by let’s say Saturday at 1:00 in the afternoon, you’ll be a floppy, exhausted, hungry mess.
So leave. Walk out. Take advantage of the easy to navigate NYC subway system and check out something else in town. Maybe Chinatown (hit up Saigon Bakery if you know what’s good for you). Just get away from the Javits Center for a couple of hours and stuff your face and belly with something besides a $7 pizza slice. Your gut and your mental well-being will thank me.
For a full list of events, check out the New York Comic Con schedule.