NEW YORK COMIC CON 2015

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AMBER LOVE 12-OCT-2015 I’ve been attending NYCC since 2007 in some capacity. Sometimes as a fan or a creator, but mostly as press. My traveling varies: I’ve commuted from western New Jersey, stayed in Midtown, and commuted from eastern NJ. It’s always exhausting no matter how I do it. One year, I think I only ventured into the show one day and then attended parties the rest of the time. For 2015, I took a moderate approach since I was approved to be press again; I went Friday and Saturday and skipped the parties opting for quiet dinners (shocking, I know!). I think I was back in NJ well before midnight each day.

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I saw the pictures on Twitter of Thursday’s crowds and was pretty shocked. With the con extended to so many days, it was normally a safe bet to attend a weekday with less attendance. Not so for 2015. I don’t know the numbers (I’m sure The Beat will get them), but Thursday looked just as busy as Friday.

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Even though I didn’t have an acute injury to deal with this year like I did in 2011, the amount of walking and standing took a major toll. I had to tend to my pain with medication and was hobbling with an unsteady cosplay cane by the end of the day (it’s good to be traveling with Kingpin). The ferry parking lot in Weehawken was full so we had to park nearly a mile away and take a shuttle; what they didn’t tell us was that the shuttle stopped at 8pm. Gee, thanks. Luckily, there was a considerate bus driver from the last NY Waterway free bus that took us along his regular route then dropped us off at the distant parking lot.

CREATORS & PUBLISHERS:

Fortunately, I got to see a fair amount of the people that I wanted to visit. There are few times when folks like 215ink, Action Lab, Curls Studio, and Dynamite are around. NYCC is basically my only chance to see those creators. I still missed some people who weren’t always at the booths because of specific signing times or panels or simply not attending all days. Still, seeing these specific folks like Ken Haeser, the Perkins Brothers, Andrew DelQuadro, and the entire Action Lab team truly feels like a family reunion. There’s no way I couldn’t love visiting Action Lab, a company founded by my oldest friends in comics.

Plus, I had the rare opportunity to catch up with Paul Allor, Joey Groah, and Chris Sotomayor from Comics Experience. Even though I haven’t been in creators’ workshop for a while, they are my peers, classmates, and always my friends. It’s the most supportive network in comics and I miss the daily interactions. So, hey, I may hate New York, but I get to see many people I love dearly.

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Carolyn Belefski even asked me to sign copies of RISE: COMICS AGAINST BULLYING at her booth so that she’d have copies signed by both of us to sell.

PANELS:

Of the panels I had on my schedule, there was only one that I was bummed to have missed. It was the Prism Comics panel on autobiographical queer comics. Getting through the horde was too difficult and I wouldn’t have made it on time.

“Interpreting the Script”

The first panel I attended was “Interpreting the Script” hosted by Buddy Scalero with John Paul Leon and Jerry Ordway. This panel didn’t lend itself to an audio recording, so there won’t be a podcast for it. Dave Marshall, an editor at Dark Horse, presented page six of an Avatar: The Last Airbender script; Ordway and Leon then took up sketchpads and were tasked with drawing that page to show the differences in how artists interpret panels. It’s a cool concept and if making comics is something you’re interested in, this was a good session to check out.

This panel was in one of the nice sized rooms and without counting specifically, it looked like at least 40% of the audience was women.

Dave Marshall had a couple pieces of great advice for comic writers:

“If it’s not in the script, it’s not gonna be in the art.”

“Don’t put it in the script if you don’t need it in the art.”

A lot of what they covered was some basics about script writing:

  • Panel descriptions should have the most important information; if it’s not important, leave it out.
  • Remember to indicate the time of day and weather for the artist and coloring.
  • Panels have only one action (per character).
  • Page turns were explained.
  • Pacing was explained (less action mean more panels; high action needs less panels).
  • To slow down reading in an action sequence, add a small amount of dialog and sound effects.
  • Always, always, always consider the dialog’s speaking order so that it makes sense for the layout of the characters and the character on the left speaks first.

What the panel was lacking was some preparation. Neither of the artists had seen this script page before. It was a sixth page rather than a first, so things that would’ve been established were missing in the presentation. And they forgot to provide character sheets to the artists, neither of whom knew the Avatar characters/creatures. The missing character sheets brought up a good point about teamwork. The writer and artist of that book know each other well enough they have developed efficient scripts and understand each other without needing to go into tremendous detail.

Other Panels:

Vodka O’Clock 1543 – “Science in Fiction” panel show notes and recording

Coming up:

  • “In My Day We Didn’t Have Cosplay” panel
  • “Action Lab Entertainment – 5 years & what’s to come” panel

I purposely avoided all the major panels where the queue lines needed wristbands and were an hour wait. As it was, I still had to queue for a few of them. The Sci-Fi panel was in a room far too small for the audience and they had to turn away half the people in line.

COSPLAY:

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I DON'T MAKE CASTLE MONEY.
I DON’T MAKE CASTLE MONEY.

Friday I dressed as myself and called my theme “Struggling Writer.” I had momentarily considered wearing my new Planet Gigantic costume, but after seeing Thursday’s reports of the props being confiscated, I’m glad I didn’t try because I would not want my Eye of Shadows staff to be out of my sight all day in NY. Kate the Geeky Redhead was going to have her brand new Dragon Age staff confiscated, but she instead walked it all the way back to her car. The rule was supposedly that wooden props weren’t allowed (nor metal or glass), however I saw Daredevil and other superheroes with wooden batons. It’s crappy how they are so subjective about who gets in or who is told they’re too revealing. It’s not just ReedPop either; this is a general comic con thing that happens.

Saturday of NYCC was the first time in a couple of years that I had the opportunity to do a “couple’s cosplay” theme. In 2014, I also only cosplayed one day to be in the Spiderverse group; this year, I took it easy, stuck to one day, and chose to be Leslie Knope so I could wear real street clothes and be comfortable instead of in layers of lycra. Since Mansugar Joe makes the most excellent Lex Luthor, I asked if he would go along with me being Leslie Knope on the campaign trail and look like we were heading to debates and rivals at the polls. I thought it was hilarious. Only about two people got the joke. But we were cute as hell. Only about a dozen people even recognized who I was anyway but when you aren’t in flashy armor or colorful spandex, you don’t exactly stand out. I love our Knope/Luthor and had a great time doing it.

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I think one of the most memorable cosplay themes I spotted were two women as Maurice Moss and Roy Trenneman from The IT Crowd British comedy. They even had business cards from Reynholm Industries!

There certainly were a lot of Suicide Squad Harleys & Jokers! I’ll say first, everyone looked fantastic. For my real feelings though, I can’t get over the endless glamorization of domestic violence of this coupling. I cosplayed as Harley twice in public and once for a shoot. I only did it at the request of others. I much more prefer Harley and Ivy even though I’ve only read sample pages of them (plus Timm and Conner draw far superior designs of Harley than the garbage in the games and new 52). Joker and Harley make my stomach turn in the trailer of the new SS movie. How many times do we really need her be a victim? I’m so over it. It was one thing when it was a developing part of her story, but now it simply never heals and goes away.

OVERALL:

As usual, I found NYCC to be brutal and difficult to attend. I managed better this year than previously, probably because I had the good sense to cut WAY back on my attendance. No parties. Only two days instead of four. The gorgeous weather helped tremendously. On Saturday, I spent a few hours outside to escape the crowd; unfortunately that meant I couldn’t really sit anywhere because every minute someone else would light up a cigarette and blow it in my face. It was still preferred over that sea of bodies shoving me for miles. The escalators were left on the entire time too, something they usually don’t allow. When people aren’t quite in need of an elevator (or its long wait), the escalator should be an option for mobility and thankfully, this year, it was.

The mobile app was mediocre. It was handy for some basic things like looking up booth numbers. The map on it was uselesss. The “LexCorp” wifi NEVER worked. And the app had something called “Connections” that looked like you would have the chance to share your plans with friends, but I couldn’t figure out how to use it.

It was good to overhear some people talking about selling out of their books. Others looked like they weren’t moving much product at all. I guess that’s to be expected.

I only ate at local restaurants, Thai Select and Tir Na Nog, which are usual stops for me since I know there’s at least one thing on the menus I will eat. I kept up my tradition of being extremely unhealthy at the con and wouldn’t drink water more than a few sips each day because the bathroom lines were a mile long.

As far as any harassment or “cosplay =/= consent”, I didn’t have any real problems. I was groped in one aisle, but honestly, that could’ve been the circumstance of the overcrowding. It looked like a rather young teen boy too, but he never looked back so I’m going to tell myself he was only moving passed and didn’t mean anything gross by it. Once in a sea of nearly 200,000 people is pretty good. I got body slammed a LOT though in the aisles of the main show floor and small press.

Even though I like the smaller size of NY Special Edition, in comparison to that 2015 show, this was actually the one where I had a better time. Special Edition had been moved to a different building which was terrible and my pain issues that weekend were worse. So as far as 2015 goes, NYCC beat out Special Edition – something I never thought I’d say. The A/V of the panels was much better and overall the Javits is a better building and a mile closer to the NY Waterway ferry that goes back to Weehawken. Oh, plus, a couple of my friends raved about the new No. 7 train that just opened a stop at the “Hudson Yards” which is close to the Javits.

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I missed being home with Caico. I got to spend a couple nights getting to know step-cat Pumpkin, but it’s good to be home in my superhero tower (aka being behind a really small desk eating vegan cookies).

5 comments on “Amber’s #NYCC recap with #cosplay photos & panel notes”

  1. I hate to admit this hell I’m a shame to say this but I prefer going to New York comic con I mean traffic is a pain but it’s worth it don’t get me started on San-Deigo it’s like traveling with a tracking device somewhere in your body and you being zapped every time you make a wrong turn very difficult (but if you got enough green and get cheaper accommodations then you’re good) as for me san deigo will have to wait (if it’s there that long) but New York is where as and besides I heard Leto and Ruffalo were there (in disguise) that’s why I want to be there to meet a celeb in a mask and also get comics

  2. This is so awesome Amber, it looks like you had a blast! Crowds can be exhausting but I’m so happy that you were able to reconnect with friends. Your Leslie Knope cosplay is absolutely adorable 🙂 What a bummer that you couldn’t wear your new Queen Neva cosplay due to the prop situation! That staff is gorgeous and I definitely think you made the right call playing it safe. I hate that we all have to assume that rules & policies aren’t applied consistently, and prepare ourselves for the worst-case scenario!

    Definitely agree with your thoughts on Harley Quinn & Joker & glamorizing/romanticizing abuse … quite the opposite, I think, of the commentary that the creators originally intended (circa Mad Love). It’s supposed to be TRAGIC, not ROMANTIC, folks! However, Harley is still one of my favorite characters and I’m currently working on my Suicide Squad Harley cosplay (despite how disturbed I was by the trailer). Your cosplay tutorials and photoshoots are what originally inspired me to work on my own costumes, especially your graciousness in sharing your mistakes and giving advice on how things might be done better the next time around. I can’t say thank you enough!

    • Hey, Selina! Thank you so much for the great comment. I loved being Leslie Knope at comic con! The few people who noticed who I was really were huge fans. Best of luck with your new Harley construction. I noticed that there’s already a shop selling the Property of Joker jacket she wears. Those shoes look SO uncomfortable! LOL!

      Amber

  3. I agree with avi 100% traffic is brutal but New York is where the party’s at and besides I always wanted to meet a cosplsyer or you amber but yeah New York is the place to be. Peace my fellow humans

    • There are a lot of cosplayers, for sure, but honestly, the Baltimore Comic Con gets a LOT of cosplayers too and the harbor is just infinity nicer than NY. Cosplaying in an environment where you can’t even move is annoying to everyone.

      Plus, Someone like me can’t afford a table at a show like NYCC. I’ve only ever done shifts at friends’ tables. There are good parties if you can stand going to bars where you can’t hear anyone. I prefer gatherings where there’s conversation.

      I wish I wasn’t done for the year. I had hoped to present a panel at a show in November in NJ but they declined my application. So I guess I’m not going to be anywhere until next year, budget depending of course.

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