Geeking Out at Comic Con with Andrew Boyle
Note To Readers: If you are not a super fan of comic books, video games or cult films… you’re probably going to get lost in the sea of names that our photographer Andrew Boyle drops as he gushes about all the amazing things he saw at this years New York Comic Con. So if you can’t geek out, get out! Andrew Boyle Reports:
Besides the costumes wandering around Comic Con, it’s all about the panels and the advance previews for products scheduled over the next year. Sprawling across the immense aircraft hanger like main floor (more like 4 of them stacked end to end) are major entertainment companies, video game brands, neighborhood comic stores, cult street-art inspired toy designers through to serious independent collectors.
From the majors, a hands on with Nintendo’s much anticipated Wii-U, dropping late fall, drew long lines. Boasting crisp HD images, it offers the next leap in hand held controller, the familiar Nintendo style design now fused with an expansive touch screen. A secondary tool in some titles, it becomes the key device in others while the TV is secondary, Nintendo teasing their method of making other game companies ‘follow the leader’ in the interaction innovation stakes. Impressive games on display included Tekken Tag Tournament: Wii-U Edition (hilariously throwing instantly recognizable Nintendo power ups) and first person shooter Zombie-U. Meanwhile, Sony put forward a hands-on preview of their own take on Nintendo’s flagship brawler Super Smash Bros called PlayStation All Stars (imagine Krantos going up against Parappa… if you have any idea what that means), as well as a multi-platform DC themed fighting game Injustice by the makers of Mortal Kombat. The game brings together classic superhero names likes of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman and gives them each an opportunity to become a bloody mess. Also exciting were the new Kinect games that were debuted for the X-Box 360, which had convention goers facing off en masse with the next wave of interactive dance games.
Panels are the major drawcard of the weekend, giving fans access to ask burning questions and take in world exclusive previews of upcoming projects. Silent Hill 3D was previewed for a crowd so excited they might have peed in their seats. Cult legend Bruce Campbell (Army of Darkness, Bubba Ho Tep) headed a panel discussion pertaining to the remake of his genre classic Evil Dead, while Julianne Moore (Magnolia, The Kids Are All Right) fronted the panel previewing the first footage from the 2013 slated TV series remake of horror classic Carrie.
To much delight, director James Wan (Saw franchise) previewed the follow up to Insidious, his rollicking enjoyable horror smash, titled The Conjuring.
The giant IGN theater hosted rabid Bat-fans for the world exclusive preview of The Dark Knight Returns Part 2 (the sensational animated adaptation of Frank Miller’s ground breaking graphic novel) Lost’s Micheal Emmerson‘s chilling portrayal of The Joker was the hands down highlight of the preview. Legendary voice casting director Andrea Romano, who has cast everything from Pinky and The Brain, Tiny Toons, the award winning Batman: The Animated Series, through to all 16 of DC’s original animated movies was featured on the panel. Bruce Timm offered insight into the next round of DC animated features into 2013 including Superman Unbound and Justice League: Flashpoint – the story that lead to the events of DC’s gargantuan revamp titled ‘The New 52’. DC presence was more dominant of the big two comic companies, despite all brands holding multiple panels, begging the question of when Marvel will start to really shake things up. Superstar writer Grant Morrison, author/creator of the latest Batman & Robin series, Batman Incorporated and the game changing Batman R.I.P, led a formidable roster of talent on hand for signings.
Retro fans were well catered for with Adam West and Burt Ward offering an often hilarious Q&A centered around their exploits in the 1960’s classic series Batman (West leading the way with healthy doses of innuendo). Christopher Lloyd was on hand as well Princess Leia herself Carrie Fisher.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles had a major presence at the convention, the properties global rights now being owned by Nickelodeon, who’s stake in kids entertainment has waned recently. The new series (voice cast by Andrea Romano) acquired the highest ratings for an animated series this year upon its debut on Sept 29th, the panel consisting of its passionate creators – the once fans of the 1980s adventures now grown up and working the dream job of bringing the characters to a new generation. The eclectic voice cast including Lord of The Rings’ Sean Astin were on hand as new footage was teased, the now 25 years old plus franchise being lapped up enthusiastically.
East met west with Toy companies like Kotobukiya previewing spectacularly intricate vinyl statues based around Justice League, Batman, Star Wars, Tekken and The Avengers. Their Bishoujo line (translating to ‘pretty girl’) put familiar female characters into provocative spins on recognizable costumes, altering the face to an anime appearance. Square Enix added their touch the same with DC properties as well as video game properties like Mass Effect, Street Fighter and Metal Gear Solid through to Disney, while reliable Hello Kitty had it’s stamp on just about everything from Kiss to Street Fighter. Mattel also rode the retro wave continuing their impressive figure range for Masters of the Universe and 80s favorite Voltron. On a more independant tip, NY based stores Toy Tokyo, Kid Robot and My Plastic Heart set up shop offering their wares for the serious toy collector, the Dunny label offered up new variations of it’s long eared plastic form, while you could find a Bearbrick of just about any design. I was excited to see the incredible toy work from artist Ashley Wood and his Three A line, as well as stunning additions from World War Robot and Popbot lines. Local independent businesses (always worth your time to visit) represented including the essential St Mark’s Comics, Bowery and East 6th St’s retro game heaven Video Games New York and Midtown Comics.
And the nostalgia collector was well taken care of, golden age and silver age comics populating much of the far north area of the main floor, where collectors could see a 4.5 out of 10 condition copy Detective Comics #27 (first appearance of The Batman) selling for $75,000 or Action Comics #1 (first appearance of Superman) a mint copy fetching $2 million. Like a Graceland for comic collectors, fans drooled at the Spiderman’s first adventure in Amazing Fantasy #15, Hulk’s debut adventure and the sensational cover for the very first Fantastic Four all tucked away safely behind thick glass.
In summation, this is just the tip of the iceberg, and a supremely dangerous place to let your credit card out for a wander. Let’s just say my coffee table is piled with Grant Morrison penned graphic novels, and my lounge room shelves have given way to some sensationally posed super heroes and Street Fighter characters. It’s all art in the eyes of a geek…
Photos By: Andrew Boyle