Friday, November 20, 2015

NYCC: Finale...

So, wrapping up NYCC with the last three things to cover: Panels, show floor, and cosplay…Oh, and I apologize for the mess that is the layout. I've spent an hour fiddling with it. Blogger really sucks these days....
I didn’t do many panels this year. I keep promising I will if, for no other reason, that sitting down on a chair for an hour is a really excellent idea after being on your feet all day. But the timing never seemed to work out. Plus, there wasn't that much that interested me. But I did manage to do three.

There were a lot of Harley Quinn's. Lots.
I went to a panel on journalism and geek culture. If nothing else, I won’t be quitting my day job any time soon as they all said, without fail, you better love it because the pay is terrible (or non-existent). It’s an interesting subject because it’s a very gray area. There are things that really do need covering – such as sexual harassment in the industry. But it can be hard to cover given how lots of people don’t want to go on the record for fearing of losing work opportunities or suffering online harassment, that many reporters are hoping to break into comics and don’t want to burn bridges, and that major publishers like DC and Marvel can quickly cut access to a website if they don’t like their coverage.
I mainly wanted to meet Jill Pantozzi, who is a great geek journalist, but also her writing about feminism in geek culture is top notch (her editorial on why the Mary Sue, a site she used to edit, was dropping all Game of Thrones coverage because they were tired of all the rapes is worth reading). I’ve always considered myself a feminist. You don’t spend four years at the Muse and not be one. But you can always learn more. Pantozzi and a handful of other feminist writers have educated me a lot in recent years. I just wanted to tell her that.
I went to the Firefly panel. I didn't say I got close to the stage.
I also went to the Firefly panel. The line for that was silly, just in case you thought interest in the show was waning or anything. 

That Saturday morning there were lines for a half dozen panels in the main boardroom. The biggest was for Jessica Jones, then Firefly, then X-Files. And really, the cast are pros at this. They’ve done dozens, if not hundreds of these by now. There’s literally nothing new about their time on the show they can add. But they can tell stories and charm people like nobody’s business.
Plus, they seem to genuinely like each other. If there really is ever another Firefly show (and who knows what Joss Whedon is working on right now), you know they would all jump at the chance to be back at it. So that’s something.
Finally, I went to an art auction on Saturday evening. Not really a panel, but it’s fun to go to them…if you can keep your head. Which I did. Most of the pieces went for a few hundred dollars, although some went higher. The highlight was a beautiful painting of Jean Grey/Phoenix. This is the way the auction went.
He really did look like Chris Helmsworth.
Which helps when cosplaying.
Auctioneer: Oh, let’s start the bidding at….$400
Bidder #1: $6,000!
Gasps from the audience.
Auctioneer: Um, wow, ok. Do I hear…
Bidder #2: $7,000!
Gasps from the audience.
Auctioneer: Um, ok. $7,000 going once…going twice…sold.
Entire thing lasted about 30 seconds. Hilarious. I believe the auction raised about $40,000 for a local kids hospital.

Fezes are cool. I read that somewhere.
I’m always asked what you can buy at a comic con. It’s an exaggeration to say anything, but man, there’s a lot of stuff that can do damage to your wallet. Yes, you expect comics and toys to be for sale there. T-shirts…sure. Original comic artwork. Video games.
But fez? Yup.
How about lingerie? Sure.
I didn’t photograph it, but Swatch had a booth there. There was a booth selling knitting patterns for geek related apparel. Cosplay supplies. Armor. Fake weapons….there’s so, so, much stuff you can buy. (I still maintain a TARDIS flask was potentially very, very dangerous…if it’s actually bigger on the inside).
I did my resist resisting a lot of it. If I was going to buy a graphic novel, it had to meet one of three criteria: It had to be 50% off US cover, it had to be out of print, or the creative team had to be at the con for them to sign it. That saved my ass a lot. As for other stuff, I had the walk away rule. If I really wanted it, I’d find my way back. Again, saved my ass a lot.
Was not kidding about the lingerie. Did not buy any. I
value my life.
My Waterloo came wandering around and finding a big display selling the BB8 toy robots that are controlled by your phone. I’d already asked around a few places in New York that week and most were polite enough not to laugh. So I asked the guy playing with the BB8 if they had any for sale or if they were just taking orders.
Clerk: Oh no, we have lots. Do you want one?
Me: Fuck. Sigh Yes, give me one.
I’d been resisting buying anything from the new Star Wars because, hey, I’m not convinced the movie is going to be any good yet. As for BB8, what if the character is not adorable, but an asshole? What if he makes Jar Jar Binks look delightful and charming? Anyway, I’m currently using it to torment the dog.
I include these pair of Doctor Who cosplayers
because they are adorable and awesome.
But everyone is running around trying to find something cool, or lining up to get an exclusive. The craziest was the Funko Pop Vinyl booth. If you wanted to get any of their exclusives, this was what you had to do.
-          Get in line at the holding pen.
-          Once the doors opened 10am, you got in another line in the holding pen area to wait to get a wristband, which they gave out at 11 am.
-          Once you got the armband, you could go upstairs to their booth where you could, yes, get in line. They would then give you a list of what Funko products were available. Which then you got the privilege of buying.
Yes, that is crazy, but lots were doing it. I decided early on that as charming as I find the toys, I didn’t need their exclusives quite that bad.
I also didn’t need the Alien chestbuster Christmas ornament exclusive that Hallmark was selling, either. No, I’m not kidding. I was tempted by the plushy of Han Solo frozen in carbonite, though. So I have no high ground to occupy.
This Funko figure, alas, was too big to take
It’s possible to wander the show floor and just look stuff and pick up the many freebees, but you need to have some deeply serious will power. Or have no money. That works too.

Finally, we have cosplayers. Everybody should go to a comic con just for the cosplayers. These aren’t people who think they get an extra day to celebrate Halloween. They are into the character they are dressed as. They sometimes spend months working on a costume. They’ll pose, re-enact scenes. And they are normally very generous in their time by posing for photos. You just need to be polite and ask. Then thank them afterwards and compliment their costume.

A cosplay can be cheap to make (the cheapest at NYCC had to be Netflix Daredevil, which was black jeans, black turtleneck and a black cloth covering the top of your head) or ridiculously expensive (see this Hulkbuster Iron Man cosplay that reportedly cost $60,000 to make). They can be straight forward cosplay, gender-swapped, or mixtures of different characters. They can be amateurs putting together stuff from second hand stores (normally Dr. Who cosplayers) or professionals that actually do it for a living (one handed me her business card after I took her picture). The sky’s the limit.
So many Deadpools. So very, very, very many of them.
But they’re all having fun with it. It’s also much safer now. Up until recently some would get harassed, especially if they were dressed in a sexy way (Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, and Zatanna were frequently targeted). But cons like NYCC take a very harsh view on harassment. “Cosplay is Not Consent” signs were everywhere at NYCC. And I didn’t hear any horror stories about bad behavior. People know the consequences. Harass someone and you are gone.
I have a lot of good photos of cosplay, but here’s my favourite, even if the costume was pretty straightforward.
These two were the most creative that I saw.
Belle in front of the largest line for a
Starbuck's you've ever seen
She’s obviously Belle, from Beauty and the Beast. I watched her for about 10 minutes on a Sunday afternoon down near the food court. She was going flat out. There was always someone wanting to take her picture. Little girls were rushing over to get hugs and get their pictures taken. Little boys would shyly ask for a picture with her. I quickly snapped off a photo when no one was nearby. I then had a quick chat with her.
Me: Is there anyone happier at a Comic Con than a Disney princess?
Belle: (Out of breath, and glowing). No! I’ve been at this for hours and I’m having so much fun!
At that point a little girl rushed in and hugged her and she laughed.
She wasn’t charging anything. She probably never got to the show floor. I doubt she went to the panels and maybe Artist Alley wasn’t her thing. But for a day she was a Disney princess and people loved her. That was her con and she was having the time of her life.
It’s Comic Con. Go make you own fun….
Last Five
1.      Shoebox – Barenaked Ladies
2.      Mysterious Ways – U2
3.      Take your partner by the hand – Robbie Robertson
4.      White fire – Angel Olsen
5.      Daydreaming - Paramore

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