Every year during the second weekend of October, nerd culture and pop culture collide in four days of video games, movies, and, most importantly, comic books. The event is New York Comic Con (NYCC) and I’ve been an attendee for the past 6 years. This year, however, showed an entirely new aspect of NYCC that threw even veterans such as myself for a loop.
With an overall attendance of 115, 000 people, the Jacob Javitz Center resembled a small city more than a convention. Due to an increase in the popularity of comic books via movies such as “The Avengers” and “The Dark Knight Rises”, people from all over the country have decided to make NYCC part of their plans for the fall.
The goal of these types of conventions used to be the sale and promotion of comic books. As the number of fans rose, these goals changed over time and, today, the convention more closely resembles an entertainment showcase. Comic books have taken a second seat to the more popular media such as movies and video games.
Despite this change, the major comic book publishers (Marvel and DC) have both made major announcements regarding their most popular comic books. The Chief Creative Officer of DC Comics Geoff Johns, when asked about the Justice League comics, has made reference to an event in 2013 known as “The Trinity War” that will revolve entirely around the three main superheroes in the Justice League (Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman). Johns also released artwork showing the covers of the next few issues of nearly all of DC’s titles.
Marvel, on the other hand, is facing some controversy after deciding to end the “Amazing Spider-Man” series and start a new series titled “Superior Spider-Man”. More controversial than the name change, however, was the announcement by Dan Slott (writer of “Amazing Spider-Man” and “Superior Spider-Man”) that the new Spider-Man would not be Peter Parker. Despite a backlash from fans to the news, Slott has reassured fans that, as a fan himself, he would never do anything to ruin the character.
Comic books were not the only things mentioned at the convention. Video game developer Capcom had playable demos available on the Showroom Floor of all of their recent projects (Resident Evil 6, Marvel vs Capcom 3, Monster Hunter 3, Darksiders: Resurrection). While this is the norm for video game developers, Capcom made an interesting decision to accommodate the rising number of attendees. A room was reserved on the lower level of the convention center where players who were unable to get to the busy consoles on the main floor were able to get their chance to play in a more quiet and peaceful environment when compared to the loud and busy booth.
Websites such as RoosterTeeth (makers of the popular web series, Red vs Blue), were on full display and ready to make their mark at NYCC. I got a chance to speak with Matt Hollum (co-founder of RoosterTeeth) and ask him what major announcements RoosterTeeth (RT) were planning to make. The first announcement was about “Red vs Blue”. RT is going to release a DVD anniversary set of the popular series complete with 14 disks to be made available on DVD and Blu-Ray.
The second announcement was a reminder that RT has a podcast that they record every week that has recently converted to a live video stream every Tuesday night.
“We take questions over Twitter and AIM and answer them live on the podcast”, said Hollum. On a personal note, as a fan of the podcast, I recommend it to anyone with a sense of humor.
The final announcement was a new web series that was going to be starting on their website (RoosterTeeth.com) called RWBY (pronounced Ruby). RWBY is an animated series starting in 2013, animated by RT’s own Monty Oum. Hollum describes the series as “A fantasy animated show where fairy-tale heroes team up to fight evil.”
Attendees were not limited to the Showroom Floor. Panels were available on the lower levels of the Jacob Javitz Center where creators and exhibitors got the chance to talk to the public. Also available on the lower levels is the autograph section where celebrities such as Adam West, Robert Kirkman, and Burt Ward were available for autographs and photos. The most populated venue on the bottom level was the IGN Theater, the main auditorium used by exhibitors to make the major announcements for which NYCC has become famous.
Thursday night in the IGN Theater, Ben Folds Five performed for an audience that waited outside the theater for nearly three hours before showtime. While waiting on line (of which I was in the front), I met some of the nicest people that I had met the entire weekend. Meeting these people reminded me of the real goal of NYCC. The people who started attending these conventions years ago were people that weren’t considered socially apt. NYCC gives people the chance to meet like-minded people and make real connections over things like comic books.