9 Oct 2013

I'm Leavin' Today - Road to New York Comic Con 2013

Sometimes you have to go great distances for the full comic experience...
Stewart R: Jeez Louise, has it been a year already? It seems like only yesterday that I was packing my case, hurriedly hunting for back issues to be signed and making sure that I actually had my plane and convention tickets paid for and in hand! The New York Comic Convention 2012 was a mighty affair, an awe-inspiring and a Galactus-sized fist of fun. The popping of my American Comic Convention cherry will stay with me for a very long time indeed and it has stirred something within that makes me crave the grand scale exposition experience that, for the most part, you can still only truly experience within the shores of the continental United States.

New York Comic Con 2013 promises to be even bigger than last year’s four day behemoth event - the work to the Javits Center that was still ongoing during October has been completed allowing for even more floor space to be utilised - and the speed at which certain ticket levels sold out this year was a darn sight quicker than last. I take that to prove that the public are now all too aware of the sort of great show Lance Fensterman and company can put on in the Big Apple and demand to attend is growing every time.

With the talent they’ve guaranteed to show their faces, shake hands, pose for photos, chat, sketch and promote their wares I’ll quite happily state that the breadth of talent matches, if not even surpasses the line up from 2012. The big names to be watching out for would be the likes of Andy and Adam Kubert, Neal Adams, John Romita Jr and of course the one and only Stan Lee, whilst modern day convention queue magnets such as Dan Slott, Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo will also create a healthy amount of buzz around the cavernous halls. For me personally there are writers and artists attending who were either not present last year or weren’t on my radar for whatever reason and have quickly climbed to sit on my list of 'must meet' individuals.

I’ll be aiming to shake the hands and potentially get a signature or two from Jonathan Hickman and several of his artistic colleagues such as Jerome OpeƱa, Alessandro Vitti and especially East Of West and FF artist Nick Dragotta. This is the first year I’ve invested in a sketch book and will be hoping to capture the time and effort of Dragotta for a commission piece as I truly love his art style. Being a rookie I may have difficulty in ensuring that I come away with sketches from artists with incredibly busy weekends ahead of them, but I’m going to give it my very best shot and the thought of owning a unique Humberto Ramos, Joe Madureira, Matteo Scalera, Jim Cheung, Mark Brooks or Olivier Coipel sketch is tantalizing to say the least!

As is the opportunity to hear the latest news coming out of the various publisher and creator corners when it comes to the almighty plethora of panels that NYCC is offering. As I’ve gushed over the possibility of offering Hickman and Dragotta praise for their combined efforts there is no way that I intend to miss their East Of West panel on Saturday afternoon and the Avengers panel on Friday will be tempting to say the least. Should I not manage to squeeze into the hall for that I do have the delicious alternate panel of ‘Eat, Read, Love; Chew’s Ascendance’ to queue for which will have John Layman and Rob Guillory discussing their much loved Image series! While I’m some way behind on my reading of Image’s Walking Dead comic series (I’m going down the massive and slow Compendium route) I’m up to date and incredibly eager when it comes to AMC’s Walking Dead TV show and it’s oh so tempting to get into the panel for that early Saturday evening to see what the cast have to say about the upcoming fourth season before we get to see it unleashed Stateside on Sunday evening!

These shows are never fully about comic books these days and there are some other famous stars of the movie theatre and television screen due to attend who might also be worth getting in line for for a photo opportunity and the odd shaken hand and pleasantry. Two captains of the starship Enterprise will be in attendance with William Shatner and Patrick Stewart beaming into NY this weekend and there’s just a sliver of Stewart R circa 1990 swimming around in the old grey matter that says the chance to meet Hulk Hogan should not be passed up while it’s there!  David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson also have a joint photo opportunity going on and I’m starting to wonder what sort of frame I should go for when mounting my picture of me stood with Mulder and Scully…

Suffice to say that my time at the convention will not be a full on, 100% selfish pleasure-thon and I along with Paradox Comics alumni and trip photographer, Dan H, will endeavour to bring you updates on what is occurring on the floor of the Javits Centre, the news coming out of the panels and other juicy tidbits as the four days progress, here and on our Twitter feed, so stay tuned!

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