Stewart R: With the busier than expected Thursday opening out of the way, and the jet lag now seeming to ebb away behind us, we moved on to the full force of the Friday, when the crowd would increase, more artists and writers would arrive and the New York Comic Con would kick into high gear.
Naturally I was faffing around getting the Day One review written having fallen asleep the night before fully clothed save for one shoe and one sock, so we ran a little late getting to the show, but managed to avoid anything looking like a queue as a result. The Javits was a bustling maze once more of fans, crew and cosplayers milling about or speeding to one of a plethora of delightfully geeky destinations.
My plan for the day consisted of getting into several panels, live tweeting news from them where possible and then spending the time between scouring the main exhibition hall for any freebies on offer and those elusive back issues that I knew I was missing. Unfortunately, my tardiness had seen Dan H and I miss the X Men and Comic Book Men panels (sorry Dan!), but the day was still packed with publisher panels with their plentiful supply of talent to draw from and announcements to make.
I kicked things off with the 'Image Comics: Behind the Creations' panel which in my eyes, thanks to Image's continued push at creator-owned work and increasing sales, was the panel to see. It was a good-natured hour spent listening to the likes of Tim Seeley, Ales Kot, Glen Brunswick and the incredibly talkative Kieron Gillen talk and joke about their works and processes whilst providing material for Image to publish for the eager masses. Highlights included Gillen's revelation that his inspiration for Three came from being angry and drunk at home one evening and picking up Frank Miller's 300 from the shelf as well as Tim Seeley comparing the relationship building between artist and writer to porn stars where if you want the chemistry to be right on set you go on a date first. The amusing Ales Kot grabbed the microphone at this point and eagerly agreed with Tim's comment stating he'd done 'research' on the matter. This wasn't a panel for great revelations and announcements of new series that we didn't already know about, but it was relaxed, welcoming and showed a good handful of creators who genuinely seemed happy to be collaborating with Image.
With a couple of hours to spare before my next must-see panel I thought I would pop along to the huge 1E hall and just get an idea of what DC would be offering up in their 'DC Entertainment - All Access' panel. DC haven't got a fixed table or stand at NYCC this year and whilst the core of what they're doing - especially with the Bat books - seems to be popular in the main, they appear to be the company experiencing the largest amount of scrutiny presently thanks to some controversial editorial decisions, series cancellations and the insistence of using crossovers in their freshly rebooted Universe.
Scott Snyder was on hand to talk about his current story arcs and future plans for Batman and in the main it seemed that the panel was focused towards his work and the drip down influence on other titles that would be seen in the coming months with the Zero Year crossovers. Kyle Higgins got to speak about his work on Batman Beyond Universe and from the look of the preview art it could be a series that I reinvest myself in as it really looked sumptuous and in keeping with the animated series.
The surprising thing about the panel was that there was time given over to Vertigo properties with Snyder getting chance to talk about both The Wake and American Vampire at some length. He mentioned that the second half of The Wake would be more like a future fairy tale, taking us to the far flung flooded future that we briefly saw a glimpse of in the first issue, while he also stated that he had been a little depressed during the self-imposed hiatus from American Vampire as he missed the book and had been eager to return to it.
In a complete needle in a haystack moment - having no mobile service in the US makes communication difficult - I managed to locate Matt, my queue comrade from NYCC 2012 when we stood in line for nearly two hours to get Snyder's signature, in the huge audience of 1E. The hall must easily hold a few thousand people so it was nice to briefly catch up, find out what we were both looking forward to during the day and joke that we'd see each other next year on the Friday of NYCC 2014.
The last panel of the day for me was Marvel's Avengers panel, once again located in 1E. I was interested to see the difference in crowd size and attention between Marvel's effort and DC's - the later having kept the majority of its crowd there even during the occasionally off-putting crowd questions section. Tom Breevort spent about 15 minutes offering up reveals to all of the Marvel teasers they'd been posting over the past few months and I was personally glad that it didn't seem that Marvel were going too far to harvest our disposable income any more than they already do. Avengers World #1 will kick things off with the New Marvel NOW, plotted by Jonathan Hickman and Nick Spencer, but scripted by Spencer in the main to give Hickman chance to get back on track with what he has planned in Avengers and New Avengers post-Infinity. Avengers will go to one issue a month as a result with Avengers World taking the place of that second issue as it focuses on Captain America's team returning to Earth having fought to prevent the Builders from wiping the planet clean, only to find things changed greatly from how they left it.
Many of the teaser words were related to ongoing titles already, yet there was news of some new series in the shape of Loki by Al Ewing and Lee Garbett as well as a new Black Widow series by Nathan Edmundon and Phil Noto while Dennis Hopeless clarified that there would be life beyond Avengers Arena for some of the desperate teenagers fighting for their survival in Murder World who then try to avoid temptation when they attempt to infiltrate the Masters of Evil in Avengers Undercover. The announcements over in quick time the floor was opened to questions for a full 45 minutes and while the hall remained at least two thirds full it seemed clear that the crowd were after more news and reveals than perhaps they were given during the hour.
The day drawing on I headed back over to Artist Alley catching words with X-Men Legacy cover artist Mike Del Mundo and Six-Gun Gorilla artist Jeff Stokely who were both incredibly friendly gentlemen indeed. Mike offered up some interesting news which I won't reveal here and also some insight into his incredibly interesting cover designs for the Marvel series while Jeff told me that SGG was his first comic series gig which I found very surprising and confirmed that he would be continuing to work for BOOM! on another project following the completion of the awesome sci-fi western book. As it stands I may well be taking my sketch book back to Mr Stokely's table today as I'm feeling a gruff Gorilla may be a tasty addition to my rather empty pad...