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New York Comic Con, Day 1

For those who don’t know, New York Comic Con is sort of like San Diego Comic Con, except instead of a bunch of studio PR flacks and Hollywood jerks, you get to see and hang out with actual comic book, sci-fi, fantasy, and anime fans and creators. It’s still a big convention, though, with a lot of big names if you follow the industry. Thursday is sort of a preview day for professionals and us camera-toting press types, a chance to get some photos without being jostled by Harley Quinns and an endless parade of David Tenants. On the other hand, if you brought a camera, you’re probably there specifically for the Harley Quinns and David Tenants.

Eh, whatever. Thursday’s less gigantic (but still pretty big) crowd at least lets you get a lay of the land and browse the dealer floor without being shoulder to shoulder with thousands of other people. Highlights included the towering Optimus Prime that is going to be the obvious meeting point for most people trying to track down friends, because what’s easier than “Meet me under the twenty-foot tall Optimus Prime”? You can see the thing from just about everywhere.

Prime is part of a pretty involved Hasbro pavilion that also includes everything from GI Joe to X-Men to a disturbingly lifelike Spider-Man. It’s surrounded by big-ticket vendors like the video game companies (I’d love to play Raccoon City or Mass Effect, but I ain’t standing in line to do so, nor am I willing to play whilst accompanied by a rep with a bullhorn — what is this? 1986?), and oddly enough, the American Museum of Natural History, promoting their new “living in space” exhibit. That one better be an improvement over the Biggest Dinosaurs exhibit, because that thing was terrible. There were also some cars floating around — literally — but whatever, man. I’m not buying a car from Comic Con unless it actually transforms into a working robot. I’m not sure it’s a good idea to have the video game companies at the front of the room. Yes, they are hugely popular and deserve a prominent position, but the problem is…well, like I said: they’re hugely popular. That means that the floor is front loaded right at the entrance with a mass of people who are standing around in giant, impenetrable clumps ether playing, waiting to play, or watching someone play video games.

Some good art in Artists’ Alley and scattered about the floor. Pegged a couple nice canvas-mounted Tomb of Terror and other old pulp comic covers that I’m interested in, as well as some awesome steampunky sort of robots made from old tins and whatnot by Triple A Toys. Went ahead and picked up an awesome Boilerplate book designed to look like one of those coffee table history books. The amount of design and planning that went into something like that is impressive. Plus, how can you not love a mechano-man posing with Teddy and the Rough Riders? Also purchased a Wolfman and the most manic, insane looking Hulk ever.

Not a whole lot in the way of costumes, it being something of a limited attendance day, but there were a lot of Fifth Element cosplayers. No idea why. There have never been many before. But there were like three or four Leeloos, and then one gang that included one Bruce Willis, one Chris Tucker (that guy is the cosplay champ of Comic Con, hand down), and two Leeloos. Last year, there were more Zatannas than I could count, for no reason I could discern. I guess this year it’s Fifth Element folks (and a healthy dose of Venture Brothers as well — many Con goers are well suited for dressing up as Sgt. Hatred). No idea how things like this spontaneously generate, but I’m happy when they do.

So yeah, Thursday is pretty much a “get the lay of the land” sort of day, but it’s great to have a little elbow room to browse dealer tables and take photos, especially if you know what the Con will be like by Saturday.