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129 Things We Learned At New York Comic Con 2016


From the writers of Bleeding Cool at New York Comic Con 2016, Brian Goldberg, Richard Epstein, Amanda Gurall, Paul Gullas, Octavio Karbank, Hugh Sheridan, Adam Wolfe, Ray Flook, Alejandra Bodden… and Rich Johnston

1. The NYCC wi-fi, this year, was sent from the gods. The hardest working, most reliable, freest, no password login, bestest ever wi-fi that a comic book convention has ever enjoyed, for all 180,000+ attendees – those that realised that is, and didn't just assume it would be terrible..
2. Thursday is the new Saturday. Though strangely Saturday is the new Thursday. Vendors saw their sales concentrated into the first few days rather than the weekend.
3. 35% of attendees mark gaming as their principle interest, yet only 6% do for comics. The show floor realises this, the panels and programming less so.
4. You can spend a day in Artists Alley and forget about the rest of the show.
5. You can spend a day in the Main Arena and forget about the rest of the show.
6. You can't spend five minutes in the Block/small press area without constantly being reminded about the smell of popcorn.
7. It becomes so normal to see people dressed as Deadpool, that when you go to the Coffee House and no one is dressed as Deadpool there, it seems odd.
8. Everyone was working out which Justice Leaguer would fight which Power Ranger in the crossover comic book.
9. Stabbity Bunny was the best titled comic of the show – the intersection of Elm Street and Sesame Street.
10. When you walk the streets of Manhattan after midnight, you will find at least one comic book executive falling out of a strip joint. When he realises that you write for Bleeding Cool, he will beg you not to mention it. So you won't.
11. Bubble Comics were the biggest surprise of the show, collecting and collating so many wonderful Russian comics. And they had a trailer for a movie based on one of their comics that was better than Doctor Strange.
12. Valiant Entertainment got some amazing looks during their cast poster signing. Especially from other publishers.
13. Frank Miller impromptu signings make fanboys knees weak.
14. It looks like DC's booth is trying to escape from NYCC.
15. If DC doesn't want to get round to Milestone yet, that's okay, Joe Illidge who interned for Milestone and worked at DC, will do it for them over at Lion Forge.
16. Also, Joe Illidge is fly.
17. Katie Cook is getting even more popular with a constant line that stretches round the show.
18. Do not stay in touch with the outside world during the event.
19. It is becoming harder and harder to walk from one end of the of the show floor the the other in just one day.
20. Stranger Comics has booth manbabe cosplay.
21. DC Comics outsource their sales to Graphitti. Marvel cuts out the middle man.
22. Valiant booth had, hands down, some of the nicest exhibitors.
23. Pins are back in fashion… it seems.
24. Ingenious ways to hide my Bleeding Cool shirt during Marvel panels… Just in case… you never know.
25. When I can't get into Comic-Con International, that's no sweat off my back. That's three thousand miles away. To miss a major con that is so close to me? That would have hurt a lot. I wound up balancing fun with work, and I'll be submitting articles for Bleeding Cool for a while.
26. Panels are the best place to practice art and sketch people while camping for the following panel.
27. Sailor Moon panels should soon be moved to Main Stage.
28. There should be more art related events during NYCC again.
29. If the wifi seems to be working for everyone else except for you: your phone might just be faulty.
30. Always have a snack at hand… ALWAYS.
32. I could ride shotgun with Rich during the Diamond Retailers Breakfast…and survive.
33. Brian "Q" Quinn (Impractical Jokers) is a huge fan of Bleeding Cool.
34. MTV was interested in Impractical Jokers but wanted to recast them with "younger, better-looking guys."
35. Amy Chu has nothing to worry about with that whole "third issue" move…her secret's safe with me.
36. DC Comics doesn't do itself favors with the separate locale. Last year, DC went from running an area on the show floor to setting up shop on the far end of the convention hall's second floor. While it wasn't as huge a hike as getting from one end of Fan Expo Canada to the other, it still felt inconvenient even if the Javits Center was empty. I'm guessing that it's easier to set up props (this year: outfits from Wonder Woman and Lynda Carter's old costume), but it still feels like a pain. This year, I uploaded the All Access app so that I could look up signing schedules for potential free sketch opportunities. I wound up going just on Thursday. I didn't feel compelled to come back.

37. Not everyone who works for Black Mask is a big fan of the current Cyborg.
38. The best way to truly torture Scott Snyder is to tell him something he's worked-on is "good."
39. Scott Snyder really, really looks like Rami Malek off of Mr Robot.
40. Adult Swim brought me to the sad, sobering realization that I'm willing to literally crawl on my hands and knees for free stuff; in this case, a free penlight and a…handkerchief…???
41. In a classic "bite-the-hand-that-feeds-you" scenario, there are individuals/companies who bash the work that Bleeding Cool does…and then use that work to their own corporate-political advantage.
42. I need to find-out what it is that we, the press, did to piss-off ReedPOP and make amends so we can get coffee and consistent water back. We've gone from Star Wars-sponsored Coffeemate to a glorified jug of water (…while supplies last!)…so let me just say: WE'RE SORRY!
43. It doesn't do much good to come from the outer boroughs.I live on Staten Island, which is a ferry ride away from Manhattan. Even if I wasn't expected to write about the events of NYCC, I still would have gotten stuck in a loop. I had to get home early . . . so that I could go to bed early . . . so I could wake up early . . . so that I could get out early the next day. No late panels or after-parties for me. It's an acceptable trade-off, but it makes me wish I lived closer, or have enough money to spring for a hotel close to the con. Then there was rushing to a panel, running into a friend from college whom I see every month at a writers' meetup, and spending a total of twenty seconds in rushed conversation with her, followed by an awkward hug. I might ask to hitch a ride with her family next year, but I think that I'd complain more than her son, who is currently two years old.
44. I never expected to find myself cosplaying as Jesse Custer while meeting and speaking with Preacher artist Steve Dillon. Dillon liked the first season of the show and is looking forward to next season getting to more of the familiar elements from the books.
45. NYCC Team Q&A is one of those "hidden gem" panels during NYCC that more people should stay around for next year.
46. Apparently ReedPOP starts planning for NYCC 2017 in one week…
47. Gravity Falls Cola and Yoyle Cake are pretty damn delicious.
48. Jason Borelli is a true "mad-man" when it comes to taking awe-inspiringly detailed panel notes…excellent stuff!
49. There are more dogs at NYCC. I think I've seen one or two per year in the past. While I'm guessing there were less than ten, it's still noticeable. Did you see the two pictures of the dog dressed as Deadpool? That was from me. Turns out that was a service dog, and I'm hoping there's love between him and his charge. I also snapped the pug in the dark robe. His name was Vladimir. I thought that he was supposed to be Kylo Ren because of the black robe, and his owner came off as Rey. No, it turned out she was Padme, which makes things a little weirder. As far as dressing up a pug up, that lady has a lot to learn from the handler of the Pugdashians. Or perhaps she does know about them, and she tries to more minimalist in costuming her dog.
50. Sometimes the food truck with the shortest line, has the best food.
51. Valiant were the Grumpy Cat of last year with that cast signing.
52. 1 in 5 men think they can pull off Jared Leto's Joker look
53. Getting to the convention a half hour early means nothing anymore. Gotta pitch a tent and sleep outside
54. Thursday is no longer the "chill, less crowded day."
55. No matter how good, or how many props you have for a cosplay, some bozo will always suggest you do more
56. Bob Camp does the voice of Stinky Wizzleteets, and his singing can fill you with Happy Happy, Joy Joy
57. I am capable of not being a putz. Sometimes.I tend to get tongue-tied around people whose works I like. It's not quite an "I'm not worthy" thing, but I often feel like I'm being too big a fanboy. That applies even with Gail Simone, whom I met on Jonah Weiland's message boards (which evolved into Comic Book Resources) for Kingdom Come twenty years ago. While I had to psyche myself up a lot going into interviews, I feel that I carried myself as a professional for the most part, even though writing and reporter are not everyday things for me. To that extent, I managed to talk with Christopher Priest without geeking out too bad. I still need work posing for pictures, as you can see here. Also, I didn't ask him how it felt being thanked in the credits in Captain America: Civil War.
58. If you cosplay, bring a friend to NYCC and make them carry a utility belt filled with repair tools for yourself.
59. Gerard Way thinks we still own cassette players (thanks for the tape though!)
60. Just because the Press lounge bathroom is "exclusive" doesnt mean you can use it any faster.
61. All you need to have a great day, is pose with some South Park Cutouts.
62. Make sure your comfortable shoes are actually comfortable.
63. The Marvel booth is as awesome as it is deadly.
64. Online ticket lotteries for toys and autographs in advance are civilized and remove a lot of unnecessary drama.
65. Bring a camping chair for long lines.
66. If you have a medical badge, you still may have to explain to people you are differently abled.
67. Iron Fist comics have skyrocketed in price although the show won't be airing for another 5 months.
68. Epic Photo Ops is a very efficient company.
69. If there is a line in the men's room, double check if it is for urinals. There were a lot of guys waiting for no reason.
70. 3.75" action figures are edging on extinction. 6" is the gold standard.
71. The sinister stench of the popcorn coming from The Block area of the show floor never leaves you.
72. Yes, you can get tired of seeing women dressed up as Harley Quinn.
73. It pays to check twitter/facebook. Hugo winner NK Jamesin wasn't scheduled to be at the con, but tweeted out Sunday morning she would be signing at one of the booths. If I didn't happen to check before heading to Hammerstein, I would have missed it.
74. I do not understand mystery boxes. It's NYCC, whatever you want you can find. So why waste your money on a mystery box? It's like that Family Guy episode, where Peter chooses the mystery box over a boat. "A boat is just a boat, but a mystery box can be anything, even a boat!"
75. There is still lots that I miss. I had to make some tough calls in planning my NYCC experience. That would have happened even if I had bought four days of access with no obligations to Bleeding Cool. I didn't get to do anything Doctor Who-related. I considering seeing panels with David Tennant and Matt Smith as encounters even though I didn't meet them, and I was prepared to do the same with Peter Capaldi. I didn't hit the themed meetup, which kinda hurt because I knew people who would attend that. I wound up passing on the Adult Swim panel, which I have been hitting for many years. While NYCC doesn't have the space for seemingly limitless panels as Comic-Con International, the choices can be painful.
76. You never know which panels will fill up. Somehow, I wasn't even close to getting in for Timeless, despite being there pretty early, but the Westworld panel wasn't a problem.
77. Something will always go wrong, so plan accordingly. Case in point…due to computer glitches, they couldn't set up people for the main room panels until about 10:45. Leave plenty of time between panels.
78. If you have a chance to sit for a few minutes, do it. You will probably be standing for the next couple of hours.
79. It's much more fun to go to a bowling alley party at NYCC when you don't bowl. Follow Kieron Gillen's lead.
80. Kieron Gillen cannot walk more then ten metres without being asked for selfies by young women. Holding a bouquet of flowers while he does so doesn't exactly help.
81. We might need unisex restrooms. On two occasions, I had to attend to matters in the press area, and I wound up on line because there was a toilet and urinal. I saw other lines for guys. Of course, I saw women waiting. While I do advise people to drink plenty of fluids at conventions, I also know that restrooms are never lauded by people, even if they are spotless. I reckon that if they are available to all, there might be more time to enjoy the convention. And for the record, I did go to Heroes Con in Charlotte in 2008, and I have not been back due to the lack of stuff to do around and after the show.
82. Never pass up an opportunity to charge your phone.
83. The con just grows and grows. In addition to the Javits Center, it's now at MSG, Hammerstein and Mercantile. Have to wonder if they can find more space to keep expanding.
84. If you can get a 4-day pass, do it. There is no way you can experience all the panels you want to see, and see everything on the floor, Artists' Alley, and all the other exhibits in one day or even two.
85. If you think a panel is even remotely interesting, go for it. You'll often be surprised by what panels are the most entertaining.
86. Many people seem to be ok with being ripped off buying "mystery boxes"
87. NYCC was wonderful to work with if you need a medical sticker
88. A panel on empowering girls with toys turned out to be less than empowering
89. We need more Cartoon Network merch on the floor. Where was Steven Universe?
90. Jon Bernthal might not have the best use of grammar but he was damn funny
91. Spreading out to so many locations made many panels start late
92. But it helped ease the crowds for food and drink
93. TOO MANY Suicide Squad Harley Quinns. Stop it.
94. I stink at taking my own advice Before the show, I wrote about stuff I was bringing with me. That included food from home. On Thursday, I brought a tuna fish meal with me, and I wound up spending $6 on a small pork taco from a food truck. The only defense I had was that the line wasn't as long as the other trucks. Two days later, I got a whiff of popcorn, and I shelled out $9.50 on a big bag. Because my day was full of mishaps, I didn't bother asking for the price beforehand. I made it last two days because it was a lot of popcorn, but it was still a lot to pay. And I was careless. If you bent down and picked up an index card with questions . . . that was from me. That happened to me at least twice. I managed to write out the questions from memory and urgency, but I still have a ways to go.
95. Loved the new VR area with the exception of that nasty energy drink
96. Peter Capaldi and Steven Moffat were surprisingly genuine
97. So many Trump jokes
98. Not enough Golden Girls action figures to go around apparently
99. The glowy energy drink samples in the VR area almost, but not quite, made up for the lack of coffee in the press room.
100. If you're in a roundtable interview, be aggressive with getting your questions in there before the publicists drag your subjects away.
101. NYCC Wi-Fi was actually useful and good this year, possibly because it wasn't sponsored by an evil fictional corporation.
102. Having a lot of the panels and screenings being located off site (at the Hammerstein Ballroom and MSG) helped alleviate a lot of the congestion at Javits.
103. If you aren't in "NYCC shape", 4 days of NYCC will get you there….just in time for it to be over.
104. I need a keyboard to write stories. I've had my iPad Mini for a few years, but I only started using it regularly in May. I wound up writing two stories in the press area: the profile of Kristen Cumings (which will get a follow-up piece soon) and the coverage of the DC Rebirth panel. While the press area was a lot less noisy than the rest of the Javits Center, it took me longer to file those because I had to peck at the keyboard with my fingers.
105. Get into NYCC shape before the con starts.
106. The park areas right outside the Hudson Yards subway station are a nice place to unwind and chat after a con, if weather permits.
107. "Spoiled Milk"-flavored Jelly Belly jellybeans are even more vile than you think, and the free sample bag of Jelly Bellys does not come close to making up for putting one in your mouth.
108. When you check Twitter after a panel and find out all about real-world pu$$y-grabbing news, it's a relief to be able to dive back into the non-real world of NYCC.
109. To the casual viewer, the actual number of booths selling comics is growing smaller with every year.
110. Those same booths all have the same wall books. There's nothing unique or different that retailers are selling.
111. Only the comics that are "hot" are receiving any attention.
112. People refuse to move with any sense of urgency.
113. Power outlets, even in the pressroom, are more rare than Mewtwo.
114. Expanding NYCC to different buildings, while good in theory, only makes getting around more difficult.
115. The Wi-Fi leaves much to be desired. If we can get ourselves to the Moon, we should be able to fill one building with decent Wi-Fi.
116. There is an inordinate amount of people outside the convention center trying to hock tickets.
117. The actual comic panels have started to become more or less commercials or advertisements.
118. There's never enough time to do everything you want at Comic Con.
119. New York City is the greatest place on Earth
120. Black Mask publish some cool comics
121. Hannah Means-Shannon is a star
122. Dan Celko is a pimp
123. The Iron Fist tv series looks surprisingly good
124. If you queue up at 30 Rockefeller Plaza on the day of the show you can get tickets for that night's Saturday Night Live
125. Diversity and representation are the topics of the moment in the industry
126. I am still crap at writing lists
127. New York Comic Con is still a must-see show. While I think that Comic-Con is still Geek Mecca in the sense that a fan has to go once in his/her life, NYCC does manage to meet expectations. The weather might be colder (and drearier for a lot of Saturday and Sunday), but you could still get away with short sleeved shirts before putting that it the attic until spring. It beats the old days of February dates and coat checks. And the con takes place before Columbus Day, which is still a thing. That's a federal holiday, giving attendees a free day to rest before going back to work. Bonus for Canadians: that's the same day that Thanksgiving is observed. I think Fan Expo Canada has a similar deal with Labour/Labor Day .
128. Bleeding Cool writers are cool people. I consider myself a ball of neuroses, so anybody that can put up with me is usually awesome. Naturally, that goes for Rich Johnston, who put up with my constant updates and kvetching. Ray Flook was supposed to cover the Rebirth panel with me, but his train got delayed. He was nice enough to listen to my rushed take on things, and he looked good in Jesse Custer cosplay to boot. And while I briefly met a few of my fellow writers on Friday, I was warmly greeted. I know wanting to fit it is an emotion for people far younger than me, but it still felt good. Here's hoping I can return the favor in the near future.
129. There is something called Columbus Day which prevents you posting your swag which you flipped on eBay on the Monday after the show without quadrupling your costs at the UPS Store – who don't get holidays it seems.

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Rich JohnstonAbout Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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