Just getting to Comic Con was a hurdle.
I'm about 4 hours away from NYC by car, and there is a train easily accessible so as of late the train has been my transportation method of choice. I love that I can just sit back and chill out. But this year the train posed a challenge, and a conflict at home.
See, it's tough for me to get away from home.I have a wife who also works full time and four kids in school. Me going away means getting coverage for the kids at home and that isn't always possible. My grand plan for this year was to take the train down and back in the same day. However the train for that day only left Penn station at two times - 7pm and 2:40 am, which was practically an overnight trip.
Of course, I opted for the later train, which caused some turmoil at home.
But anyway, I left the house on saturday around 5 am and drove down to the train station and just barely made my train. I read comics on my iPad the whole way down and time seemed to fly by.
The train arrived without incident. As I left the station and walked towards the Javitz center I immediately began to see people dressed in costume. I followed them as I was pretty sure we were going to the same place. Block after block went by and the crowd grew, all walking towards geek mecca. I actually felt out of place, not being in costume. There's something to be said about New Yorkers as not one person batted an eye at the crowd of superheroes. All my childhood was spend reading comic books about superheroes in New York City and now here I was, in the Big Apple, surrounded by those same heroes.
Close to the venue, they had barkers with signs and megaphones directing fans to the appropriate entrance. This event was going to be massive. I entered into the press area, claimed my badge and met up with Charles in the press room.
Our plan of attack was to cover "The Block" first. The Block is an area devoted to designer toys and artists, most of which were pretty cool. We ran into a lot of friends just by hanging out at the Onell Design booth. The area wasn't as big as I expected, and there were a lot of people sharing booths. It was very crowded, But charles said it was nothing like the rest of the floor. He was right.
Man, was it crowded. It was one of the most dense conventions in terms of people per square foot than I had ever encountered.
There was an interesting assortment of booths, not all of them comic and entertainment related. The veterans had a booth, Paypal had a booth, and even the Japanese Tourism ministry had a booth with a Samurai.
One booth had the Batmobile, the Back to the Future Delorean, and the Mystery Machine
Getting through the aisles was an exercise in frustration. Lines were long. People stopped cosplayers in their tracks in the middle of aisles, which in turn caused people to lose their minds.
There were actual comics at Comic-Con. One dealer had an assortment of rare, CGC graded comics. Some of the prices were insane.
Screen-used puppets of Tom Crow and Servo from Mystery Science Theatre were on display
This dealer had big cases full of vintage japanese keshi (erasers). When I asked prices, I was quoted some insane amount ($25-50 EACH) but I must have misheard because Ben got some cheaper.
Of course, some prices were actually insane.
There were treasures to be found though. I found a stack of reasonably priced original SF3D model kits, as well as some old garge kits.
Doctor Who stuff was rampant
This dealer had really great merchandise, and most of what I purchased I got from them.
All these pople below were at a gathering for fans of the online comic HOMESTUCK
Did I mention crowds?
Even though Charles covered the Tamashii Booth, I found a few more cool things. This Zaku gundam kit used actual metal nuts for the hoses. it was pretty cool.
Please Bandai, make a 12PM Diecast R2-D2.
The show was exhausting, and Charles and I were starved. We worked our way down to artist alley and as we turned the corner it looked like the warehouse from Indiana Jones. It just went on forever. Rather than brave the insanity, we gave up and went to have dinner at 5 Guys Burgers and Fries.
Af that we wandered and Charles and I parted ways. But it was only 8 PM, and I had 6 more hours to kill in NYC. Fortunately I had party passes.
The first party I hit was the Nerdist party. It was in a very cool club with very swanky decor. Drinks and food were free, and the music was great, but I knew nobody. I just stood off to the side like a pimply kid at a junior high dance. There was only one person in costume, everyone else was in their best post-con hipster outfits. There's no question, I was out of place, and I felt it. I was tired, had a good buzz on, and was alone.
I decided to ditch that party and go to the Designer Toy Awards - at least I knew people there.
The DTA's were something else. It was like ground zero of everything I hate about the designer toy scene. A self-congratulatory circle jerk by self-involved artists and "personalities". I even like some of the people nominated, and I like the people who run it, but the whole vibe turned me off. I can take or leave the Sucklord, but tonight his "I'm too cool for this shit but i'll take your money anyway" vibe just rubbed me the wrong way.
I found a couple sympathetic friends and we left once the last "award" was handed out and went to a diner. From there we talked toys for hours. It was great.
But alas, all good things have to end. I got back to Penn station and caught the 2:40 AM train back home. I slept the entire way, and arrived back in Boston the next morning.
I know this is sort of a rambling narrative, but I wanted to give you an idea of what we go through. It's fun but it's a lot of work.