NEW YORK, April 19 — Where can you find legions of Imperial Storm Troopers, Bleach Shinigami, Naruto geeks, video game first person shooter dorks, black Spider-man shirts, and middle aged men? The answer is the New York Comic Convention 2008 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. This is probably one of the largest pop culture conventions in New York City.
After getting my badge, I examined the convention schedule. The convention schedule could be divided into four distinct parts: American comics, Manga, mainstream entertainment (movies and television), and kids entertainment (mostly scheduled for Sunday). Based on my unscientific observations of buying patterns and t-shirts, most fans can be categorized into one of these four main categories.
I took a quick browse through the dealer’s room and the artist alley. They had a health mix of toys, statues, comics, and DVDs. I usually don’t buy anything at convention because I hate impulse shopping. I always feel wretched after spending several hundred dollars on con merchandise.
In the Artist Alley, some notable artists were Peter Laird (creator of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), Jim Lee (artist, X-Men and Batman), and Mark Texeira (artist, Ghost Rider).
On to the panels, my first panel for this convention was the Del Rey Manga panel. They were marketing their latest acquisitions such as Wolverine Manga, X-Men Manga, Gakuen Prince, Sayonara Zetsubo-Sensei: The Power of Negative Thinking, and Me and the Devil Blues. The panel was lead by Associate Publisher Dallas Middaugh. I knew Dallas from several past Manga events in New York City, and he has always been very cool. Therefore, I wanted to support his work and attend his panel.
At the panel, I met up with some old friends from the Metro-Anime club, the local New York anime club. They seemed to be excited about the panel and Del Rey’s new titles. It was a good panel.
After I talked Dallas, I looked over to see a Ninja Consultant. Erin, the otaku hipster of the Ninja Consultants podcast, walked into the room. She was working the convention as traditional press and was planning to cover the next event, the Yen Press panel. It's always cool to run into the Ninja Consultants. I briefly greeted her and went to get some food.
The panels weren't too crowded. It was easy to move from panel to panel.
After a short break, I attend a few more panels until I lost my cell phone. I was at the Venture Brothers panel, and I freaked out. I got up and looked around. It was gone. I left the panel just before they started. I retraced my steps, but I couldn’t track it down.
I eventually made my way to the security office on the fourth floor of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. I talked to the head of security. They didn’t have it. So, I left my contact information with the security office. As I walked out of the security office, I ran into Ron Perlman (actor; Hellboy, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, and Blade II). All the convention volunteers were buzzing around him like flies. I don't think they knew his real name. They just kept addressing him as "Hellboy".
I wasn’t in the mood to fight through teenaged fan boys. I just returned to the panel rooms. Yikes... What happened? The popular panels were being swamped by convention attendees. I didn’t stand a chance against the hordes of fan boys, geeks, and dorks. Where did all these people come from? Damn… Resistance was futile, and I left the convention early.
On the whole, the convention seemed to be well run. Some of the event organization could have been better (especially the panels). There was no system of control. It was just a mad rush to get into any good events. I didn't want to be caught in that madness. I didn't want to slap the Camel clutch on a thirteen-year-old girl just to get into a Starship Troopers 3 panel.