New York Comic Con 2016 Highlights

New York Comic Con is a monster. I cannot think of a better word to describe this four day event. It has grown so much that for Friday and Saturday they rented out the theater at Madison Square Garden for ‘premiere’ panels, along with having events at two other locations.

Because of the new fan verification policy for buying tickets I was able to procure Saturday and Sunday tickets. During these two days I hardly scratched the surface of what Comic Con offered. I won’t go into much detail since many of the panels were live-streamed and a vast majority of content has already found its way online. Instead, I will go through some of the highlights and events I was able to attend this year.

For me the first day of Comic Con is always walking around the Show Room and Artist Alley. This is best done earlier in the day since these two areas can be near impossible to walk through later in the afternoon. It saddens me to say I mostly skimmed the Show Room because of the amount of people and the times of panels. Even with skimming walking this entire area took three hours, with the occasionally stop at some comic stands. While usually crowded, some stands offer $5-$10 trade paperbacks. From these bins I pick up comics I may have overlooked otherwise. Some trades of note this year were Magneto, Lazarus, Divine Right, Pariah, and Powerless.

Artist Alley is a favorite stop and it is always a pleasure to talk to the artists and add a few more prints to the collection. Stay tuned for my next Comic Con article delving more into Artist Alley.

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While I had wanted to attend the Marvel’s Iron Fist panel, that was sadly capped. Instead, I happily attended the Justice League Dark (a forthcoming DC animated film) panel Saturday afternoon. This panel included Jason O’Mara (Batman), Matt Ryan (Constantine), James Trucker (producer), Jay Olivia (director), and Phil Bourassa (character designer). Three scenes were shown, which introduced Constantine, Jason Blood/Etrigan, Zatanna, Deadman, and a tease of Swamp Thing (which fans at the panel were not happy with) .One of the best takeaways was how Jay Olivia was inspired by fight scenes in Final Fantasy and Fullmetal Alchemist. He admitted to using the transmutation circles from Fullmetal Alchemist to signify each characters magic, which is brilliant and a nod to a great show.

Usually the highlight panel at the Javits is The Walking Dead, though this year it was held at Madison Square Garden. Being at the convention only two days I did not attempt to make the trek to this panel, though the scene aired is posted online. It promises a very tense first episode, as assumed based on how the last season ended.

Sunday, having walked the Show Room Saturday, I went to more panels. These included the world premiere of Marvel’s Hulk: Where Monster’s Dwell, Jon Bernthal Spotlight, and Sleepy Hollow Season Four. The highlight here was the Jon Bernthal Spotlight, which is essentially a Q&A about his entire career, with most of the questions about his roles in The Walking Dead and Daredevil. He is a down to earth guy who likes throwing some colorful words into his sentences. While he couldn’t speak much about his role of Punisher in forthcoming Netflix series, he did discuss how important it was for him to get the character right in honor of the many soldiers who wear the Punisher skull. One such soldier was in the audience and even thanked Jon for his portrayal.

The Sleepy Hollow panel was also interesting, though I still wonder how the show it going to work without the character of Abby Mills. We did learn John Noble will be returning fairly early in the season for an undetermined amount of time.

Overall this was a good Comic Con, though the increasing crowds take away from the experience. While having the Con in multiple locations should help, it felt more crowded than previous in years because even though there are more locations attendance went up by about 13,000 from last year.

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