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TOPLESS ROBOT’S 2014 NEW YORK COMIC CON PREVIEW

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NY Comic Con

IT’S HERE IT’S HERE IT’S HERE IT’S HERE! The biggest, and traditionally most comics-focused convention on the endless con schedule, New York Comic Con, starts today, and we at Topless Robot are very proud to present this sober, scholarly look at the convention where you can get a free crazy taxi ride when the con is on, and an expensive crazy taxi ride after everyone’s already home. We’ll be on the con floor every day bringing you news, pictures and snide tweets about what we’re seeing, so keep an eye out here and on Twitter for all the latest. We’re also linking to every booth and panel listed so you can easily add them to your Show Planner App. And say hi if you see me on the floor, I’ll be cosplaying as “Terrified Hypochondriac Man.”

THURSDAY

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Capcom Unity


Opening day of the con is usually also the best day of the con. It’s crappy, because not all of the guests are there yet, and it’s usually only a half-programmed day, but the lighter crowds mean you get more time to really explore the floor. Fortunately, they managed to front load some nice movie previews and get one of the most in-demand panels (sadly missing a crucial element: butts).

BOOTHS TO CHECK OUT
Video Game Companies: Capcom (booth 1604), Activision (booth 354), Ubisoft (booth 1420), Bandai Namco (booth 1620), and Square Enix (booth 1813)
There’s a shockingly light video game presence on the con floor this year – Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo are no-shows, though there will be a 3DS Smash Brothers tournament at the Nintendo store in Rockefeller Center on Saturday. However, the companies that are showing up will be there in force, and so will the crowds, so Thursday is the day to take a look at them. Capcom might be showing off Resident Evil Revelations 2 and Ultra Street Fighter 4 Omega (they have to be kidding with these names). Also there’s a rumor that Bandai Namco will be debuting a new Star Wars arcade machine to the press there and I will sacrifice whatever children pets adult relatives TIME I guess to get my hands on it and report back to you on it.

Graphitti Designs (booth 1644) and We Love Fine (booth 1836)
These are the main licensors of DC and Marvel characters (respectively) for t-shirts and other merchandise. They’ll also both have con-exclusive stuff (including some DC figures at Graphitti Designs) that will be gone by lunch on Friday, so make a point of checking these out on Thursday.

Nickelodeon/Nicktoons (booth CP104)
The easiest way to find this booth is to follow the pissed off looking Korra cosplayers with rolled up posterboard.

The Whole Floor:
This is the best day to get lost in some of these booths. Check out the displays of interesting booths like WETA workshop (booth 722, with replica Middle Earth weaponry) or Lego (booth 1436 – STUFF TO PLAY WITH WOO!) Also, the comic company booths and the creators’ tables in Artists’ Alley will likely have info on signing schedules available; check those out Thursday so you know when to come back.

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PANELS TO WATCH

1:00 PM, Main Stage 1-D
Walt Disney Studios Presents an Exclusive Look at Tomorrowland, & Walt Disney Animation Studios Presents an Exclusive Look at Big Hero 6
Scheduled panelists include Brad Bird & Damon Lindelof from Tomorrowland, as well as the directors of Big Hero 6, Don Hall and Chris Williams. The write-up also alludes to “special guests” attending, and I know Scott Adsit’s floating around somewhere at the con, so I assume it will be him. YES! HORNBERGER!

3:15 PM, Main Stage 1-D
Bob’s Burgers
ALMOST the whole cast of the show will be on this panel, with a Q&A to follow. This panel is a giant pile of bullshit, though, because Dan Mintz won’t be there and this show is NOTHING without Tina.

4:15 PM, Room 1A14
Dark Horse Builds Characters
Guests on this panel include the team behind Rebels, Brian Wood and Andrea Mutti; and the always entertaining Gail Simone and Fred Van Lente. The real draw here, though, is Cameron Stewart and David Mack talking about Fight Club 2. The teaser art looks amazing, and the novel (to which the comic is a sequel) was even crazier than the movie.

5:00 PM, Room 1A18
Diamond Select Toys: The Best of All Worlds
The Diamond folks have promised to make an effort to go through their entire line, so this panel should run approximately 822 minutes. Expect some cool pictures from this one.

7:15 PM, Room 1A14
“So Where Do You Get Your Ideas? And What Do You Do With Them?”
A discussion of the creative process between Amber Benson, Scott Snyder, Becky Cloonan and Brian K. Vaughan should be fascinating. Four people with incredibly diverse creative backgrounds talking shop seems like a decent way to spend forty-five minutes.

8:30 PM, Main Stage 1-D
WB Preview Night Screenings: the Pilot Episode of Constantine and the Season Two Premiere of The 100
The Constantine pilot has been floating around the Internet high seas for a few months now, but if you are an HONEST, UPSTANDING Internet citizen (or if torrent software makes your laptop crawl, cough cough) and haven’t seen it yet, this is a good chance to check it out.

FRIDAY

Marvel


It’s a big day for birthdays on the con floor today, as you’ll see. Friday is also when the guests show up in force, so be sure to take a look at the comic companies’ booths for signing schedules.

BOOTHS TO CHECK OUT
Marvel Entertainment (Booth 1354)
Marvel’s going to be celebrating its 75th Anniversary on Friday all day, and in addition to panels (going on in room 1A18), their booth on the show floor is going to be hopping.

DC Entertainment (booth SC01)
Somebody else has a b-b-b-b-b-birthday coming up and hates clowns. DC is guaranteed to have fun stuff going down to celebrate the Bat, so today’s a good day to check out their booth.

Toynami (booth 556)
Voltron’s 30th Anniversary is this year, and Toynami holds the license. They’ll have a con-exclusive statue at their booth as well as some other exclusives, like Robotech and DC figures. If they have car Voltron I can’t promise I won’t try and cuddle with it.

First Second Books (booth 2237)
Battling Boy was a really pleasant surprise for me. At NYCC last year on Sunday, I was exhausted (hung over), and I wandered by the First Second booth when I saw a line. I asked the woman behind the counter what was going on, and she said “Oh, Paul Pope is signing his new book. You want one?” I believe my verbatim response was “shit yeah I do.” The book was unsurprisingly excellent, and Pope and his collaborators released a prequel to Battling Boy this week. I’m looking forward to picking it up on Friday.

Dave & Buster’s (booth 771)
Look, they’re not exactly known for their food, but compared to the garbage they sell on the floor, D&B’s got infinity Michelin stars.

Dark Horse Comics (booth 1636)
Late Friday afternoon, Dark Horse and Sega are going to have a joint panel to discuss Alien – the comics, published by Dark Horse that are in the (pretty good) opening issues of a promising sounding crossover between Prometheus, Alien and Predator; and Alien: Isolation, the game which came out on Tuesday that’s maybe the Alien franchise’s last, best hope at making a good game not on a Genesis. Sega doesn’t have a booth on the floor, so if there’s any shot at trying the game, it’ll be here and today.

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PANELS TO WATCH

2:30 PM, Main Stage 1-D
[adult swim]Panel Block
Adult Swim has 2.5 hours blocked off on the Main Stage on Friday Afternoon, but it’s not one long, flowing panel. It’s broken out into three smaller sub-panels: the McBrayer/Triumph Panel from 2:30-3:15 with Robert Smigel and Jack McBrayer talking about their new upcoming series; the Rick and Morty panel from 3:20-4:05, with Dan Harmon and the Earl of Lemongrab talking about season 2 of the funniest show Adult Swim’s run since Harvey Birdman; and the Robot Chicken panel from 4:15-5.

3:00 PM, Room 1A10
Ron Perlman Spotlight
3:00 PM, Room 1A21
Spotlight on Bryan Lee O’Malley
If I remember the panel hall layout correctly, these two rooms are across the hall from each other, which means the line for Clay Morrow’s panel and the line for the guy who wrote Scott Pilgrim will,if you stand far enough away, mix together and look like a greyscale of traditional masculinity.

3:15 PM, Empire Stage 1-E
DC Comics – Batman: Gotham Rising
DC’s bringing the creative teams of just about every Bat-family book to talk about their plans for the next few months. The Batman books are almost universally excellent right now (we have two top-10 all-time Batman runs going on as we speak in regular Batman and Batman & Robin), so it’s going to be interesting to hear some more information on “Endgame”, “Robin Rises”, and to see preview art from Manapul and Booch on Detective or Tarr on Batgirl.

5:00 PM, Booth 2229
Mick Foley Autographing
Bring your own pen; the WWE legend is going to pull his out of his jock.

5:45 PM, Main Stage 1-D
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
They’ll be screening the upcoming episode of Marvel’s now-universally-accepted-as-good first TV foray, and as one of the few people who enjoyed the middle episodes of the first season, I’m in a state of near-permanent bliss watching this show now that it’s actually consistently awesome instead of just mediocre but leading to something.

7:15 PM, Empire Stage 1E
Justice League: Throne of Atlantis
DC’s direct to DVD movies have been as hit or miss as old Star Trek movies: roughly every other one is good. Considering how entertaining Assault on Arkham was, that doesn’t bode well for Throne of Atlantis. Also, since this is a direct sequel to Justice League: War (which I…I guess “hated” is the right word for it, even if it’s a little lighter than I actually felt. The comic that it was based on was so bad it turned me into Anakin crawling out of the lava), that’s not a good sign. All the promo stuff for this movie is focused on demanding that the viewer recognize what a badass Aquaman is, so I expect a subtle, nuanced, carefully plotted movie full of deep characters.

SATURDAY

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Hero Initiative


If there were some way to split yourself into duplicates and then reintegrate them so you had all the experiences in your memory, I wish I could use that power today. There are several panels going on at the same time that I want to be at, and oh God I think I really want to be Jamie Madrox.

BOOTHS TO CHECK OUT
The Hero Initiative (booth N104) and CBLDF (booth 1564)
Both of these are very good causes – the Hero Initiative provides a sadly needed safety net for creators, and the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund fights censorship of and in comics. They ALSO have some of the coolest comic related con-exclusives. Cool stuff, good cause, you almost owe it to yourself to spend money here.

Kodansha Comics (booth 2109)
The international publisher of Attack on Titan and Sailor Moon manga also usually has some pretty amazing displays set up, but really you should go over there and thank them for republishing Akira in America.

Consulate General of Japan in New York (booth 842)
Why? You know, I get why the Japanese Consulate is here, but do you think this assignment is the Japanese diplomatic equivalent of “you’re going to be manning a weather station in Alaska until you retire?” How bad do you have to screw up to get assigned to a table where you probably get lectured about your own culture by a 35 year-old white dude in a Naruto headband?

Brooklyn Brewery (booth 468)
Oh thank you based God good beer on the con floor. Brooklyn Brewery will hopefully have some of their Brooklyn Defender red IPA for con-goers needing a second wind, so be sure to check them out.

Image Comics (booth 1544)
I may have mentioned before that Image’s “First Taste is Almost Free” trade program has led to several crippling comic addictions for me (particularly Prophet and Deadly Class). They’ll have everything on sale here, so you are going to want to take a chance on anything they’ve got. They’ll also have super fancy expanded hardcovers of some of their best stuff available early. But why Saturday for the Image booth? Frank Quitely. He’s appearing at a panel for Image on Saturday, he’s going to be signing at the Image booth today at 12:45.

By the way, the full schedule of TICKETED (and only ticketed – these are the ones you need to pick up a ticket for as early in the day as possible; everyone else you can walk up for) signings at the Image booth are as follows:

Thursday: Brian K. Vaughan, 1-1:45 PM
Scott Snyder, 5-5:45 PM
Robert Kirkman, 5:30-6:30 PM

Friday:
Matt Fraction, 11-11:45 AM
Robert Kirkman, 11 AM – Noon
BKV, Noon-12:45 PM
The Thrilling Adventure Hour team 12:30-1:30 PM
Todd McFarlane and the new Spawn creative team, 2-3:30 PM
Nick Dragotta, 5-5:45 PM

Saturday:
Matt Fraction & Howard Chaykin, 11-11:45 AM
Frank Quitely, Noon-12:45 PM
Kieron Gillen & Jamie McKelvie, 2-2:45 PM
Kelly Sue DeConnick & Valentine De Landro, 4-4:45 PM
Scott Snyder, 4-4:45 PM

Sunday:
Matt Fraction, 11-11:45 AM
Kelly Sue DeConnick, 11-11:45 AM
Nick Dragotta, Noon-12:45 PM
Scott Snyder, 1-1:45 PM
Kieron Gillen & Jamie McKelvie, 1-1:45 PM
Robert Kirkman & Paul Azaceta, 2:30-3:30 PM

Uber (booth NC6)
Rumor has it they’ll have incentive copies of Spawn #1 on sale, but surge pricing will be in effect so they’ll be $350 each and they won’t tell you how much they cost until they’ve already swiped your card.

Avatar Press (booth 1920)
Speaking of Uber, it’s soooooooooooo good. The WW2 super powers comic, not the taxi app that beats you up and takes your money. Avatar publishes some gory as hell, extremely adult, extremely excellent comics from some of the most talented folks in the industry. Max Brooks, Garth Ennis, Si Spurrier and Kieron Gillen will all be hanging out here at various points, and you should absolutely check their Avatar stuff out.

Yale Stewart (Artists’ Alley booth D13)
Beloved creator of JL8 (the semi-unofficial comic about chibi Justice League in grade school) and noted humanitarian Yale Stewart will be autographing in Artists’ Alley.

Yale Stewart’s Dick (also Artists’ Alley booth D13)
Headshots will be available if you don’t ask.

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PANELS TO WATCH

11:15 AM, Room 1A06
Marvel: Death of Wolverine – The Logan Legacy
Charles Soule has been getting some good heat lately, and justifiably so – he’s one of the best new(ish) talents in comics right now, and he just got picked up as a Marvel exclusive. His first assignment as a Marvel exclusive was to kill Wolverine, and this panel, Marvel’s only X-Men related panel of the weekend, will have news on what’s next for the X-people after Wolverine eats it.

12:00 PM, Main Stage 1-D
Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham
We’ll get to hear the latest info about TT Games’ new adventure, wherein Kevin Smith kicks all of Gotham to little tiny pieces, and you, playing as one of over 150 DC Comics characters, stand in front of the rubble and hold A to put it back together again.

2:00 PM, Room 1A10
Spotlight on Randall Munroe with Bill Nye.
The Science Guy’s quick little national tour that was part live science demo, part one-man show, part lecture was delightful. Randall Munroe of XKCD fame has been putting out some of the funniest science-related webcomics for a few years now, and he has a new New York Times-bestselling book out giving serious questions to absurd answers. This should be entertaining.

3:00 PM, Empire Stage 1E
Powers: Bringing the Graphic Novels to Life
Powers, Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming’s excellent superhero police procedural, is FINALLY being made into a TV show. It has a killer cast, and the first two episodes are written by Charlie Huston, whose Joe Pitt vampire novels were awesome. I guess I’m not waiting to buy a PS4 after all, because the show is Playstation Network-exclusive, and it comes out around Christmas.

3:30 PM, Main Stage 1-D
AMC’s The Walking Dead
Norman Reedus is going to be up there, so I’m bringing a ton of underwear.

5:00 PM, Room 1A10
[adult swim]Panel Block 2
I take back what I said about Rick & Morty. Any show that takes 5 minutes to set up Michael Jai White yelling out “BASE! How low can you go” or makes a character who talks only in rhyme star in a Willy Wonka-themed porno is high art. Black Dynamite, Cream Corn and Bullhorn are all going to be here and I am PISSED that I’m going to miss it, but there’s no way I’m missing the next panel.

5:15 PM, Main Stage 1-D
Marvel’s Daredevil
Thanks to the rights reverting to Marvel and some generous tax breaks, all of Marvel’s Netflix series (Daredevil, Power Man, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist and The Defenders) are shooting in and around New York City, which means there’s no way they don’t show up at New York Comic Con. People are expecting some footage and possibly casting news from this panel, and come hell or high water I will make it into that room. Be sure to keep an eye on TR’s twitter feed, where I’ll try and get anything I find out as soon as the intertube traffic around the Javits Center clears up.

6:15 PM, Room 1A06
DC Entertainment: the Women of DC
Gail Simone and Amanda Conner are known quantities that make every panel they’re on fun, and Marguerite Bennett, Becky Cloonan and Babs Tarr are doing great work on their respective books right now.

7:15 PM, Room 1A18
NYCC Charity Auction
New York Comic Con has landed some awesome art from an amazing list of artists to auction off, and all the proceeds go to benefit the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. There won’t be deals to be had here, but the chance to get Batman art from Capullo for a worthy cause means at least a pop in.

SUNDAY

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Wikipedia


It’s funny how they pick the day when everyone is exhausted and blearily hung over to be “Family Day” at the con. I’m sure it’s a great experience for an 8 year-old to have to constantly dodge bloodshot zombies whose French baths barely cover the scent of “highly flammable.” Fortunately, it’s been my experience that the Sunday crowd, for all its horrible smells and crankiness, is also very encouraging of the youngest con-goers.

BOOTHS TO CHECK OUT
Vivarin (booth 359)
“Product categories: exactly what you would expect.”

BOOM! Studios (booth 1344) and Archie Comics (booth 1936)
Happy Family Day! NYCC has traditionally held Sundays to be the most kid-friendly of the con, so make sure to swing by these two publishers, who will have some awesome kid-specific exclusives – Boom will probably be out of their con-exclusive Mathematical Edition of Adventure Time with Fionna and Cake by Sunday, but last year they had a farm of artists working on Adventure Time sketch covers, and Archie has their big super hero line panel happening today, so expect some of those creators to be around their booth during the day.

Mad Libs (booth 965)

________ (verb) by and chat with the _________________ (plural noun) who put out the ________________ (adjective) party game that you ___________(verb) and ___________________(verb) up family day with your ___________ (adjective) little ___________(plural noun).

Retailers
Sunday is also shopping day, when all of the retailers who brought trucks full of trades and back issues decide that they really don’t want to lug it all back home and put everything on sale for absurd discounts. It’s worth digging through those trade bins – I have a full run of the Marvel Cosmic stuff from “Annihilation” to “The Thanos Imperative” that I accumulated mostly through NY Comic Con at about an 80% discount.

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Marvel


PANELS TO WATCH

11:00 AM, Room 1A21
Marvel Unlimited+ Member Event
I finally get to see if paying $100 a year for my MU subscription is worth the money (SPOILER ALERT: it is).

12:15 PM, Room 1A14
The Walking Dead: The Inside Scoop on Telltale’s Video Game Franchise
This panel will have the folks who made the extremely popular Walking Dead point and click game talking about their process, and what to expect in Season 3. Personally, I’m hoping little Clem gets to dual wield.

1:15 PM, Main Stage 1-D
Gotham Special Video Presentation and Q&A
The guests aren’t specified, but the panel description says that the audience will have a peek at some exclusive video footage, followed by a Q&A with some cast members and producers.

2:00 PM, Room 1A10
Street Fighter
Capcom recently announced plans to add a new game mode into Street Fighter 4 (which is on its…6th? I think? Since original SF4 was released) sometime later this year: Ultra Street Fighter 4: Omega. From the early previews of it, they’re trying to make a hilarious, completely broken fighting game that, instead of the crouch/jump/fireball/crouch/block/fireball you see in the traditional Street Fighter, plays more like the insane, flashy, heart attack-inducing Vs. games. The idea of Ken kicking fireballs and Guile having a two-button, five-hit combo makes me really excited. I might finally be mediocre at this game!

2:15 PM, Room 1A05
New York as a Character in Comics
The title of this panel seems snobby and stereotypical – my word! Another New Yorker who thinks the entire universe revolves around them! Thank God I brought a whole box of monocles to the convention center today! But if you pull back from the New York focus of it, it’s worth realizing that a lot of great comics use the setting as not just a backdrop, but another character. Think of all the characterization that’s gone into Gotham City or Metropolis over the years, and think of the work that’s gone into visualizing why the people in those cities live there, who they are, how and where they work, how they feed their families, what they do for fun. All of that goes into understanding who the main character of a work is and can add a lot of depth and nuance to a story.

3:30 PM, Family HQ Room 1C04
Harry Potter NYC Presents: The Art of Wand Dueling
I can’t wait until I have kid relatives old enough so that I can teach them how to shout “DISSULTOVENTRE” while doing fencing footwork, and then send them into one of these and see how many kids they corrupt with it.

4:00 PM, Room 1A10
Marvel: Spider-Verse
We’ll get some more info about Dan Slott’s latest big Spider-Man crossover, Shattered Dimensions “Spider-Verse.” I have always and will always love alternate universe stories, and I’ll be here just on the off chance that they show some new alternate Spider-Man costumes.

5:15 PM, Room 1A05
NYCC Staff Q&A
The panel only a true con dork could love, this is the process panel where NYCC staff and motivated con attendees get to discuss how the con worked, what they’d change, what went right and so on. Every year I expect one of these to devolve into a Parks & Rec town hall, and every year I’m disappointed. But I’ll keep going anyway.

Previously by Jim Dandeneau:
The 7 Best Ways to Clear Up Comics Continuity Errors

4 Reasons We Shouldn’t (and 4 We Should) Get Excited About the Marvel/Jack Kirby Settlement

About Author

Jim Dandeneau is many things: motorcycle tech, plastics executive, accomplished Highlander. But above all else, he is a comic book fan, and has been reviewing comics and covering cons for TRV since 2014.