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NYCC 2015 Day One: An Expected Journey

New York Comic Con 2015

New York Comic Con 2015 Day One Writeup. New York Comic Con 2015 is my second time covering the event for FilmBook. I went there last year for the first time, and it was a bit overwhelming: I had to make my way around the huge Javits Center, navigating around several thousand guys dressed like Deadpool, and I still missed some panels I was supposed to get into (I was supposed to cover Agents of SHIELD before a confusing mix-up got in the way, and don’t get me started on how everyone and their mother tried to get into The Walking Dead panel). I still saw and covered a lot of great panels, like Gotham and Daredevil, but I was a rookie when it came to con coverage.

Now though, I’m older, I’m wiser, and I’m a little smarter about when to go to the food court (the only place where the lines are longer than the ones to get into panels). I can strut down the halls of the Javits Center with ease, a sea of Deadpools walking behind me, as I go from panel to panel, and walk around the show floor for good measure. And this year, I’m doing much more than a few podcasts (though, of course, I’m doing those, too). I’m also tweeting and streaming live video from FilmBook’s official Twitter account, and I’ll be doing these writeups every day to convey the New York Comic Con experience.

The Show Floor

I arrived on site around 10:00 AM today. I wasn’t going to any panels on the Main Stage, so I could afford to get in a little later than I normally would. Whenever I wasn’t in a panel (I saw three today), I would walk around the show floor as much as I could. For a lot of people, this is the big draw of Comic Con. There’s so much great stuff that you can essentially just stumble upon, and while you know who the big booths will be and where they’ll be located, you’re just as likely to find some great independent comic publisher to small-time clothing company that is loaded with great stuff.

I’ll be walking around the show floor more whenever I have downtime over the next few days, so today was mostly just a once-over. Like last year, one of the coolest booths was WETA’s, which featured a lot of model replicas of characters and props featured in The Hobbit movies, and some stuff from Chappie and the upcoming Krampus. Marvel also had a booth on the floor which featured a replica of Jessica Jones’ office from her upcoming TV series where fans could take pictures, which featured a newspaper with a fun Easter egg – the headline read “Daredevil Collars Fisk.”

Comic Book Men Panel

All three panels I went to today took place on the Empire Stage, the second-biggest stage in the Javits Center. It fits a lot of people, but the room has gigantic, load-bearing poles that are directly in the line of sight, meaning almost anywhere you sit, your view is going to be obstructed. That was pretty much the case for me here, but luckily, there are huge TVs in front of the audience as well so the audience can get a better view.

I haven’t watched Comic Book Men regularly since its first season, of which I watched every episode out of blind devotion to Kevin Smith. Smith was an instrumental figure in my own film geekiness. At 16 years old, I considered Clerks to be my favorite movie of all time (and, in some ways, it’s still is). I’ve grown up and haven’t been as enamored with Smith’s work outside of what I liked as a teenager, but seeing this guy who was such an inspiration to me at a young age live for the first time was a thrill. For all his faults, Smith is one of the best talkers in the business – his freeform storytelling is almost always as funny as it is long, and that was the case here. The rest of the Comic Book Men cast were there, but were barely given a chance to speak. This, for all intents and purposes, was the Kevin Smith show.

And, as someone who doesn’t watch Comic Book Men anymore, I was very much okay with that. They did show a sizzle reel from the upcoming season which looked like it featured a lot of cool moments and some very cool special guests like Ernie Hudson, Adam West, and Billy Dee Williams. But Smith was on fire throughout the panel – whether describing the one-take fight scene from Netflix’s Daredevil to one fan who hadn’t seen it (this took about ten minutes), or providing a bit of information on Mallrats 2 (Smith described it as “Die Hard in a mall,” and said Brodie holds a Comic Con that is infiltrated by terrorists, and that he’s the only one that can stop them). Smith began the panel declaring his love for all things nerdy and how great it is that nerds have come so far, and ended the panel with a long speech about following your dreams and creating art. In other words, it was the quintessential Kevin Smith experience, and it resulted in the best panel of the day.

Inside The Walking Dead with Robert Kirkman

I was able to reposition for the next two panels, so I had a much better view of the stage. This time, moderator Dan Casey from The Nerdist spent an hour talking to Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman. Kirkman and Casey talked all things The Walking Dead, from the TV series and its spinoff, to the comics, the video games, and beyond. As someone who has not read the comics but is a fan of the series (and loves the first game by Telltale Games), this panel had a lot to offer. Kirkman was funny and very open about his writing process, and he interacted with the fans very well. At one point, a young fan asked if he would sign something for her, but when she got on stage, she didn’t have anything to sign, so she handed him her glasses. Kirkman laughed, signed them, and requested security to escort her out of the building.

Kirkman also provided some insight into Fear The Walking Dead, and how that show came to be out of a desire to see how characters – he mentioned Glenn as an example – became the hardened people they are in the main show. He also described the direction the show will take in season two, and insisted that, though the characters will be in a boat, it won’t be “a bottle episode every week,” but instead the show will find ways for them to go to shore and deal with walkers. He also promised some “water-zombie action,” which, if it’s anything like that sounds, could be amazing.

Game of Thrones: A Panel of Ice and Fire

My final panel of the evening was the one I was most excited for, though it ended up being the most lightweight. Three actors from Game of Thrones were there just to talk about the show – season five ended months ago, and season six doesn’t start for another few months, so there wasn’t much new to discuss. Natalie Dormer, Finn Jones, and Keisha Castle-Hughes were there, and each was fun to see. Finn Jones ended up being the unexpected highlight – he was really funny, interacted with the crowd, and had some surprisingly thought-out theories about how the series will end. He displayed a ton of charisma, so much that it’s a wonder he doesn’t get to do more on the show. There were a lot of jokes regarding the season five finale and (SPOILERS) the apparent death of Jon Snow that nobody is buying for a second. When asked what actor she’d like to work with that she hasn’t yet, Keisha Castle-Hughes replied with Kit Harrington, prompting Jones to respond “Um, you can’t do that anymore, remember?”

All in all, the panel was fun. It wasn’t as insightful as Robert Kirkman’s interview or as funny as Kevin Smith rambling about whatever comes to his mind, but as a way to end the day, you could do worse than seeing three charismatic actors from one of your favorite shows just hanging out and talking about the show.

And that, all told, was my first day back at New York Comic Con. Don’t forget, I’ll be tweeting and broadcasting live on Periscope through FilmBook’s Twitter account for the remainder of the convention, and you can always follow me as well if you were so inclined. Tomorrow I’ll be trying to get into Marvel’s Agents of Primetime panel, which encompasses both Agents of SHIELD and Agent Carter, so you can follow on Twitter to get a real-time recap of that plus everything else I do that day. And now, it’s time for some much-needed sleep. Until tomorrow, dear readers.

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About the author

Michael Smith

Mike Smith is an avid filmgoer from New York who loves to hear his own voice - luckily his work as a podcaster on FilmBook allows him to do just that. Mike graduated from The College of Saint Rose in Albany with a degree in communications, and is ready to dole out critical analysis of all your pop culture fixations. Mike is the host of FilmBookCast and can frequently be seen at his local movie theater, patiently explaining to his friends that Superman Returns is a misunderstood masterpiece.

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