Last updated: October 31. 2013 1:37PM - 602 Views
By Rich Howells

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It’s the biggest comic convention on the East Coast, and while it’s nowhere near the size and stature of the San Diego Comic-Con, New York Comic Con is quickly catching up.

That’s why two members of The Weekender staff attended this year’s sold-out event, Sara Pokorny and I. As we entered the Javits Center on Saturday, Oct. 12, we were impressed with the new “tap in, tap out” system that allowed us to register our badges online before we arrived so a quick scan was all we needed to enter and exit.

In fact, most things seemed more organized than in previous years. While the size of the main floor – and its fold-out map – may still be a bit overwhelming, staff members were around every corner to guide you or organize the line you were waiting in.

As in previous years, Marvel Comics dominated the weekend with their cosplayer stage; free creator signings; a display of Lola, Agent Coulson’s beloved car from “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.;” and lively panels throughout the day, particularly Cup O’ Joe, Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada’s annual Q&A. The 4 p.m. panel was full of announcements, including a preview of a live stage show called Marvel Universe Live!, the increased interactivity of the digital Infinite Comics, the end of editor Tom Brevoort’s record-breaking run on “Fantastic Four,” zombie godfather George A. Romero’s upcoming “Empire of the Dead” comic series and its inclusion of vampires, and Marvel’s plans to reprint Neil Gaiman’s “MiracleMan” and let him finish off the series properly in 2014.

The Q&A session was mostly full of softball questions and audience members asking for hugs, but interesting tidbits were peppered in some answers, including the expectation of more female-fronted entertainment in the future, possibly utilizing Black Widow on the screen in a bigger way.

The “Walking Dead” panel was easily the most popular panel again this year, moderated by “Community” star Yvette Nicole Brown. The announcement of three pivotal characters from the comics joining the television cast was made in a unique way – Michael Cudlitz of “Southland” appeared as a belligerent fan demanding Abraham Ford be included in the show before it was announced that he would be taking on the fan-favorite tough guy role alongside Christian Serratos as Rosita Espinosa and Josh McDermott as Eugene Porter. A “council” of familiar characters have taken over the prison community this season, and it was promised that both Carol and Carl would be kicking some ass in Season 4, as fans have already seen in last week’s episode. Some clips were shown, though nothing containing any major spoilers.

I finished off my Saturday at a free “Adventure Time Encyclopaedia” signing, but Sara and her boyfriend stayed until Sunday for a chance to meet “Walking Dead” creator Robert Kirkman.

Arriving at 5 a.m., they waited for a ticket to the signing until 10 a.m., then waited in another line to actually meet the man. While she almost had to punch a gaggle of 30-something nerds hoping to push their way through, she also observed a father/son duo in front of her from Georgia, who lived just minutes from where the popular television show is filmed. The son, though only 17, was an aspiring comic writer and had exchanged contacts with “Batman” scribe Scott Snyder. It’s young fans like these growing into their love and appreciation for the art form that make these sometimes unruly lines worthwhile.

“Con is an intriguing, one-of-a-kind place, where absolutely everyone fits in, which is why I adore it – almost as much as I do Manhattan,” Pokorny told me.

I couldn’t agree more.

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