NEW YORK COMIC CON 2016 RECAP
Let’s breakdown and grade all that went on at NYCC 2016…
We’ll start with:
Fan Verification process
In order to prevent ticket scalping, this year ReedPop introduced the fan verification process. Every person wanting to attend the event needed to be fan verified by supplying their email address. On a later date, an invite will be sent to that registered email with a special link that will be used the day the tickets go on sale. Judging by social media, this new process was met with mixed feelings. Personally I was okay with it but how much was actually kept from the hands of the scalpers is unknown. We’ll see if any improvements are made for next year.
The Main Stage (Tap and go)
This is the third year that the Main Stage gets cleared out between panels. The two previous year’s wristbands were handed out during the morning lineup in the queue hall. This year ReedPop improved on that system by ditching the wristbands and utilizing the RFID contained in our badges. Basically visitors wishing to see a panel on the main stage needed to choose which one of the potential five panels they wanted and line up in that chute. There, they would get their badge tapped in the same way they entered the building and would be free to head to the show floor or try for another panel as long as it wasn’t capped. Of course that’s not to say there weren’t any setbacks. As good as technology is, it will never be bulletproof. Some visitors who got tapped in morning, later had issues when they tried to enter the main stage when their badge was tapped to confirm entry to that panel didn’t go through. From what I saw it wasn’t too many that had to deal with the inconvenience and it seemed to be rectified rather quickly. Two years ago the wristband process took between 40-60 minutes. That’s precious time that can best be spent elsewhere. Last year it was reduced to roughly 30 minutes and this year with the new tap and go system, you’re often done before the show floor even opens. At worst, you’re done within 10-15 minutes. I found this new process to be faster and overall more efficient.
As I’ve stated before when choosing a panel, prioritize what you wish to see and get to the convention center as early as possible. If you’re able to see more than one on the main stage that day, smile and consider yourself lucky.
I’m still amazed by how organized and well run the photo op experience is by the team at Epic Photos. It doesn’t seem to matter what time of day it is, the staff is always helpful, informative and kind. To say I’m impressed is an understatement. Still hoping they add a credit option at the event itself but that’s a minor detail.
|with Jon Bernthal|
Ah yes the Thursday showdown. Much like last year, Funko remains the hot ticket vendor. But unlike last year, instead of wasting time in the queue hall twice a day to be fortunate enough to get a ticket for their booth, a lottery was held a couple of weeks earlier. Anyone interested in getting their hands on nearly 50+ exclusives needed to enter their email address and hope. Winners received an email about a week prior to the event. Yes, it stinks if you don’t win a timeslot but at least you know one way or the other. There is nothing worse than wasting time only to be disappointed by not getting into the booth. This is a better idea. By the way, the hottest collectible was The Golden Girls. Yes, you read that right. Some undoubtedly was disappointed. Even winning the lottery didn’t guarantee you’d get what you’re hoping for. Only a certain allotment of Funko Pops was allocated for each day. So, if you got the second session ticket for the first day, your chances may end up being worst off than the person who gets a first session ticket for the second day. All I can say is buyer beware.
|The hottest collectible at NYCC 216|
The true reason comic cons exist in the first place is on full display at Artist Alley. This is where you see the industries finest artist both seasoned veterans and up and coming new stars. One of the coolest swag gifts I picked up was from ComiXology and their collection of baseball-like trading cards featuring some of the best talent in the industry today. I urge everyone to strike up conversations when you can with as many artists as possible but always remember to be respectful. And if you can, get some commission work done. You’ll be happy you did.
The undisputed king of autograph alley was without question the legendary Stan Lee. Estimated wait times to meet Stan was upwards of 2 ½ hours. I would say easily an average of 4000 or more visitors each day waited on line. That’s beyond anything I’ve ever seen in all the years I’ve attended the show.
Other guests included Matt Smith, Jenna Coleman, Alex Kingston, Carrie Fisher, Jon Bernthal, Evangeline Lilly, Tom Mison, Jack Gleeson, J. August Richards, Erin Richards, Robin Lord Taylor, David Mazouz, Millie Bobby Brown, David Harbour, C. Thomas Howell, Ralph Macchio, Jeremy Shada, Nichelle Nichols, Walter Jones, David Yost, Zoie Palmer, Anna Silk, Alan Tudyk, Michael Rowe, Kathy Najimy, Paul Sorvino, Ivy Doomkitty and Graham McTavish.
|Erin Richards from Gotham|
Autograph Alley isn’t the only place to get to meet and greet celebrities. Throughout the show floor there are numerous booths that you meet stars. And if you’re interested in meeting your favorites from Marvel, make sure to visit their booth first thing to not only get the signing schedule but get your tickets for those limited cast signings that take place throughout the weekend.
As always, respect the wishes of the talent. If they say no photos allowed at the table, please honor that. It will make both yours and their experience that much better.
Other highlights include the first look at the latest Netflix series, Marvels’ Iron Fist starring Finn Jones as well as seeing the complete ensemble of The Defenders, Charlie Cox (Daredevil), Krysten Ritter (Jessica Jones) and Mike Colter (Luke Cage) as they joined Jones on stage. Not to mention seeing Sigourney Weaver will play the big bad. This is epic news to say the least.
One of the newest and nicest additions to the convention experience was the Experiential Zone where the former Empire Stage was located. Thanks to companies like Square Enix, Amazon Studios and Lionsgate to name a few visitors can get a feel for the world of VR (Virtual Reality), as well as tabletop games that the entire family can enjoy. It was a nice distraction from the hustle and bustle of the show floor.
Once again this year outside locations such as the Hammerstein and Madison Square Garden were utilized for additional panels and screenings. As well as having BookCon take place at the same time. All of these were all first come, first served and no clearing was needed. A large part of having outside events I believe is for crowd control within the Javits itself.
Now, the one thing that bothered me and seems to change each day of the event was where to line up and enter the convention center. For example, on Thursday morning we were instructed to walk from 34th street to 39thand 10th to begin our lineup. Seem simple enough but when you get there, not only do you have to walk to 12th Avenue but need to walk all the way back to 34th street. We end up where we began in the first place. What frustrates me is that everyone has a walkie talkie. Where’s the communication? Made zero sense and caused people to walk forever for no reason whatsoever. There has to be a better way. The same thing occurred on Friday but was corrected by Saturday although the biggest issue was being kept outside till nearly 10am and learning that certain panels were already capped which stunned a lot of people who couldn’t understand how that was when the doors were closed. Apparently doors were opened hours prior to control the amount of people waiting outside. I wish there was some consistency as to when the doors do open. Whether it is 6am, 7am or 8am, it doesn’t matter as long as it’s consistent. Each day seemed to be different and there lies the issue for many who attend this great show.
As I’ve said many times before it is nearly impossible to make everyone happy. No matter how much they try, it’s just not realistic. Best thing to do is go in with an open mind and enjoy the experience. I guarantee that in the end the good will always outweigh the bad.
My Top 10 highlights are:
10. Winning the Funko exclusives lottery
9. Meeting and chatting with Tom Mison from the show Sleepy Hollow
8. Seeing Stan Lee one last time at New York Comic Con
7. Doctor Who Panel with Matt Smith, Jenna Coleman & Alex Kingston
6. Meeting and chatting with Star Trek Legend, Nichelle Nichols
5. Meeting Jon Bernthal
4. Meeting Matt Smith & Jenna Coleman
3. Stranger Things panel with Millie Bobby Brown & David Harbour
2. World Premiere of Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders with Adam West
1. Spending time with friends who I consider family
Mark your calendars, NYCC returns October 5-8, 2017. See you all then.
May the Dork be with you,
The Dork Knight