Monday, October 22, 2012

KB's Adventures at NYC Comic Con 2012

For the fourth year in a row I went to New York City Comic Con at the Javits Center (the same venue that hosts Book Expo America) last weekend. Over twenty thousand people descended each day at the venue from Friday to Sunday for a fun filled weekend of comic books, superheroes, celebrities sightings and everything else in between.

My new friend, Mr Nerd

This year I went on Saturday. Next year I may do Thursday night and Friday because Saturday was a madhouse. I was lucky enough to get a press pass again this year, which the only real perk is going for free. I wasn't able to cut in line or have VIP status to any screenings, and if I wanted to interview any celebrity types, I would have do it on my own. So armed with my pink Wonder Woman T-shirt, my homemade Steampunk hat and good old Mho Fho, I joined masses for the day.

I had two goals to accomplish at Comic Con. My big big thing to attend The Walking Dead panel/screening later than afternoon since The Walking Dead is my television crack show. Unfortunately I didn't get to go to any screening because unless you get into the theater at 10am when it opens, you're pretty much locked out. No tickets are handed out for any of the screenings. It's first come, first serve and as long as you don't leave the theater where the screenings take place, you can sit there all day if you choose. I think this is unfair and really needs to be fixed. If you want to get autographs for high profile people, you can get tickets at 8am each morning, but this doesn't happen for the screenings. I really think Comic Con has to change this rule and allow a person a ticket to one screening of their choice so its more fair, or one screening per person. I was more than irked about not being able to attend The Walking Dead screening but I made up for it other ways.

I'm big on the author and publishing end of Comic Con and planned on hitting up as many publishing booths as I could. My second goal was to get an advanced copy of Tahereh Mafi's Unravel Me. This is the sequel to Shatter Me (one of my favorite reads from last year) and is coming out in February 2013 from HarperCollins. Tahereh was doing a panel and signing copies of Unravel Me on Friday, and on Sunday HarperCollins was giving away Unravel Me. But my poor self was only going to be there on Saturday! As soon as I got into the venue, the first booth I hit up was the HarperCollins' booth, and to my surprise Tahereh was there signing copies of Shatter Me. I wanted to meet Tahereh regardless, and was hoping I could score a copy of Unravel Me. Tahereh's publicist Maryann was there also, and after talking to both women about how much of a fan I am of Tahereh's work and her series, they were kind enough to give me a copy of Unravel Me. Both women were awesome, and when I asked Tahereh if she would take a picture with me and Mho, she said sure! Meeting Tahereh was the highlight of my Comic Con experience. (I also read Unravel Me, and it's just as good as Shatter Me. The fans of this series will love this book!)

Me, Tahereh and Mho

Other authors I met:

Young Adult author, Beth Revis was signing copies of, Shades of Earth, the third book in her Across the Universe series coming out from Razorbill in January 2013. Unfortunately by the time I stopped by there were no more copies of Shades of Earth, but I still got to meet Beth.

I met self publishing author, Cerece Murphy and we talked about her new release, Order of the Seers, which is a sci-fi and has a romance.The moment Cerece told me there was a romance in her book, I bought a copy.

**UPDATE: I will not be reading Order of the Seers once I found out it was Twilight fan fiction** I feel duped for spending my money on this book**

Some wacky things that caught my eye:

Made completely of Legos

Jigsaw and Robin

Eventually I met up with my blogging gal pals Marnie from Absorbed in a Book and Grace from Books of Love. We ended up in what I call the Dr. Who section. I posed with a dalik and also got a picture of Caitlin Blackwood who plays Amy Pond on Dr. Who.

I look so silly ridiculous in this picture.

There was a great deal more Steampunk booths with some beautiful dresses, corsets, hats and goggles:

Speaking of Steampunk, I made sure to attend the Ladies Who Steam: The Publishing Industry on Women in Steampunk with Tor Editor, Lis Gorinsky, Orbit Books Art Director Lauren Panepinto, my gal pal, author Leanna Renee Hieber, my fellow Decadent Publishing author, PJ Schnyder and author Anina Bennett.

Leanna and PJ, the two sexy ladies of Steampunk

If you love every Steampunk, this was the panel to attend. Some things I learned from this panel:

-Steampunk is theory, a crossgenre-genre.
-Why is Steampunk such a big draw for women? It's all about the punk factor and going against the establishment and re imagining with a modern lens. So many women lived during this time- the Victorian era. Big for romance readers who are willing to read other things.
-Steampunk is like a sandbox, has same parallels like the present.
-Steampunk is a very appealing genre and isn't boxed in. Uses part to reflect the present. "Has a gilded age."
-It seems if it has a bustle and gears, it must be Steampunk.
-What are the requirements of Steampunk? The Victorian prose is important and must translate to modern sensibilities. Gaslamp fantasy is mentioned and things being powered by steam isn't the criteria. Must be set in the great age of steam and must appreciate the details.

Another panel I really wanted to attend was the Gay Marriage in Comics: Revolutionary or a Step Backwards: The comics event of 2012 was Northstar’s marriage to his boyfriend Kyle, on the heels Kevin Keller’s marriage in "Life With Archie." Does this represent a breakthrough or has it been a way to make the comics world’s most prominent LGBT characters "acceptable" to the mainstream audience? Join moderator Chance Whitmire (Fanboys of the Universe) and panelists Phil Jimenez (Astonishing X-Men), Dan Parent (Kevin Keller), Paul Kupperberg (Life With Archie) and Joan Hilty (Bitter Girl, former DC Comics Editor).

This panel had a packed room and the big discussion was the gay couple of Kevin and Clay from the Archie comics and about gay romantic relationships in general in comics.

From Wikipedia:  "Kevin Keller is a fictional character in the Archie Comics universe. He premiered in Veronica #202, published in September 2010. Kevin is the first openly gay character in Archie Comics history. In July 2011 Archie Comics announced that Keller would star in his own ongoing solo title, also titled Kevin Keller. The new series debuted in February 2012. Reportedly Keller will become president of his high school class but will also face "adversity". Keller also appeared as an adult in 2012 in the title Life with Archie, which featured Kevin's wedding.Kevin's story began in issue #16, published in January 2012. Readers learned that Kevin will meet his future husband, Clay, in a military hospital after Keller is wounded while serving in the United States Armed Forces. Kevin Keller's first appearance in Veronica #202 proved so popular that the issue sold out, prompting Archie Comics to issue a reprint for the first time in its history."

Some things I learned from this panel:

-Gay romantic relationships in comics is a hot button issue in the media.
-Because of the Million Moms boycott regarding the character of Kevin, it helped sell out the Archie issue of Kevin and Clay's marriage. This issue and Archie comics are sold at Toys 'R' Us and the company supports Archie comics and ignored the Million Moms.
-Gay relationship and marriage are treated exactly the same as straight relationships in the Archie comics.
-Because of the Avengers movie, it has helped with mainstreaming comics. Comics influence American culture.
-Now the stakes are much higher and want to give gay characters and other characters that aren't straight white males a fair shake. Every other character is the "other" and because of this, the other characters including gay characters have to represent.
-When will we see more gay villains? There are so few of them and the only way there will be these characters is when more of them are being written.
-There has been complaints that Kevin is too perfect. But it was pointed out that most of the characters in Archie are close to perfect.
-They didn't know how Kevin would be received and hoped the readers would liked him. Kevin became so popular that he was given his own series.
-The stakes are higher for married couples in comics whether they're straight or gay. Relationships as a whole are treated in a juvenile way and don't mirror reality.
-Archie is not saving the world like a superhero comic does. They're writing as close to real people as they can get.

My experience at the 2012 NYC Comic Con was a blast as always (with the exception of not going to any screenings.) It's always a fun time and very affordable. This year there wasn't as much free swag as there was in the past regarding books because Barnes and Noble was bought in to sell books to the public, but I was able to get a few books as indicated below in the picture:

I bought Order of the Seers, but got two freebies. The strange dolphin comic cracked me up.

And so ends my report from NYC Comic Con. Until next year!

As you can see, I made a lot of friends!