New York Comic Con officially opened at noon today, but DC decided to kick things off early. At 10:30, they held a joint ceremony with the US Postal Service to unveil the Batman Limited Edition Forever Stamps. Jim Lee and Dan DiDio from DC were on hand, along with CIO of the USPS, Jim Cochrane, and stamp sheet designer, Greg Breeding. Jim Lee spoke for a bit about how he collected stamps as a kid and how it let him learn about history and culture. He also discussed his part in Batman’s history. Dan DiDio took the stage and announced that Bruce Wayne was in fact a stamp collector, a hobby he learned from and shared with his father, Thomas. The USPS employees discussed the whys and wherefores of choosing to celebrate Batman’s 75th anniversary with art from various stages of the Dark Knight’s storied past. Unveiling the stamp art, there was one from the Golden Age, Silver Age, Bronze Age, and Modern Age. After the art was unveiled, Batman himself came on stage briefly. Behind the stage were cases with Batman suits from each of the film versions of the character, starting with Michael Keaton and including the cape and cowl that will be worn by Ben Affleck in Superman vs Batman. When the even ended, attendees were invited to purchase stamps and get envelopes that were handed out, signed by Jim Lee and the other speakers. The stamps can be purchased in post offices across the country or online on the USPS website.
While autographs for stamped items were happening, the con officially opened. I entered The Block, the main show floor and was immediately impressed and perhaps a little overwhelmed. To my right as I entered was the WETA Workshop booth. These are the guys responsible for the special effects in the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies. The first thing I saw was a giant head of the dragon Smaug, whose eyes opened and closed, his throat giving off a fiery glow from time to time. There was a life sized statue of Azog the orc and Gollum. There were statues aplenty, replica weapons
from the movies, jewelry and more. Being a huge fan of the LotR movies, I had a great time browsing around.
Not knowing where anything was, I wandered around the block for a bit, checking out various things and spotting some of the more prominent booths. Marvel, Image, Dark Horse, Lego, Capcom, retailer Mid Town Comics, and plenty of others were well represented with massive booths that could be seen from half way across the show floor. I wasn’t sure where to go first, but I noticed a distinct lack of comic cretors. That’s when I decided to head to Artist Alley, which was on the complete other end of the convention center, and check in with some folks. I had arranged to get a commission from Black Science artist, Matteo Scalera before the con, and decided it would be a good idea to pay for it. Hopefully, it will be ready for pick up tomorrow. I then went and waited by Moon Knight artist, Declan Sha
lvey’s booth as he hadn’t yet arrived. He had said on Twitter that he was only doing one commission per day for the first person to get to his booth. Fortunately my loitering paid off because after a few minutes, Declan finally showed up, with luggage in tow. So as not to be rude, I waited patiently for him to unpack and get set up. When he was more or less situated, he noticed me and I told him not to hurry on my account, I was patiently waiting. When he told me he was good to go, I asked about the commission, and he said I was the first person to ask, so the prize was mine. I asked for Mr. Knight (Moon Knight in a suit) as I absolutely loved the look of that book. We then discussed his brief run on Moon Knight with Warren Ellis. He spoke of the challenges of drawing all the weird stuff that Ellis came up with. I mentioned that issue #5, the “fight issue” was probably my favorite, and how it had made me think of the film Ong Bak. Shalvey admitted that the movie was definitely an influence. He went on to say that the issue was one of his favorites as well, as it was just fun to draw. He asked Ellis if he could do a scene where Moon Knight takes off his jacket. His request was granted, allowing him to draw Moon Knight with his sleeves rolled up, revealing the flesh of his arms and some color to break up the high-contrast heroe. Shaley finished by saying it was funny because he had been thinking it would be cool to do an issue that was basically one long fight. Then Warren Ellis called him and said he wanted to do an issue that was one long fight. “Savage!” exclaimed Shalvey. It was kismet.
After the wonderful chat with Declan, I wandered around Artists Alley some more to see who I recognized and get a general feel for where everyone was. At that point it was time for quick, convention-food
lunch, during which a guy walked by dropping off flyers stating a big announcement was going down soon at the Marvel booth. I headed down to hear a presentation about the Marvel Experience. “Step into hyper-reality,” was the catch phrase for this new venture, a traveling theme park attraction-like show based on Marvel comics. Joe Quesada, along with members of Hero Venture, Marvel’s new partners, took the stage to discuss the new business venture. Made up of seven Domes, guests will experience a full 360-degree, 3-D stereoscopic theater and 4-D motion ride that features Marvel characters in a unique, Hollywood-quality scripted story. Guests will literally be surrounded on all sides by characters and be caught in the middle of events that could only happen in the Marvel universe. There will even be a life sized Avengers Quinjet. Tickets will go on sale on October 1oth, and the first few locations and dates were announced:
- Phoenix, AZ: 12/12 – 1/3
- Dallas, TX: 1/9 – 2/1
- San Diego, CA: 2/7 – 2/22
- Los Angeles, CA: 2/27 – 3/2
More info can be found at www.themarvelexperience.com.
When the Marvel Experience event was over, I headed back to Artists Alley and got some
Spider-Man comics signed by Greg Horn and Humberto Ramos. I got Five Ghosts creators Frank Barbiere and Chris Mooneyham, to sign a couple issues for me as well. They were particularly nice and I discussed the upcoming Five Ghosts television show. They said that they were excited because everyone involved seemed to love the book and wanted to translate the tone and setting of to the small screen. I think that their satisfaction is a good sign that the show will be good, which makes me happy. I think it will be fantastic to have a pulpy, Robert E. Howard-esque sort of show on tv as there’s nothing like that out there right now. Next I went across the aisle and got some books signed by Charles Soule, who recently went exclusive with Marvel. I confessed me love of his She-Hulk book and he told me he had a lot of fun writing it and to look out for big things coming up in the title.
When I finished up in Artists Alley I went back up to the main show floor and wandered around a bit more. I picked up a cool Iron man arc reactor key chain, and a NYCC exclusive set of Avengers pins. I passed by several MASSIVE booths
full of t-shirts and hoodies. Manga and anime were plentiful as were toys and assorted statuary. There was even a Geico booth with a giant bus and gecko statue. Hundreds of cosplayers were making rounds, dressed as their favorite characters from comics, anime, sci-fi and fantasy films and television. While I was there, I also stumbled upon one of my favorite voice actors of all time: Billy West. I got him to sign a print of Fry from Futurama for me, and got my picture taken with him. He was super nice and even yelled, “Now shut up and take my money!” at me in Fry’s voice.
I ended my day with the panel Adam West and Batman: The Complete Series. Warner Bros. will be releasing the entire 1966 Batman tv show on blu-ray and DVD on November 11th. Completely remastered and featuring over three hours of bonus features, this will be the first time the entire series has been put on home video. To help celebrate, Batman himself, Adam West showed up to discuss the release and reminisce about his days working on the show. I have to confess, I love the Adam West Batman show and have been looking forward to this release since I heard about it a few months back, and really wanted to attend this panel. I’m glad that I did because Adam West was warm, charming, and funny. He told stories about working on the show and with Burt Ward. He shared anecdotes like the time he told the crew to use fishing wire to hold up Batman and Robin’s capes so it would appear more realistic during the scenes when they scaled the sides of buildings by turning the camera on it’s side. A trailer was shown for the blu-ray set, along with some side-by-side footage
showing what it looked like before and after remastering. Holy HD, Batman, the difference was amazing! During a Q&A session, West announced that he was revisiting his book, Back to the Batcave to add new material. The updated version of the book will be released sometime next year. West was also very gracious, mentioning several times that he was a very lucky man, and it was all thanks to his many fans. It was a great panel, worth it just to spend some time with Adam West, but I can’t wait to get my hands on those blu-rays.