One of the few conventions with an "official show glass" (an Iron Man tumbler, if you're curious), the 2008 NYC Comic Convention opened its doors to the public on Friday, April 18th at 3 PM. Last year the line looked like a high school attempting to break the Guinness World Record for longest conga line, so I waited until the doors were open for a solid hour before heading up to the Con. New York's Convention Center is conveniently located in the middle of nowhere so after walking four long avenues in the unseasonable blazing hot sun I arrived to a sea of flabby costumed slave Leias, boys with unwieldy facial hair, and a man dressed like Jesus. WWJD at the Con? After securing my magic press pass (it was magical because donning it had the immediate effect of making me wildly desirable to sketchy stringers and ardent fan boys), I hit the convention floor. First stop? Dark Horse Comics. Why? Because they had erected enormous Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Serenity posters right by the front door and I am a sucker for Joss Whedon. (Seriously, Joss, call me!) After eyeing their wares I wandered over to the Marvel booth to see how Iron Man was coming along. Marvel's booth was strangely sparse considering that they were promoting two huge movies at the Con (Ed Norton's Incredible Hulk along with the aforementioned Iron Man). It was especially sparse in contrast to DC's super (heh) crowded booth that was filled with action figures and items for purchase. Everything was crowded. There were costumed people all over the place. There was a miasma of body odor over the entire floor. There were lines everywhere, too, but since most of them were for writers I had never heard of I was able to side step most. (Mark Evanier I'm sure you rule but I am not waiting in a forty-five minute line to find out whether your signature will net me anything on eBay!) Similarly the gaming stations were mobbed, but since I still only have my brother's hand-me-down Gameboy with a lone version of Metroid (the old one) I didn't need to wait in a 30-minute line to play Doom or whatever. After much gawking at the oddly costumed people (what does Frankenberry have to do with comics? And does anyone think Prince Valiant is cool? Anyone?) I headed downstairs to check out the panels.
I was greeted by (more) massive lines, but I used my magic press pass to swing by the Marvel panel to see what was coming up in the world of comic books. Unfortunately the panel was filled with people who know a lot more about comic books than I do and the geek speak soon got the best of me. Actually the entire Con was filled with people who know more about comics than I do, but I had a press pass and dammit I was going to use it. So what sent me fleeing from the room? A comment about an Aunt May hook up. That's right, Aunt May. Hooking. Up. I have obviously not been keeping up with the comic book industry's attempts at attracting a wider audience. But, hey, if geriatric sexcapades kept the The Golden Girls on the top of the ratings for five years, I guess it could work for comics, too. I'm just having a hard time picturing Aunt May as Blanche Devereaux. All the old people sex talk made me feel dirty so I scampered out to the hallway. Luckily A&E had a team handing out samples of Purell to promote their new television show The Andromeda Strain and I took a moment to douse myself liberally. People who simply call it hand sanitizer are not using their imaginations. By the way, the trailer for The Andromeda Strain looks pretty darn good. I headed over to the "Women in Comics" panel for some quality gender studies and it was in full swing by the time I cracked open the door and snuck into the back row. I was mostly there to see Gail Simone who is Wonder Woman's first permanent female writer, which is crazy, right? Who knew Wonder Woman was written by a man? It's like finding out Nancy Drew is written by a man! Oh, wait... The panelists were discussing the state of the industry and it was pretty interesting, but my attention span was apparently obliterated by the Pokemon spearheaded sensory overload that was going on the convention floor, so I snuck out. Apparently sneaking is my super power.