Paste's 10 Favorite Things About NYC Comic Con 2009
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"I want to see Emma Frost and Loki have a pillow fight!"
The raucous statement echoes anonymously in a large, industrial room filled with 500 people at 2009 New York Comic Con. Each of the 500 in attendance laughs because they are well aware that a) Emma Frost is a fictional bleach-blonde mutant telepath who notoriously flaunts a leather Victorian corset. She is also a comic-book character. They're also aware that b) Loki is a the Norse Goddess of Trickery who often fights the Asgardian God of Thunder, Thor. She was once male before morphing into an extremely attractive female (magical possession, not transgender surgery, was the modus operandi). (S)he is also a fictional comic-book character. And the thought of both of them hitting each other with pillows is, indeed, a bit ridiculous.
Moments later, a 20-something male hipster peels off his shirt to reveal a square-foot tattoo of the Iron Fist insignia on his chest, most commonly recognized on the torso of billionaire kung fu master Danny Rand. The audience is borderline jubilant, with a rare form of tourettes (sans profanity...for the most part) manifesting itself in a notable percentage of the spectators.
This is all taking place at Marvel's Dark Reign panel, and in 12 additional neighboring rooms at the convention. This is the type of behavior you will see, and see only, at a comic convention: a complete lack of inhibition where one of American culture's most idiosyncratic mediums is adulated to asinine extremes.
Paste was there to witness as thousands of comic book, sci-fi and fantasy fans swarmed upon the Jacob Javits center last weekend. Here are the most memorable draws from this year's New York Comic Con:
10. DC Universe Online
10. DC Universe Online
This brand new MMO for the PC aims to wrap the World of Warcraft formula in bright spandex and kevlar with a host of familiar superheroes and villains. The playable demonstrations on the show floor and panel displayed crisp, grand guignol showdowns between customized characters and icons such as Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. The game's development team includes industry veterans Geof Johns, Jim Lee and Marv Wolfman to instill every pixel with DC-authentic design and story. Physical exercise and human contact as we know them are about to take a nosedive if this game lives up to its addictive potential.
9. The Show Floor Costumes
When a man dressed up in a Chewbacca costume gets more attention than Pater Mayhew, the actual actor who played Chewbacca, rest assured that you're witnessing months of labor and toil into a tailored masterpiece of homage. Although a solid number of attendees dressed as their favorite alter-alter egos, below were my favorites. Note: I have no clue what the last costume was, but if it was any more Japanese it would grow strobing motion lines and break out in a J-Pop anthem.
"YOU WOULDN'T LIKE ME WHEN I'M MACHETE!"
"Mention the '78 holiday special and I twist"
8. The Industry Legends
Although the con focused primarily on the current trends and innovations of modern comics authors, a surprising number of the medium's golden and silver-aged pioneers showed up as well. Neal Adams (Green Lantern, X-Men), Art Spiegelman (Maus) Carmen Infantino (Golden-Age Batman) and George Perez (JLA) were just a few of the graphic-art forefathers present. I was personally elated to meet Bryan Bolland, one of DC comics legendary cover artists. Long before Heath Ledger channeled The Joker as a homicidal maniac, Bolland and writer Alan Moore produced The Killing Joke, a definitive and profoundly disturbing depiction of the villain. Below is an original sketch from the convention.