Review NYC Comic Con 2012

New York Comic Con is one of those events that you either really enjoy or not.  And since the first one, I have made it a goal to get to New York Comic Con yearly.  This event has almost as much as San Diego International Comic Con for the fans.  Actually, it has one thing going for it that San Diego does not.  It is for the fans, meaning fans are put first.  Making it a much more relaxing event.  Even though they have big crowds, exciting panels and an impressive dealer room, they have been able to keep it down to earth and very friendly.  The big question is, have they been able to keep this feel as the convention grows?  So now for my walk through of New York Comic Con with the good, the bad and the Turtles.

Arriving on Thursday, I was happy that there were no real panels I just had to be at no matter what.  So I was able to take most of this day to get around and talk to people.  Though Cowabunga Corner got a surprise email letting us know about the new TMNT Toys at the LEGO booth.  So that became my first goal, finding the LEGO booth.  As soon as the doors opened and we went in, I got straight to the LEGO booth and without a moment to spare they had a cloth over the new toys, getting everything ready to show to the public for the first time.  I set up my camcorder directly in front of the display and got to watch as the Turtle mascots showed up and the cover be removed from the toys.  It then became one big photo shoot, with the Turtles around the glass case.  They even took the toys out of the case for the Turtles to pose with them, it was fun seeing Michelangelo and Leonardo trying to hold their LEGO toys.

After posing around the toys, the Turtles got moved back to stand under the banner for photos.  They all were posing for photos when I shouted out “Gangnam Style“ and they all started dancing to it.  That was just totally awesome since I love the Gangnam Style video they made in Time Square and the New York Nickelodeon. After they did the dance, the Turtles returned over near the toys for more photos before leaving.  I took this chance to do an interview with one of the LEGO people who was at the booth.

Miki and I were joined at the LEGO booth by our friends, Tokka and Fugitoid.  Tokka is best known for his work on many different TMNT websites such as Mikey’s TMNT Forum, Go Green Machine and of course his Flickr account has some of the best Ninja Turtle pictures out there.  While Fugitoid use to run the Under Manhattan website and now is the admin of TMNT-L.  These are the friends that Miki and I spent with at New York Comic Con.  Tokka lead us all to the TMNT Sewer setup.  It was a tunnel from one part of the dealer room to another section.

In the TMNT tunnel, you had the logo on the floor, Fight the Foot along the walls, buckets with ooze canisters, and sewer pipes with TV sets.  Really there was not much to this simple design but it was very effective and exciting.  The people working the sewer were very nice to us this day as we got lots of photos and was even given the chance to interview the man who designed the sewer. Now we had time to go down to artist alley on the hunt for people we knew.  Right away, Tokka introduced me to one of the awesome artist who’ve worked on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, so I set up another interview and got that done.  We will leave this one a surprise until it’s posted as there’s a little bit of news of something new that IDW is working on.  After that interview, I met up with one of the Cowabunga Corner viewers.  We had a great chat, but Miki and I wanted to catch a panel and said our goodbyes before taking off.

The panel we went to is for My Little Pony Friendship is Magic as there were some people who work on the show and from Hasbro.  We were late and got to sit still kind of close to the front of the panel.  They showed some clips of what looks to be fun stuff to come.  After the panel, we headed back up to the floor and got to see Rob Paulsen.

Rob Paulsen was doing an autograph session.  We were late for that as well.  When we got there, and he was doing what looked to be a Question and Answer session.  We got there just in time for him to do his famous Yakko song.  Then the autograph line started, because of where we were standing, we went through the line fast and Rob was once again very awesome to talk to.  After that we hung out with our friends at this booth for a little bit, we headed back to LEGO and helped with putting together the Michelangelo image on their wall.  We stayed at the LEGO booth until the convention closed for the day.

Friday of New York Comic Con was panel day.  They put all the best panels on the same day, which was really bad because some panels I would've wanted to go to, but they were at the same time as the TMNT panel.  This included the Venture Brothers panel, which is normally a Saturday panel at New York Comic Con.  I do not know why they changed this up.

Miki and I parked ourselves in the main panel room of the day.  This had a handful of panels, though the ones we were most looking forward to were the Christopher Lloyd and Sean Astin panels in this room.  We sat through a handful of extra panels to have good seats for those panels.  Christopher Lloyd’s panel was really awesome and it was great to see him live.  I’ve always admired his work.  Here is video of this panel.

The next panel I caught on video was the Sean Astin panel.  This panel had a surprise guest.  Really the best way to describe this panel is to show it.  So here is the Sean Astin panel.

After Sean Astin, I went off to the TMNT panel, though that will have a review all of it’s own.  With video included.  It was a ton of fun with a lot of wonderful people and a full room of TMNT fans!  More to come on that awesome event.  After the Turtle panel, the convention was done for the day and Friday was over. Saturday we got to the convention late, because of another event earlier that day.  So the first thing we did at the convention this day was the IDW Panel.  I was hoping they would talk some about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, though the panel went on without any mention until we started to ask questions during the Q&A time at the end of the panel.  Here’s the IDW Panel for anyone interested in seeing it.

After the IDW Panel, we went up to find Ron English.  He’s working on the new designer Ninja Turtle watches and shirts, which were first seen at San Diego Comic Con.  After getting his autograph, we took some down time to hang out near the sewer tunnel for a break.  There were not many panels that I was interested in during this time.   So it turned into time for us to be able to talk with people like Ron English and Ross Campbell, who is an artist that has worked for both Mirage and IDW.  This was a fun and interesting day, talking with great people.  Watch for videos from this day through Cowabunga Corner News.

Sunday was the last day of the convention and offered one panel that held my attention above everything else.  Elmo.  Yes, Sesame Street’s little red monster was the main attention I had, making sure I got front row for the panel with my cameras ready to record.  Only one thing was on my mind.  How do I talk to Kevin Clash?

Kevin Clash is the man behind Elmo, a great puppeteer which is known through Ninja Turtle fans for his work as Splinter in the first two live action Ninja Turtle films.  I first tried to get close to Kevin in 2009 when I went to a panel in New Jersey for Sesame Street, a panel that cost $50 a person.  I got close to asking a question in line, though it was cut just as I got up there.  Last year I traveled from my visit into Kentucky back to Michigan, just to see “Being Elmo” at a theater.  And now, here he is at a convention I’m going to.  I thought I’d approach after he came out from behind the stage.  There was a few other people waiting.. not many of us.   Though when Kevin came out from behind the stage, he had security all around him leading him away fast.  Not even a chance to shake his hand or give a business card.  I truly admire work and hope to someday get to tell him this myself.

When Kevin left, I talked with my friends over at the panel area, Voice Chaser, and stayed to watch some of our stuff and hold seats for our next panel.  Shredder, a good friend from TMNT-L, heard that I did not have money for Phil Lamarr’s autograph.  He gave me money to help me catch up to what I needed.  So my next stop was meeting the new Baxter Stockman.  I got Phil to sign my Nickelodeon TMNT shirt.  It was cool meeting him.

After that, I spent my time going around the convention, catching up with people.  It felt like I was running from one area to another, as we had one other panel we wanted to go to, which was for Veronica Taylor, the voice of April O’Neil from the 4Kids Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series.  Though before that panel, we were talking to people in Artist Alley, going to the LEGO booth, and getting over to see Scott Williams at his booth.  It was all running.  Scott had interest in meeting Phil Lamarr.  So I went down with Scott, bringing him to Phil and was able to catch this amazing photo of two Baxter Stockman’s together.  4Kids and Nickelodeon.

I got to the Veronica panel and watched, it was much like the panel she did last year of coming up with voices for art.  And how expressions of the drawings help make the character.  It’s an interesting and fun panel.  After that we went to say our goodbyes.

New York City Comic Con 2012 ended with some wonderful memories, as well as some harder times.  The worse thing for me was the way the TMNT LEGOs was given out.  It felt as if most of them did not go to real Ninja Turtle fans.  They can be found now on Ebay for over $200 each.  Does that sound like TMNT fans getting these items to you?  For me, that was the biggest disappointment of the convention, but not the only.  The panel list this year was not nearly as great as the previous years.  The layout of the convention was interesting this year, as Artist Alley was a lot larger and a nice area to go and hang out with the artist.  The dealer room was just as large as the previous years with more big companies taking advantage of this great show.  Panels were well ran, and lines were managed for the most part.  Worst line control I saw was Friday morning at the blue entrance.  This was the entrance I was to enter at, and the guy running it said he would walk me to where I needed to be but got tied up in the work.  I did not need an escort with the location for me to go to being right in sight.  I understand stress of running an event, though letting temper show while working like this was not enjoyable.  Things were great after we got past that tension.

While New York Comic Con is changing every year, losing and gaining, it remains an event worth going to and something fans can enjoy, a convention the East coast should be proud to have.  Thanks to the great people at www.voicechasers.com, the Cowabunga Corner crew was able to enjoy the 2012 show.  So be sure to check out our sponsor, which celebrate Voice Actors and the craft of voice over!

We’re looking forward to returning to New York Comic Con in 2013!  Until then, watch for the interviews and videos that we have done at New York Comic Con 2012 here on Cowabunga Corner!  

All Photos by: Miki Ivey

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