My First Time At New York Comic Con (or How An Awful Day Became Awesome)

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This past Friday was my first time ever at NYCC. My girlfriend had gotten us one day passes andI was super stoked. I’ve seen the live streams of panels and the coverage of cool comics and games related news, but I had never actually gone myself despite living less than an hour and a half outside of the city. Anyway, I’m going to recap my entire day for you the best I can to give you an idea of what it was like.

I had gotten up early that morning because a few days prior I received my second block schedule for medical school. It turns out I not only had a mandatory lab from 9AM to 12PM, I also had a mandatory luncheon with the dean from 12 to 1. Great. I had tried to email the woman and explain that I had plans that I made a while back, but without a documented, acceptable excuse I had to go. So I looked up the train schedules into the city from where I was since I really wanted to make it there for the Beyond! podcast panel. The lab was annoying since I knew that I could be having an awesome time in the Javits Center instead of stinking like formaldehyde in my anatomy scrubs. To boot I could have technically skipped the lab because we didn’t have a group quiz and my classmates would have covered for me, so the only thing holding me back was this luncheon that was so important I couldn’t possibly switch with another student’s designated time. I got changed and went into the conference room where we were given wraps and salad for lunch and asked to fill out a very short five question survey that could have easily been emailed to us. Then the dean proceeded to ask us to go around and introduce ourselves and say something “interesting or special”. This really got me mad. We had done this almost two months prior at orientation and to boot, this was the same group I was in for orientation. When that was over with he started talking about al the new changes the curriculum would undergo next year, from large lectures to small group workshop type classes. It was after he finished talking about this and himself for about 45 minutes that he explained none of this would affect us because we would be second years and our curriculum is already set. I was furious. He kept me there for an hour to tell me what next year’s students would be doing? I couldn’t reschedule this?!

The pointless luncheon ended at 1PM which meant I had to run to my car and book it to the train station so I could make it to NYCC before 3PM and get into the Beyond! panel. I ended up going into the wrong parking garage and having to take the 1:55 train into Penn. I didn’t get in until about 2:30 and by the time I met up with my girlfriend and got to the Javits Center it was too late. People had been turned away from the room and it was 3PM. I was so mad. It was my most anticipated event of the day and it was ruined so I could learn about nothing for an hour.

This is where my day gets better, however. I started walking around the show floor with my girlfriend and all my worries went away. This was exactly where I wanted to be. It was everything I loved crammed into one building full of people who shared my interests. Amazing. First, I walked by some of the comic shops that had back issues and 50 cent comics. After this, we made our way over to the game demos. It was really cool to get my hands on a game that wasn’t even out yet. I had never had the chance to play a preview version of a game before, and I plan on writing separate pieces on each one soon. I got to play Adventure Time: Explore The Dungeon Because I Don’t Know!, Dark Souls II, Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, and Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate. I even got to see a South Park: The Stick of Truth hands-off 10 minute demo. I would have loved to play more but the WatchDogs line was very long and the Nintendo booth was getting seriously crowded.

My girlfriend and I then decided to walk to the other end of the con and we saw some of the lesser-populated booths. We ended up finding an artist by the name of CJ Draden. His prints were so cool; a very scratchy feel with minimal colors. The pictures really stood out to me and I just had to get a few. I’ll put his info at the bottom of this post for those interested in checking it out.

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Carnage and Venom having a tickle fight.

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Darth Vader lookin’ badass as always.

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Gannondorf and Link just hangin’ out.

After we grabbed some cool artwork we decided we wanted some souvenirs from our first con that we could wear around too. Heading over to some of the t-shirt and toy shops I found two Batman shirts, one I’ve wanted for a long time (Batman Beyond) and one of a recent Batman cover by Greg Capullo that I just had to get. I also got a Finn sword because why the hell not?

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Burning Man

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Bed, Bath, and Batman Beyond.

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It’s SUPPOSED to come like that, mom! It’s called ‘vintage’!

When the show floor was beginning to close, we decided to charge our phones at the stations by the entrance and I was finally able to get some pictures of cool cosplayers as they were leaving. Some of the costumes had to have taken weeks or months to make and probably cost a fortune, which makes me admire their work all the more.

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Who do you think would win in a fight between… oh nevermind, they’re friends.

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Pulling his hood down for the paparazzi.

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“I said no pictures, bub!”

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Her sword is her first weapon, but her wispy bangs are a surprisingly close second.

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Storm keeping the weather nice for NYCC. (Don’t tell her it was supposed to be sunny anyway)

So I left NYCC and decided to head over to Dave & Busters in Times Square where Greg Miller and friends were having a meet and greet. I figured if I couldn’t attend Beyond! I would at least get to meet the guy whose articles, podcasts, and videos have entertained and informed me since high school. I saw him come in but there was a huge crowd of people so I figured I’d try and let things cool down around him before I went to say hi. My girlfriend and I got a few beers and a play card and decided to shoot our way through some House of the Dead 4 (a game that will forever haunt me since I lost only on the last boss once by a hair). Finally the crowd died down and I found myself actually at a loss. I couldn’t bring myself to go say hi. I have grown out of my shyness for the most part and am rarely flustered, but here I was with the opportunity to meet a guy I see on my computer screen and listen to on my commute basically every day and I just stood there. Finally, after a few minutes of back and forth I went over and waited for him to finish talking and he asked my name and shook my hand. I spoke to him about how my girlfriend loves Oreo Oration and is sad he never posted any more of them and he joking yelled at her for not sharing it with her friends. He even took a picture with me. He is exactly as nice and outspoken as he is in his videos. He really treats all his fans like friends and I wish I would have stayed longer to hang out and talk, but we wanted to head over to Nintendo World before we caught our train back to the city.

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Left: Greg Miller being awesome.
Right: Me in serious need of a haircut and my own signature photo pose.

Sidenote: Follow Greg Miller on basically every social media site and youtube @GameOverGreggy, you won’t regret it.

Nintendo World was packed because it was the midnight release of Pokemon X and Y. We were hoping to maybe score from Pokemon codes or something but the most we got was a few 3DS meetings. It was still fun to see how Nintendo was holding a huge event for the release.

After our trek to the Church of Mario we walked back to the train station just in time to catch one back to where my car was parked and drive home. I didn’t get home until about 2:15AM and for the first time since I started school I was happy and not even tired. I was so excited I had actually forgotten that earlier that day I found out I had failed my first block of medical school.

With all that being said, I think I’d like to possibly pursue a career in writing, specifically of the video game world or thereabouts. Why not make a career out of something I love instead of killing myself for something I hate? Life is too short to do anything you’re not 100% invested in. I enjoy writing here actually and wish I had more time to do it. So I’ll do my best while still in school to get some freelancing clips here and there and maybe build up a decent amount of work from it.

So all in all it was an upsetting, amazing, awesome, and eye-opening day. And next year you can bet your ass I’ll be getting a 3-day pass and loving every damn minute of it.

And with that I’ll leave you with this insanely cute picture of my niece:

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Mario cat ears with a back up tanooki power up, that’s what I like to see.

CJ Draden info: CJDraden.com CJdradenstore.com CJDraden@gmail.com

Went to NYCC? Saw something cool there? Like and comment and thanks for reading!

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