It wasn't that hard to find the line for the shuttle at Grand Central. I followed a guy in a DJ-P0N3 shirt off the train, and from there the NYCC-bound crowd became more and more evident. By the time I got into the Javits Center, I had seen some truly spectacular costumes - I'm sorry, I wasn't that diligent with my photography, but basically, name a fandom and someone had done it, and done it right. I think I was most appreciative of the ones representing newer trends, since they clearly hadn't just been pulled out of a closet: the Avengers, of course (we lost count of the Lokis), but also lots of ponies, Avatar/Korra, Daenerys, Eleven with his fez, and that villain from the latest Batman. Some of the classics were done really well, too, especially the X-Men. Also points for the kids who pulled off Death and Dream semi-convincingly. Not many non-Avengers Jossverse players that I saw, though I think there was a Spike and an Inara, and of course more Jayne hats than you could shake a rain stick at.
While I was waiting for Lady D to get there, I did some wandering, mostly in the exhibition hall. I loitered at the Dark Horse booth for a while, kind of half-hoping to strike up a conversation with Scott Allie, but he was talking to others and of course I didn't have the nerve to loiter more aggressively. (This scene was repeated a few more times throughout the day, but I did meet Sierra Hahn, who is extraordinarily nice, and another young woman whose job was not in the public eye but was also extraordinarily nice. It's become very clear that comics are no longer a man's field and I find that fantastic.) As I mentioned already, I didn't get a chance to shop much, but that probably saved me from blowing my funds at the WeLoveFine booth, and the ones with wall art or Japanese kitsch or treasure troves of graphic novels.
I missed the Buffy panel. Lady D and I had some trouble communicating over our cells, and in my haste to find her I kind of made the least logical interpretive choices and ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time. She got in, though, and gave me a full report as well as snagging Rebekah Isaac's autograph for me. D'aww! I passed the time reading my enormous Con guide and enjoying the passers-by. When Mario and Luigi darted by, chased by a block of bricks, I had a chat with the girl sitting next to me about how this was probably the best place in the world for people-watching. Before Lady D emerged from the panel room, a lot of others did, including a guy who looked just like Nicholas Brendan but so much older. He wasn't surrounded so I probably could have jumped in to say hi, but I really didn't have a script for that occasion. "Hey, I'm a fan, how did you get so old"?
My favorite part of the experience was Artists' Alley. Just browsing the aisles and seeing what the artists, even the ones I had never heard of, had on display, was wonderful. We stopped to talk with Jenny Frison and I bought this mini-poster, which she signed for me - again with the pleasant talented young women in comics. One small regret I'll harbor is that I didn't have anything to be signed by Chris Claremont; he's one of my Marvel heroes, but standing in line just to say so felt a little weird so I passed him by.
Then I met Peter S. Beagle. If I had known he was going to be there, I apparently forgot, but when I saw his booth - you know that sweaty-palms, racing-heart, starstruck feeling you get when you realize you're standing five feet away from a celebrity who shaped your childhood and artistically inspired your adult life? Well I didn't know that feeling until yesterday. I tiptoed over and introduced myself and squeaked something about being a huge fan (there's a difference between meeting Chris Claremont and meeting Peter S. Beagle). He shook my hand warmly and told me about a song in a musical titled with my name, and then quoted a verse of the song for me. Lady D stood patiently by while bits of me melted onto the floor, until I pointed at the stack of copies of The Last Unicorn and demanded to know if she had read it. She hadn't, so I bought her one, which Mr. Beagle signed. Then he talked about penmanship with us. The man radiates wisdom and speaks like kindness is the only thing he's ever known. Those were five minutes of my life I will never forget.
We got lunch at a place called Monster Sushi. Awesomely decorated with Godzilla and underwater themes, and the food was excellent. I loves me some dragon rolls.
Neither of us felt like standing in the autograph lines, so the rest of the day was mostly spent at panels - though first I dragged her to The Walking Dead presentation. We couldn't get into the theater and the live screening was too hard to hear, so we skipped out after watching the Season 3 preview. (I'm actually half a season behind on the show, tbh, but the preview was great. I have such a thing for Zombie Hunter Carl. Oh and my pass-turned-souvenir has Glenn on it. Best!)
Next we tried out the Marvel NOW! panel, which had some good stuff - Joe Quesada is a great speaker, has a real 'comic book guy' sound to him. Neither of us are reading any current Marvel series, though, and it sounded like that was mostly what they were going to focus on, so we left that one early too. (I'm not sure if this was where they started telling us about Coulson on S.H.I.E.L.D. and other Relevant to My Interests topics after we left, but I don't regret it anyway. The day had been catching up to me and I was actually falling asleep in my chair, although a little standing up and walking cured me quickly.)
For most of the day, Lady D had been telling me about her new favorite comic series, Saga. She even got me a copy of the first (and so far only) collection from the Image booth, and (easily) convinced me to check out the panel with her. Despite not having read the material yet, I was interested in hearing the writer and artist talk about it (also, Brian K. Vaughan has done a lot more than I realized; you know he wrote for Lost?). In fact, that might have been one of my other favorite parts of the day.
That was the last thing we did; I turned down the invitation to dinner on the grounds of miles to go before I slept. That turned out to be a good choice because the shuttle took its own sweet time and the train had some kind of technical difficulties that didn't get me back to my bike until like 11:30. But I did have a chance to read Saga in relative comfort. Lady D was right and the rest of you should read it too, although not while you're intoxicated or if you're prone to nightmares after witnessing too much surrealism. Marko is an irresistible romantic hero. Lying Cat is the best kind of cat. And plus, baby!
Sorry again for all talk no pictures, but not too sorry, because I wanted to get these memories down for my own sake. Take 'em or leave 'em!
Next year? Maybe. But all of you should come along. :)