It’s been five years since I last went to New York Comic Con (NYCC). My previous coverage has been overviews of the cons, with trends and favorites noted. This year, I thought I’d do something different. Not just in how I cover NYCC, but in how I experience it. I did walk the floor and check out trends and found new favorites (and old), but there is more to NYCC than just booths of comics, collectibles, cosplay, celebrities etc. There are experiences everywhere you look. From scan-your-badge kiosks to built-out sets that you can walk through (with and without giveaways). So, this year, I decided to do as may experiences as I could. To make it easier on myself, I’m going to report on them in the order I experienced them. This is in no way in order of preference.
First things first – check out the Wifi connection for NYCC. Even better, I had to keep connecting, so these popped up on my screen several times a day!
Before I get into the experiences, here’s an update on the trends and favorites. I noticed a lot more books this year. As I mentioned above, it’s been a few years, so this book trend probably isn’t new, but a growing trend. In addition to comics and graphic novels, there were YA (Young Adult) books and, of course, plenty of science fiction, but also general fiction, biographies, cookbooks . . . I was thrilled by all of the books on display, especially the booths that gave out either sneak peak editions (single chapters or excerpts) or advanced reader copies. I was even able to get a few signed copies here and there (mostly at the Disney Publishing booth).
Another trend I’ve reported on is blind bags. That trend has exploded! Booth after booth offered the miniature blind bag collectibles, either in small boxes or bags. The trend has expanded, too. There are now large and extra-large blind boxes – cardboard boxes with some sort of printing to indicate the theme of the merchandise in the box. TeeSpring offered a blind bag of three t-shirts (none of which were the t-shirts on display for sale at NYCC). Comic sellers offered boxes of comics. There was one booth offering a Tardis-printed paper shopping bag, stapled closed, of Dr. Who items. My favorite blind bag is from CrunchyRoll. It’s an actual backpack, filled with random items, but that backpack is pretty sweet!
My first experience was a book signing. I waited in line at the Disney Publishing booth for an autographed copy of “The Adventurer’s Guild” by Nick Eliopulos and Zack Loran Clark – NYCC 2018. Cast members stood at the start and end of the line, with additional cast members standing at breaks in the line (to prevent lines from blocking aisles) to make sure no-one accidentally cut the line. Another cast member walked down the line handing a sticky note to every person in line, to make sure there weren’t more people in line than there were books to be signed. If you wanted the book personalized, the cast member wrote the name on the sticky note. For this signing, the book was free, but others required a purchase of the book prior to the signing.
The Chevrolet experience was more of a display and it was split into separate sections. On the main floor, there was a booth handing out t-shirts in exchange for personal data (name, email address, car-buying plans). Next to that, was a car decorated for Spider-Man, with a photographer there to capture your moment. Around the back was a pink car designed for Breast Cancer month with Transformers’ Bumble Bee for a photo op. On the mid-level, was the money display! Three cars designed to celebrate Disney: Mickey Mouse’s 90th birthday/anniversary: a princess-themed car; and a 25th-anniversary Nightmare before Christmas car (with Sally and Jack inside). There was a DJ, trivia contests (with prizes), and, at one point, Black Panther was posing for photos with children (and without when I asked – Wakanda Forever!).
The Disney book-signing line was relatively short, because there was a schedule and I was first in line. My next experience was a true NYCC experience. I waited over an hour in line to experience Audible’s Pensieve. The set was designed to look as if you were entering the Pensieve – very cool! When I got to the front of the line, the entrance was arched by rows and rows of bottles. Each bottle had the name of one of six Harry Potter characters: Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, Severus Snape, Albus Dumbledore, and Lord Voldemort. Inside there were four screens with a lighted station and headphones. I slipped the headphones over my ears and put my chosen bottle (Lord Voldemort) into the lighted station. The screen swirled to life and I heard a reading of a Tom Riddle moment. On a hunch, I tried another screen. I was right – each screen was a different memory. When I’d listened to all four, I left the pensieve and was able to make a video of myself casting a spell with one of six wands (matching the characters from the pensieve).
Outside the middle level was Starz booth. Starz made replica sets from American Gods and Outlander. I am a big fan of the Outlander books, but haven’t watched the TV show. It was press day, so I was able to bypass the very long line and go into Fraser’s Ridge for photos. If you don’t read the books or watch the show, Fraser’s Ridge is the North Carolina home of the main characters, revealing that in this season, the characters are in America. Inside the house, to the right, Caswell-Massey was handing out 1 oz. bottles of one of three scents: Sandalwood; Rose Water; or Number Six – a scent that’s been around since before the revolution and was, in fact, worn by George Washington. To the left, Royce Leather Works were customizing leather luggage tags with gold monograms. I returned to this experience several times. I came back to stand in the line in order to receive the giveaways (I chose Number Six) and, as it happened, there was a raffle (of sorts) for people standing in line. When I got to the head of the line, I was instructed to pull a piece of paper out of a tote bag. My piece of paper read “YES.” There was much rejoicing by the Starz booth runners and it turned out that the raffle was for an autograph session with six member of the cast and crew of Outlander! I returned Saturday for the autograph session and learned that not only was I getting autographs, I also received a wristband for the Outlander panel that evening! I had brought my tote bag (another giveaway) to be autographed, but we were forbidden to take photos of or with the cast. I was able to take photos during the panel, though. We were also treated to the entire first episode of Season 4 and the news that a 5th and 6th season have been ordered. The big surprise of the night, though was the appearance of Diana Gabaldon, the author of the books. As part of my Outlander experience, I also stood in line to have her autograph the tote bag, which I will be giving to my mother, who is a fan of both the books and the show.
Well, Outlander was a pretty big experience! My next one was small, but delightful! I participated in a celebrity photo op – just a photo of the celebrity, not a selfie. If you’re not a Project Runway fan, this is Swatch from Mood! How adorable is he!!
VRV/Crunchyroll had an on-site and an off-site experience. On the main floor, they had a giant pool of Bananya plushes for people to fall into for photos. I didn’t do the fall, but I did take some pictures. They also have my favorite blind bag: the above-mentioned back pack. In the off-site experience, visitors were invited to the Childhooding Zone. There was a cereal bar (I had Captain Crunch with chocolate milk), TV screens playing cartoons, a giant bowl of foam Lucky Charms to jump in for photos (again, no jumping by me, but I did take a picture), a gallery of art, several giveaways and raffles, and a merchandise section (I bought a Bananya plush – the baby kitty in the pink banana).
Fandom had a very fun experience. A food truck sat in the middle of their area with a stage in one corner. First thing in the morning, they handed out tickets for food items from the truck. There were four: Space Caterpillar mochi (strawberry jelly-filled mochi, inspired by Voltron); Symbiote Black lemonade (charcoal lemonade, inspired by Venom – this was a limited edition and sold out by the second day); Confection of Protection (an iced sugar cookie with a swirl of buttercream for dipping, inspired by She-Ra; and Regeneration Tonic (orange ginger juice with mango popping boba, inspired by Dr. Who – “13th Time’s the Charm”). There were celebrity appearances (cast members from Voltron were there when I was), too. The stage was for the Fandom Feud – a trivia contest with different subject matters at different times throughout the four days. Voltron fans got a special treat. They competed against the Voltron cast members! I signed up for the Disney session and was picked! I lost to a young fan who was very quick on the buzzer. I still got a prize, though – a tote bag with pins, stickers, and jelly beans in it.
As I was heading back to the Outlander set for the autograph session, I noticed that the Mortal Engines booth had a very short line, so I thought I’d check it out. We were grouped into parties of three or four and outfitted with costumes, presumably similar to those in the movie. When each group got to the front of the line, we were instructed in how to react, then filmed into a scene from the movie. So cool!! I’m even more excited to see the movie now!
Next to the Outlander set, E! had a food truck that let you vote for the People’s Choice Awards, in exchange for doughnuts. I saw two different voting options: best sci-fi show (I didn’t vote in this one) and best action movie (I voted for Black Panther and Deadpool 2 – yes, they said I could vote twice). Voters received a doughnut and a button for the entry they’d voted for – I only received one for Deadpool 2, but wish I’d gotten the Black Panther one. On the sci-fi vote day, Shadowhunters’ Katherine McNamara arrived and started handing out doughnuts.
There was also a photo op for The Good Place.
Insight Editions had a photo op for their new book, Creatures: A Paper Scene Book. It’s a life-size paper cut scene from the Black Lake section of the book.
One special new and notable booth was the Disney RockLove jewelry booth. They have all new lines of Disney jewelry, including beautiful kimoyo bracelets from Black Panther. The authenticity comes easy for them, because they helped design the kimoyo bracelets for the movie. The rhodium version is stunning.
And, finally, my favorite new game is the Pantone game from Cryptozoic. Players use Pantone color cards to create characters that their opponents have to guess. Can you identify these characters? I knew all but one.
Opting to experience NYCC means you’ll be waiting in long lines for much of the day, so I recommend picking out your absolute favorites and walk the floors a bit in between. Jump on short lines when you see them. Who knows? You might find a new favorite to watch out for. Arrive early, so you can get on your favorite experience line as soon as possible. Thursday was the lightest day, in terms of crowds. Friday was more crowded, but Saturday and Sunday were mobbed. The booths tend to run out of giveaways by the mid-afternoon, so plot out your day so that you hit the booths you love most first. Download the NYCC app, too, so you can keep track of what you plan to do.
So, now that I’ve shared my Experience NYCC, tell us in the comments #HowDoYouNYCC! And share your best tips for making the most of #NYCC. It’ll be here again before you know it! I took A LOT of pictures, so I sorted them into smaller albums based on subject matter. I hope you like them! If there are any pictures in the galleries that you have questions about, post them in the comments for me. For more family travel news, reviews, and trip reports, be sure to follow Adventures by Daddy on instagram, twitter, and “like” our facebook page too.