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A City Weekend With Doctor Octopus, William Shatner And Spidey

darrylg@lakevillejournal.com
Kayla Gangloff as the Eleventh Doctor; Photo Darryl Gangloff

New York Comic Con is a terrific perk for a self-proclaimed nerd who lives quite a way from the Big Apple.

This is an incredibly large pop culture event that features much more than just comic books.

Kayla, my wife, and I made our way to the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, which was packed with people wearing costumes (a practice known as “cosplay,” short for costume play). Cosplay is probably my favorite part of these comic conventions. I was particularly impressed by three Doctor Octopus costumes. He’s the Spider-Man villain with four metal arms protruding from his back. That’s not an easy outfit to pull off, but each of those cosplayers did a great job. Also, people dressed as characters from the “Adventure Time” cartoon seemed to take over the convention center.

I’ve never dressed up for a convention, but Kayla cosplayed as the Eleventh Doctor from “Doctor Who,” complete with fez and sonic screwdriver. It was interesting to see how many people talked to and photographed her. Other convention-goers dressed as previous incarnations of the Doctor would stay in character when they bumped into Kayla, acting as though they’d encountered some sort of time paradox.

After this, Kayla and I plan to cosplay together next year. I’ll happily take costume suggestions.

If dressing up in a costume isn’t your idea of a good time, there are plenty of other ways to spend your time at NYCC. You can meet William Shatner, Hulk Hogan, David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson and the cast of AMC’s “The Walking Dead.”

You can attend panels that discuss television shows like “The Walking Dead” and ABC’s “Once Upon A Time” and “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”; comic books, including “The Walking Dead” (noticing a pattern?); and toys, costumes and much more.

There’s even an entire series of panels dedicated to children, where they can learn how to draw cartoons or duel with wands as in the “Harry Potter” series.

The massive show will tempt you to spend. I stared longingly at some incredibly rare comics worth thousands upon thousands of dollars, including Amazing Fantasy #15, the first appearance of Spider-Man (a near- mint copy sold for $1.1 million in 2011).

My wallet couldn’t take that kind of hit, so instead we bought some “Doctor Who” T-shirts, keychains and buttons; a Moogle stuffed animal from the Final Fantasy video game series; five art prints signed by Drew Blank that featured TV shows like “Arrested Development,” “Breaking Bad” and “The Walking Dead” (yes, I know, I’ve mentioned this title way too much); and a “Walking Dead” messenger bag (OK, this is getting ridiculous).

We then headed to Artist Alley to buy — you guessed it — more art. I got prints and sketches signed by some of my favorite online comic creators, such as Yale Stewart of JL8, which tells the tale of a young Justice League.

I actually got to talk with some of these talented artists, which, to me, is what these conventions are all about. I spoke with Maki Naro about his participation in Penny Arcade’s “Strip Search” reality game show, which searched for the next big web cartoonist. Naro was one of the finalists.

We finished our evening in Times Square and headed home, getting just enough sleep to catch an early train the next morning, for more NYCC madness. Next time, we need to get a hotel room.

If you’re interested in pop culture, I would certainly recommend attending New York Comic Con. Tickets are available ranging from four-day passes to single-day entry. There’s more than enough to keep you occupied for four days, but we kept it to two this year.

Next year’s convention will be Oct. 9-12, at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.

See you there!