NYComic-Con 2018: Joseph Watkin’s Excellent Adventure – Saturday/Sunday Edition
The height of the con. The pinnacle. NYComic-Con on a Saturday/Sunday is the climax of the weekend as fans circumvent the show floor, artist alley and panels. These two days are considered the most essential because it signifies a few things: Great actor/actress meet-ups, a ton of giveaways of swag, a chance to swap, trade and hopefully cut deals on the swag that isn’t free, and my all-time favorite, the best and final pictures of cosplay. As I circulated the floor for the last two days, I remembered that my goal wasn’t to discuss the floor plan and how the air circulated in the Jacob Javitz Center; my goal was to go back to my essence as a fan and how New York Comic Con continues to inspire me in all things super-hero, super-villains, manga, anime, and pop culture.
Drake the Artist, not the Rapper
My journey into Saturday was met with enthusiasm as I navigated the showroom floor taking pictures of the wonderful cosplay and admiring the artwork. One artist in particular, who I admired this year, was the mighty ‘Quirkilicious’, also known as Drake Tsui. Based out of Canada, his art style is based on the following motto, “If I don’t play it, I don’t draw it!”
An artist who has been going strong professionally for eight years, Drake’s artwork has been seen on multiple mobile games and companies such as Riot Games, Blizzard Entertainment and Bioware. A staple at the con, Drake is always humble as his booth is flooded with endless waves of supporters buying his artwork.
The Legend of ‘Sully’ and ‘TJ’
During the con, I had the privilege of meeting a person who was extremely dedicated to the Funko Company by the name of Sully. About 6 feet tall, Sully was the head of the marketing department at Funko’s national headquarters. Loyal to the vision of Funko, he informed me that prior to working at Funko, he was living in Texas and when he was offered a job at the company, he moved from Texas to Seattle. Now that’s commitment!!!
Dedicated and loyal to the brand; Sully’s experience with the company allowed him to be easily selected for the company. When I asked him about the interview and training procedures, he mentioned that he, ‘didn’t have to do so much training because he knew the product and the company’s motto’.
That’s the power of Funko. It creates loyalty among its customers and associates to the point that you are willing to dedicate yourself to their cause. Under Sully’s guidance during the four-day weekend he and his fellow co-workers were able to maintain the mass excitement that the Funko Exclusives brought amongst their customers.
Aside from Sully and the rest of the Funko Crew, Funko had additional security from Citadel Security Agency in the form of a person named ‘TJ’. Overall he was a cool person as I asked him questions as to how they were able to hold the crowd during the Funko experience. Standing about 5 feet, 11 inches, he was very personable as he described the Funko customer experience. He stated that ‘its exciting to see customers excited about Funko’s new products!’.
TJ is no novice to the mob crowd, he’s handled everything from kiddy parties to mosh pits in which he has taken a few blows for the company. When I asked him about the Funko mobs that usually take place after the lottery, his response was that ‘he tries to do everything he can to deescalate the situation…’. I saw this first hand on Saturday when the lottery ended and the crowd rushed towards the line as they were offering the exclusives to the general audience. TJ, Sully, and the rest of the Funko crew held a tightly knit circle around the entering lanes.
During the melee, the customers almost ended up crushing 3 kids (2 – 6 year olds, and a 2 year old) who were just passing through with their mother. If it wasn’t for them, those kids, maybe even their mother would’ve been trampled.
With a heartfelt thanks, I appreciate the great work they were able to do. I’m sure the children and mother feel the same way.
The Devil You Know & Mega Man Returns…Again
No company has had such an influence in my video game life than the mighty Capcom Company. Based out in Japan, they revealed that their bastard offspring, Devil May Cry 5, would be coming out on March 2019. I’m really excited about this as I have been a fan since the first game when I had a workable Playstation 2. I mean seriously, the graphics was way ahead of its time, especially the cut scenes. The panel was very interesting as the game’s director, Hideaki Itsuno spoke of the magic of Devil May Cry 5 and how they tried to bring that same energy of game play back to life. In all honesty, while I love the Devil May Cry Series, the game is really just a shoot-em-up, hack and slash game where the goal is to get as many ‘S’ ratings as possible. You play as the legendary Dante’ or Nero (from the last series); followed by a sling on newcomers (Nico, Trish (from a few of the series) and Lady) to keep you intrigued along the way. The graphics are still hot and the weapons and gameplay looks great. This game will probably make the top ten for Spring 2019.
Oh boy another Mega Man!! Mega Man once again hit stores, this time on October 2nd, 2018, with Mega Man 11. Since 1987, Mega Man has been a staple in the run-n-jump-n-shoot genre in video gaming. Capcom keeps pumping out new editions of that little blue guy like Apple and Samsung pumps out cell phones. What makes it interesting though is that, just like the cell phones, the modernization of Mega Man keeps getting better with more detailed graphics and get this…. this time, there is an origin story between Dr. Light and Dr. Wiley!!!
The GEM of NYCC: Over 9000 Majin Vegeta
Every year at NYCC there is that one gem that almost everyone wants for himself or herself and this year it was the Over 9000 Vegeta Funko Pop. This GEM was only exclusive to a select handful of people who entered the Funko lottery prior to the con, but when that little trinket hit the con floor, it was a madhouse! That gem, limited to only the people that won the lottery, was being sought after by the non-winners and they were asking the winners of the lottery if they could do a bulk purchase so they could get one for themselves (non-winners). What made the GEM even more valuable was that the voice actor for Vegeta – Chris Sabat, was signing the Pop. Currently, that Pop is now on the Secondary Market for around $300 and is considered to be the most sought after Pop right now almost paralleling the legendary Toy Tokyo Exclusive: Planet Arlia Vegeta.
The Mind of a Graphic Novelist Madman
For me, this year’s Comic Con was more of a spiritual journey then anything. I had the privilege of meeting some great people and they were kind enough to share their stories and sell their products. As I was going broke, there was this one artist that I saw whose work literally stopped me dead in my tracks and as I saw his graphic novels, I had to read them. I’m really not sure what drove me to them, maybe it was the meticulous covers or the bookmarks that were custom designed or maybe, as I read them, I couldn’t put them down and I started to lose track of time. Whatever it was, those novels were so good I decided to write about them in a future article. For this article, however, he deserves the praise. His name is Russell Nohelty.
Here I am at the con and this mysterious Madman appears in the ‘700-alley’ of NYCC. He’s on the corner of the aisle and the first 2 Graphic Novels that I see are Icabod Jones and Katrina hates Dead Shit. With Icabod Jones, the storyline is about a psychopath who escapes from an asylum and becomes a monster hunter during the age of the ‘alleged’ apocalypse. The only problem with his monster hunting is that during this somewhat apocalypse, he doesn’t know if he’s killing the dead or if he is killing people. I was immediately hooked. This comic is reminiscent to Johnny, the homicidal maniac, weird, strange, disturbed, and totally fun to read. For Katrina hates Dead Shit, yours truly will be writing a review on this G. novel really soon.
I Bought the Ticket and Took the Ride
Pardon the Hunter S. Thompson reference, but NYCC 2018 was a great affair. Armed with my industry pass, honey roasted cashews, a couple of Cliff Bars, and a few bottles of water; I navigated the con as a fan and applied 67,912 (thank you iphone health app) steps to see the beauty and wonderful artwork of the creatives in those four days. Although, I wasn’t able to see everything, what makes NYCC so stupendous is that you can never see it all. I have to thank my co-writer Tiffany Southall for the wonderful thought of going as a fan as the amazement of NYCC came back in my life. I felt like Peter Pan, not the Disney film, but the Robin Williams version in which he remembered what it was like to be a ‘kid’ again!!!