Mark Anthony Wade, Brenda Cole, and Paul Davis Lyons at the Con.
Greetings, true believers! It’s Bren, bringing you a somewhat belated rundown of the panels I attended during my yearly journey to Geek Mecca (known to the common folk as “New York Comic Con”). I had hoped to get you the good word sooner, but I had to travel to Denver for a two day work conference immediately after NYCC, because I apparently was a very, very bad person in another life. Hey, better late than never, right?
Anyway, this year’s con was extra special for me, because it’s the first time I actually made it to some panels. I’d always avoided them in years past, because I didn’t want to spend an entire day waiting around in line in a basement with no cell phone service, with nothing to sustain me but hope and $6 stale jumbo pretzels. This year, however, there was finally a panel that seemed worth the sacrifice for me: The Walking Dead Q&A with the cast and Mr. Kirkman himself.
After an early morning heartbreaking failure to secure tickets for TWD cast autographs (I got to Javits at 6:30 AM for the 8:00 AM giveaway and, LOL, the line was already wrapped around the entire building), I decided that I was going to at least see the cast, no matter what that might entail.
The panel was scheduled for 5:00 PM and I didn’t have the slightest idea of when the most hardcore (or, should I say, “diehard?”) zombie lovers might start lining up, so I descended into the bowels of the convention center around 1:00 PM to check out the scene. People were already lined up in the “holding area,” a concrete-floored room divided into narrow walkways by metal railings, not unlike the sort of rooms where I imagine beef cattle meet their demises. I was told that, once inside the IGN Theater (where the panel would take place), I couldn’t leave and get back in again. It reminded me a bit of that scene in All Dogs Go to Heaven, where a dead Charlie B. Barkin is informed that if he leaves Heaven, he can never return. Man, that was a good movie, right? Anybody? Bueller?
Sorry, I got a little off track again. I could use some of those delicious caffeinated M&M things there were passing out at the Javits. Mmm. OK, so, I was faced with a difficult decision: go inside the IGN now and sit there for five hours, BUT be guaranteed a seat for TWD, or leave and try to get back in line later, when seats would be hard to come by. I decided to take the plunge and enter the IGN.
As I settled in a decent-but-not-amazing seat near the back next to a bickering couple, I thought, “Damn, this is going to be a long five hours.” That’s when, to my great joy, I found out that there would be several other horror-themed panels in the same room before TWD. Hooray! Something to pass the time!
Turns out that these weren’t just some rinky dink mini panels – they were premiering movie trailers (suck on that, San Diego Comic Con) with real live celebrities, to boot! First up was The Conjuring, starring Patrick Wilson (AKA Nite Owl II), Ron Livingston (AKA Peter Gibbons), and Vera Farmiga. The film is about a married couple who are paranormal investigators (nothing like restless spirits of the dead to keep romance alive) and the crazy shit they videotaped. When the trailer started, I was like, “Oh man, not another found footage movie,” but by the end, I was like, “Holy crap, I need to see this.” So yeah, very scary and awesome-looking stuff there. Patrick, Ron, and director James Wan (of Saw fame) were there to take audience questions, which was also very cool.
Next up was The Bay panel, with director Barry Levinson. It’s yet another found footage film, this time about carnivorous prehistoric water parasites in Maryland or something. I honestly was too interested in the bag of Combos (lunch of champions) I snuck in to pay much attention at the time. I do know that Levinson and the moderator said “isopods” about 10,000 times, so, yeah. Isopods: they will fucking kill you.
Then it was time for Beautiful Creatures, which is some nonsense based on a book series about a human teen in love with a
witch “caster” (“witch” is derogatory, according to director Richard LaGravenese and authors Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl). There’s a lot of teen drama and moody lighting and battle scenes with pretty people. So yes, this is basically Twilight, but with witches in South Carolina. I finished my bag of Combos during this panel.
After that, I got to see cool stuff again. The trailer and panel for the Carrie reboot was awesome and stars Julianne Moore and Chloë Grace Moretz (Hit-Girl) were there, along with director Kimberly Peirce, who looks like Maria Hill (a fact which I enjoyed immensely). Who would ever expect to see Julianne Moore at a con? Not me. She seemed pretty stoked to be there, though, despite how half the audience questions seemed to be centered around asking poor Chloë on a date. Ain’t no creeper like a Comic Con Creeper, ‘cuz a Comic Con Creeper don’t stop.
After that came the trailer and panel for the Evil Dead reboot, featuring Bruce Campbell (chainsaw-armed Ash himself), Jane Levy (star of the reboot), and director Fede Alvarez. The trailer was TERRIFYING and insanely gory. Bruce was funny as hell, taking turns either flirting with or openly mocking audience members. The crowd approved, as almost everything he did/said was met with a loud cheer of “BRUUUUUUUCE!” Man knows how to work a room.
Then, after long last, it was time for The Walking Dead panel. I’m happy to report that it was well worth the wait. Creator Robert Kirkman, executive producers Glen Mazzara and Gale Anne Hurd, and Talking Dead host Chris Hardwick was joined on stage by a whole bunch of cast members: Andrew Lincoln (“Reluctant and Increasingly Insane Leader” Rick), Chandler Riggs (“Stay in the House” Carl), Danai Gurira (“Badass Motherfucker” Michonne), David Morrissey (“Looks Nothing Like the Comic Book” The Governor), Norman Reedus (“Racist Redneck With a Heart of Gold” Daryl), and Michael Rooker (“Older Dixon Bro Who Will Probably Kill Everyone” Merle). It was mostly a lot of joking around and fan service (one lady asked Lincoln to examine and rate her TWD tattoo, which he did; smooth move, lady). I did learn a few interesting things, though:
1.) Season Three will be AWESOME.
2.) Daryl Dixon is, bafflingly, a sex symbol (I seriously was expecting panties to start flying at the stage when he walked in).
3.) Andrew Lincoln is British (mind = blown).
4.) A disturbing number of very young children are TWD fans.
All in all, I’m glad I spent Five Hours of Horror in the IGN, and I might just do it again – for the right panel. Next time, however, I’m bringing two bags of Combos.