New York Comic Con 2011 Preview Night

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Last night was the opening of the 2011 New York Comic Con commonly called “preview night.” It’s a chance for press, professionals and 4-day pass holders to be the first on the show floor to see what this year has to offer. NYCC has grown by leaps and bounds and the inclusion of a preview night brings it closer to being on par with the annual mayhem at the San Diego Comic Con. One of the key attractions of Thursday night is undoubtedly the lighter crowds and we took full advantage trying to take in as much as we could in the time allotted.

So what exactly can attendees expect over the next thee days? Read on…

Jason Aaron in Artists Alley.

A handful of comics professionals were on hand including Jeph Loeb, signing at the Marvel booth, and Neal Adams, but most of the preview night talent was found in the Artists Alley. Esad Ribic, Olivier Coipel, Jason Aaron, and Jason Latour were just a few of the writers and artists in attendance happy to meet and talk with fans. These names are joined by dozens of others through the rest of the weekend as things get into full swing later today. The lighter crowd last night not only afforded more time to talk with creators, but also extra space and time to take in a lot of the small press offerings found at the show. Noteworthy offerings included a book called Super Knocked Up, about a super powered villainess carrying the child of her arch enemy, as well as an anthology of reimagined Edgar Allen Poe stories. We’re planning to feature more details on these and other independent work in the weeks to come, but if you’re at the convention this weekend make it a point to explore this section of the show.

NYCC 2011 Exclusive Flashpoint Batman

The added elbow room also allowed us to take in every detail of the various merchandise available on the show floor. The extra attention paid to all of the toys and action figures we came across made the con-exclusive Flashpoint Batman vinyl figure from Pop! Heroes irresistible. The highlight, however, was undoubtedly the massive battle being waged by Hasbro’s Marvel Universe action figures inside a lucite box.


While in the area, we also caught a glimpse of the Hulk figure from the upcoming Avengers film line of figures before it was quickly removed from sight pending it’s official announcement. It was amazing having all of these figures side by side and seeing how they’ve developed over the last few years.

KevinMLD has also put together some of images of new figures from the DC side of the aisle over here.

Unlike many of the shows we’re able to attend, Marvel and DC Comics have a major official presence at NYCC and each publisher goes out of their way to do something special with their space on the floor. This year, Marvel installed an Avengers set modeled after what I’m assuming is flight deck of the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier from next Summer’s blockbuster. Fans can have their photo taken along with two agents in full costume while walking along the bridge. DC’s booth was far more focused on their comic book properties as giant banners featuring artwork from their New 52 relaunch surrounded their signing tables. The centerpiece of their section is a massive white Batman screen hanging above their part of the floor. It’s gorgeous. If you’re at the show this weekend, be sure to look up.

Larger comic book conventions like this one always bring a slew of panels, presentations and announcements to draw fans in. As comics culture has grown, these offerings have steadily moved away from the source material and into other media, primarily television and film. While none were held as part of the preview night, there are an incredible number of offerings throughout Friday, Saturday and Sunday. In the age of the internet, the news that breaks at these shows is global within seconds of being announced and is in front of eyeballs that are hundreds or thousands of miles away from the show floor. The team here tends to avoid this type of programming, but clearly we’re in the minority as these panels are consistently filled to capacity, often with fans waiting for hours to get in the door.

The night ended with a concert in the IGN Theater featuring DJ Z-Trip with opening act Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine / Audioslave / Nightwatchman. Morello’s appearance coincides with his debut as a comic book writer with this week’s Orchid #1 from Dark Horse Comics. We had an advance look at a digital copy of the book, but the print copy includes a link to an exclusive Nightwatchman track from the book’s official “soundtrack.” It’s an interesting way to promote the series and the first track, “It Begins Tonight,” is actually free at NightwatchmanMusic.com. Future issues of Orchid will include download codes for additional tracks, but the first being free fits nicely with the $1 price tag on issue one. Morello began the show with the first Orchid track and the crowd had a strong and positive reaction to his entire performance. I’ve seen similar attempts at media crossovers like this crash and burn, so I was happy to see that this was a complete success. It was a real treat for a long time Rage Against the Machine fan.

As of press time, only a few Friday single day tickets remain for this year’s New York Comic Con (when I started typing this, 3-Day tickets were also available and they’re already gone). This means big crowds for Saturday and Sunday so be ready to navigate the masses. Show promoters have also put out the word that lines forming before the show opens this morning at 10AM will be waiting outside, so be plan for rainy conditions if you’re headed to the show early.

MLD on a TV

We will be returning Sunday to see whatever is left to be seen on the show floor and any readers in attendance should feel free to contact us via Twitter, Facebook or even good old-fashioned e-mail and let us know what you’re up to.

Enjoy the show!

Read more about past New York Comic Cons on MyLatestDistraction
and be sure to check back for more photos from this year’s show throughout the weekend.

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is a scientist by trade and a fan by nature. Born and raised in Philadelphia, he has spent a lifetime attending local educational institutions, collecting comic books, and watching professional wrestling. He is the founder of Break Even, an independent microlabel that specializes in releasing music from unknown artists.