Special Report: 24 Hours at Comic Con with the Hidden S

The Hidden S found himself in the unlikely role of Omnicomic representative to the New York Comic Con/Anime Fest 2010 since Comrade Pilley, et al had a wedding to attend. My NYCC/AF experience started in a Duane Reed just outside of Penn Station where I waited in line behind a young woman clad in skin tight latex and a Catwoman hood who was buying Altoids. This was NY so naturally no one batted an eye. Later on it occurred to me that there was no guarantee this young woman was in fact going to Comic Con. The other amusing anecdote I heard while walking to the Javitts Center was that there was a fight club nearby-the gimmick? The participants dress as Marvel and DC characters and pummell each other. This sounds like some kind of urban legend or joke to me but if it is not think how awesome that would be?
Getting the press pass was relatively easy and things seemed to be orderly and running relatively smoothly. There were some panels running but nothing of particular interest to me and it seemed like there was too much going on to simply park myself. I ventured up to "Artist's Alley" and wandered around admiring the artwork (most of it great, but some of it strangely terrible). It appeared that there were a lot more independent and underground comic artists than I had remembered in my limited convention experience. Of particular interest to me was the work of Matt Roscetti whose work was imaginative and affordable. I bought two pieces dedicated to my grandson Jackson and my granddaughter Sloane and was thrilled standing there watching them being created by Mr. Roscetti, whose inked stained hands worked with precision and care while I fed him instructions about what my grandchildren looked like.
In the meantime, I was getting a sense of the cosplayers milling around; it's easy to make fun of this kind of thing but in context it is endearing, charming and in a rare moment very attractive. To my slight surprise, there seemed to be far more woman participants than men. Typically, these costumes fell into one of three categories: 1. Sexy 2. More Sexy 3. Deep into Fetish Territory. Most memorably, there was a woman poured into a Sue Storm/Invisible Woman latex costume with a let us say impressive chassis and carriage whose presence lit up a veritable fireworks of cell phone camera flashes whenever she was in the area. In addition to the occasional nuclear impact felt by this kind of costume and performer there were many young women walking around with yards of exposed flesh with a complete lack of self-consciousness that was impressive. Beyond that, there were a couple of surprises; there were hardly any "Romona Flowers" around (at least when I was there) and second, there were fewer "Hit Girls" around than I would have thought. My theory? These aren't really "sexy" characters the way Catwoman or even Wonder Woman are. I don't know, considering these are two great, visual, empowered characters in noteworthy comic films this year I was just a bit surprised (of course I guess I could have missed them). The most impressive male cosplayers I saw was a group portraying African-American characters like Black Lightning and Blade as well as a Laurence Fishburne lookalike who was Orpheus. These guys were impressive mostly because they really looked pretty in shape (buff even) and intimidating.
One of my favorite moments of the day was meeting the comic artists Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon, whose avant garde influenced work on Cassanova Quinn I have long admired. Cassanova is a stylish operative whose dress trends towards well appointed suits and accessories. In a strange and funny (to me at least) twist Mr. Ba thought I was dressed as Cassonova Quinn since I had a pinstriped jacket on with a colorful scarf and my hair is long in a similar way that his character's is. This became a kind of quick inside joke between us and as he signed my book he took a moment to write "Mark" (the Hidden S' "real" name) above the character and draw an arrow to Cassonova Quinn as he took aim. I told him to call my agent if there was ever to be a Quinn film. A couple of other funny moments (again for me at least) was when I passed by a couple of Dr. Who dresser uppers who made knowing eye contact with me as if to say "Hey, I like your Dr. Who getup." I made a gesture with a nod or wave which said "OK I will play along, I like your Dr. Who getup too, well done."
I tried to get into the Green Lantern animated preview/panel but was shut out (a little surprised). Luckily, I did get into the Jim Lee panel toward mid-afternoon which was interesting and a little weird. Example? Mr. Lee was very amiable and patient with the questions fans asked him a few of them not great questions. Example? "Why does my art suck?" and that kind of thing for the most part. Mr. Lee managed to give these questions some dignity and even sound kind of inspirational. For instance, he told one wannabe artist that great art is not a matter of geography or even workspace. "Philip Tan does his work in Starbucks. He sets out all of his supplies works till lunchtime, leaves his stuff and the staff keeps an eye on it and he comes back and finishes up things like he has a 9-5 workday." He did mention that for him at least travel was a key to being renewed creatively and appreciating the thought and time that goes into creating something of artistic value. He finished this thought off by saying "There is no one path Jedi" to appreciative peals of fanboy laughter. He also mentioned that muscle memory is important as well as developing the imagination through techniques like trying to think of (for instance) what makes a dentist's office look different than a Doctor's office. Between questions, Mr. Lee sketched intensely which was an odd affect and possibly hinted at some Attention Deficit issues. At one point, he took requests for a sketch subject. The winner? Wonder Woman. "It will make the guys and the women happy" he cracked to more laughter from a knowing audience. The NY Comic Con may have been a little more lowkey this year than in previous years since there isn't a really big comic film (or small comic film for that matter) on the horizon except the Green Hornet set to be released in January. As for that, to my surprise there was hardly anything about the Green Hornet film as far as I could tell. This is probably not a great sign for the film, and, possibly more tellingly, there were no cosplay folks (that I saw) dressed as either Green Hornet or Kato. I would imagine that this will change with next year's Con since a new Batman, Superman and The Avengers film will likely be well underway. S.


  1. Great post. Informative, insightful and just an enjoyable read. I'm glad someone was able to attend!

  2. Thanks my man-next year let's go as Green Hornet and Kato!


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