by Dani Aronson
This year, I had the privilege of kicking off my New York Comic Con weekend with The Walking Dead Fan Premiere at Madison Square Garden — yes THE MSG that seats thousands and is home to huge sporting events and every major concert in NYC. As you made your way to the seats, you were surrounded by zombie actors and tons of cool memorabilia such as the fish tanks filled with heads from The Governor’s study; we braced ourselves.
Watching the premiere on the jumbotron screens, surrounded by tens of thousands of people, who would fill the arena with silence for minutes during intense scenes, and grabbing each other at the frightening moments, was the ultimate fangirl experience. At the end of the episode, the entire cast came out, and Norman Reedus even rode in on his bike! As if the fans weren’t already excited enough, there were surprise appearances on stage from Jon Bernthal (Shane), Emily Kinney (Beth), Michael Rooker (MERLE), Scott Wilson (Hershel), and Chad Coleman (Tyrese). The audience really went mad for Hershel, who is America’s favorite zombie apocalypse grandpa. There were celebrity fan videos asking the cast questions, including videos from superfan Simon Pegg (a Darryl Dixonophile) and James Corden, who asked Andrew Lincoln if his favorite cast member from the Channel 4 series Teachers was Jeremy (LOL, Corden — you played Jeremy). We also got to enjoy some bloopers, and who doesn’t think slapstick when they think of The Walking Dead? I left MSG satisfied, almost as if I was a zombie that had just feasted on Carl after he ate a huge can of pudding.
As I made my way to the Coffee and Comics panel on Saturday, the florescent lights of the Javitz Center had taken their toll — coffee and discussion was just what I needed to get right again. Death Wish Coffee Company provided the brew and the panelists had a few delicious discussions on Japanese food manga comics and how they take their coffee (and their lovers). One thing I was happy to learn on this panel is that there is a #PIZZARAT comic in the works. Also, one audience member asked a great question to the panelists, “If you could write a comic about any cereal character, who would it be?”. I can’t tell you how much everyone loved this question and there were a few great ideas that I hope come to life, such as how Wendell the Cinnamon Toast Crunch chef is now out of work and depressed after being replaced by the Cinnamon Squares as mascot for the cereal.
I woke up early on a Sunday so I could hang out with some of my childhood idols. I attended a panel featuring R.L. Stine (Goosebumps, Fear Street) and Ann M. Martin (The Babysitters Club). I was obsessed with the Fear Street series as a kid, so being in the room with R.L. was kind of aweeeesommeeeeee. In addition to fangirling for R.L., the moderator Stephan Lee (Editor over at EW) was also really adorable, so thanks making missing brunch worth it. Also, Stephan Lee is not just a pretty face, but also a good moderator, because he asked exactly the question I had in my head for R.L. and Ann – Lee asked if technology has changed their storylines. R.L. went on a rant about how cell phones are the worst, because in the good old 80’s and 90’s, the villain would torment the protagonist via landline telephone or notes in a locker; good luck getting away with that in the age of Snapchat and FaceTime.
After my morning with my idols and my future husband Stephan Lee, I visited The Block and got some sweet pins (my pin game is growing) and a shirt from a really cool new company in Brooklyn, Scumbags and Superstars. I also visited Marnie, the Internet celebrity dog, who looks kind of a hot mess in person. Does Marnie need doggie rehab? After seeing Marnie IRL, I felt like I had reached peak comic con, and it was time to venture back to Brooklyn. Until next year kids – cosplay and carry on.