Crash Pad: Geek Memoirs
By: Jacques A. Montemoiño
Far beyond the level of excitement to be expected from such a thrilling event as the New York Comic Convention, is the challenge of trying to accurately express how exhilarating my time there was in “words” but I will do my best.
During my journalism phase, I’ve had the privilege of covering a few local conventions yet I had never been to a New York Comic Con or any comic book convention of this immensity and so I was anxious, nervous, and hopeful all at once. Even though I am a native New Yorker, I had not been there in many years and the idea that this monolithic convention that was happening in a place I once called home only added to the buzz and anticipation.
I flew out of Atlanta Ga. USA up to LaGuardia airport in New York, NY early arriving midday and was greeted by Ms. Jenkins a company rep holding a sign with my name. After looking over my itinerary, I settled into my NY branch office and promptly I ventured out to the 2013 New York Comic Convention via the A train; the smell of subway and the all too familiar rocking and rumblings of the train I once road as a young man, filled me with warm memories reminiscent of my youth. The murmur of the hundreds coupled with the gentle sway almost carried me off in to the sleep realms, yet I fought the urge to get comfortable, lean back, and nod off. As the downtown bound train got closer and closer to 34th street, I began seeing more and more travelers dressed in very familiar outfits and costumes indicative of one of the geek cultures most prevalent pass-times: cosplay. I knew I was going in the right direction once Pikachu sat next me.
Off of the public transit, maneuvering through thick crowds, up the stairs and on to the busy sidewalks, I was faced with the Empire State Building and the breezy Manhattan streets. Only a handful of blocks away from the Jacob Javitz Center, where the convention was being held, the walking slowed to a snail’s pace as hundreds tried to make their way down the narrow sidewalk which was apparently under construction and had partially extended into the streets, only to be sectioned off by a temporary barrier that saved me from sharing my passage with cars. Four blocks away, then three blocks away, and then finally, two blocks away I hit “pay dirt”. Off in the distance, I saw the top of the convention center when I looked ahead and then I was completely surrounded by hundreds of Comic Con enthusiasts and cosplayers at ground level of the Center. The smell of New York franks, Shish kebabs, and Halal food filled my nostrils. “I should eat before I go in” I reckoned and proceeded to order one of each.
I turned the final corner and beheld the magnificence that summons Geeks from all over to this one location and they came out in mass.
I entered the building, and even at 6 feet 6 inches, I felt miniscule and easily lost in the enormity of the environment and the crowds of thousands upon thousands. Everywhere I looked, there were my favorite super heroes posing for pictures and some even adorable enough to stop me in my tracks, as if I were a young boy who was brand new to this Geek World.
The main show floor was packed with hundreds of exhibitors representing some of the most iconic companies that are cornerstones of our unique sub-culture. Bandai, Nintendo, Warner Brothers, Dark Horse Comics, Intel, as well as a slew of hundreds of independent companies—all privileged to share the floor with such industry giants. With the crowds almost at a standstill, I tried to get as many images as my Canon 70D could muster. Me, as an extroverted person, engaged with a solid 61% of the exhibitionists I came across and, in one weekend, I gathered cards from representatives from many of the most impressive businesses in attendance including some of the development staff for the new Batman Arkham Origins.
I even met two gentlemen from Geek Therapy that were educators and therapists who had been working on utilizing the Geek Culture as a way to help those less fortunate to better their lives. This was Geek Heaven. As a man involved with many different facets of geek culture myself, it was comforting to see that NYCC had included all of the right ingredients for a tasty stew, including a careful and masterful blend of comics, comic book artists, writers, video games, toys, educators, musicians, cosplayers, custom weapons of various notoriety, a large number of people in the film and media industries, and, oh yeah, hundreds of journalists and press outlets—all things I love and am involved with in 12 Houses Inc.
Jacques was on a grand adventure that seemed evocative of a hero’s journey. I was alive and full of wonder and amazement.
Convention goers snapped pictures and stopped every two steps to get a peek at newly released and soon-to-be released indie titles, toys, and technology, all while being unable to “Not” seize every photo-op they could with Hollywood and internet celebrities alike. At the rate the crowds were moving, walking had been reduced to a shuffle but I didn’t mind; I had Batman on my left and Robin on my right, a stunningly beautiful Wonder Woman ahead. Random dance battles broke out between super-heroes, one group vs. another, Spider-Man vs. Deadpool, Attack on Titan and Disney characters alike took turns in the cleared center to show off their awesome yet deadly dance moves, ultimately slaying their opponents with Oppen Gangnam style. There were a number of panels where the creators and producers of almost any Geek related show you could imagine met their fan base and following. From Buffy the Vampire Slayer to Teen Wolf, lines stretched all the way into the food court. In my opinion, and from what I personally witnessed, I think the largest crowds I came across were clamoring for a peek at Ivy Doom Kitty and Stan Lee himself.
Other noteworthy celebrities were also in attendance but they were placed in booths on different floors with lines that stretched narrowly would be the length of a football field, but my time was limited. I couldn’t wait two hours on-line to see Gillian Anderson, David Duchovny, Hulk Hogan, Felicia Day, and Joel Gray. As a child of the 80’s, I was super impressed to shake Sgt. Slaughters hand and had the opportunity to let him know that aside from wrestling, I had always wanted to be Red Dog from Sgt. Slaughters Marauders.
It took all four days for me to personally visit and see every part of the Javitz Center’s various floors and sections and with what seemed to me to be tens of thousands convention-goers, I would have gotten lost had I not had an event map and truth be told, I became lost more times than I can count by memory, but I was the happiest lost person you have ever seen. I tried to stay focused on the production but it’s hard to tell a geek to abstain while he is in the midst of all his preferred vices of choice. Elation.
I’m consciously trying to “NOT” write a book on my weekend as I feel the urge to go on and on about the experience and all of its multi-faceted aspects, but I’ll exercise restraint and give you a small taste of how great the event was. Aside from the photos in this article, GIGA: Geek magazine and 12th House Media will be sharing all images, and video content gathered by us on this grand voyage and surreal adventure.
Stay tuned all of my GIGA Geeks!
~Jacques A. Montemoiño – “THE GIGA GEEK”
More images to come!