One of my favorite things about going to school in the heart of Manhattan is that New York Comic Con, held annually at the Javits Center, is within walking distance of my dorm. I’ve gone every year I’ve attended Fordham, but this was the first time I’d gone all four days, and is the first time I’ve gone while running this site. In that spirit, I figured I’d give a brief rundown of what I did there (but only the stuff that applied to Star Wars, in keeping with the tradition of this site). I’ll first go through the various panels I attended, and after that I’ll have some pictures of my pick-ups and I’ll talk about how exactly I came to get them. Shall we get to it?
Thursday was dominated by panels, more so than any other day I attended. This was in no small part due to the fact that both the Star Wars: Rebels panel and screening took place on Thursday. For reasons I still don’t fathom, they weren’t back to back, so in showing up early for each I got to see two different preceding panels (a surprisingly enjoyable Kevin Smith panel and an unsurprisingly enjoyable Game of Thrones panel, anchored by the lovely Natalie Dormer). The Rebels panel was a lot of fun, with several clips being shown and a lot of great banter taking place between the cast (a particular highlight was Sarah Michelle Gellar’s recollection of the question “Who do I have to sleep with to get on the show?” Dave Filoni’s flustered reaction was great, though the answer was of course her husband, the voice of Kanan on the show). The screening was also quite enjoyable, with the first two episodes of the season screened. Pablo Hidalgo, key member of the Lucasfilm Story Group and MC of the two events, asked us not to spoil anything, so I won’t, but the episodes have a lot of great moments and there’s stuff to love for every Star Wars fan. The one mildly disappointing thing for me was the reveal that the Seventh Sister, Sarah Michelle Gellar’s new Inquisitor, was not in fact Barriss Offee, a theory I’d been pushing for a while. Still, on a whole I had a great time and enjoyed the split panel/screening a good bit more than last year’s truncated panel. Of course, Rebels wasn’t the only Star Wars topic getting some love on Thursday. Hasbro had a Star Wars panel as well. Many of the reveals had been made at Hasbro’s pre-party the previous evening, but there was still some new stuff unveiled. We got our looks at the initial sculpts for the fan’s choice figures Darth Revan and Sabine Wren, and a 3 3/4 inch Seventh Sister and A New Hope Black Series Leia figure got announced. All are looking good.
Friday was mostly dominated by wandering the show floor/Artist Alley, and going to various signings. I’ll get more in to the exact signings I went to later, but after Thursday Friday was pretty free-form in comparison. I did almost miss a morning signing thanks to the laughably long line at the Hallmark booth (made worse by the fact that their credit card machine was down, leading to a solid 30 minutes without any sort of movement). I wound up getting in with only seconds to spare. I got most of my art Friday, which wound up being not the best of ideas thanks to rain later in the day. I was smart enough to bring a trash bag to wrap my poster tube in, but not smart enough to bring any sort of rain jacket, so it wound up being a jog to the subway that left me sore, tired, and wet, but at least I had my stuff.
Saturday was perhaps my busiest day at the convention, with signings and panels throughout the day. The Star Wars Books panel was in the morning, and I wanted to go, but I wound up missing it waiting for a Marvel signing (amusingly, the person I wanted never showed, but I got him in Artist Alley without too much trouble). I eventually heard that people who were in line an hour early got left out of the panel, so I wasn’t too broken up about it. I slept in on Saturday, and wound up lining up not in the queue hall but outside (which still worked out incredibly well for me, actually, as I got to a signing I was interested in with nobody in line). Between 4 and 5:30 I had to make my way to 4 different events, but I managed to without a great deal of difficulty (thank goodness Claudia Gray started signing early). That last event was a panel being hosted by Ashley Eckstein of Her Universe (and, of course, the voice of Ahsoka in The Clone Wars and Rebels). I was interested in going because I saw that along with her, Dave Filoni and several authors would also be attending. Now, nowhere in the panel description did it say that Star Wars was involved, but it did mention a print with artwork by Dave that would be signed by both him and Ashley, and that got me very interested. As it happened, the panel featured the announcement of the Her Universe publishing imprint, with Dave’s artwork being the cover of their first novel. If it wasn’t Ashley, I might not have been as interested, but she was so clearly excited about the announcement that I couldn’t help but be swept up in the excitement as well. Laughs were shared, and a good time was had by all. Amusingly, after waiting in line for about 30 minutes, I realized that Pablo Hidalgo was on the other side of the barrier from me. We struck up a brief conversation before the line started to move, and he filled me in on the one announcement I had missed from the publishing panel, a collection of alien-based short stories. The other announcements, a new Claudia Gray novel and the titles of the next two Aftermath books (Life Debt and Empire’s End), I had seen in the Star Wars publishing booth. None of my pictures from the panel turned out all that well, so here’s one of me with Ashley from NYCC a few years ago.
Sunday was a very short day for me. I showed up right before the start of the convention, got a few last things signed, and then closed out with another Star Wars Panel, the Galactic Reader’s Theater. Featuring a smattering of different Star Wars authors, the draw was in getting to see each of them do a reading from their most recent books (or, in the case of Alexander Freed’s Battlefront: Twilight Company, upcoming book). A particular highlight was Ian Doescher’s reading of his latest Star Wars Sheakspeare book, The Tragedy of the Sith’s Revenge. For those unaware, what Doescher does is adapt the various Star Wars movies into Sheakspearian plays, often to great comedic effect. He attempted (surprisingly successfully) to imitate Palpatine, Obi-Wan, and Yoda doing three different soliloquies, and was very much my favorite part of the panel. But that’s enough of that. Let’s take a look at all the stuff I came home with, yes? Apologies now for sub-par iPhone photos taken on my bed.
Hallmark’s booth is always a popular destination at the start of the convention, as they don’t make their exclusives available anywhere else. They limit it to one of each item per day, so I had to go by twice to get a second set to trade for (the, in my opinion, far better) McQuarrie Luke and Vader set from Celebration.
I was incredibly excited when Chris Trevas’s attendance at NYCC was announced; I’ve already mentioned that he’s one of my favorite Star Wars authors. Surprisingly, he also had one of my favorite prints available for purchase as well, and at a very fair price. This is probably the purchase from the Con I’m most excited about, but that doesn’t mean that there wasn’t a bunch of other stuff that has me stoked as well. I should take this moment to note that Chris really was a stand-up guy. He was willing to chat about his works, some other folks in the art business, some behind the scenes drama, and really couldn’t have been more pleasant. He was nice enough to sign everything I put in front of him, which really was far more than reasonable.
This Vader print by Craig Drake was available at the Hero Complex Gallery Booth. Craig has a very fun style, and this piece caught my eye when it was first shown (of course, so did his Boba Fett, but that’s loooooong sold out). It’s a nice big print, and I really have no space for it back home, but I might grab a frame and try to hang it here. It would look nice in the living room, methinks.
A print by Dave Dorman and one from Joe Corroney. I have several prints from each of them already, but I liked that these were a break from my usual art subjects (it’s mostly Vader and Boba, really). My love of Grievous also helped inspire the next entry here…
Now, you may notice that it looks like you can see my reflection in those pieces. That’s because they’re printed on sheet metal, which makes for a really cool effect. The pieces are done by Livio Ramondelli, who hasn’t done any work for Acme but has made his prints available at cons. I’m not sure if “up and comer” is the right word to use for Livio, but I’d keep my eye on him. Last year he didn’t have nearly as many Star Wars pieces, and so far I’ve liked everything I’ve seen. If he keeps putting out stuff of this quality I might wind up with a lot of his work on my walls.
Now for some stuff that I didn’t pay for. These are actually the same poster (double sided), but each was available at an author signing. Freed’s book isn’t out yet, so he only signed the poster (and what a great poster it is), but Wendig signed both the poster and book. The book wasn’t a particular favorite of mine, but the art is nice and Chuck was very pleasant in person.
The Rebels poster was given out after the screening, and the Ultimate Star Wars was given out during signings by the author, Daniel Wallace. I got the signed poster, but I was more excited about a book of mine getting signed, which I’ll show you in a moment.
This was one of two prints given out at the Her Universe panel. I must say, even though I am disappointed it isn’t a Star Wars piece, the art is really well done. Odds are I’ll probably wind up giving the book a chance when it comes out. If I’m judging the book by its cover, it ought to be quite good.
I got two novels signed at NYCC, and both authors were very pleasant. Claudia Gray’s signing started early, as I mentioned, which was great for me, and I can’t help but appreciate Wendig’s quote. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it here yet, but read Lost Stars. It’s 500 something pages, but it’s a young adult book so the type is bigger than a usual novel and the prose isn’t very dense. I finished it in less than 24 hours, I enjoyed it so.
I got these two books signed by Chris Trevas, who does some excellent art for each. The New Essential Guide to Alien Species is good, if not a particular favorite of mine, but I’d recommend The Essential Guide to the Force to any Star Wars fan who is willing to learn about the EU.
I had gotten The Essential Reader’s Companion signed by author Pablo Hidalgo and artist Jeff Carlisle in 2012 (at my first NYCC, no less), but I added artists Chris Trevas and Joe Corroney at the con this year (though I am still short a few artists). Funny story, Corroney was the last person I asked to sign, and he was so amused/impressed he went to his Facebook and posted a picture of it, tagging Pablo and Chris. It’s viewable to the public, but since it’s on his personal page and not his professional I’d feel a little odd linking to it. You should definitely give that professional page a look, though. Joe’s a good guy (I’ve had only pleasant transactions with him in the past) and I have plenty of his stuff up on my walls.
The Essential Atlas is, in my opinion, the best Star Wars reference book ever made. The Encyclopedias are great, don’t get me wrong, but the Atlas manages to include a concise galactic history, specific planet spotlights, and place over 1000 planets with galactic coordinates. I added Jason Fry, coauthor of the book and with the long inscription, a few years back, and he was as nice as could be. So too was coauthor Daniel Wallace, who seemed legitimately excited that I had brought this book to get signed. Reassuringly, he noted, that while the canon reset would likely affect the history presented in the book, the basic structure of the galaxy and planetary profiles would likely remain largely intact by Disney, making this a worthwhile pickup for those interested in the new canon and not the EU. Chris Trevas, who did art for this book, was the last addition.
Let’s move on to some comics, yeah? I got these Dark Horse collections signed by some of the artists involved: Jan Duursema is one of the great interior Star Wars artists (she’s done covers, too, but she’s primarily known for interior art) and she was a really great person to talk to. Very pleasant, happy to sign and chat about what have you. She signed my copy of the Quinlan Vos Omnibus and my Legacy hardcover. Dave Dorman hasn’t done any interior Star Wars art to my knowledge, but his covers are some of the best (one, perhaps, might be THE best). He was another great guy to talk to, glad to sign the issues I had and willing to talk about the genesis of some of his works. That Royal Guard sketch he did unprompted, which was great. I got some single issues signed by each, which I’ll be showing you…… Now.
Jan was quite generous in what she was willing to sign, and half the reason I bought that sketch card there is because I would have felt like I was taking advantage of her otherwise (the other half, of course, is that it’s of Villie, who I unabashedly enjoy. So does writer John Ostrander, or so Duursema told me). Most I got through Hasbro’s comic packs, but a few I did actually buy in stores (ones from stores have bar codes). Most of those covers were done by her, which is part of the reason I chose them over some of her other work. Adam Hughes did the others, and he was actually scheduled to attend NYCC before he came down sick the week before and had to cancel. A real shame, I have a few other comics for him to sign.
Once I saw that Dorman had been announced for NYCC I kept my eyes open for choice covers of his, and I think I might have found the best from each of his main series. He himself commented on his love for that Empire Lost cover, and that cover to Crimson Empire #3 is my pick for the best Star Wars comic cover of all time (it was used as the cover for Star Wars Art: Comics, and Dorman told me that George Lucas himself owns the original piece). I got lots more comics signed at NYCC, but not many of them match my excitement for having these. Of course, I was excited to have these before I even got them signed, the covers are so good, but that’s a moot point.
Let’s ease in to the Marvel comics I got signed with this copy of Star Wars #1, signed and sketched on by series artist John Cassaday. It’s not the most involved sketch I’ve seen on a blank cover, but Cassaday graciously did so for free, so I’m not at all complaining. It’s still pretty damn cool.
The picture’s not great, so it may be hard to tell, but those are Mark Brooks’s variant covers to the inaugural issues of Star Wars, Darth Vader, and Princess Leia, all signed by Brooks. The Star Wars issue, however, is also signed by writer Jason Aaron and artist John Cassaday, and the Vader has Kieron Gillen, the writer, on it as well. Snazzy, huh?
Star Wars #7, signed by guest artist Simone Bianchi. A stand-up guy, really pleasant to talk to. Not much to say about that.
So that’s Darth Vader 1-7. With the exception of #2, all are signed by Kieron Gillen, colorist Edgar Delgado, and cover artist Adi Granov. Kieron Gillen was a surprise addition to a Granov signing, which was pretty nifty. Originally I didn’t plan on getting all my issues signed, so I picked and chose my favorite, but then there was no line after I got my signatures so I went back through again with the rest. For some reason, though, I left issue 2 at home that day, so I never got them on it. I did bring it when Edgar was signing, and I’m very grateful that he was willing to sign them all in one go.
I don’t know if I’ve made it clear on this site, but I’m quite the Lando fan. The announcement of his own miniseries got me very excited, and the team of author Charles Soule and Alex Maleev did not disappoint. The series was very well done, and I was able to get each issue signed by both of those people. I don’t yet have plans on what exactly to do with all these signed comics, but I’d very much like to display this whole run; the covers, in my opinion, are exquisitely done. That upper left issue is a variant cover of issue one, made only available directly through Soule and Maleev. I got mine from Soule’s table, and I suppose that’s what inspired him to add the “Stay Smoooooooth” inscription. Amusingly, when I was at Soule’s table, he actually told me about the just announced Obi-Wan and Anakin miniseries he was writing. I hadn’t gone to the Joe Quesada’s “Cup o’ Joe” panel, where it had been announced, and I found it quite amusing that the author of the series himself was filling me in. I have one last Star Wars thing to show, and it’s definitely my most impressive piece out of NYCC.
That’s the cover gallery to the first 6 issues of Star Wars and Darth Vader, along with Leia’s entire run. Now, there were a bajillion cover variants to the first issue of Star Wars, so everyone and their brother did a cover. I picked it up the day before the con started, which happened to be it’s release date. As a result, a lot of the artists I had signing it hadn’t seen it yet, and were quite curious to look through. Among the names on there are Joe Quesada, J. Scott Campbell, John Cassaday, Greg Hildebrandt, Simone Bianchi, Dave Dorman, Alex Maleev, Phil Noto (the artist on the upcoming Chewbacca miniseries), Mark Brooks, and Edgar Delgado. I still have lots of names to add if I want to get everyone, but it’s a good start to what proved to be a really fun project.
-I know I usually underline or italics comic series’ titles, but I couldn’t exactly remember the etiquette so I didn’t bother. Let’s be honest, you probably didn’t even particularly notice until now.
-The one fine art piece I got that wasn’t from Star Wars was from Bottleneck Gallery, based on the upcoming Fallout 4.
-I did get some cool Marvel posters based on their current/upcoming TV shows, as well. Jessica Jones comes out on my birthday, actually, which would be really cool if I wasn’t turning 21 and thus socially obligated to not stay in and watch Netflix.