There was a time when freaks, oddballs, nerds, closet-cases, weirdos, misfits, rejects, and wastoids had very few outlets to dress up and explore the sometimes rich and often shallow facets of their fantasy selves. For many, this outlet was dressing up and participating in screenings of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. For people who felt empowered by that movie, the takeaway message was, "Don't dream it, be it."
It's important to remember that, much like Tony Montana in Scarface, Dr. Frankenfurter lives the high life ignoring society's laws but is eventually shot and then ends up floating dead in a pool. I look forward to the New York Comic Con every year, but this time I felt a pervading sense of dread. Maybe it was because the Javitz Center where the New York Comic Con is held each year looks like a terrarium. Or maybe it was because of the unprecedented amount of people who were at the con this year. Either way, the Rocky Horror lyrics I kept thinking of were the final ones spoken in the movie from the appropriately titled song "Superheroes": "And crawling on the planet's face, some insects called the human race, lost in time and lost in space—and meaning."
But don't let my inner anxieties makes you think that I do not enjoy the NYCC. The New York Comic Con is one of my favorite things and each year I look forward to it. I've covered it for VICE in 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014. Unless I die or decide to take up a new identity, I should be back covering it in 2016.
This year, as in years past, I hung out with some of my best friends, met a lot of new people, saw beautiful and funny things, drew pictures and signed stuff for fans, and met a few people whom I would consider geniuses. I also saw a huge mass of people of different ages, races, places of origin, abilities, and genders who wanted to all be around each other and discuss and experience things that they mutually found beautiful and exciting.
The 2015 New York Comic Con was so large that it's beyond a blanket summation. So here are words and photos that prove I spent the past Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday there. If you're bored or annoyed by my writing, you can just look at the pictures.
That's me on the left in the raincoat. I've been casually dressing as Uncle Fester since July. I didn't expect to see other Addamses at the con, but I ran into this group before I even got inside the convention. I remember seeing The Addams Family movie in the theater as a tiny Nick and thinking, Hey, that's like my family!
As soon as I got inside, I was treated to a snack based on the popular fictional ice cream treat from the cartoon Steven Universe. Wikia, the company that runs all the Wikipedia sites like Wookieepedia, sponsored a food truck that served free fake foods from popular cartoons, games, and movies. I think everyone who likes Steven Universe immediately wanted to eat a Cookie Cat as soon as we saw them in the first episode.
This is probably one of the most impressive people I met, not just at the con, but in my entire life. This is Adam Wilson, co-founder and chief scientist at Sphero, a company that makes robots. He's pictured here holding an invention of his, the BB-8 robot toy. It was the hot thing to get at the convention and will probably be the hot Christmas toy, too.
This robot rolls around your floor and its little astro-mech head somehow stays perched at the top of the spherical body, twitching and spinning. You control it using an app on your phone, but it can also roll around autonomously in "patrol mode." It also recognizes and responds to human voices. Watching the demo BB-8s roll around the floor, I was amazed at how organic and alive they seemed. I mentioned that I couldn't wait to see if my cat would try to kill it. Adam said that his cats were afraid of it.
This is Hacksaw Jim Duggan, a very friendly wrestler who was best known for carrying around his trademark two-by-four. We shook hands, and it seemed like his hand was swallowing mine up it was so big.
I spent a few hours each day posted up at the Mishka booth selling sketch cards, and this shirt I drew of Pikachu as a juvenile delinquent.
These girls from Staten Island are in a band called Yeti. They asked me to draw Spiderman making out with a pot plant.
Here's what that looked like.
I was pretty impressed with this lady's Togepi costume. Some costumes at NYCC are impressively professional, some are impressively sloppy and improvised. This one is just inventive. She's Togepi as Misty and holding a Misty as Togepi doll.
Here's a sexy lady Gizmo from Gremlins.
This is Bwana Spoons with his pretty little art toys.
These two are characters from League of Legends. It's crazy to me how naked people will get in the middle of the day in October in the name of costume realism. Maybe if my body didn't look like a pale frog that someone dropped in barbershop hair I would also be nude at a comic con.
This is Paven. He made his Aquaman costume the day before the convention. He was going to be Hulk Hogan originally, but decided against it. His cousin was dressed as a different New World Order wrestler, clearly sort of disappointed to have lost a cosplay partner who would have gone along with his thing.
I yelled, "Kiss!" at these two and took this photo right at the moment where Freddy Krueger confusedly said, "Kiss?!" The real Freddy Krueger would have done it.
The most popular costume for ladies was Harley Quinn. Harley Quinn is the "sexy cat" of comic cons. Cosplayers can make it as elaborate or simple, slutty or chaste as they wish. Some Harley Quinns looked like acrobat clowns, and some looked more like Juggalettes. All the costume needs is black and red and black and white makeup. This guy ran up and asked this Harley Quinn to shoot him in the mouth.
As I left on Thursday there were some Christian proselytizers letting me know that Jesus loved me.
When I got in line on Friday, the security team was confiscating all the fantasy weapons and putting them in this large trash can. When I took this, they were giving Captain America a hard time and inspecting his shield to see if it was a deadly weapon.
Then I looked down and saw there were even more, and they were just tossing them in between the gates. I found this very, very funny. I think they relaxed their standards later.
This is a really exceptional group of DC villains. You NEVER see Captain Cold or Reverse Flash.
This Colossus combines two of my favorite things I look for in cosplayers: People who are mostly naked and people who are eating. If he were asleep on the ground or fighting with his partner, it would be the trifecta.
There were a lot of Marty McFlys running around. Pepsi was giving futuristic Back to the Future Pepsis to people in costume. I liked these two.
I sat in on a round table press room interview with the people who make Adventure Time. Adventure Time is a very important thing. On the left is Niki Yang who writes and is the voice of BMO. In the middle is the showrunner, Adam Muto. Rebecca Sugar, on the right, wrote and storyboarded Adventure Time and co-created Stephen Universe. The interviews you get at these things are sorta worthless because everyone's struggling to get a question in. It's really cool if you want to sit at a table with your idols, though.
This is Olivia Olson, who voices Marceline the Vampire Queen on Adventure Time. The big Adventure Time news is that there's an eight-episode mini-series that will tell the thousand-year-old character's life story. I am very excited about this.
Even Quicksilver's feet get tired eventually.
Red Sonja's chainmail bikini seems uncomfortable and impractical, but I guess she's really only vulnerable to attacks in the boobs and crotch.
Ariel and Pocahontas.
I have a tendency to draw myself killing people who ask me to draw in their sketchbooks. Here's Chris with a drawing of me killing him.
I don't know what these two were discussing, but it looked pretty serious.
I went to a Venture Brothers interview, but Doc Hammer and Jackson Publick spent like an hour doing on-camera interviews. I don't hold it against them that they wasted my time. I took the opportunity to eat a ten-dollar tuna sandwich and anticipate how great the upcoming season of The Venture Brothers is going to be.
I signed this comic I drew the cover art for. He didn't tell me who to make it out to so I wrote "EBAY RULES!" Someone sold a signed copy of this thing for $60 on eBay. It's cool that my signature is so valuable to one person.
Popeye's arm falls apart, Olive looks away in shame.
This is the best costume I saw at the convention.
This booth had all the pillowcases a lonely man who is horny for drawings could ask for.
Great Master Roshi costume.
I signed his turtle shell. A couple days later he messaged me and actually copied my drawings but didn't recognize me.
Good Kermit. It looks like a human made a suit out of Kermit's skin. Also his dick was super visible through the outfit.
I love the character of Bulma from Dragonball. I couldn't figure out how to pose interestingly, so I just went with a handshake.
This lady painted her body orange and has a glowing hand.
After the convention let out, the conventioneers flooded out onto the streets of New York and into the local fast-food restaurants. I met this guy on my way to Wendy's. There are hardly any real nerds left these days now that everything is mainstream culture, but this guy was a Trekker with a giant oversized backpack so I think he's for real. We talked about Star Trek.
I met this lady in the Wendy's near Madison Square Garden. I liked her Riddler costume. Then I went home and fed my cat.
I yelled, "Kiss!" at these two, but they wouldn't do it. The real Bert and Ernie would have done it. I spent much of Saturday trying to zig-zag across the convention so I could see everything. I almost made it.
Sometimes I wonder if it would be funny or pathetic to have a statue like this in my house.
This is famed comics legend Neal Adams. He bought a huuuuuge amount of space and set up a decent little studio to do commissions. This is the guy who got DC to pay the creators of Superman some royalties after they were fired from the comic they created.
I wanted to buy this puppet, but the owner wasn't around.
Here's another costumed crimefighter eating on the job.
I've never seen anyone cosplay as Chef before. RIP Isaac Hayes.
There are a few booths where professional cosplay girls would sell and sign photos of themselves in costume. This is Leeana Vamp. I asked her about the creepy aspects of this job, and she mentioned that people will use her photos and pretend to be her on social media.
This is the Geek Out booth for LGBT fans. They are promoting their second LGBT comic con called Flame Con, which is taking place August 20 and 21 in Brooklyn.
Perfect Judge outfit.
Mezco Toys made these crazy Dark Knight Returns toys. I want them so bad. Imagine coming home and just sitting down and smoking a joint and making Batman fight the Mutant Leader to shake off any frustrations.
Sideshow Toys are producing this crazy 12" Deadpool doll. I want it so bad. Deadpool is the most popular Marvel character right now because he's basically Wolverine but with jokes and a habit of breaking the fourth wall. Sideshow makes the prettiest dolls. I got their Han Solo doll and the head had Harrison Ford's chin mole and scar. Then I bought everything else. Perfect little plastic buddies.
Cosplaying as Jared Fogel isn't cool.
I complimented this guy on his Danzig costume. He claimed to not be wearing one, but who else could he be dressed as?
This was the booth of a company called Fakku, who were translating and republishing Japanese porno comics like "Peachy Butt Girl." It's got a lot of gaping vaginas, frightened expressions, and dramatic splatters of liquid.
Shipwreck! This guy's not really in the navy, but he was in basic training to be in the Marines. Unfortunately, he fell out of a tower and broke his leg. Now he's Shipwreck at New York Comic Con.
Good Kiki's Delivery Service!
The Greek lady on the left is dressed as Kaworu from Evangelion. She had to lube up the inside of her latex costume. Her friend is appropriately dressed as Disgust from Inside Out.
This is Maya (or Mia) as a Star Trek crew member.
There was a big marketing explosion for Yokai Watch, and it hooked me pretty hard. It's a new video game, cartoon show, and toy line. It's basically Pokemon, but even more Japanese. Yokai are mythological Japanese forest ghosts, and this thing is full of the tropes of Japanese culture. The big orange cat, Jinbanyan, is obsessed with idol groups and transforms into a pompadoured greaser. There's ghosts, cats, and Japanese stuff, and that's pretty much all I care about.
Someone bought this drawing I did of Drake as Batman.
I drew this Harley Quinn for her absent boyfriend.
I drew this Juggalo real-estate agent as a wrestler.
I went to another lame round-table interview press session. This one was for Seth Mcfarlane's new show, Border Town. Here I am getting stomped by Alex Borstein. During the interview, many stupid questions were asked, and I watched as Hank Azaria dexterously transferred his wedding ring from hand to hand. I also got to meet Judah Friedlander and Nick Gonzalez, who said he was a big fan of VICE. If you're reading this, hi, Nick!
I was lucky enough to get invited to a Cartoon Network staff screening of the Regular Show movie because of my famous sister. Afterward, there was a great party for Cartoon Network show people. All the brightest Cartoon Network stars were there, and the booze and drinks were FREE.
Sunday was a half day, which was good, because my immune system was almost depleted. You can't shove 300,000 people into a sealed glass building and not expect some sort of super disease not to be born.
This lady is dressed as Synergy from Jem. I love Jem very much. Jem forever.
This is my sweet pal Lamour Supreme and his daughter, X-23, meeting Chris Claremont, who pretty much invented the X-Men and developed Wolverine from very little. He seemed kinda bitter.
Bob Camp, who co-created Ren & Stimpy, was sketching and selling animation cels. I liked this cel a lot.
I love when Storm had a mohawk. This is the first person I've seen cosplay this look.
Lady Dr. Strange was cool, too.
Ash Ketchum massaged Wonder Woman's shoulders.
Dark Horse Comics put out a fancy art-book edition of the Art of Masters of the Universe. The Drawbridge swings down on the box and everything. Dark Horse's press guy didn't realize He-Man was such a gay icon until all of the media outlets that reached out to him to cover this book were all gay newspapers and websites. He-Man looks like a Tom of Finland drawing in bondage gear.
This lady likes ska, Run the Jewels, video games, Pokemon, and weed, so I drew it all in her sketchbook for her.
Good Mick Foley costume.
Good Immortan Joe.
This is the first classy Mario I ever saw. The con was over, and I went somewhere else while the hotdog-cart owners yelled at everyone who walked by.
After four ridiculous days, I went to a restaurant, and it felt strange to see zero people in costume. From left to right is Masai; Takahiro Komuro, who makes crazy giant fiberglass statues; Shigeru, who sculpts the popular and expensive NagNagNag toys; Greg, who runs Mishka; Yoshimi, who assists Imi, who assists Takashi Murakami and Lamour Supreme.
Takahiro Komuro and I drew each other, and then I fell asleep at the table. And that was my New York Comic Con this year.