NY Comic Con/Anime Festival 2010

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On October 8 - 10, 2010 I attended the highly anticipated NY Comic Con/Anime Festival at the Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan. In my opinion this event did not disappoint. Presented by Reed Pop, The NY Comic Con/Anime Festival literally took over the entire Jacob Javits Center. Which was great showcase wise, but that also meant bigger attendance, which meant not going anywhere fast, especially if you are a cosplayer. As big as it was there were still some unbalance between Anime and Comic Books. It could be in part of the construction going on in various parts of the Javits Center, but in certain areas of the con the Anime aisles got smaller compared to the aisles related to comic books which I found very weird. When looking for more anime related items, that was on the other side of the Javits center in the basement. On that side was the Anime artist alley, the Cafe Maids, and any screening and panels that were anime related. So you literally had a jammed packed anime area. Hopefully when the construction is done, next year will have a better balance between anime and comic books. 

Day 1
I wanted to get there for the opening ceremonies, but UPS managed to mess that up for me. First thing I did was check into the press area, which was moved down the hall of the IGN theater. Check in was quick and painless, it was a nice lounge area with computer use and a vending machine. I wish I could have left my stuff there, but knowing myself I would have forgotten about it and run the risk of someone else claiming it. Once I made out in front of theater, it was worth sticking around that area. Just watching the amount of people pouring into the convention, as well as the many cosplayers walking around. It was just great to see that the NY Comic Con/Anime Festival was becoming such a big hub of all things comic books and anime on the East Coast. I didn't go far my first day, just stayed on the main show floor. 

It was incredibly crazy and packed, I could barely move around. As you went from comics to anime the aisles magically got smaller. With the amount of people flooding in I just stuck with the show floor and did a majority of picture snapping there. With the amount of people cosplaying it was just a matter of walking around for a hours. While video games and TV shows made their presence felt at the CC/AF, the Micheal Jackson video game by Ubisoft really stood out the most. With classic Jackson songs filling the convention area, you also had audience participation on a stage. So it was great to see random convention goers playing the game, and even better seeing convention goers who weren't on stage dancing along as well. The booth that was surprising to see that stood out was Animal Planet promoting their show "The Lost Tapes".

Cartoon Network had one of the coolest booths there, just because they had plushy seating, video games, and of course cartoons. It's a great meet up place, right across from the Chase ATM.Most Notable was the huge Bronze Fathom statue that was on display near the Top Cow display booth showcasing their latest statues. The Artist Alley for comic book artist was conveniently located on the other side of the main floor, by going through the Magic the Gathering tournament area or going towards the right side of the show floor and going through that hallway. Artist Alley shared the floor with the Intel Gaming booth, Autograph alley, and this great Lego like building blocks booth with some of the most amazing and well done pieces that you won't see that often.  In Artist Alley I got to meet guys like Amano Jyaku and Jeff Balke (who did a great DareDevil&Batman piece). One of the best ways to end Friday of the NY Comic Con/Anime Festival was meeting up with some good friends of mine from when I had a job. Cory Smith and Ben Dale, 2 amazing artist and just great guys you will ever meet.

Day 2  
On Saturday I managed to get my butt outta bed early and actually made it as the doors opened. This time I was hanging out with friends before actually venturing out on my own. I met up with my good friend Guarionex Cabrera a.k.a The Royal Predator and his lovely fiance Leanna dressed as The Royal Predator and Storm Trooper: 

Guarionex and Leanna Cabrera

It was great meeting up with them except that once they got dressed, it was like rolling with Paris Hilton, getting swarmed by paparazzi. We could barely more out of the coat check area without mass amounts of people wanting to get their picture taken with the Pred. Once we made it out of coat check, we hit the main floor and met up with the one and only Master Joel Otero of JAO Martial Arts Academy and his lovely lady Niki Rubin a.k.a Lady Action from Captain Action Comics as well as Niki's Yoga and Conditioning
Master JAO

Niki Rubin a.k.a. Lady Action

 The crowd was a lot like a Bee hive compared to Friday's crowd. For me Saturday just became a day of meeting up with friends and trying to do interviews. With how big the crowd was, and how weird the aisle numbering system is, it was pretty hard getting around to people to do interviews let a lone my friends. It was a constant game of phone tag. While I was with JAO, we met up with the always friendly Yaya Han. She was such a sweet heart, one of my favorite cosplayers in the US. She didn't cosplay on Saturday, but she was dressed in what looked like pajamas. It was one of those Anime full body suits, that look very comfortable. After getting a few prints from her, I was off to do some interviews. 

Good Game TV, a site dedicated to the legal streaming of movies, anime, and TV shows. Think of them as Hulu but with cooler content. They had a great comic con promotion which I believe is still going on right now, one movie/show free. It really a site for those that don't want to spend a lot on watching a movie, who don't want to go through the trouble of netflix, and just want to have great TV without having to scour the internet for it. They have some great titles currently available, and their library is continuously growing. Go and check them out, be sure to tell them that I sent ya (just so I can get some credit from this blog). Click here for the full interview
After the interview with the people at Good Game TV, I finally made my way to the Anime side of the convention. It was a long walk all the way past the cafeteria. Once I made it there it was just an abundance of Anime cosplayers. But what surprised me was the fact that the Anime Artist Alley was in the same area as the Maid Cafe stage, which was right next to all the screenings. I could just chalk that up to the construction going on, because there were areas that were closed off. It was still great to see some amazing Anime artist, and the cosplayers that go along with them. I was lucky enough to run into the author of a great book that depicts how the aspect of "cosplaying" has influenced Western culture significantly; "Cosplay In America" by Ejen Chuang. He is a great guy to meet and talk to, very easy going, and his book has some of the most amazing photos of cosplayers you will lay your eyes on. His book is a definite buy!

The guys over at MIMOCO had some fun and cool stuff going on. Introducing MIMOBOTS, a line of USB flash drives made to look like characters such as: "Hello Kitty", "Star Wars", "Halo", and "Domo". These are well designed character flash drives that store 2GB up to 16GB. They aren't just a picture of a character wrapped around a UBS flash drive, they actually incorporate the flash drive as part of character design. Like a mini action figure that you can store data on. Besides looking great, they actually make sounds as you plug into your computer and eject them. Pre-loaded content, including: MimoByte™ Sound Software: Plays character specific sounds when MIMOBOT is inserted or ejected, MimoDesk™ Personalization Suite: Icons, Avatars, Wallpapers, Screensavers, MimoZine™ Digital Magazine: Video-based look into tech, culture, and fashion converge, Features interviews with musicians, artists, comedians, and super-villains.

After those interviews, I met up with a few other friends to do some Comic Con photo-shoots. Being able to shoot with one model/cosplayer around the Javits Center was a lot fun. If could rent that place to do shoots in, I would in a heart beat. Just amount of places indoors and out allow for some great shots. The models/cosplayers I had the pleasure of shooting were: Cathy Yang cosplaying as the strong Tifa, Gala Radinovic cosplaying as the lovely but dangerous Huntress, Luna Rahzel dressed in her beautiful Kimono, and Hikari, from the Apple Kissa Maid Cafe, cosplaying as the beautiful mystic Zatanna.

As crowded as inside the convention was, outside was just as crowded. With the amount of people coming and going, the NYCC/AF was not going to be empty anytime soon. I managed to find some spots outside the convention that were either not in direct path of foot traffic, or just overrun by people taking their con break. Inside was the same, but certain areas near the escalator entrance to the Anime side of the con had more open areas to work with.

Cathy was the first cosplayer up, she is by far one of the sweetest persons you will ever meet. I had worked with her before in studio, but the NYCC/AF was a great opportunity to get some outdoor shots. We started our shoot across the street from the Javits Center to avoid the massive crowds outside, and then made our way back to the front entrance

Luna I had met through cosplay.com, so this was our first time meeting up and working together. Another sweetheart, I actually meet her during the con the day before but didn't realize it til I looked through my photos and saw her cosplaying as Dr. Naomi from the "No More Heroes" Wii game.
We had done a few shots near the main entrance of the convention, then moved along the outside stairs leading to the lower level of the Javits Center. 

Gala is just an amazing person. She has such a passion for her cosplay and the characters linked to it. She comes from an amazing background: Croatian by blood, raised abroad in Dubai, with an accent that just incredible. Our shoot took place right near the cranes which were near the escalator entrance to the Anime side of the con. The sun light coming through the windows of that area made for some great lighting effects. We also ventured outside near a section of floor that was covered with grates and what looked to be power equipment that made for some great shots that went well with the character.

The cute and friendly Hikari is a maid at the Apple Kissa Maid Cafe. I met her at the 2009 Anime Festival when she was a red head. Now with her darker hair color, she makes her Zatanna cosplay simply stunning. We mainly shot on the stairs leading to the IGN Theater, which was great considering the convention was starting to empty out around that time.

After we shot, we caught the Stan Lee press conference where he announced his next upcoming project with the lead singer of X Japan Yoshiki. Through Stan Lee’s POW! ENTERTAINMENT they will join forces to create a motion web comic series with Yoshiki as a musician super hero. Music will of course be supplied by X Japan for this web series. It was quite an interesting partnership, neither one of them could understand each other. It will be interesting to see this East/West fusion. The timing of this announcement is actually pretty cool considering that this was the first year that the New York Comic Con and Anime Festival were being fused into one convention. 

The final event for the night was the incredibly huge Yume Cosplay Masquerade. I caught the tail end of the opening act from Guest of Honor Minori Chihara. This year you saw some of the most amazing, well done, and hilarious group of cosplayers. Hosted by Uncle Yo, this year's Cosplay Masquerade really set the bar on not only the cosplay aspect of it, but the Masquerade as well. Most notable was the huge X-Men group of cosplayers that had a great and entertaining party on stage (video). And of course the ma the brought you BumbleBee from last years Cosplay Masquerade, returned as Colonel Miles Quaritch from James Cameron's "Avatar" with his giant mech.

Iceman was the highlight of the group

Colonel Miles Quaritch with Mech

As great as all the Cosplays and Masquerades were, there could be only one winner.The duo of  Beauty Kampf Thibodeau and Jennifer L Pennington won with their stunning cosplay of Gannondorf and Ganon's puppet Princess Zelda. Their masquerade sung to the tune of being a girl who loves to cosplay as some of bad ass male characters, while still being girly. Congratulations to them, and with their win they get to choose from a list of conventions going on in Japan next year. 

Day 3
The last day of the con, which for some means some great deals on what people are selling. You can literally get half off statues, 5 for 1 deals on trades all because none of the vendors want to leave with all that stuff. So all us con goers get very lucky and save a lot of money. Since it was the last day my main goal was to obtain the Ame Comi Cassandra Cain Batgirl. I've been scouring all over the place for it, but decided that it would be best to wait til I went to the NYCC. But alas, no one had it, they all the other ones but that one. 
 I decided to go by the DC Direct booth and caught up with Yaya Han cosplaying as Ame-Comi Wonder Woman. It was extremely well done, an absolute gorgeous tribute to Wonder Woman. The lead designer of the Ame Comi Series, Jim Fletcher, was also in attendance. One fact that Mr. Fletcher surprised me with was that his daughter did the pose for the Ame-Comi Cassandra Cain Batgirl, which I thought was pretty cool. The combo of Yaya Han's beauty and excellent cosplay drew an amazing crowd which was great for the DC Direct booth. I met up with her later and got a photo of her and myself. 
I headed over to the other side of the main convention floor and saw chalk artist, Eric Maruscak, finish  his latest piece "Yu-Gi-Oh 10th Anniversary". It wasn't my favorite piece of his, but again Eric Maruscak does amazing work with chalk. Another group of amazing artist I finally had the pleasure of meeting once again were the ladies of "Girls Drawing Girl": the recently engaged (post con) Paige Pumphrey to Phil Balsman Kate Sullivan, and Melody Severns. Three very talented, sweet, and beautiful artist. I say finally beacause all 3 days trying to meet up with them I couldn't find their table, but once I did I find out that the table was moved some one aisle over. Had I made it to their table all 3 days I would have seen the lovely Paige Pumphrey in some of the most amazing and eloborate cosplays. Luckily I was able to see her Sunday as she cosplayed as Silver Age Wonder Woman, but well drawn.
Paige Pumphrey
Kate Sullivan and Melody Severns
The biggest crowd attraction to the NY Comic Con/Anime Festival on Sunday is of course kids are free. So not only did you have parents with their kids dressed, you also had school field trips going on which I thought was pretty cool. I wish I had school field trips to comics cons growing up, but then again being old enough to have a job makes going a lot more fun. All in all it was a great 3 days at the NYCC/AF. Saw some great cosplays, met some cool people, and just had a great time. Of course I paid for all that fun. I was so sore, I could barely get outta bed and of course I got sick because my body was just drained mentally and physically from all that. I hope everyone enjoyed themselves as well, and enjoy reading this blog.