Saturday, October 17, 2009

Big Apple Comic Con Recap

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As I mentioned a couple days ago, the Big Apple Comic Con is running through Sunday this weekend in New York City and Jen and I made the trek out there yesterday, mostly to see the Trick 'r Treat screening/Mike Dougherty Q&A at night. Although i'm not so much into comics, which is pretty much what 98% of this convention consists of, it was still an awesome time and in the end it was well worth the $35 charge to get in. Ya can't put a price on tons of free swag (most of which will go to you guys) and some awesome experiences! Couple things before we get into those experiences....

Wanna give a shoutout to Adam Barnick from Icons of Fright, who I finally got to meet up with before the con yesterday. We've tried to coordinate our schedules several times now to no avail but I finally got to meet him and he's a hell of a nice guy. He came over on a break from his job to give me some free DVD's for helping to promote Grace (believe me, I didn't do it for the DVD's) and say a quick hello, which was really awesome and nice of him. Adam directed most of the featurettes on the Grace DVD, which you should check out if you haven't yet (and he was even mentioned in the Jack Chop infomercial, which you REALLY must watch right this instant!). You rock, Barnick!

Two more quick shoutouts to the fellow bearded dude from Shocker Toys (leave me a comment with your name, I don't believe we ever formally met!) and Matt Manjourides from Troma, one of the guys I worked with during my brief internship. Seeing you guys made me feel at home, like I was a horror convention and not a comic book one!

Like I said, we mainly went to this convention to meet Michael Dougherty (which almost didn't even happen!) and see TrT on the big screen, but one of the highlights of the day was something I totally didn't expect. Shortly after we arrived in the building, Jen pointed to a guy and said "Don't we know him?". I looked up and after a moment of it registering, I realized it was Jason Kaplan, one of the dudes from the Howard Stern Show! I'm a huge Stern fan so this was pretty much the highlight of my day. He was there with a couple other guys from the show (Ralph Cirella, Jon Hein, and Steve Brandano) and I had a nice little conversation with him and Steve for a couple minutes, wherein I told him to ditch his plans of watching The Unborn with his girlfriend and instead watch Trick 'r Treat! Hopefully he heeds my advice. I wanted to get a picture with all the guys but they were kinda busy broadcasting a radio show of some sort whenever I walked past, so I never got the chance to get that picture. I'm not a big picture guy anyway as I prefer to experience such things in the moment, rather than worry about taking pictures so I can relive those moments later, so no sleep was lost over it. This little encounter was totally unexpected, as I had no idea they were gonna be there, and definetly made my day.

One of the other things that made my day was seeing Lee Donowitz himself, Saul Rubinek. I've only seen one episode of Warehouse 13 but I LOVE True Romance and Donowitz is one of my favorite movie characters of all time, so it was awesome to see him in the flesh. Didn't pay to meet him, but stalking from afar was enough for me.

I mentioned that meeting Michael Dougherty almost didn't happen, but it ended up happening in a much cooler way than paying 20 bucks for his autograph and a quick hello at a table, so all worked out well. We were looking for his table for the entire day and never found it, despite asking at least 6 different unhelpful volunteers where he was. To whoever runs this thing, your volunteers, especially the ones who were in charge of the Trick 'r Treat screening, were HORRIBLE. Please don't let them come help next time. Thanks. Anyway, we ended up catching Dougherty walking around later in the night and got to chat with him for a bit. He was even kind enough to sign our newly purchased NECA Sam figure, free of charge. I'm even more fond of the movie (if that's even possible) knowing that the dude who made it is such a cool and nice guy.

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"Always check your candy! Mike Dougherty"

And that brings us to the Trick 'r Treat screening, which was supposed to be preceded by a Halloween costume contest, which Dougherty himself was gonna judge. Unfortunately, only one dude showed up in costume, so it was called off. Boooo. I was expecting to see a ton of Sam's walking around, so this was fairly dissapointing. Huge props to that one guy who wore the black robe and skull mask for keeping the spirit alive - if only the rest of us were more like you! I was shocked to see that the screening as a whole had a very small turnout, despite all the buzz the movie has been getting. I figured that so many people would jump on the opportunity to see it on the big screen that every seat would be taken in a flash, but more than half the seats, which were adorned with Trick 'r Treat bags filled with goodies, were empty. Maybe because most people going there are more into comic books than horror movies? It made for a more intimate and personal experience nonetheless and it was really cool to see the movie on the silver screen, with incredible surround sound. Afterwards Doughtery did a brief Q&A for about a half hour, where he won over my heart even more by indirectly trashing Rob Zombie's Halloween and the current state of unoriginal horror as a whole. At one point someone brought up the Sam action figure and Dougherty mentioned that he met someone earlier who had it, which was Jen and I, and he asked me to bring it up to the table so he could show it off. Very cool. Jen got up and asked a question regarding something she was wondering about the movie (whether or not the Dracula kid on the bus counting the house numbers had any significance) and this again brings me to how horrible the volunteers at the con were....

Since the costume contest was cancelled, the prizes that were intended to be for that (books and CD's) were instead going to be given to anyone who came up and asked a question - this was determined by Dougherty himself. Jen got up, asked her question, and totally got shafted out of any swag. Why? Because the foul breathed fatso volunteer who was supposed to give her a TrT book instead gave that book to the person who asked a question after Jen, who just happened to be said fatso's boyfriend. When we confronted her about it, she came up with some bullshit excuse to cover her ass. This put a damper on Jen's night for a few minutes, not even so much because she got screwed out of free swag but moreso because of the principles of it all. Oh well, a minor low point in an otherwise awesome experience.

That about covers all the excitement of Big Apple Con for us. It was a MASSIVE convention, the biggest i've ever been to, that was absolutely chock full of merchandise - just not the kinda merch i'm too interested in (mostly comic books). For a comic book fan, this place must be heaven and I can only wish that there were a convention devoted 100% to horror of this size and scope out there. Although not really my bag of treats, Big Apple Con was still a hell of a good time and i'm glad I finally made it out to one. Seeing aged and haggard wrestlers and actors simply never gets old! Oh, by the way, I must mention that the swollen and red faced William Shatner was charging $75 for an autograph. Real classy, Shat, real classy.

On the way home, Jen took a surprise detour over to Potters Field, which is an apparently highly haunted little hidden graveyard about 30 minutes from where I live. We went to a ghost hunting seminar at the local library presented by The Paranormal Adventurers the other day, and that's where she got the idea to hit this place up. We didn't stay long but I did a snap a couple pictures, one of which has a strange little orb, which I leave you with!

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Hmmmm, could it be? Just might head back there tonight for some real investigation....


Adam Barnick said...

Great to meet you and Jen too, John! Sounds like you had a good time though I'll never understand why the staff at EVERY con are idiots. :) Just FYI I did 5 of the Grace documentaries, but "Grace at Sundance" is entirely director/cameraman/editor Jake Hamilton's baby! I just gotta always give credit where credit is due.

Jack Chop is brilliant. And no I had no idea I'd be mentioned... LOL!

Johnny said...

My apologies to Jake! Thanks for clearing that up.

Tlieso said...

Mere words cannot even begin to describe how jealous I am. As a comic/horror nerd I've always wanted to go to the cons in New York cause the ones here suck in comparison. They're very comic heavy & light on everything else. We do get Tom Savini & very cool guy who made the original Necronomicon for Evil Dead. His name escapes me due to whiskey consumption.
The Sam figure is awesome! Where did you get it? I just spent 3 hours trying to convince my sister to dress her kid up as him. No such luck.

B-Movie Becky said...

Thanks for the write up on this! Sounds like a blast, despite the jerk that didn't give Jen her stuff. Lame!

I'm so glad you got to meet Dougherty and didn't have to pay money for an autograph! Cool stuff.

Johnny said...

Tlieso - I got the figure from the convention, but you can get it from NECA's website or Amazon/Ebay for like 15 bucks. Check out Sideshow's 15" inch Sam too - it's incredible!

Becky - Today I found and bought the Trick 'r Treat comic book that Jen was supposed to be given, so all is right with the world!

Anonymous said...

bearded guy is Geoff Beckett CEO of Shocker Toys. Who else was at the booth?

Johnny said...

Only recall seeing Geoff.

Jennie Boots said...

When John first told me of this Comic Con I was not too excited about it, but when he mentioned Mike Dougherty would be there showing Trick r Treat on the big screen I was thrilled to see it for the fourth time! Under usual circumstances I fahkin HATE trekking my gas guzzling beast of an automobile into NYC, and as Friday quickly approached I dreaded the drive even more. But the Trick R Treat driven excitement kept my spirits high Friday morning as I drove almost 90 miles in about an hour and 15 mins time and got us into Manhattan, parked and waiting outside pier 94 to meet Adam Barnick at 1:30pm. After purchasing a $30 ticket for the day and being charged an addition $5 internet charge when we bought the tickets right there, I was shocked that we weren't each given a complimentry rape kit. This convention was so very frustrating. We spent about 80% of it trying to FIND Mike Dougherty (the main attraction for us.) Which was followed by brief periods of overwhelming stress and frustration dealing with the convention's volunteer staff. There was not a single person even standing at the Information Booth pretending to know anything to even offer a false sense of security that somebody might know where Mike Doughterty was. And then when you ask people wearing Volunteer shirts, they would refer us to ask a volunteer with a walkie talkie. Find a volunteer with a walkie talkie and their excuse is that when they try to get information from the whoever is on/supposed to be on the receiving end of that walkie talkie, they get no response. And then the usual response from the volunteer convention staff was "I have no idea, I'm just a volunteer." The final straw was the volunteer at the Mike Dougherty Q&A and how she lied to my face to give the guy behind me the Trick r Treat comic book. I wasn't so much mad about the comic book as I was about the principle of the situation and how she pegged me for some kind of idiot. I could go into some very descriptive writing about how I really felt about this chick and her sig. other but it may bring about some bad karma of sorts, so I'll refrain. However, when all is said and done, we got more than we bargained for. We got to personally meet MD, exchange a few words, get an autograph and some information about his experience and thoughts on the movie. As for the comic book situation, while out earlier today, a copy of it was found in the car with a note "To Jen, Happy Halloween, Love Sam." I love you too.