You know those times when you are about two-thirds the way through your workout and your body tells you that you can’t go on any longer? You are sweaty, your feet are killing you, you’re cranky, and you’ve had it up to HERE with everything…you are thisclose to quitting. But then…you magically get a burst of energy. You no longer feel any pain and you think “What was I complaining about?? Not only is this easy, I LOVE IT.”
That, my friends, is Day Three of New York Comic-Con.
Saturday is always a banner day at NYCC and we had big plans…most of which revolved around what has to be considered the premiere panel of the convention…The Walking Dead. In NYCC 2013, I had to convince Sage we needed to stay in the room for this panel, which was her very first experience with the show. Now it’s 2014, she’s all caught up and having a lot of feelings about Rick Grimes and Daryl Dixon. What a difference a year makes. In the weeks leading up to NYCC, we made all our best efforts to procure reserved seating so that we could avoid sitting in line all day. We emailed publicists, network executives…anyone we could think of that could possibly get us in (We’re just two girls with a dream, y’all). When our efforts to dodge the system failed, we resigned ourselves to the fact that we were going to have to get up incredibly early and get to the Javits right when it opened, so we could make the sprint to the queue hall. Oh boy…it was going to be a long day.
Because of a miscommunication that was probably my fault, Sage and I arrived at the Javits at different times. I got into the queue hall first and secured my place in the panel by 8:05. I sat and watched more and more people stream in, anxiously awaiting Sage’s arrival as the chute for the panel got fuller and fuller. I had always been under the impression that it would take minutes for the queue to fill, so I kept texting Sage on her walk over. (“KIM! You’re stressing me out!! And you said 8:30!”) (I did, I’m the worst) Bad form to do that before coffee kicks in. Thankfully Sage made it into the queue in the nick of time. The line for the panel was capped by 8:50…and we were in.
Wristbands were handed out starting at 10. Die-hard fans (like several of our group of Twitter friends) then settled in for the long haul wait until the panel began 5 and a half hours later. However, because we are dedicated to bringing you as much coverage from the Con as possible (and because we REALLY trusted Sage’s zoom lens) (and we had a photo-op with TV Mouse Kelly at 12:15), we opted to leave the line and hit the floor for a while. Not long after we got up there, a tween came up to Sage and eagerly said “Are you going to use your Walking Dead wristband?”
After the floor, we decided to hit the Wikia “Fantasy Food” panel, because talking about all the food you read about in Harry Potter or see in Adventure Time is a brilliant idea when you’ve been subsisting on con food and trail mix for three days. While we weren’t familiar with many of the video games and animated series mentioned on this panel, it was a delight hearing a detailed dialogue on exactly WHAT we think Lembas Bread (“One bite can fill the stomach of a grown man!” “How many did you eat?” “Four.”) would taste like.
After that, it was time to meet up with Kelly for our photo op…take it away Sage.
– When Alex Kingston, aka River Song, aka Dr. Alex Corday, aka Hair Queen of us all was added back into the schedule, we knew we had to make time to meet her. We’re quickly making our way through the cast of New Who can usually cross one or two off at every Con we go to. (Honorary New Yorker Arthur Darvill was photographing all weekend too, but we’re lucky enough that he is old news – in the very best way. Thanks, Once on Broadway!) As we were ushered into the curtained room where Alex was meeting fans, we caught our first up-close glimpse of “the best hair on television” (copyright Kelly). Please keep in mind that it was pouring that entire morning, yet Alex’s coif remains immaculate and frizz-free. It’s witchcraft. Immediately after the hair, we noticed that Alex was basically cosplaying River. And cosplaying River in a skirt that, for all the world, looked inspired by Ten’s pinstripe suit. The lady knows her audience. Kim and I told her how fabulous she was in Macbeth at the Park Avenue Armory, and I think Kelly acknowledged that Alex is her hair idol. When I uploaded the picture, Facebook’s face recognition assumed that Alex was Kelly. I told her and I don’t think she’ll ever need another compliment ever again.
Once we recovered from meeting River Song, we grabbed lunch from the Korilla BBQ truck and then made our way back to the queue line for The Walking Dead. But not before stopping these guys…Thanks again to Yahoo for their tireless promotion of Community. SIX SEASONS AND A MOVIE.
Remember how I said in the intro there always comes a time where you think you are ready to quit? That moment came for me and Sage while we were waiting in line for The Walking Dead panel. Now, we critique because we care, NYCC. You’re wonderful, we love you, we want to LIVE in you for all times…but you’ve GOT to do something about educating your staff.
I get that most of the NYCC staff are volunteers. They work hard dealing with slews of nerds who expect the very best of everything. I don’t envy their jobs. But I sincerely wish that NYCC would thoroughly educate these people. I ran into it a little bit yesterday when my phone was missing, and I asked no less than 5 Crew Members, who all stared at me dumbfounded, where the lost and found was located. One even pulled out the very guidebook that was in my bag (and the one ironically covering my phone in the Mary Sue Lounge) and started thumbing through it for answers. God forbid it had been an ACTUAL emergency, because I would have been screwed. The same thing applied to the crew members monitoring the Walking Dead line. One minute everyone was sitting comfortably spread out, the next minute one Crew Member took it upon herself to “move everyone back” because inexplicably the people who had been sitting there all day suddenly had no room. The minute some of us moved back, people behind us raced forward to take our spots, which lead to everyone STAUNCHLY ignoring this crew member and her (unamplified) shouting. 10 minutes later, even though there were almost two hours to go before the panel, the crew made everyone move up, packing us in like sardines, as they cut off half of the chute. 5 minutes later, they tried to move us back again…which everyone ignored. 10 minutes later, they packed us in even tighter, leaving NO ONE any room to sit comfortably.
It was in those two hours that I hit my breaking point. I was miserable, I was exhausted, I was uncomfortable. I hated everyone and everything around me except for Sage. I was ready to say fuck it all, NEVER AGAIN Comic-Con. My mind, body, and spirit were broken. Soon, they were inching us all forward to load into the hall. It was a little scary, since we were all packed in so tightly. I kept joking that we were being led to the boxcar in Terminus. Everyone around me agreed. We finally FINALLY completely understood what Rick Grimes meant when he said “They’re screwing with the wrong people.” We were mutinous. And then…we got into the room, and that’s when everything changed.
– Last year, I sat through The Walking Dead panel having seen not one full minute of the entire series. But the cast was charming and Yvette Nicole Brown was a marvelous moderator. Despite being spoiled for most of the deaths though the end of season 3, I regret nothing. Cut to yesterday and me, sweaty and panting in the Javits Queue Hall, sporting a Daryl Dixon tee and celebrating my guaranteed seat in the panel. Surprise: I like another thing!
– Chris Hardwick moderated the panel, of course. Like Yvette, Chris is a massive fan of the show (“I have to watch the episode early in the day so I can process my feelings before Talking Dead. I feel like I have to be strong for you guys.”) and knows how to run a panel. And he’s practically an annex member of The Walking Dead at this point – everyone is comfortable with him.
– We got an exclusive look at the first four minutes of the season five premiere and HO-LY SHIT. Hope no one’s planning on breathing at any point tonight. When asked to describe the entire season in a few words, Gale gave us the phrase that struck fear into our hearts and had to be this post’s title: “Kick ass. Totally unrelenting. Utterly heartbreaking.” Super.
– Of the cast, we had Andrew Lincoln (stubbly and FINE), Steven Yeun, Lauren Cohan, Michael Cudlitz, Melissa McBride, Chad Coleman, Sonequa Martin-Green, Danai Guirra, and Norman Reedus. No Emily Kinney to the chagrin of Bethyl fans and Sheriff Beth Green in general.
– Let’s enjoy some photos of the beautiful people.
– Melissa McBride openly wept about how much she loves her character, her castmates, and the fans. She talked about how much it means to her to be able to be so vulnerable with them and with us. Carol went through hell this year and it seems like Melissa was right there with her. Which is why she’s so damn good.
– Hardwick: “Abraham was one of the more level-headed people.” Cudlitz: “…really?”
– Steven seemed intent on seducing every woman in the audience, which Hardwick even called him on. (“Take my eggs!!”) When Lauren compared Maggie and Glenn’s reunion to “a soldier coming home from war,” his response was, “You were equally a soldier.” Cue swooning, from the audience and from Lauren.
– When asked about Judith being under Tyrese’s care for the moment, Chad Coleman busted out an equally egg-throwing line: “That’s the most noble thing a man can do – protect a child.” He also said that Tyrese has truly forgiven Carol, but that “living out that forgiveness” might be challenging.
– An audience member asked if the cast had any particular non-canon pieces of their character’s backstory in their heads as they perform. Norman said that all the pre-apocalypse Daryl experiences he holds onto involve humiliation and having good things taken from him. “I never think of any good Daryl memories.” He’s so broken, y’all.
– Andy Lincoln talked again about how much this show has changed his life completely. It’s the best thing he’s ever done and the most important part of his life. He hadn’t read the books when he signed on, but his brother warned him not to fuck it up, because if he got it right, “this could be big.” Good call, Andy’s brother. By the way, are you single?
– Sonequa is adorably pregnant and ruminated on how “having life growing” inside her makes her look at her role differently. There’s a hopefulness that she hopes comes through.
– Fans asked about the famous final line of season four and why the team had to go with “They’re screwing with the wrong people” over “They’re fucking with the wrong people.” They tried to make it work as it was written – f-bomb intact. “We’d use phrases like, ‘How about a 9-frame dip fuck?'” Greg Nicotero said. And Andy would only record the clean version once. But despite party-pooper censors, the line still works. Scott Gimple put it in perspective: “Andy Lincoln says ‘screwing’ in a way that terrifies me.”
– A man in a horse head mask gave Andy a can of coke during the Q&A. Why? Don’t apply your “logic” to Comic Con. And bravo to me for capturing his “I’m poisoned!” joke in a perfectly timed photo essay.
– Like the Friday Night Lights cast, The Walking Dead fam is so tightly knit because they live where they work. And where they work is not Hollywood. Andy said he was emailing with Jon Bernthal the other day and that he’s always reflecting on the original group and how they shaped the tradition. It’s a show about zombies, but it’s the sheer love that the cast and crew have for their jobs and each other that elevate the show. Whether they’re lucky enough to be in a panel with the cast spelling it out for them or not, audiences can sense it – it just bleeds through.
Completely and thoroughly recharged and remembering why we love Comic-Con again, we had little time to recover once the panel was over. Sadly, we had to sacrifice the Stephen Amell One on One for The Walking Dead (an even bigger bummer when we learned that Colin Donnell aka Tommy Merlyn crashed it), we consoled ourselves that we had a photo-op with the man himself right after it was done.
When Amell was first announced as a guest for NYCC, neither Sage nor I had watched a single episode of Arrow. So while all of our friends were flipping out, we were very much just saying “Oh that’s nice!”. Then…we watched Arrow. Nay, we did not WATCH it. We BINGED it and fell head over feels (I get punny when I am writing on 4 hours of sleep!) in love with the show and its leading man. We immediately booked our photo-op and then began #PanicLaughing any time we thought about the fact that we would be getting a snuggle from him.
While we waited in line, we chatted with those around us, as we are wont to do. We met a delightful Father and Daughter duo on their FOURTH con of 2014 (We’ve already nominated this wonderful man for father of the year). We swapped photo-op stories, as if we ever legitimately need an excuse to show people our Barrowman picture, and generally allowed them to distract us from the building butterflies in our stomachs. A staffer patrolled the line (the photo-op people were WAY more on top of things) instructing people that there would be no hugging or tackling of Stephen. I burst out laughing, and the staffer turned, grinned, and did a Barney Stinson eye-point. “I’ve got my eye on you,” she said, recognizing the desire in my eyes. The need to tackle hug Stephen Amell is real, y’all.
Next thing we knew, our tickets were scanned, and we were in the same space as the man himself (in a threadbare tee and tight jeans no less). Nothing could have ever prepared us for it.
Amell grasped us both and pulled us to his sides, where we fit quite nicely thank you very much. It was over so fast…yet it lasted forever. He then looked us both in the eyes, grinned, and ever-so-achingly-sincerely said “It was so nice to meet you. Thanks for coming.” “YOU ARE SO AWESOME!” I squealed/shouted. “WE LOVED THE PREMIERE!” Sage echoed, equally squeal/shouting. We were rewarded with another grin and thank you before we scurried off to avoid a staffer having to yank out the giant hook to get us away.
Those expressions in the picture at the top of the post? Completely genuine, as our line buddy Con Dad saw our faces and said, “You HAVE to take a picture right now.” And then we didn’t stop shaking for ten minutes. Amell’s power is REAL.
– We capped off the day with our first official NYCC after-party of the year. At NYCC 2013, we went hard on Thursday night which was both a rookie mistake and a mistake I don’t regret making. Saving it up till Day 3 is a little more civilized. We headed over to Latitude in Hell’s Kitchen for Fan Girls Night Out. (Fan boys were welcome too!) I wish the food situation had been a little more robust (Don’t I always?), but the party delivered in a cool, geeky crowd, a legit DJ, and some serious baked goods.
– I woke up yesterday morning and promptly cried out of exhaustion. 15 hours later, I was at a dance party with my friends and didn’t want to leave. Thanks to the event organizers for chill, well-run event and to a helpful dance neighbor for the twerking lessons. (I still can’t do it.)