Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Best. Day. Ever.

Back in October, I had my first experience attending the New York Comic Con (NYCC).  I have been to conventions in the past so I had some idea of what to expect, but experiencing it was a whole different story.

I had always been under the impression these conventions were focused on comic books and that whole world, which I was not at all interested in.  My husband, on the other hand, has a full tote with nothing but comic books that he has collected over the years.  He is a bit like a comic book ninja.  I always seem to find random comic books that he has bought laying around the house.  I don't even know when he buys them!

Over the years, Freddy has always expressed an interest in going to the NYCC but he always had reserve duty during that weekend.  This year?  No reserve duty!  Well, turns out, when you try to buy tickets a month before the event, your options are few and far between.  There were only Thursday tickets left so I had this grand plan for us to take the day off work, take Marshall out of school, and have a fun-filled day in the city getting our nerd on at NYCC.

That was a rather lengthy intro to our day at NYCC.  Freddy wasn't able to get the day off so it ended up being a Marshall & Mommy nerd-fest.  Since Marshall is borderline psychotic when it comes to the amount of energy he has, I was terrified anxious nervous concerned to be going to something as big as this by myself with a gazillion people and my crazy 4 year old who can't stand still for more than 2.6 seconds.  I almost sent him to school that day and went on my own, but, in hind sight, I am so glad I didn't.

We decided to take the train into the city rather then try to drive in.  I thought it would be a fun trip for Marshall.  My plan was to just spend a few hours at NYCC so our target arrival time was noon.  This meant we had to be on a train bound for New York Penn Station by 9:30 am.  As you can see, Marshall REALLY wanted to step on that yellow line!

Once we were on the train, it took about 45 minutes to get to Penn Station.  Marshall was beside himself when the conductor came by to collect his ticket and loved watching the scenery and towns go by.

From Penn Station, I was planning on trying to walk across town to the Jacob Javits center, which is all the way over on the West Side of Manhattan past 12th Avenue.  Penn Station is on 34th Street & 7th Avenue so I was preparing for a bit of a walk.  I was pleasantly surprised to find the 7 train extension to 12th Avenue was completed and up and running.  I don't take the subway often anymore so I wasn't even following the progress.  This meant that all we had to do was hop the 1 train up to 42nd street and then the 7 across town.  All in all about a 30 minute ride.  Marshall was loving it because we were joined by the hundreds of other people, many in costume, who were going to join us at NYCC that day.  He was telling anyone who would listen that he was going to Comic Con.

I didn't really have much of a plan, except to just wander around to see what we could see.  Well, as luck would have it, we ended up going down when we should have gone up and found ourselves in the area where they hold the panels.  As luck would have it, they were having a panel that afternoon with some of the cast and crew of Nickelodeon's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  Now, as you will very soon realize, Marshall is a huge TMNT fan.  And I have to admit I'm a bit of a fan myself :)  So we quickly got our bands for the panel to secure our spots.

Since we had actually gotten there around noon as planned, we now had 2 hours to kill before the panel.  So we decided to head upstairs to look around.  Marshall was beside himself when we found the Power Ranger Dino Charger zords and a giant Batman.

Our day just kept getting better.  One of the vendor tables we stopped at was the IDW table.  IDW is a publisher of comic books, specifically, a new iteration of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics that I've recently gotten myself hooked on.  I was looking for the next issue of the series as well as a special edition poster that was only available at NYCC.  While I was at the table, someone mentioned a signing later that afternoon by the TMNT actors.  So I asked when and where.  The lady behind the table said "here at 5:30 pm" and handed me a ticket for the signing.  What??  This was just supposed to be a random day of Marsh and I wandering around.

We headed back down to the panel rooms around 1:30 pm to get in line.  I didn't know how big the room was going to be and wanted to try and get Marshall as close to the front as possible.  So, in true "opening day" fashion, we parked ourselves in line to wait for them to open up the room.  I took this time to try and explain to Marshall that we were going to be seeing the voice actors and not the actual turtles.  Marshall was pretty good waiting for things to start.  He is not so good with the sitting around and not moving, but, of course, he made friends with everyone around us.

They finally let us in around 1:50 pm.  The room was huge so we were able to get close to the front in the sixth row.  I was a little nervous on how Marshall was going to do listening to people talk for an hour and was really hoping the actors were going to be entertaining.  How could they not be?  Turtles, people!

Finally, at 2:00 pm sharp, they started bringing out the panel.  Lesson learned is that I will be bringing my good camera next year.  The stage lights were so bright that all but 1 picture taken by my phone was all washed out. 

The panel consisted of Ciro Nieli (executive producer), Brandon Auman (executive producer), Hoon Lee (Master Splinter), Seth Green (Leonardo), Rob Paulsen (Donatello), Greg Cipes (Michelangelo), and Eric Bauza (Tigerclaw).  Sean Astin (Raphael) could not attend because he was doing an Ironman in Hawaii the next day.  But they did FaceTime him for a few minutes.  It was actually interesting hearing them speak about doing the show and their thoughts on the crazy season 3 finale that had just aired the week before.  Marshall even listened for some of it.  They also showed some scenes from season 4 and previewed the season 4 premier in its entirety, which wasn't scheduled to air on TV for a few more weeks.

After the panel was over, we realized it was 3:00 pm and we hadn't eaten lunch yet!  So we wandered down to the food court and enjoyed some pizza.  There were no open tables so we parked ourselves on the floor next to a pillar.

So now we've got some more time to kill before the 5:30 pm cast signing and wandered back upstairs to the main floor.  We spent most of our time at the lego booths.  Turns out there is a new lego game for the iPad, which we played for about an hour.

Have you noticed our trend of dumb luck for the day?  Continuing with that trend, we found ourselves on the main level and what should we see, but Nickelodeon's booth!  And can you guess what the main attraction was at the Nickelodeon booth?  That's right!  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!

They had an animation room set up where you could get a little video voicing one of their characters. Marshall chose Michelangelo, of course.

We were all super excited to get a picture with space Leo.  Marshall, of course, kept taking the katana swords out of their holders on his back.

And the icing on the cake?  Pictures with the turtles!  Marshall gave all 4 turtles hugs and his best ninja poses.  Michelangelo got a few extra hugs.

After our impromptu turtle adventure, it was finally almost 5:30 pm so we headed back up to the show floor to get in line for the cast signing.  It was a good thing we got up there when we did, and got a ticket before hand.  There were so many people that if you didn't have a ticket then you didn't get in line.  It took almost 90 minutes for us to get through the line and to the cast table.  By then, Marshall was getting tired and a bit unruly, but when we got to the table, the cast members were fantastic with him.  Both of the producers, Ciro Nieli and Brandon Auman, were signing, as well as cast members Rob Paulsen, Eric Bauza, and Greg Cipes.  Since Marshall was wearing his Leonardo shirt and mask, they all called him Leo, which he just ate up and gave them his best ninja moves.  Of course I picked that moment to not even think about taking any pictures, but we did get a nice poster that everyone signed.

By the time we were done with the signing, it was almost 7:00 pm and closing time for the Comic Con.  But first, 1 more photo op at the Mega Blocks booth before we go.

Of course, now we had to make the trek back home.  We stopped for some snacks before catching the 8:30 pm train.  Marshall surprisingly stayed awake for the entire trip home.

We didn't get home until after 10:00 pm and couldn't wait to tell Daddy about our day.  It was exhausting in the end but totally worth it.  Marshall went to school the next day and told everyone how he went to Comic Con and met the turtles.

We did end up getting some decently priced tickets on StubHub for Sunday and went back with Daddy in tow for another fun-filled day.  Of course, not as exciting as Thursday, but just as fun playing with all the toys and getting our face painted...

I am thinking New York Comic Con will be a yearly event for us going forward :)  As far as Marshall was concerned, Thursday was the best day ever!

What conventions do you go to?