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Tripping Through New York Comic Con 2023


This year’s New York Comic Con looked remarkably different from years past. Or maybe it looked like a return to form, depending on what your definition of a “comic book convention” is. In the last decade, New York Comic Con has maintained an increasing focus on celebrity appearances from film and television (something that I, as more of a film and TV fan than a comic book fan, found welcome).

There’s certainly a ton of artists on display, and many people still come for the comics and collectibles, but the big names are usually the big draw. However, this year saw most of the big names skip the con, as the SAG-AFTRA strike was still in effect. (In fact, talks between the union and the studios broke down the night before the con began, though granted, even if the strike ended, it wouldn’t have changed too much.) Unlike San Diego Comic Con, which bore the full brunt of the strike, New York Comic Con at least had months to prepare programming. A larger focus on their comic audience was combined with the celebrity guests that had already signed on, and I was pleasantly surprised at how much there still was to see at the convention this year.

Among the big names that appeared at the convention included Chris Evans, Ewan McGregor, and David Tennant, all of whom got spotlight panels. Other panels took clear measures to toe the line. Two panels of actors “in conversation” were effectively Guardians of the Galaxy and Our Flag Means Death panels that couldn’t advertise themselves as such. At the former, the actors (Karen Gillan, Chukwudi Iwuji, Michael Rooker, Sean Gunn, and Pom Klementieff) went farther into their franchise than I expected, discussing on-set experiences and makeup, while never mentioning the Marvel name once.

While struck projects couldn’t be discussed, celebrity actors could still sign autographs, and quite a few were present in the autographing hall, including Katie Sackhoff, Susan Sarandon, Tim Curry, and Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse star Shameik Moore. That’s not to say that the strike affected every panel, though. In a surprising move, Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell made surprise appearances at the Good Burger 2 panel. Directors, however, weren’t on strike, so attendees John Carpenter and Matthew Vaughn could still discuss their careers to fans. Eli Roth was also scheduled to attend a panel on his new film Thanksgiving but cancelled the night before. What the convention lacked in celebrity appearances it more than made up for in heartfelt fandom and “con-araderie”. There was still a massive attendance, and cosplay was on full display. Thursday, normally more easygoing, was shockingly crowded.

However, some of the panels really demonstrated the appeal of the convention beyond celebrities. There were a few niche panels I attended on topics like Celebrating Trans Joy in Comics, Creator Owned Comics, and Mental Health is Health that really showed the healing power of art for both creators and fans. A panel on the Disney Channel series The Owl House, while declining to discuss too much of the series, went heavy into the stars’ voice acting experiences and journey to being on the show. In addition, the audience at the panel were clear on how much the show’s characters and representation meant to them. It wasn’t just a cartoon; it was a healing experience.

Artists Alley was still bustling, with both established creators and new discoveries alike presenting their works. A new section, cleverly named Writers’ Block, spotlighted various authors. The show floor was still loaded with collectibles that the con-goers were eager to get to first. With Hollywood on strike, the comic book and artist worlds once again rose to the surface, at least for this year.

Once the strike ends, I’m sure next year’s convention will likely return to its recent normal. The celebrities will become the focus once again, and while the comic book fans and collectors will remain, they may return to being overshadowed. At the very least, this year’s New York Comic Con managed to avoid disaster with an eclectic lineup of strike-proof programming, and even with the film and TV side being toned down, there was still a lot to do. In the end, New York Comic Con was still the Big Apple’s biggest weekend of escapism and artistic expression.

Click HERE to see our gallery of photos from NY Comic Con - Ed.

New York Comic Con
October 12th-15th, 2023
Jacob Javits Center
New York

New York Comic Con 2023 Photo Gallery


Here's a sampling of the famous faces seen at New York Comic Con 2023! Photos by Avi Ezor.

nycc carpenter


Caitriona Drexler nycc


nycc bill plympton


nycc peter kuper


sean astin nycc

Geico No-Go: Franchise Frustration at NY Comic Con 2014


I was amazed and angry. I know that at the New York Comic Con, there would be soft-core porn, bad Once Upon A Time parodies, panels I couldn’t get into and the like. I’ve no problems with that…well I do with the last, but that’s besides the point…. But I’d never expected what I saw on the floor and am still a bit furious. It was the most offensive thing I’ve ever seen at one of these cons with the singular exception of a woman selling “Boys are stupid, let’s hit them with rocks” tee shirts.

This was even worse than the Death of Archie® or the Book of Job action figure with real running sores! It was the GEICO booth.

Now for the full disclosure: I own stock in Berkshire Hathaway, the conglomerate that owns this insurance company. But just because of that doesn’t mean I like their commercials. I don’t and never have. So when I saw an old fashioned trailer surrounded by cardboard cutouts of their pitch critters, I was incensed. Don’t get me wrong. I know that cartoons and advertising have been hand-in-glove pop culture items since the beginning. Hell, the Yellow Kid pitched cigars in the 19th century! But branding isn’t what this event is about -- at least for me. It’s about the art form.

Cartoons specifically designed only to sell something else isn’t what I think should be at an event like this comic con. The product that is celebrated at such an event is the artwork or the TV show itself, not the advertising that pays for it. This is not about selling automobiles or insurance for automobiles -- it's about the creative impulse behind the work made, the characters developed.  If it was, then goddammit, they would have let Kellogg’sQuaker Oats and Post Cereals have booths.

Garry Moore Tony the Tiger 1955

Toy companies and the like have been producing comics as promotions for years and years. If you go to YouTube and look at the opening credits for the Huckleberry Hound show, you'll notice that Tony the Tiger and Snap, Crackel and Pop were dancing around with everybody else. Then there was the Linus the Lionhearted show from the mid 1960s, where the Post cereal characters had their own episodes. While that managed to hold on for a while, (it was banned in 1969) activist groups came on it like a ton of bricks. They also destroyed a proposed Chester Cheetah show in 1992.

The question as to whether promotional premiums from fast food places or cereal boxes belong at a comic con is one thing. There didn’t seem to be too many dealers in antique stuff there (although there were people who would appraise your antiques or protect that copy of Superman #3 you have in your safety deposit box), and I don’t think there have been many Adventures of the Hamburgler comic books given away in the past 20 years anyway.

But the things that were supposed to be promoted were the ‘toons, video games, and TV shows, not commercials promoting insurance.The Geico characters are made simply to sell insurance -- there's isn't an innocent element of honest creation in the development of this gecko character or other related Geico concepts; they are just created as a cynical device for the sale of product. Celebrating this with a booth at NYCC is wrong.

Some things are just wrong.


Epic Cookies Emerge at NY Comic Con

When I went to the 2013 New York Comic Con this year, I knew there would be no shortage of ground to cover, panels to attend, and cosplayers to gawk at. All this running around is enough to tire even the most hearty con-goer. What I didn’t expect was to find a comic, a delicious snack, and an energy boost all at one modest booth.

Einhorn’s Epic Cookies are four delicious cookies, each packed with a fun little comic book, with some surprisingly decent art. It reminds me of the multitude of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle clones from my youth (COW-Boys of Moo Mesa, anyone?), but paired with some great treats that are of a less dubious nature than the old Ninja Turtle Pudding-Pies.

There are four flavors, each represented by it’s own anthropomorphic equine avatar. Houston is a chocolate chip cookie with potato chip pieces mixed in. Cadiz combines marshmallows, crisped rice, and sprinkles. Broxburn is a hearty oatmeal cookie with orange zest, raisins, and chocolate chips. Romsey is a daring combination of peanut butter, maple, and bacon. The cookies are packed with a comic that branches off in a unique path for each character/flavor.

houston cookieHouston is a classic style chocolate chip cookie, with a soft and chewy body and a pleasant crunch bestowed upon it by the potato chips. The salty/sweet combo may seem strange at first to some, but I noticed that the friends I shared the cookies with still tore through them voraciously. One or two cookies in a bag might be overly salty, but that feels like a trade off for the home-made/organic quality of the cookies. Houston takes a great “classic with a twist” approach and does not disappoint.

You would think that Cadiz would be a gooey cookie, but the sugars in it makes it more brittle and crunchy, which is not unpleasant, just unexpected. It’s taste is slightly reminiscent of Funfetti, but without being overly sweet. I recommend it with a cup of coffee.

Einhorn’s Epic Cookies have a true home made appeal to them. They’re not uniform, and sometimes you might get one slightly singed, but that’s okay. These cookies show genuine care and craft in them, without the cynical attempts at one-up-manship you see in the foodie/culinary elite.

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