Reed Pop Announces Second Wave of New York Comic Con Panels.

ReedPop – the world’s leading producer of pop culture events  – announced the second wave of panels for this year’s all-digital New York Comic Con’s and MCM Comic Con’s Metaverse. From October 8-11, the New York Comic Con YouTube channel will exclusively live stream panels from leading entertainment brands.

Coming off the heels of last week’s first wave of content and programming, you will again see that New York Comic Con’s Metaverse will bring huge names from pop culture and entertainment to YouTube over the four day event for an amazing fan experience:

PANELS

Inside the World of Wolfwalkers from Apple TV+

Join directors Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart for a deeper look at Wolfwalkers, a new Apple Original Film. Alongside Cartoon Saloon’s Maria Pareja (production designer), Sandra Andersen (character designer), and Mark Mullery (assistant director), they’ll offer insights into the creative process and answer questions directly from fans.

From Cartoon Saloon, the Oscar-Nominated animation studio behind The Secret of Kells and co-producer with Melusine Productions, comes a magical tale of an unlikely friendship between two girls in 17th-century Ireland. A young apprentice hunter, Robyn Goodfellowe (voiced by Honor Kneafsey), and her father, Bill (Game of Thrones’ Sean Bean), journey to Ireland to help wipe out the last wolf pack. But everything changes when Robyn befriends a free-spirited girl named Mebh (Eva Whittaker) from a mysterious tribe rumored to transform into wolves by night.

Coming Soon to App TV+

In the Writers’ Room of Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous 

Join executive producers Colin Trevorrow and Scott Kreamer, consulting producer Zack Stentz, story editor Josie Campbell, and staff writers Sheela Shrinivas, Rick Williams and Bethany Johnson as they take you inside the writers’ room of Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous.

Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts: The Final Season

Take a final journey inside the post-apocalyptic wonderland of Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts before season three hits Netflix October 12. Join executive producers Radford Sechrist and Bill Wolkoff, story editors Joanna Lewis and Kristine Songco, Karen Fukuhara, Sydney Mikayla and Coy Stewart as they preview the final season. 

Smallville Cast | 20 Years of Fandom, Friendship & Flying

Join Tom Welling, Erica Durance, Sam Witwer, Laura Vandervoort, and Michael Rosenbaum on this look back at this groundbreaking show and a look ahead at what’s next for this Super-group.

Adam Savage’s Favorite Costumes

Adam Savage is well known for his love of cosplay and his “Adam Incognito,” in which he walks the floor in costume, has become a convention staple. In this show and tell from his shop, Adam takes you through three of his FAVORITE costumes — Alien, Captain America and astronaut — one of which is handmade by Adam himself, one of which was a collaboration with multiple makers, and one of which was a commission.

Dylan O’Brien Takes Fans Behind-the-Scenes of Love and Monsters 

Go behind the scenes of the wildly imaginative, post-apocalyptic adventure that’s filled with LOVE AND MONSTERS. Starring Dylan O’Brien, Jessica Henwick, Michael Rooker and Ariana Greenblatt, the film arrives on premium video-on-demand and Digital October 16.  #LoveAndMonsters

Katherine Langford & Charlie Plummer Talk Blowing Up & Growing Up in Spontaneous 

Katherine Langford, Charlie Plummer, director Brian Duffield and more share behind-the-scenes stories about making the explosively funny movie SPONTANEOUS, an outrageous new teen love story about high school students who begin inexplicably exploding…literally.  The film debuts on premium video-on-demand and Digital on October 6.  Based on the novel Spontaneous, the satirical comedy also stars Hayley Law, Yvonne Orji, Rob Huebel and Piper Perabo.  #SpontaneousMovie

50 FREAKin Years Later – A Conversation with the Star-Studded Cast and Team Behind The Freak Brothers 

Based on Gilbert Shelton’s acclaimed comics “The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers” that sold 40 million copies worldwide, this new adult animated series is set in modern day San Francisco and features four cannabis-loving, time-travelling “Freaks” from the late 1960s – Freewheelin’ Franklin Freek (Woody Harrelson), Phineas T. Phreakears (Pete Davidson), Fat Freddy Freekowtski (John Goodman) and Fat Freddy’s Cat aka “Kitty” (Tiffany Haddish). Join some of the cast, Executive Producers and Showrunners for what is sure to be a hysterical conversation as they discuss bringing this 50-year-old comic book series back to life as an adult animation. This incredible cast (which includes Workaholics alums Adam Devine and Blake Anderson) and veteran Hollywood production team are set to release their 3 Freaks, Cat and bevy of other characters into the wild later this year.

All Aboard the Crazy Train! The Osbourne Family Goes Paranormal

Crazy…but that’s how it goes! Get ready as the First Family of Darkness makes their NYCC debut! In a Travel Channel special event, Jack Osbourne is taking his family – including Ozzy and Sharon – on their first-ever paranormal investigation. For the first time ever, the Osbournes are giving fans a sneak peak into their hilariously haunted experience. Viewers will hear about their investigations, ghostly findings, paranormal beliefs and all of the antics one would expect with an Osbourne family ghost hunt. All aboard!

A Conversation with Executive Producers and Cast Members from ABC’s The Good Doctor 

Join the Cast and Executive Producers from the hit ABC & Sony Pictures Television series, The Good Doctor. David Shore, Freddie Highmore, and the cast will break down the season three finale and give fans an exclusive inside peek into what’s to come in the two-part season four premiere “Frontline,” about the Covid-19 pandemic.

A Discussion with the One Day at a Time Executive Producers and Cast 

Join the Cast and Executive Producers to discuss One Day at a Time returning to CBS after forty years, the future of the Sony Pictures Television series and importance of Latinx representation on television. Moderated by Ariana Romero, Senior TV Critic at Refinery29.

A Discovery of Witches S2 | Behind the Magic 

Take a journey to the fascinating and treacherous world of Elizabethan London as Sky original drama A Discovery of Witches returns for season two. Enjoy a sneak peek at the new magical series, adapted by Bad Wolf from Deborah Harkness’s bestselling All Souls trilogy, including an introduction by Deborah herself and Bad Wolf Executive Producer Lachlan MacKinnon, as well as a Q&A with key cast Matthew Goode, Teresa Palmer, Ed Bluemel, Adelle Leonce and Steven Cree who will gather from the set of the infamous Congregation- in Wolf Studios Wales- where witches, demons and vampires meet and where they are also filming season 3.

VIZ & Powerhouse Animation Present Seis Manos

Join the creative team and cast members on a deep dive into Seis Manos as they reflect on their favorite moments and reveal lots of behind-the-scenes secrets. Panelists include: Brad Graeber (Co-creator), Álvaro Rodríguez (Co-creator), Daniel Dominguez (Writer), Willis Bulliner (Director), Jonny Cruz (Voice of Jesus), & Angélica Vale (Voice of Garcia).

The Adventure Zone Graphic Novel – The Crystal Kingdom

They’ve done it again! The co-creators of The Adventure Zone have THREE #1 New York Times bestselling graphic novels—The Adventure Zone: Here There Be GerblinsThe Adventure Zone: Murder on the Rockport Limited!, and now The Adventure Zone: Petals to the Metal. And if you haven’t read them yet, now’s the time to catch up, because co-authors Clint McElroy, Justin McElroy, Griffin McElroy, Travis McElroy, and co-adaptor and illustrator Carey Pietsch are coming together to discuss each of these books, the process of adapting a podcast into a graphic novel, and to share an exclusive sneak peek of The Adventure Zone: The Crystal Kingdom (you heard that right! There will be a fourth book!) coming in 2021 from First Second. This conversation will be moderated by Erika Ishii (Destiny 2).

Graphix Out Loud – Kids Comics Come to Life

Graphix comes to life with live readings of some of the best new and upcoming graphic novels, featuring Varian Johnson and Shannon Wright (Author and Illustrator, Twins), Maria Scrivan (Author, Forget Me Nat), Penelope Bageiu (Illustrator, The Witches Graphic Novel), and hosted by Raina Telgemeier (Author, SmileSisters, and Guts).

IDW Presents – The World of Locke & Key

Unlock what’s next in the world of Locke & Key, now a hit Netflix original series! Join New York Times best-selling author Joe Hill (Full ThrottleNOS4A2Dying is Easy) and legendary artist Gabriel Rodríguez in conversation with series editor Chris Ryall, as they welcome you back to Keyhouse. Be the first to hear more about the next wave of comics and graphic novels in the Locke & Key franchise!

X-Men | The Art and Making of the Animated Series 

Meet the creative team behind one of the most celebrated, revolutionary animated TV shows of all time as they discuss their new book, X-Men: The Art and Making of the Animated Series, by Eric Lewald (series showrunner) and Julia Lewald (series writer). The Lewalds are joined by other celebrated creators who helped make X-Men: The Animated Series, including Larry Houston (series producer/director), Rick Hoberg (series artist), Stephanie Graziano (production), and Sven Larsen (VP, Licensed Publishing for Marvel). Panelists will discuss what it’s like to develop, pitch, design, write, draw, direct, and produce a hit animated series, while showcasing never-before-seen production and promotional materials from the art book.

Marvel’s Black Panther: Sins of the King

Step into Wakanda with Emmy-nominated William Jackson Harper and the award-winning writing team for Marvel’s Black Panther: Sins of the King, from Serial Box. Get an inside look into the upcoming immersive e-book and audiobook series and be the first to hear an exclusive audio excerpt from William Jackson Harper (The Good Place), who will be narrating the series.

In Conversation with All the Anime!

Missed your regular fix of MCM Anime? Join familiar faces Andy Hanley and Jeremy Graves from Anime Limited as they give a rundown of All the Anime’s latest exclusives, festival features and new releases. Continue the conversation over on the NYCC x MCM Metaverse Discord channel when the panel is over!

A Celebration of Revolutionary Girl Utena

Hear from iconic Manga Writer, Chiho Saito (Kanon, Revolutionary Girl Utena, The World Exists For Me) and Director, Kunihiko Ikuhara (Sailor Moon, Revolutionary Girl Utena) as they answer fan questions and take a look back at the critically acclaimed and highly influential anime series. Panel hosted by Anime Limited. 

Jackbox Games is back with the Jackbox Play Along area during NYCC x MCM Metaverse!

Join us on the New York Comic Con x MCM Metaverse channel for the chance to play along in the audience during some rounds of your favorite Jackbox titles, including new games from The Jackbox Party Pack 7 (coming later this fall).

The Jedi Mind – Lessons in Mindfulness from Star Wars

The code that all Jedi strive to follow offers principles for being at peace and learning. In fact, these tenets are useful not just in a galaxy far, far away, but here in our own world. While the Force isn’t present in our galaxy, we can still learn from how the Jedi use it to guide their lives. And we can use these lessons about the Force as a gateway to studying mindfulness and putting practices into action. Join us for an exploration of how the practice of mindfulness inspires and empowers some of our favorite Star Wars characters, and how we can bring some of that inspiration into our everyday lives. Panelists include Amy Ratcliffe, Managing Editor of Nerdist and author of The Jedi Mind; Ashley Eckstein, the voice of Ahsoka Tano on Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels, and founder of Her Universe; and Dr. Drea Letamendi psychologist and co-host of the Lattes with Leia podcast.

Titans of Graphic Novels

From memoir to retelling to identity exploration, these female graphic novel titans created their stories to entertain and inspire the next generation of women. Join Robin Ha, Kathleen Gros, Lily LaMotte, and Shannon Hale as they talk with Comics Beat editor-in-chief, Heidi Macdonald about their process, their visions, and how they managed to carve out a space for their excellence in a male-dominated world.

From Page to Screen – An Exclusive Talk with the Hunger Games Creators

For the first time ever, the creative professionals behind the Hunger Games come together for one must-see event. David Levithan (Editor of the Hunger Games books) joins in conversation with Nina Jacobson (Producer of the Hunger Games films) to share their behind-the-scenes experiences in bringing  this wildly popular series to life. From bookshelf to big screen, it’s a lot of work being the real-life Gamemasters of a worldwide phenomenon! Watch as these creative forces reminisce about their time with The Districts and learn more about the Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. Let the games begin!

V.E. Schwab Spotlight – The Invisible Life Of Addie LaRue

Join New York Times bestselling author V.E. Schwab, as Tor Books presents this exclusive panel about The Invisible Life Of Addie LaRue. As part of this special event, V.E. Schwab will be doing a reading of an excerpt from her new novel and answering your fan questions! Tickets purchased will include a copy of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

The Grishaverse | Collaboration and Adaptation with Leigh Bardugo and Eric Heisserer

Leigh Bardugo (King of ScarsNinth House) is a #1 New York Times bestselling author of fantasy novels and the creator of the Grishaverse. The Grishaverse (coming soon to Netflix in an original series titled Shadow and Bone) spans the Shadow and Bone Trilogy, the Six of Crows DuologyThe Language of Thorns, and the King of Scars Duology—with more to come. In this virtual NYCC program, she’s joined by the showrunner of the Netflix adaptation, Eric Heisserer (BirdboxArrival) to discuss all things Grishaverse, including two new October titles: The Lives of Saints and Shadow and Bone: The Collector’s Edition.

Exclusive Meet and Greet with Leigh Bardugo  

Here’s your chance to meet Leigh Bardugo (King of ScarsNinth House) in a personal online one-to-one video meet and greet! Tickets purchased will include a branded video recording of the entire experience as a memento, a copy of The Lives of Saints (with a signed bookplate) and a pre-order of Rule of Wolves

For more information, please visit FindTheMetaverse.com and NYCC’s social media pages (FacebookTwitter, and Instagram).

New York Comic Con Announces First Wave of Digital Panels

ReedPop – the world’s leading producer of pop culture events – announced the first wave of panels for this year’s all-digital New York Comic Con’s Metaverse. From October 8-11, the New York Comic Con YouTube channel will exclusively live stream panels from leading entertainment brands.

In addition to panels streaming live & on-demand exclusively via YouTube, fans will be able to participate in talent Q&A’s during panels, turn every panel into a watch party and geek out with other fans using YouTube’s Comments, Community Tab, and Live Chat features. 

As you’ll see below, New York Comic Con’s Metaverse will bring huge names from pop culture and entertainment to YouTube over the four day event for an amazing fan experience:

  1. Get Heated with the Cast & Creator of Hulu’s Helstrom 
  1. There’s about to be one hell of a Helstrom family reunion and you are all invited! Join the cast and creator of Hulu’s upcoming horror series, Helstrom, as they discuss what went into bringing this twisted comic to life and answer fans’ burning questions. All 10 episodes of Helstrom premiere Friday, October 16th on Hulu.
  2. Conversation and Behind-The-Scenes Look at Hulu’s New Horror Series Monsterland 

 .               You can’t escape what lives within! Discover the monsters and unpack the thought-provoking tales brought to life in Hulu’s new series, Monsterland, based on the collection of short stories from Nathan Ballingrud’s “North American Lake Monsters.” Join cast members and creator/showrunner Mary Laws as they delve into the nightmares and share a look at what happened behind-the-scenes. All 8 episodes of Monsterland premiere Friday, October 2nd on Hulu.

  1. Cast of Marvel’s M.O.D.O.K. Reveals First Look At Hulu’s New Animated Series 

 .               First Look At Hulu & Marvel’s M.O.D.O.K. Everyone’s favorite big-headed, egomaniacal supervillain is coming to Hulu! Get an exclusive first look at the upcoming adult animated series, Marvel’s M.O.D.O.K., hear from creators Patton Oswalt and Jordan Blum and meet our hilarious cast of characters voiced by Aimee Garcia, Ben Schwartz and Melissa Fumero. Marvel’s M.O.D.O.K. is coming soon to Hulu. 

  1. From the Nightmares of Clive Barker | A Conversation with the Cast of Hulu’s BOOKS OF BLOOD

 .               Step into uncharted and forbidden territory, joining the cast and creator of Hulu’s upcoming film BOOKS OF BLOOD for a conversation around the film. Based on Clive Barker’s acclaimed horror anthology, the film will take audiences on a journey through three uncanny tales tangled in space and time. 

  1. It’s time for AN-I-MAN-IACS! Voice Cast & Producer Panel 

 .               The Warner brothers, Yakko and Wakko, and the Warner sister Dot are heading home to the Warner Bros. Water Tower.  But first they’re making a quick stop at NY Comic Con to give the fans an exclusive first look at their brand-new series coming soon to Hulu. Join executive producer Wellesley Wild, co-executive producer Gabe Swarr and voice cast members Rob Paulsen, Tress MacNeille, Jess Harnell and Maurice LaMarche for a lively panel that will most definitely be zany to the max.  Animaniacs is produced by Amblin Television in association with Warner Bros. Animation and premieres on Hulu on Friday, November 20. 

  1. Metaverse Presents: ‘Lost’ Anniversary Fan Q&A With Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse

 .               Join the showrunners of the hit tv series for this special, one-time event where they’re answering fans’ burning questions, moderated by Josh Horowitz! Be sure to submit your own using the #lostinthemetaverse hashtag.

  1. Archer Cast Trivia Showdown (FXX) 

 .               Archer Cast Trivia Showdown (FXX) – Archer, FX Networks’ award-winning animated comedy series about the world’s greatest spy and his cohorts, returns to NYCC for the ultimate trivia battle royale in celebration of the show’s 11th action-packed season, premiering Wednesday, September 16 at 10pm ET/PT on FXX. Play along with series stars H. Jon Benjamin, Aisha Tyler, Judy Greer, Chris Parnell, Amber Nash and Lucky Yates as they mine their memories and test their knowledge for this not-to-be-missed foray into the trivia daaaanger zoooone, hosted by Executive Producer Casey Willis. And don’t forget to catch up on all seasons of Archer, available for streaming via FX on Hulu.

  1. What We Do in the Shadows (FX) Q&A  

 .               What We Do in the Shadows (FX) Q&A – Fresh off its eight (8!) Emmy® nominations, What We Do in the Shadows returns to New York Comic Con for a LIVE discussion with the cast and producers. Come with your burning questions about vampires, slayers, ghosts, necromancers and… Jackie Daytona! Named “TV’s funniest comedy” by Rolling Stone, What We Do in the Shadows is a documentary-style look into the daily (or rather, nightly) lives of four vampires who’ve “lived” together for hundreds of years. Joining the conversation will be series stars Matt Berry, Kayvan Novak, Natasia Demetriou, Harvey Guillén, Mark Proksch and the creative team. Seasons 1 and 2 are now available on FX on Hulu.BAAAAT!

  1. Spotlight on Doctor Who Featuring Stars Jodie Whittaker and Mandip Gill | BBC AMERICA 

 .                BBC AMERICA, in partnership with HBO Max, spotlight Doctor Who and the series’ return to New York Comic Con with the Doctor herself, Jodie Whittaker, and companion Yaz, played by Mandip Gill. Together with moderator Melanie McFarland, TV Critic for Salon.com, they will look back at their epic past two seasons in the TARDIS, which have been packed with shocking twists, turns and surprises, and discuss their favorite moments to date. The two stars return in BBC AMERICA’s highly-anticipated Doctor Who Festive Special, “Revolution of the Daleks,” premiering this holiday season. Doctor Who is a BBC AMERICA co-production with BBC Studios. In the U.S., Doctor Who premieres exclusively on BBC AMERICA with past seasons available to stream exclusively on HBO Max.

  1. The Watch: A First Look At BBC AMERICA’s Newest Series

 .               Dive into the thrilling fantasy world of BBC AMERICA’s newest series The Watch, featuring a discussion with cast and executive producers, special guests and a first look at the series. The Watch follows an unlikely group of misfits, The City Watch, who are forced to find the guts to save the world, surprising even themselves in the process. The comedic yet thrilling series pits trolls, werewolves, wizards and other improbable heroes against an evil plot to resurrect a great dragon which would lead to the destruction of life as they know it. Moderator – actress Yvette Nicole Brown (Community) – joins panelists and series stars Richard Dormer (Game of Thrones), Lara Rossi (I May Destroy You), Adam Hugill (1917), Jo Eaton-Kent (Don’t Forget the Driver) and Marama Corlett (Blood Drive), along with executive producers Simon Allen (The Musketeers) and Richard Stokes (Broadchurch).

  1. AMC’s The Walking Dead 

 .               The Walking Dead will present a panel at NYCC spotlighting episode 1016, “A Certain Doom,” which will air as a standalone episode Sunday, October 4 at 9 PM ET/8c. 

In The Walking Dead’s, “A Certain Doom,” Beta engages in the final battle of the Whisperer War. 

12.           AMC’s Fear The Walking Dead 

a.              Fear the Walking Dead will present a panel for the series’ upcoming sixth season, premiering Sunday, October 11 at 9 PM ET/8c. 

Season six of Fear the Walking Dead explores what has become of the unlikely family once united by a mission to help those in need. After being torn apart by Virginia (Colby Minifie) and her Pioneers, the group is now dispersed across her far-reaching settlements. Morgan’s (Lennie James) last message at the end of season five implored the group to “Live” and this season we’ll see what that means to each of them. Some will find the stability and opportunity within Virginia’s communities to be intriguing, some will sink into darkness, while others will fight back against what has been forced upon them. Life behind Virginia’s walls will test each and every one of them in different ways, forcing them to define who they are in this new world.

13.           AMC’s The Walking Dead: World Beyond 

a.              The Walking Dead: World Beyond returns to NYCC as the third series in wildly successful The Walking Dead Universe. The series is set to premiere Sunday, October 4 at 10 PM ET/9c

b.              The Walking Dead: World Beyond delves into a new mythology and story that follows the first generation raised in a surviving civilization of the post-apocalyptic world. Two sisters along with two friends leave a place of safety and comfort to brave dangers, known and unknown, living and undead on an important quest.  Pursued by those who wish to protect them and those who wish to harm them, a tale of growing up and transformation unfurls across dangerous terrain, challenging everything they know about the world, themselves and each other.  Some will become heroes.  Some will become villains.  But all of them will find the truths they seek. 

14.            Cast of Starz’s American Gods Tease Season 3 Details

 .               AMERICAN GODS – #GodSquad are you ready for divine intervention? Stream with your favorite gods as they journey to Lakeside and talk all things Season Three of the hit STARZ Original Series “American Gods.” Following his discovery last season that Mr. Wednesday is his father, Shadow attempts to break away and assert himself as his own man. As he settles into life in Lakeside, he uncovers a dark secret while exploring questions of his own divinity. Guided on this spiritual journey by the gods of his black ancestors, the Orishas, Shadow must decide exactly who he is — a god seeking veneration or a man in service of the “we.”    

15.           The Sound of “The Sandman” with Neil Gaiman and Friends – presented by Audible and DC 

 .               In celebration of the first-ever audio adaptation of “The Sandman” — based on the bestselling DC graphic novel series that rewrote all the rules — Audible will bring together master storyteller Neil Gaiman, aural auteur Dirk Maggs, and other special guests to reveal the creative process behind this groundbreaking audio production. Panelists will discuss how the source material, including the detailed notes for illustrators in Gaiman’s original manuscripts, was painstakingly taken off the page and brought to life in a fully-immersive listening experience featuring a 68-member, all-star cast led by James McAvoy, cinematic soundscape, and original music score.

16.           DC’s Stargirl Cast & Producer Panel 

 .               DC’s Stargirl creator/executive producer Geoff Johns joins series stars Brec Bassinger (Bella & the Bulldogs, All Night), Yvette Monreal (Rambo: Last Blood, Faking It), Anjelika Washington (Tall Girl, Girl’s Room), Cameron Gellman (Heathers), and Meg DeLacy (The Fosters), as they relive the first season’s most epic moments. Join your favorite Blue Valley residents as they share behind-the-scenes tales and scoop on what’s to come for Season 2. DC’s Stargirl: The Complete First Season is currently available to own on Digital, Blu-ray, DVD, and now streaming on The CW app.

17.           The CW’s NANCY DREW Panel featuring the Cast & Producers

 .               NANCY DREW stars Kennedy McMann (Nancy Drew), Scott Wolf (Carson Drew), Alex Saxon (Ace), Leah Lewis (George Fan), Maddison Jaizani (Bess Marvin), Tunji Kasim (Ned “Nick” Nickerson) and Riley Smith (Ryan Hudson), will be joined by creator/executive producer Noga Landau and showrunner/executive producer Melinda Hsu Taylor to discuss The CW’s hit drama.

18.           Exclusive Interviews with the Creators of Steven Universe – The End of an Era

 .               Join Steven Universe series creator Rebecca Sugar and author Chris McDonnell as they discuss Steven Universe: End of an Era (Abrams Books), the new art book that features concept art, storyboards, background paintings, and exclusive interviews about one of the most progressive, imaginative, and beloved animated series of our time. Joined by Kat Morris (writer, storyboard supervisor, supervising director) and Alonso Ramirez Ramos (producer, director on Steven Universe Future), the panel will explore the process of creating season four through Steven Universe Future, as well as the show’s incredible legacy. Moderated by journalist Charles Pulliam-Moore (io9/Gizmodo).

19.           The Godfather of Gaming – An Exclusive Conversation with Sid Meier

 .               Join us for an exclusive talk with one of the most influential game changers in the industry. For years, video games were regarded as just another form of mindless entertainment, devoid of meaning and entirely mechanical. Today, video games are significant cultural commodities and an acknowledged art form because of the contributions of video game giants. Watch as Sid Meier, the game designer and developer behind the Civilization series, discusses the tales of his video game pioneering in a sneak peek of his upcoming book release.
SID MEIER’S MEMOIR!: A Life in Computer Games (W. W. Norton & Company) takes fans through the life and legacy of one of the most influential creative forces in video game history. The memoir will dive into the challenges he faced and how he influenced the strategy game genre we know today. As part of New York Comic Con’s Metaverse, Sid Meier will also be joined in conversation by Soren Johnson (Lead Designer, Civilization IV), as they reminisce about the joys of creation, the excitement of expanding possibilities, and the very heart of playing video games—and of being human.

20.           Dungeons & Dragons & cooking!

 .               The authors of the new official D&D cookbook, Heroes’ Feast, share how they developed recipes and culinary backstory from the different realms of the fantasy RPG. Join Michael Witwer, Kyle Newman, and Jon Peterson as they talk about their process and share some of the dishes featured in the new book.

21.           Lucasfilm Publishing | Stories from a Galaxy Far, Far Away 

 .               Join some of the biggest and best Star Wars authors as they talk about some of their exciting new projects set in a galaxy far, far away. Featuring Daniel José Older, Preetei Chhibber, Phil Szostak, Katie Cook, Zoraida Cordova and Amy Ratcliffe. Moderated by This Week In Star Wars host Kristin Baver.

22.           Valiant Heads to Hollywood

 .               Before Paramount’s HARBINGER movie hits the big screen in 2021, learn all about Valiant Entertainment’s upcoming comic [CLASSIFIED] and witness this bold new take on the classic franchise. Plus, exclusive reveals from NINJAK, BLOODSHOT, X-O MANOWAR, RAI, and more!

Moderated by Tiffany of YouTube’s ComicPOP, join writers [CLASSIFIED], [CLASSIFIED], Jeff Parker, Dennis “Hopeless” Hallum, and Senior Editors Heather Antos and Lysa Hawkins for an exclusive look at the future of the Valiant Universe and its must-read new comics.

23.           Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Seven Seasons of Amazing Gear & Gadgets with Prop Master, Scott Bauer and Live Auction Preview

a.              Prop Store is bringing over 500 lots of original props and costumes from all seven seasons of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to an online auction this October 8th to November 10th (go to Propstore.com/Marvel for more information). Join series Prop Master, Scott Bauer, as he talks about his experiences working on Marvel Television’s longest running television series and as he reveals the stories behind some of his favorite pieces in the auction.

Best 5 Restaurants In New York For First-time Travelers

Probably more famous for the burgeoning underground rap drill scene as well as the glory days of notable city musicians like 50 cent and fellow Queens Superstars. This great city sadly gets slept on when we talk about culinary delights. The city of New York has some of the best restaurants available for tourists on business trips or merely on tasting expeditions; the city of New York is on the food map and certainly for all the right reasons. Without further ado, these are 5 of the best restaurants in New York For First-time Travelers:

Clinton Street Baking Co:

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. This has never been more apparent in the case of the drawn-out tourist that just got to the busiest city on planet earth. Ugh, this sucks, the streets are rough, and the jet lag just set in. Now your stomach starts grumbling, and it’s time to find a chilled spot to catch some early grub. Down the lower side of East Street is Clinton Street Baking Co. This hometown deluxe restaurant specializes in making awesome waffles and pancakes coupled with its signature maple syrup. It is worthy of note that this restaurant only accepts cash. No transfer, guys!

Osteria Morini

To the Mancinis and Marios of the world, it is quite a cultural change moving from the comfortable climes of Milan’s pasta and Neapolitan rice to the hustle and bustle of the busy New York streets. Luckily for them, Osteria Morini is here. Founded by an Italian immigrant family and made with the mantra of providing quality native Italian delicacies to its growing international clientele. Osteria Morini serves the best pasta and Romagnoli in New York and is quite a choice when you’re talking about quality and affordable breakfast.

New York City Style Pizza

Foods people love. Hmmm. Let’s see. All I can think of right now is PizzaPizza, cake, PizzaPizza, pasta, pizza, hamburgers, and more PizzaPizza. Yes, this is how important PizzaPizza is to travelers and good tourists alike. New York is not usually famed for its PizzaPizza, but New York City Style Pizza is a different proposition entirely. The restaurant is staffed with the most impeccable team known to North American Pizza lovers as well as having that home touch that leaves users coming back for more. This restaurant has the best toppings and cheese combinations known to man. Just thinking of it makes me want to go down the street and much on one right now.

Los Tacos No. 1

NBA players, NFL stars, Major league pros, and the NCAA luminaries, all of them have a similarity, and I’m not talking about ripped muscles and well-sculptured abs. From Tom Brady to Lebron James and from Zion Williamson to David Beckham, they all got that little weakness. What may you ask? It’s the fact that Tuesday is the best day of the week. Why Tuesday? The Tacos, of course! Tacos are a tradition ‘stolen’ from Mexico no one does Tacos in New York better than Los Tacos No. 1. The number one Taco spot in the whole country, this awesome website, provides patrons with affordable but yet ultra-delicious meals, which can easily serve as anything ranging from breakfast to lunch to even a pre-lunch snack.

Gourmet burger: Emily (West Village)

Treats are best served warm, and the desert is best dished with love. In a city where everyone knows everyone, and you are just as likely to bump into RJ Barrett as you are to find Trevor Noah taking a casual mid-day stroll to the Daily Show HQ. You might be forgiven for thinking that celebrities are the main attractions in New York. That is till you taste the Emmy Burger, which is the signature dish at GOURMET BURGER: EMILY (WEST VILLAGE). Different people from different parts of NYC troupe in to get a taste of the ravishing goodness, and you might need to camp outside by the time they get a whiff of the food on the stove.

Tips for international travelers to the New York

Different people from different ethnic groups from all over the world visit the United States of America every other season. Several of these people come from visa-free nations; hence it is tough to see how they will be able to get into America for that dream vacation. The best alternative is to apply for an ESTA. The ESTA Visa USA is the next step to take for individuals that aim to visit the USA. This form would be filled online, and the fee will be paid upon submission.

Anyone that applies for this would be updated via an email to the registered email address within 72 hours. If no response is received during that time frame, the applicant can proceed to check the ESTA application status online. Due care must be taken by the applicant to fill in all the necessary details in a proper way to boost the chances of a successful grant. Entering the US illegally is a crime and very detrimental to tourist that does so without proper documentation and under pretenses.

Prog-rock Pioneers Crack the Sky To Play New York City for the First Time in over 20 Years, April 20 at the Loft at City Winery

NEW ALBUM LIVING IN REVERSE AND CAREER RETROSPECTIVE CRACKOLOGY WERE RELEASED AUGUST 24, 2018

LIVING IN REVERSE CRACKED THE CHARTS WITH THEIR HIGHEST CHARTING DEBUT IN 40 YEARS

L to R: Bobby Hird, Dave DeMarco, Joey D’Amico, John Palumbo, Rick Witkowski, Glenn Workman
Photo Credit: Rei Perri

Prog-rock pioneers Crack The Sky, whoRolling Stone Magazine calls “…the Best U.S. Prog Band You’ve Never Heard,” return to New York for the first time in over 20 years to play a special show at The Loft At City Winery Saturday April 20, 2019.  “For the last 20 years, our New York-area fans have had to travel south to come see us, so we are all very excited to finally bring the party to them,” said the band.  “We couldn’t be more thrilled to play for them and return to New York City after all of these years. It’s long overdue!”

On January 1, 1976 Stephen Holden of Rolling Stone magazine called the debut album by Crack The Sky “…one of year’s most impressive debuts.”  Now, some 40 years later, the band cracked the charts with their highest charting debut in 40 years with their new studio album Living In Reverse.  It charted at #7 Heatseekers, #31 Independent Current Albums, and #40 Top Current Albums.  The band also released Crackology, a collection of 12 career favorites.  Both came out on August 24, 2018 on Loud & Proud Records.

Living In Reverse showcases 12 new genre-defying Crack tracks that Vintage Guitar calls “…heavy Beatlesque pop” including “Talk Talk” – the lyric video was included in the recent Rolling Stone feature, “RainingRain” which Billboard Magazine premiered, and Living In Reverse” which Relix premiered.   The retrospective Crackology chronicles a dozen of the best re-recorded gems as culled from the band’s rich and storied 40-year catalog. Goldmine Magazine said, “…on both albums, Crack the Sky surges with the vitality and energy of a young band, bringing so much ‘crack’ to the older songs that Crackology sounds just as fresh as Living in Reverse.”  Vintage Guitar said “…Crack The Sky is rockin’ better than ever.”

Tickets for their April 20 New York show are on sale now through The Loft At City Winery here.

Crack The Sky is
John Palumbo – Lead Vocals, Guitars, Keys
Rick Witkowski – Guitars & Vocals
Joey D’Amico – Drums & Vocals
Bobby Hird – Guitars & Vocals
Glenn Workman – Keyboards & Vocals
Dave DeMarco – Bass & Vocals

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2017 New York Comic Con Review: Day 2

2017 New York Comic Con

Friday, October 6th 2017
Jacob K. Javits Center, New York, NY

Our Score: 3 out of 5 Stars

All things pop culture descended on New York City specifically The Jacob K. Javits Center as the sprawling complex once again played host to the annual New York Comic Con held on October 5th-8th. The event now in its 11th year was once again put on by the Connecticut based company Reed Pop a company who organizes some of the largest pop culture events around the country. 2017 proved to be no exception and despite having to deal with a smaller venue space due to construction the event still boasted an over whelming number of vendors and appearances by some of the biggest names in comics, film and television.

Day two of the four day convention this year seemed a bit lacking in the way of panels and events as compared to previous however that did not thwart our attempt to take in the massive show floors and numerous cos-players as the con is always one we look forward to attending each year. Right off the bat we noticed that the entry to the event was much easier than in previous years as there was now two different entries for single/multiple day pass holders. This dramatically cut down the once endless serpent like line which in previous years engulfed the outside areas of the center. Despite a quicker entry once inside you could instantly see that the construction taking place in several key areas of the center such as the section which normally houses artist alley was causing large bottle necks of immovable lines. For those wanting to meet their favorite artist or creator gone was the spacious, well lit corridor which was always a nice break from the hustle and bustle of the main show floors but instead this year creators and artist were relegated to one of the structures basement levels which caused for a less than pleasurable viewing experience complete with cramped/impassible walk ways and a heightened room temperature that at times almost took your breath away.

After a couple escalator rides we made our way on to the main show floors. This area also seemed to take on the brunt of less floor space in other areas as walk ways and vendor spaces seemed much smaller than in previous years. As always the Funko booth commanded a lot of attention as those fortunate enough to be selected in the lottery process waited in endless lines in hopes to purchase one of the sought after convention exclusives. During our time at the booth we had the chance to grab a quick autograph from WWE Superstar and Funko Enthusiast Zach Ryder who had stopped by to check out his NYCC exclusive Pop! figure. Other notable vendors were the Middle Earth “Shadow of War”  booth which featured a life size dragon which convention goers could have their pictures on and Marvel vs. Capcom’s replica Ultron and throne display both of which garnered long wait times just to get a glimpse of.

Before leaving for the day we made quick stop in the autographing area which as always is a popular stop for most attendees. Some of the big names this year included Michael Rooker, Peter Capaldi and Mark Hamill among a long list of others. With prices ranging from $40 to $300 per signature we did not spend a lot of time in this area but there were plenty of others anxiously awaiting to spend their hard earned cash to meet their favorite actors and actresses.

With more and more events/panels being held off site it makes me question just how much longer the Javits center will remain a viable location for the Con. With early attendance figures coming in at around 200,000 for the four days the event shows no signs slowing down. Hopefully the center will be back to full functionality for next year’s event as the lack of space definitely impacted all aspects of the event. Either way, we can not wait for next year.

2016 New York Comic Con Review: Day 2

2016 New York Comic Con

Friday, October 7th 2016
Jacob K. Javits Center, New York, NY

Our Score: 3 out of 5 Stars

The Jacob K. Javits Center in the heart of New York City once again played host to the annual New York Comic Con on October 6th-9th where for four days the sprawling complex became the epicenter for all things comics and pop culture. The event which is now in its 10th year was once again put on by the Connecticut based company Reed Pop a company who puts on some of the largest pop culture events around the country. This year’s Con was no exception boasted appearances by some of the biggest names in comics, film and television.

For our coverage this year we chose to check out the events taking place on day two of the convention. Friday’s schedule included panels with the casts of “Steven Universe”, “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter” and “Underworld: Blood Wars”. Autograph signings with “Game of Thrones” star Jack Gleeson, “Stanger Things” Millie Bobby Brown and David Harbour, comic creators Greg Capullo, former My Chemical Romance front man Gerard Way and making his final NY Comic Con appearance Stan Lee. Needless to say we were quite excited for the day’s events. Right off the bat the event seemed a bit different this year. Despite the entrances still being overly crowded causing extended wait times once you were inside the venue however, the normal wall to wall congestion seemed much lighter than in previous years. This could be related to the addition of several off site venues which were now hosting panels and screenings throughout the day and/or the newly introduced digitally monitored cue lines which were now required to attend a panel in hopes of alleviating chaotic line ups right before the start of an event. Though this alleviated some congestion it still created a number of new problems and a fair amount of confusion amongst attendees. The new offsite venues which included the Theater at Madison Square Garden and the Hammerstein Ballroom were welcome additions however they two weren’t without issue as once attendees left the main convention hall upon returning he or she would again need to wait in the entrance lines.

Despite the new changes and the fact that we probably weren’t going to be able to see as much as we had in years past we made our way to the main convention floor. As always it was like a bustling mini city packed to the rafters with everything from limited edition figures and books to unique clothing and tchachke’s. It also was the home to some of the pop industries biggest names including everyone from Marvel and DC to Funko and Lego. Displays ranged in sizes from the minute to the immense as each vendor uniquely showcased their latest and greatest products. The main floor is also a lot of fun because you never know who or what you are going to bump in to. This year we ran smack dab into WWE Hall of Famer Sting as he was shooting some segments for the WWE Network while showcasing some of the new WWE themed “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”. An area garnering a good share of attention but tucked back along the wall in an area known as “The Block” was promotion for the recently released “Shin Godzilla” film. The display which featured several posters for the film and lush red carpeting also included a chance to get your picture with the real life Godzilla! Ok maybe it was just a guy in a Godzilla suit standing in front of a backdrop but, it was still cool!

As we continued walking the endless isles and floors of the center we quickly realized that the day was quickly coming to an end and that our comic con adventure for 2016 was about over. Though we weren’t able to take in nearly as many panels as we had in previous years the added space to move around in between events was a welcome addition. The new digital cue system still could use some work however over time I think it will help make for a much more enjoyable con experience and one we will definitely being looking forward to for 2017.

Event Coverage: New York Comic Con 2015

New York Comic Con 2015
Date: Thursday, October 8th – Sunday, October 11th
Venue: Jacob K. Javitz Center, New York, New York

As the leaves begin to fall and Halloween decorations begin to go up it marks the change in season for most but for pop-culture fans it acts as the tell tale sign that New York Comic Con is just around the corner. The ginormous four day event which marked its 10 anniversary this year and once again acted as the culmination of the week long “Hero Week”. Fans of all walks of filed into the vast Jacob K. Javitz center where over the course of the events four days more than 160,000 fans would walk the halls of the center making it easily the largest convention on the East Coast

Thursday of the convention was once reserved for press and special ticket holders however in the last two years the day has been opened up for single ticket holders and pretty much anyone else who wanted to traverse the ever expanding crowd. In comparison to previous year’s attendance was definitely up as several panels we planned to cover couldn’t even accommodate press due to the at times overwhelming numbers. Thursday’s panel highlights included those by HBO’s “Game of Thrones”, Tru TV’s “Impractical Jokers” a special panel appearance by “Walking Dead” creator Robert Kirkman along with appearances by the cast of AMC’s “Comic Book Men” with the panel being moderated by none other than Kevin Smith. Even though the entire cast of the show was present a majority if not all of the questions were directed towards Smith. Over the course of the hour long discussion Smith detailed his ideas behind the creation of the show and his thoughts on the series success which will celebrate the start of its 5th season on Oct. 18th. Prior to the panel’s conclusion Smith announced that he will begin filming the long awaited sequel to his film “Mallrats”. The sequel which will begin shooting this winter in Pennsylvania centers on Brody played by Jason Lee attempting to save his beloved mall from terrorists. Shooting for the film will begin shortly after Christmas and casting for extras for the film will be announced via Facebook. Smith noted that this is the first of two movies he has planned to shoot in 2016 however he did not say what the other film would be. My hopes would be “Clerks 3” which Smith has said in previous panels he does plan to shoot. We are keeping our fingers crossed.

In between attempting to squeeze into the several desirable panels we wanted to cover we ventured to Artist Alley which is always a hot spot for those wanting to meet their favorite comic artists. Atop the rooms upper tier on this day was Seth Myers who had brought his set to the con and was interviewing attendees for a segment of his show “Late Night with Seth Myers”. This certainly added traffic to an already bustling room which showcased booths by some of today’s top artists including “Amazing Spider Man” artist Humberto Ramos, “Deadpool” writer Gerry Duggan, “Wonder Woman” artist David Finch and former Good Charlotte guitarist Billy Martin who is currently drawing for IDW’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

With time beginning to dwindle we made our way to the main convention floors which were packed not only with various vendors but every sort of cos-play character you could think of. We even managed to bump into a shoeless Thomas Jane who was attending the convention with his daughter. All the costumes and media personalities jamming the isles only added to the massive amounts of eye candy which were on display.

Everything from the latest in vinyl figures to endless amount of comic books both new and old was available for purchase or pre-order. Some of the bigger more impressive set ups included the always prevalent Midtown Comic’s and one by Pepsi who was on hand to promote the upcoming release of “Pepsi Perfect” the futuristic soda originally featured in the film “Back to the Future II”. The display was complete with sleek looking tables and counters which displayed the curvy bottles. To top it all off the display included its very own Delorian time machine flanked by none other than Marty and Doc Brown impersonators.

After an exhausting day of searching crowded aisles for numbered display booths, a thwarted attempt at getting a picture of the one and only Grumpy Cat and being shut out of several high profile panels we took account of all the positives we saw throughout the day despite the few negatives and made our way to the 7 train for our journey home. With final attendance be calculated at around 167,000 for the events four days it’s unsure if the Javitz Center will be able to handle the conventions continued growth. However with numbers which are rivaling San Diego Comic Con the future seems bright for the NY show and we couldn’t be happier to see it continue to grow.

Blu-ray Review “Escape from New York: Collector’s Edition”

Starring: Kurt Russell, Lee Van Cleef, Ernest Borgnine, Donald Pleasence, Isaac Hayes, Season Hubley
Director: John Carpenter
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: Shout! Factory
Release Date: April 21, 2015

Film: 4 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 4.5 out of 5 stars

When I thought to myself, “do I really need another edition of Escape from New York on Blu-ray”?, I quickly remember that this was being released from Shout! Factory and they give a lot of love to their releases. This film was previously released in 2010, but this new Collector’s Edition includes a new 2K scan of the inter-positive, struck from the original negative and a butt-load of new special features. This film is still a classic and a blast to watch. Kurt Russell is so iconic as Snake Plissken.

Official Premise: In a world ravaged by crime, the entire island of Manhattan has been converted into a walled prison where brutal prisoners roam. But when the US president (Donald Pleasence) crash-lands inside, only one man can bring him back: notorious outlaw and former Special Forces war hero Snake Plissken (Russell). But time is short. In 24 hours, an explosive device implanted in his neck will end Snake’s mission, and his life, unless he succeeds!

The Collector’s Edition of “Escape from New York” includes a nice improvement over the 2010 Blu-ray. with its 1080p transfer presented in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. I was expecting a little more from the new 2K scan but there was a nice improvement in quality from the previous release. I believe the same goes for the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, which sounds classic score by John Carpenter and Alan Howarth. Also included is a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track but the 5.1 is easily the winner here.

There are special features filled out on both discs. The first one features, a brand new audio commentary with Actress Adrienne Barbeau and Director of Photographer Dean Cundey. This is worth the purchase alone, love these two. There is also an audio commentary track both Director John Carpenter and Actor Kurt Russell, as well as another with audio commentary with Producer Debra Hill and Production Designer Joe Alves. Each track is amazing in its own way and worth checking out for any fan.

Disc two kicks off with a collection of high-def extras. “Big Challenges in Little Manhattan: The Visual Effects of Escape from New York” looks behind-the-scenes with some interviews with Dennis Skotak, Director of Photography of Special VFX and Robert Skotak, Unit Supervisor and Matte Artist. “Scoring the Escape: A Discussion with Composer Alan Howarth” chats with the composer on creating the sound for the film. “On Set with John Carpenter: The Images of Escape from New York” is a collection of work from Still Photographer Kim Gottlieb-Walker.

There are two more interview features, the first is “I Am Taylor: An Interview with Actor Joe Unger” and the second is My Night on Set: An Interview with Filmmaker David DeCoteau. There is a deleted scene for the original Opening Bank Robbery Sequence including optional commentary by John Carpenter and Kurt Russell. “Return to Escape from New York Featurette” is a cool vintage EPK with interviews. Lastly there are Theatrical Trailers and Photo Galleries included.

Convention Review “New York Comic Con 2014”

New York Comic Con 2014
Date: Thursday, October 9th – Sunday, October 12th
Venue: Jacob K. Javitz Center, New York, New York

Fall in New York City has a different meaning to the millions of people who scurry about the streets each day however for fans of Comics and Pop Culture fall means it’s time for Comic Con! The massive four day event which for the first time ever was preceded buy hero week set up shop at the Jacob K. Javitz center where over the course of the events four days more than 150,000 fans would walk the halls of the massive convention center. With those types of attendance numbers your probably wondering what makes this event so special. Well here is my account of what was going on throughout the day on Thursday of this year’s event.

After giving up on the non-existent free shuttle we hopped on the 2 train and then made our way on foot to the convention site. It seems as though the attendance for Thursday was a little underestimated as the convention staff all seemed a bit confused as to how things were supposed to be working for the coming weekend however after a brief security check we were finally able to make our way onto the event floor which even early on was bustling with activity and excitement. Thursdays in past years was always reserved for press and VIP ticket holders however this year single Thursday tickets were available. Cool if your fan, not as cool if you are trying to see everything and write a review. Though the added people certainly made getting around the venue a touch more difficult it wasn’t anything were weren’t prepared for.

Several big press conferences were scheduled for the day including those from toy creator Todd McFarlane and Marvel. McFarlane was on hand to announce the release of his newest brick building toy line. The line is based on AMC’s hit series “The Walking Dead” and feature several sets ranging in price from $9.99 for smaller sets and $64.99 for larger sets. Some of the display models on hand for viewing was “The Governor’s Room”, “The Prison Tower” and “Daryl Dixon and Chopper”. All of the sets we checked out lived up to the McFarlane name and you will certainly want to grab them when they become available in late October exclusively through Toys R Us. Next up we made our way through the never ending droves of cos-players to attend Marvel Comics announcement of their latest venture. Marvels Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada was on hand to announce “The Marvel Experience” a hyper reality traveling tour which puts fans directly in to the action of their favorite comics/movies. The traveling tour produced by Hero Ventures will feature seven domes housing state of the art displays and 4-D motion rides which throw you into the middle of a full on Hollywood scripted adventure. The first run of shows will start on December 15th in Scottsdale, AZ. The tour will also be making stops in Texas and California throughout the months of January, February and March with more dates/cities set to be announced in the near future.

It wouldn’t be a Comic Con unless we made a stop to Artist Alley and checked out all the amazing talent assembled for this year’s event. Though not as busy as the conventions main floor it was a nice break to be able to walk amongst the isles and see a lot of great work not only on display but also being created right before your eyes. Some of the bigger draws for Thursday were “Batman” artist Greg Capullo, DC Comics Jim Lee and Spiderman artist Humberto Ramos all garnered lines that required quite a bit of waiting. Those looking for rare variant covers and other hard to find comic pieces were certainly in their glory on this day.

Before heading back to the main floor we made a quick journey to the basement of the complex which was playing host to the autograph area along with countless panel viewing rooms and creative workshops. Probably the biggest draw for the panels this day was for that of Rooster Teeth which featured series creators Monty Oum and Kerry Shawcross along with the voice of “Yang” Barbara Dunkleman. The three were on hand to show some new and behind the scenes footage of “RWBY” Volume 2. On hand for autographs this day was Karl Urban, Kevin Conroy and Giancarlo Esposito to name just a few.

With only a few hours left in the day we ventured back to the main exhibit floor to check out some of the vendors on hand selling everything from comic books and graphic novels to clothing and other collectable memorabilia. New York’s own Midtown Comics continues to impress me year after year with their massive set up that has pretty much everything you can think of comic related. With booths all trying to make the most of their spaces none seem to rival Midtown. As we made our way through the tight and poorly labeled booths it was easy to become frustrated as finding smaller booths in the sea of heavy hitters made traversing the landscape of vendors a bit tiresome.

After a busy/tiring day we left this year’s Comic Con with full backpacks and big wish lists as it was impossible to buy everything we saw and wanted. Sadly the shuttle situation still had yet to be ironed out as convention staff still was clueless as to when or even where you could pick up the shuttle that they provided. As we shook our heads in disbelief we knew that it was time for the day to be over. Minus a few small hiccups New York Comic was once again a great time. Whether you had never been or are a long time attendee of the convention there is always something for everyone and 2014 had that and then some.

New York Film Fest “Birdman” Press Conference

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s reality-bending Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) closed the 52nd New York Film Fest this past Sunday. The film which opens on October 17th stars Michael Keaton as Riggan Thompson an actor trying to distance himself from an iconic superhero film franchise by starring and directing his own broadway production. Keaton’s huge cast of co-stars includes Edward Norton, Zach Galifianakis, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts, Amy Ryan, and Andrea Riseborough, all of whom joined the director at a press conference after the film at AMC Lincoln Center.

Much of the film revolves around Riggan’s struggle with his own identity versus his public image. Specifically he’s faced with a particularly vicious theatre critic whose sole objective is  to destroy Riggan’s show with her pen. Michael Keaton however maintained that he keeps himself in the dark when it comes to critics now. “This is where I’m really a dope” laughed Keaton who looked at reviews in his early days but not so much recently.  “I thought originally…you should be courageous and read everything and I did that a couple of times and I thought ‘well I’m not doing that anymore!’  Although he did add “Admittedly if someone says ‘hey you had a got nice review’ I’ll read it. I’m open to making myself feel better!” Addressing an entire auditorium of NYC critics he concluded “I think I’ve been treated basically fairly, I know I’m the wrong person to ask…There’s probably a lot of you out there going “Oh no you haven’t!”

           
British theatre actress Andrea Riseborough, who plays Riggan’s co-star also avoids critical reviews “because [she finds] them debilitating, not because [she doesn’t] respect them” Riseborough added that there’s a certain element of fear when it comes to actors encountering critics, rather than hostility, especially in the world of theatre. “You know, they saw Gambon doing his bit back in the day and now they’re going to come and see me. It makes me just want to shit myself!”
 Zach Galifianakis confidently chimed in “I’ve never had a bad review, so I’m not quite sure what you’re talking about. It sounds familiar. I’ve heard people talk about it. But I’ve never had one” cracking up his cast and the audience.

Naomi Watts compared some of her theatre experience to the unorthodox way Birdman was shot: “I can say, I haven’t done a huge amount of theatre, but just from back in the days when I was studying and you know, doing plays then, a lot of my nightmares revolve around being on the stage; And forgetting my lines, or having the wrong clothes on or no clothes at all. So it is that classic recurring nightmare. A lot in the way this film was shot, with this speed and the high stakes and the technicalities and the dependency on each other and the, also the effects, you know the props and things, the cameras, the lighting and the removing of tables and putting them back, you know all those things sort of created this high level intensity and pressure that felt sort of emblematic sort of how it feels on the stage.”

Soon to be joining Watts in stage experience is Emma Stone, who in November will replace Michelle Williams in the current broadway revival of Cabaret. I asked her how she felt between making this film about a movie star entering Broadway and now actually facing that in reality.
“Well, you know, I did write the character of Sally Bowles and I’m directing the production”  the Amazing Spider-man star laughed, then added  “No, I you know, of course this movie brings up a lot of horrible fears of coming into the broadway community and having a Tabitha [the film’s villainous critic]…it feels very different. But I will say that making this  movie and kind of what we had to contend with, as actors, in making something like this, all of the pieces that Naomi was talking about had to–you know, having the table moving out and needing to rely on each other  the way the company does, I think is incredibly helpful now going into theatre in that way and realizing that you’re you know you operate very much as a unit. We all operate as a unit. And in a lot of films it’s not that way at all. It’s a very separate experience. So yeah, I’m nervous as hell. I’m shitting myself!”

Director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu elaborated on the challenge he and DP Emmanuel Lubezki faced in shooting Birdman in mainly long contiunous shots. “Basically all the camerawork, all the blocking and all the lighting was pre-assigned in advance, months in advance. So there was no improvisation everything was precise, meticulously…Without the editing everything has to happen in the flow and then so you have to really get everything together…So the difficulty was the point of view–where this camera would be located to tell the story right. Who has to be in frame or not. Who has to be the listener…The challenge of that was that there was no lights, shooting film lights. Everything was practical lights and sometimes it was 360 degrees in tiny cooridors with guys with microphones. So all that thing that they’re talking about–the things moving and the ‘you have to be behind him’ and then you go under the legs of somebody and then crawl over the other side. It was kind of the kids playing a theatre play and the camera going around with this 17mm lens which is a wideshot. So every bit, every line, every open door has to be performed exactly the same…it has to be right.”

Actress Amy Ryan described this process as causing a “happy accident” whereby Keaton’s character had to be laying on a dressing room counter top in order to accommodate the camera manuevers “That was the only place really that worked best for every moving part in the scene, boom operator and [Lubezki], myself, Michael. And now I can’t think of a better choice for that, that’s exactly where he should be in that moment.”

Of course with a past Hulk, a Gwen Stacy and an iconic Batman in the room, the idea of the Superhero Film had to be raised with the cast and although the film is definitely not that, it doesn’t entirely shy away from some CGI effects. Keaton was pleased with this “When the special effects come in, I mean it’s just outta nowehere! And I totally dig it. I go yeah, there’s a little treat…A little megaplex action superhero movie dose for you right there…”
He and Edward Norton previewed some footage at New York Comic Con the evening before.  “Michael and I went over to New York Comic Con last night to do a little panel there,” said Norton, “and in the dark right before we went on I looked at Michael and said ‘do think this is the ultimate bait and switch?’ Can you imagine if you go to this actually thinking it’s a superhero movie?”

Birdman is now in limited theatrical release.

 

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First Time Fest Returns to New York City

FIRST TIME FEST a unique film festival celebrating first-time feature filmmakers, makes it’s triumphant return to the Big Apple next week, running from April 3-7.

 Aimed at discovering and providing exposure for the next generation of great filmmakers from around the world, FTF is a five-day event with a competition section showcasing new and exciting debut films as well as a series of screenings and discussions with now-prominent filmmakers presenting their first films and then mentoring the first-timers.  

In the words of Academy Award winning director Martin Scorsese, who presented Darren Aronofsky with the first John Huston Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cinema last year,  FTF  “is very, very important to encourage young filmmakers.”

FTF will present ten Competition Films, which will be judged by a panel of industry luminaries and the FTF audience. All of the films in competition at FTF are the very first feature of the writer, director, producer, editor, cinematographer or composer of each film.  All competition screenings will be followed by “Hot-Seat” discussions between the jury and filmmakers, and all audience members will vote on the films as well. Together, the jury and audience will ultimately select the Grand Prize winner, which is offered theatrical distribution and international sales representation from the renowned American film distributor, Cinema Libre Studio.  And with FTF’s new relationship with Scandinavian Locations – the consortium of Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish and Danish film commissioners – the winning filmmaker will also receive a trip to Norway and Sweden to spend a week at a writer’s cottage in Northern Sweden to work on their next project.  Scandinavian Locations will also be hosting our Filmmaker Kick-Off event on April 2 at NeueHouse.

FIRST TIME FEST also features a retrospective series called First Exposure which showcases the auspicious and ambitious debuts by artists who went on to become major filmmakers.  These screenings are highlighted by personal appearances by the filmmakers themselves.  This year’s  First Exposure series features the following filmmakers and films: our Opening Night director Jennie Livingston presenting Paris is Burning, Albert Maysles (Salesman), Julie Taymor (Titus), Michael Moore (Roger & Me), Kelly Reichardt (River of Grass), Cinematographer Frederick Elmes (Eraserhead), James Toback (Fingers), and Peter Bogdanovich (Targets).

 This year’s First Exposure program kicked-off on February 24th with an out-of-fest screening of Robert De Niro’s directorial debut, A Bronx Tale, followed by a conversation with Mr. De Niro and FTF Director of Programming David Schwartz. 

The Stand Alone series will feature incredible conversations with Peter Bogdanovich and Michael Moore on April 5 at 3.30pm at the Loews Village VII theatre.

A special panel, entitled Women in Entertainment and Media, is sponsored by the Royal Bank of Canada Wealth Management Group andwill include Brooke Shields, Daphne Rubin-Vega and Carol Alt.

For complete schedule and location of panels, please visit http://www.firsttimefest.com/panels/

 

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New York Comic Con: Main Stage Highlights

Photography by Elizabeth Phillips

            Media Mikes had an awesome time at the Main Stage of the Javit’s Center throughout this year’s New York Comic, here’s some of the highlights of the panels we enjoyed. Click on any of the banners to take a look at additional photos from each.

            Same as last year, the Adult Swim panels on NYCC’s Friday evening, Venture Brothers followed immediately by Robot Chicken, were hilarious. Doc Hammer and Jackson Publick brought no clips but assured the crowd of a great premiere of the next season of the show–chiefly because it was originally intended for the fifth season’s finale!

            The Q&A session featured much discussion of David Bowie and was capped off by a fan in an amazing Venture-covered dress being too nervous to ask Doc a question, “ARE YOU TOO NERVOUS TO DANCE WITH ME?” he replied before launching off the stage and sharing a short dance to, oddly enough “Greased Lightning” from Grease.

            Robot Chicken’s panel, or the meeting of the silly hats club,  was moderated by Adult Swim VP Keith Crofford and included co-creators Matt Senreich and Seth Green and actors Clare Grant, Breckin Meyer and, in his “annual public appearance”, Macauley Culkin. Later, Doc Hammer emerged from back stage for a bit of light streaking and group hugging that ended with Seth Green licking Doc’s nipple (“He tastes like Dr. Girlfriend!”)

            The Q&A with fans produced their now-traditional sexy pose request and a sudden rivalry between Meyer and a ten-year old audience member named Emmett, who came to the mic with a beef against Green’s new sitcom “Dads.”

            On Saturday, The Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. panel was light on cast and crew—moderator/executive producer Jeph Loeb spoke with the duo of Iain De Caestecker and Elizabeth Henstridge who play techies Fitz & Simmons on the show. A short Q&A was followed by a screening of the “Eye Spy” episode of the show. In the pre-screening talk, De Caestecker discussed his desire for his character to gain a pet monkey while Henstridge offered supervillain Loki as her favorite Avengers character.

            Also making showings on NYCC’s Saturday were three tween hit shows with MTV’s Teen Wolf and the CW’s Beauty and the Beast and Reign. The latter two screening full episodes which, admittedly had some of the audience impatiently shifting in their seats anxiously for the Walking Dead that evening–fans seated in the Main Stage are not cleared between panels–making waiting it out a popular option. Meanwhile, the Teen Wolf panel of Dylan O’brien, Linden Ashby, and Jeff Davis was one of the loudest of the day with a hugely enthusiastic crowd.

        Finally the people behind The Walking Dead took the stage to a huge reception from the crowd. An awesome surprise was Dead fan and Community star Yvette Nicole Brown moderating the panel. For a show about a zombie apocalypse, there was quite a bit of arguing over coupling on the show. On relationships in the show, Brown yelled at the crew, “You don’t have to put love in the show, we’ll put love in…we’ll add it in our minds!” From the fan Q&A, a young boy decked out as Daryl Dixon threw down a challenge to actors [Lauren Cohan and Steven Yuen], “Since Maggie is such a bad ass, do you really think she needs Glen to protect her?” 

Event Review “New York Comic Con” October 10-13, 2013

New York Comic Con
Date: Thursday, October 10th – Sunday, October 13th
Venue: Jacob K. Javitz Center, New York, New York

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

The annual New York Comic Con kapowed its way into the Jacob K. Javitz center once again this year for 4 days of fandom and craziness. From 10/10-10/14 the massive multi level convention center played host to the annual event which showcases everything from comics and video games, to pop culture icons and informative workshops. With 2012 convention attendance being reported as over 100,000 attendees for the 4 days this year’s events would easily be able to match if not top that number.

This year’s con featured a slightly different layout than that of previous years which proved to be a plus as several high traffic areas which normally wreaked havoc on fans were redesigned allowing for smooth passage to the different areas of the venue. This also included the entrances of the venue which saw expansive security fencing and added staff to help keep fans from spilling over into the bustling streets surrounding the hall. These two changes right off the bat made my time at the convention a lot better and a lot less sweaty. (If you have ever experienced the con you know what I mean). Though the convention seemed smaller than that of previous year there was certainly still plenty to keep fans busy over the 4 days. On the main convention floor fans were treated to impressive booth displays by Nintendo, Ubisoft and New York’s own Midtown Comics which all played host to a number of cool merchandise. As my assistant and I made our through the packed isles we stumbled across a number of different media personalities. Charlie Adlard of “Walking Dead” fame was spotted working commission pieces, Claudio Sanchez of Coheed and Cambria/ Evil Ink was signing for fans as were a number of other guests though out the event. To the left of the main hall was “The Block” which like in previous years was home to a bevy of multi medium artists who were on hand showcasing their newest works and products. Once again you never know who you will run in to as this time around I was lucky enough to meet punk icon Jerry Only of the Misfits who was on hand for the unveiling of the new Misfits Records logo.

Artist Alley was a buzz of excitement as hardcore comic fans filed in to meet their favorite artists and have their most prized books signed. Some of the longest lines on Friday belonged to the likes of artists Aaron Kuder (Amory Wars, Amazing Spiderman), Humberto Ramos (Superior Spiderman, Uncanny X-Men) and David Finch of “The Dark Knight” and “JLA” fame. There was certainly lots of talent on hand in this area of the convention which in my opinion was like a whole other convention in its self.

The Autographing area which much like last year still seemed worlds away from the constant bustle and activity happening on the main floor however a break from the crowd noise is always nice. On this day the longest lines belong to “The Office” star BJ Novak, “Star Wars” Anthony Daniels and “Dr. Who’s” Colin Baker. It wouldn’t be until Saturday/Sunday that the Hollywood heavy weights would turn out as booths laid in waiting for the likes of Sigourney Weaver, Chloe Grace Moretz and Sylvester Stallone who after a bit of research I found out was charging $395 per autograph and an additional $445 for a photo! Yes you read that right.

Also in the same vicinity as the autograph area was the always popular panel viewing rooms. Everyone from AMC’s “Comic Book Men” to the 25th anniversary of “Child’s Play” had events going on in one of the various rooms. Probably two of the biggest events for this day would be the “Comic Book Men” panel hosted by none other than Kevin Smith himself and the 10th anniversary panel for “The Walking Dead” comic which featured creator Robert Kirkman. Featured panels for the weekend included talks with “Robot Chicken”, “The League” and AMC’s hit series “The Walking Dead” which featured a majority of the cast.

Though this year’s event seemed a bit scaled back in the way of big celebrity guests other than the above mentioned and the main floor seemed lacking in several big name companies many of which are on the verge of major releases (Sony PS4 and Xbox 720 where both nowhere to be found) NYCC 2013 was a great time. Both my assistant and I were left shell shocked by all in which we took in and will probably use the time between this year’s event and next year’s event just to re-cooperate we certainly can’t wait to do it all over again in 2014.

Kevin Smith talks “Clerks III” and “Tusk” during 2013 New York Comic Con

Media Mikes had the pleasure of attending the AMC “Comic Book Men” panel held during this year’s Comic Con Convention in New York on Oct. 10-13. The panel featured show creator Kevin Smith along with cast members Brian Johnson, Walter Flanningan, Ming Chen and Michael Zapcic. Though the panel was originally meant to discuss season 2 of the hit AMC show the audience quickly turned it into their opportunity to grill Smith about a few of his other upcoming projects, namely “Clerks III” which Kevin had this to say.

Kevin Smith: “Clerks III” is currently going well enough to where the script is done and we are just waiting on finding our money. In an effort to keep my mind off of worrying about finding money for that movie I wrote this film titled “Tusk”. That is what I am going to be doing next. In a few weeks I will be heading to North Carolina to start filming. The film stars Justin Long and Michael Parks and it’s basically about a kid trying to turn another kid into a walrus. The film is based off of a UK add on a Gumtree website where there was actually a guy who made up this hoax about a person looking for someone to wear a walrus costume they made. The hoax was done by a guy named Chris Parkinson who we reached out to and actually made a producer on the film. Without his dopey idea I wouldn’t have come up with this. So while waiting on the money for “Clerks III” which I wanted to take to Sundance as it will be the 20th anniversary of the first “Clerks” films things were looking less and less likely so I wrote this stupid walrus movie. I wrote it in about 20 days under the mindset of not really wanting to make a movie but if I had to what would I want to see. I loved Michael Parks in “Red State” so I just built this around him with the idea that it would make it easy for me to sit on set for weeks and weeks as I would get to watch Michael work. When I got the script done it was like pornography and Michael Parks. (Laughs) We just pushed the ideas we had and thanks to some really good weed we said “fuck it” and tried pretty much everything. Over the next couple of months this film started to become more real than “Clerks III”. This is a much smaller scaled film that is easier to get in and out of. “Tusk” has now taken the place of “Clerks III” at Sundance this year as I thought fans would want to see something different rather than just more “Clerks”. We will still be doing “Clerks III” however not until March or April of 2014. I hope to have it done for the 20th anniversary as the original film came out in October of 1994. All of the crew from “Comic Book Men” will be in this film as could most of the people here in this room. “Clerks III” is going to be a massive fucking movie! I say that without a hint of irony.

New York Film Festival Review “12 Years a Slave”

Starring: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong’o, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano
Directed By: Steve McQueen
Fox Searchlight
Rated: R
Running Time: 133 minutes

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

As evidenced by his first two features, Hunger and Shame, director Steve McQueen is fearless in his approach to difficult subject matters. The same is true here in his unflinching and unforgettable third feature, 12 Years a Slave.

The film is based on the true life account of Solomon Northup (played by Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free black man in New York who was deceived and sold into a life of slavery from 1841 to 1853. The film opens with Northup already in this role working on a sugar cane plantation and then brings us back to his family life in New York leading up to his deception. The men who will eventually drug and betray him come in the form of Brown and Hamilton, played by Scoot McNairy and Taran Killam, who offer Solomon the promise of violin work in Washington DC. The whole sequence is reminiscent of a sort of hellish version of Pinocchio being lead off by the circus folk and it plays out with a dreadful inevitability that left my stomach churning. When Solomon is awoken in chains, Ejiofor’s bewilderment is heart-wrenching as he struggles between fighting for his identity and recognizing how powerless he’s just been rendered.

Ejiofor is at the center of an embarrassment of acting talent throughout this film with even smaller roles occupied by the likes of Brad Pitt, Michael K Williams, Paul Giamatti, Paul Dano, and last year’s Oscar nominee Quvenzhané Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild). Benedict Cumberbatch has a key role as Ford, Northrup’s first owner. Ford is initially presented as a sympathetic man, even seen as such by Solomon himself, but the way McQueen and screenwriter John Ridley disillusion us of the very notion of this idea is masterful. For all Ford’s sympathetic looks and guilt about the institution he is undoubtably a part of, he will still allow a family to be split at auction and won’t hear a word of Solomon’s story despite recognizing his intelligence. Actions speak louder than words and under Ford, Solomon still suffers through some of the harshest tortures in the film. Including selling Solomon off again to the monstrous Edwin Epps in the film’s final act.

Coming from both Hunger and Shame, Michael Fassbender successfully reteams with director McQueen again as Epps. Fassbender is fascinating to watch as his character rages against his slaves with frightening conviction he backs up with biblical scripture. He is further driven to violence by his complete inability to deal with his unhinged infatuation with his most productive slave girl, Patsey (incredible newcomer Lupita Nyong’o).

Truly however the film belongs to Chiwetel Ejifor who imbues Northup with an unwavering determination to not only survive his ordeal, but as he says, to live. To not give into despair. Moreover when it comes to his re-emancipation, we feel the weight of the time lost as much as the relief of freedom.

12 Years A Slave opens is now playing , I screened it as part of the 51st New York Film Festival, you can read our red carpet coverage from the event with an interview from the film’s star Michael Fassbender.