Jason Borelli went to Big Apple Comic Con for Bleeding Cool
Traditionally, the Big Apple Comic Con (a.k.a. Big Apple Con; f.k.a. New York Comic Book Marketplace) is the first show of the year for me. I wound up attending the Black Comic Book Festival in January. I went to Harlem for the weekend, took a lot of pictures, met various creators, and had a good time. But I didn’t get to spend an extravagant amount of money. Well, extravagant for me, anyway.
While BACC does pale to the spectacle of New York Comic Con, it is a traditional trek for me from Staten Island. Once again, it took place at Penn Plaza Pavilion in Manhattan, across the street from Penn Station and Madison Square Garden. I am good with going out early in the year, especially since the weather is a bit of a crap shoot these days. It wound up being unbearable cold, which meant layers for me. That translated to freezing outside and sweating indoors. On the bright side, at least BACC beat out an impending snowstorm. My main problem with the timing was that it was scheduled on the weekend the clocks went forward by one hour. That’s probably not an issue if you’re from out of town and staying nearby. For me, that meant an hour’s less sleep so that I can make the trip. It’s by mass transit, but the show’s organizers could have picked a better date.
The good news was that show did not feel congested. The show expanded to the 18th floor of the Hotel Pennsylvania, and that is where the celebrity guests are placed. I was concerned as the date got closer because Stan Lee was scheduled to make an appearance. And then Frank Miller was added a short time before the show. And then Stan Lee canceled for health reasons, and Jim Lee took his place on short notice. I am not a huge fan of either (I keep meaning to get the rest of DK3), but I figured it would be a mob scene. Instead, the trip from the main show floor to the elevators going up wasn’t a hassle. I didn’t get any autographs from the various celebrities, whom I cannot disparage even if their diehard fans are a devoted few. Barbara Eden from I Dream Of Jeannie was there. Her table sold replica genie bottles based off the show for at least $199. Hey, you have to make money somewhere. Here’s the website if you’d like to gawk.
I spent most of my time on the show floor, obtaining sketches for my collection. Because I am not currently employed (believe me, I’m trying to remedy that), I did not try to go for three figures in one shot. The baseline price for most artists was around $50-60. I tried to get good deals, but I spent a lot in the process.
On the bright side, I managed to add two “names”: Scott Koblish (who did Itsy Bitsy from Spider-Man/Deadpool for me) and Howard Chaykin (head-and-shoulders Aquaman from Kingdom Come at a surprisingly affordable price).
Also, I received my tenth sketch from Kristen Gudsnuk, whose star has been on the rise for her work with her work on Henchgirl. The funniest part was her telling me that I may have been the first person to ask for a commission: Sara Lance-as-Black Canary from Arrow at the same location three years ago.
While the turnout was not as big as NYCC, BACC did have some sweet cosplay action. Harley Quinn is always a favorite in her various incarnations. The best part is that you never know what characters you’ll encounter at any given show. For instance, somebody came as Forbush Man. Really. For anime/manga fans, I was stunned at a duo playing Beerus and Whis from Dragon Ball Super. And if a show is big enough, I’ll always see Trafalgar Law from One Piece. It has to be the hat. He has a sweet hat.
I only hit one panel: a history of Captain Marvel in comics in its various incarnations from multiple companies. Roy Thomas was there because of his work on the Marvel Comics book with Gil Kane, as was Jackson Bostwick, who played the “classic” Captain on Shazam! Bostwick told the story on how he was injured performing a stunt, and he wound up getting fired because of it, eventually winning an arbitration case and receiving full payment for that season and residuals. I imagine he has told this story at many shows, but he did not seem like he was going through the motions. While I cannot consciously remember any specific episodes of Shazam!, I paid attention to Bostwick and Thomas as they talked about their experiences on the characters with the same name.
There isn’t much to add. While BACC seems to pale in direct comparison to NYCC, it still manages to be relevant. Even with the crowds, the atmosphere is a little homier due to its size. I started my weekend listening to Howard Chaykin hold court as he worked on drawings, including Razorback from Marvel.
Even though I wasn’t bent to experiencing everything the show had to offer, I had a fun time.