10 Best Things We Saw and Heard at New York Comic Con - Rolling Stone
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10 Best Things We Saw and Heard at New York Comic Con

Cosplay all-stars, ‘Walking Dead’ cast members, the original Karate Kid — here are the highlights of this year’s premier east-coast geekathon


New York Comic Con

Mireya Acierto

New York Comic Con may lack the cultural heft of its West Coast counterpart, but for superfans of all stripes, it's still the best time to be had on this side of the continent. And the 2014 edition even surpassed San Diego's Comic-Con International in size: This past weekend, the Javits Center bulged with 151,000 attendees, well above San Diego's 130,000.

And for the costumed and obscure-T-shirt-wearing masses, this year's iteration did not disappoint. We fought off the undead, tussled with Mike Tyson and the Karate Kid, came face to face with a 15,000-pound battle bot, and lived to tell the tale. Here's what we learned in our wanderings.

Cary Elwes of 'The Prince Bride'

Mireya Acierto

Cary Elwes on ‘The Princess Bride’

The Dread Pirate Roberts himself showed up on Sunday to talk about his behind-the-scenes book, called — what else? — As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales From the Making of the Princess Bride. Elwes was every bit as sweet and hammy as you'd hope he'd be from your childhood Westley crush. He told on-set tales about André the Giant being a total sweetheart ("He'd give you the shirt off his back! It'd be enough for five people.…") and farting so loudly during filming that "some of the crew thought there was an earthquake." Elwes also did impressions of everyone from Rob Reiner to Fat Albert, talked about sword fighting with a broken toe, and gave a hug to a woman in the Q&A line who had a brain tumor. Awww.

Walking Dead

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 11: (L-R) Actors Andrew Lincoln, Steven Yeun, Lauren Cohan, Michael Cudlitz, Danai Gurira, Melissa McBride, Chad L. Coleman, Sonequa Martin-Green and Norman Reedus attend AMC's 'The Walking Dead' panel at 2014 New York Comic Con Day 3 at Jacob Javitz Center on October 11, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Stewart/WireImage)

Michael Stewart/WireImage/Getty

Behind the New Season of ‘The Walking Dead’

"It's like a Beatles concert here!" moderator (and Talking Dead host) Chris Hardwick exclaimed over the teenybopper-esque screams of fans at the panel for AMC's zombie drama. He's not wrong — it was easily the biggest draw at this year's NYCC, timed as it was a day before the show's Season Five premiere and with most of the cast in attendance. Creator Robert Kirkman promised that the new season will hew closer to his comics, and executive producer Gale Anne Hurd added that it's going to be "kick-ass, utterly relentless and totally heartbreaking." And it seems like the actors are into The Walking Dead as much as the fans. Melissa McBride, who plays the take-no-prisoners Carol, got choked up when she was talking about her character's growth on the show; we're just glad she got everyone the hell out of Terminus.

Star Trek

Mireya Acierto

The Shenanigans of ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’

What do you do when Captain Picard is a no-show? Call in his crew, of course. Hours before a solo spotlight panel, Sir Patrick Stewart suddenly cancelled — so the NYCC brass managed to wrangle fellow TNGers Worf (Michael Dorn), Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis) and Tasha Yar (Denise Crosby). The trio reminisced about on-set antics, including when they stole props from the Paramount lot to decorate their shabby trailers. Dorn hypothesized about the violence that would ensue if Worf were ever made captain of the Enterprise: "Forget about the stun setting. Stun is for weenies." But the highlight of the panel was Sirtis, who in contrast to her beatifically calm character, is hilariously prickly in real life. "If you're gonna heckle, honey, enunciate," she snapped at a loudmouth in the audience. "Before I was Deanna Troi, I was a soccer hooligan. So watch it."


Mireya Acierto

Giant Battle Robots — Coming Soon to a Kickstarter Near You

Ever wish Pacific Rim or Neon Genesis Evangelion were real? (You're reading about New York Comic Con right now, so of course you do.) Three guys from Massachusetts — Andrew Stroup, Matt Oehrlein and Gui Cavalcanti — are out to make your mecha dreams come true with MegaBot, a 15-foot-tall humanoid robot complete with a two-person cockpit. They brought their partially finished creation — the MegaBot Mark I — to a primo spot in the Javits Center atrium to show off its rotating torso and moving arm. Their eventual goal? Build more than one of these things, mount paintball cannons on the arms, and have them fight each other. If you're as all in on this idea as we are, keep an eye out for the MegaBots Kickstarter, which'll launch at the end of October.

Triumph the dog

Mireya Acierto

Adult Swim Resurrects Mike Tyson and Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog

Two great American antiheroes — crabby canine hand puppet Triumph and face-tattooed heavyweight champ Mike Tyson — are getting a second chance at stardom on cable's most unabashedly absurd network. Triumph (and the man whose arm he's attached to, Robert Smigel) appeared alongside his costar, Jack "Kenneth Parcell" McBrayer, to talk about their new live-action buddy sitcom. Triumph dressed down everyone in sight before Smigel took over, rounding things out with a sweet tribute to his former SNL costar, the recently deceased Jan Hooks. (And yes, Conan fans — Blackwolf the Dragonmaster was on hand, too.) For his part, Mike Tyson stole the show while promoting his upcoming Scooby Doo–esque adventure cartoon, Mike Tyson Mysteries. He seemed delightfully at home among the Comic Con crowd, complete with trademark off-his-gourd comments. Before being offered the show, he said he'd thought that Adult Swim was a place where "rich white guys go into this exotic lake and become young, like Cocoon."

Attendees of NY Comic Con

Mireya Acierto

It’s All About the Cosplay

You could skip every panel and exhibition at NYCC and still be utterly entertained, thanks to the thousands of attendees who show up decked out in elaborate homemade homages to their favorite characters. This year's most popular costumes: Queen Elsa from Frozen, the Winter Soldier from Captain America, many varietals of Doctor Who and his TARDIS, and oh so many Jokers and Harley Quinns. There were also some impressively elaborate Groots from Guardians of the Galaxy, motley assemblages of Game of Thrones characters, and legions of Attack on Titan Survey Corps. Then there was the bizarre: a whole parade of Deadpools, life-size Lego Avengers, a two-headed, hooded monster with giant white hands for feet — and, most mystifying of all, a guy whose face was made out of puppies. That's right, puppies.

Women of Marvel Comics

Mireya Acierto

Women Are Slowly Taking Over Marvel Comics

Sexism runs depressingly rampant in the comic-book industry. (Don't even get us started on gamer culture.) But it was hard to not feel hopeful at Sunday's "Women of Marvel" panel, in which almost 20 ladies who write, draw and edit comics gathered onstage to talk about the future. Among them were Kelly Sue DeConnick and G. Willow Wilson, who are responsible for current superheroine titles Captain Marvel and Ms. Marvel, respectively. The tone of the panel was downright evangelical, encouraging women to get more involved in the comics world and help turn the tables. DeConnick had a rousing message for any would-be female creators in the audience: "You need to start. You need to start now. Be brave. Do it." In the meantime, there are more by-ladies-starring-ladies titles in the offing, including a series about green-skinned assassin Gamora by Guardians of the Galaxy screenwriter Nicole Perlman, and a Black Widow YA novel penned by Margaret Stohl (Beautiful Creatures).

Matt Ryan as John Constantine

CONSTANTINE -- "Pilot" -- Pictured: Matt Ryan as John Constantine -- (Photo by: Quantrell Colbert/NBC)

Quantrell Colbert/NBC

Sneak Peek at NBC’s ‘Constantine’

DC Comics has been rolling out the TV adaptations lately, from Fox's Gotham to the CW's The Flash — and the next big one is Constantine, based on noir-horror comic Hellblazer. NYCCers got an advance look at the pilot (out October 24), which stars Welsh actor Matt Ryan as the titular demon-exorcising detective. The show looks to have the budget for all kinds of splashy effects — look for rings of fire and walls of cockroaches — even if the plot and script are pretty boilerplate. Still, Ryan is appropriately snarky and smouldery in the lead role. And a post-show Q&A revealed that showrunner David S. Goyer totally gets the character: When asked what's special about John Constantine, the screenwriter replied, "He's a bastard." Goyer also teased the appearances of Hellblazer villains Papa Midnite and Corrigan in the show's future.

Broad City

Lane Savage

‘Broad City’ Live Commentary

Comedy Central's anarchic Brooklyn-lady comedy isn't the most obvious subject for a Comic Con pane— no dragons, robots or zombies involved — but this turned out to be one of the weekend's most fun sessions. Writer-stars Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer boogied their way into the room to Missy Elliott's "Work It," which most definitely set a tone. From there, they fielded questions about their dream guest stars (Lucille Ball and Idris Elba) and how much of the real Abbi and Ilana show up in Broad City Abbi and Ilana ("It's, like, 15 percent of ourselves blown up to the full 100 percent," said Glazer). The duo did live commentary on the Season One episode "Fattest Asses," then aired an unedited clip from next season, which doesn't premiere until January. All we'll say is that it takes place at a Bed, Bath and Beyond, and that Ilana's boy toy Lincoln (Hannibal Buress) may run a pasta blog called "The Al Dente Dentist."

Ralph Macchio, Billy Zabka and Martin Kove of 'Karate Kid'

Mireya Acierto

‘The Karate Kid’ Mini-Reunion

No, not the lame Jackie Chan remake — we're talking the original Karate Kid, the one with the Survivor soundtrack and Mr. Miyagi catching flies with chopsticks. Ralph Macchio, Billy Zabka and Martin Kove showed up to look back on the film's 30-year legacy, and to talk about how awesome the late, great Pat Morita was. Zabka recalled sitting in his dad's Volvo listening to Zebra right before his audition, to pump himself up, and Macchio said that director John G. Avildsen used to refer to he and his costar, a very young Elisabeth Shue, as "the strawberry shortcake and the gannoli." As for Kove, who played the movie's villainous sensei, he joked that he has Sweep the leg written in blood over his bed. We're apt to believe him.

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