From ‘Velma’ to ‘Midnight Club:’ Hunter’s Top 5 NYCC Experiences

From ‘Velma,’ ‘The Midnight Club,’ and ‘Violent Night,’ Hunter breaks down his top five moments from New York Comic Con.

After months of anticipation, New York Comic-Con has come and gone. Four incredible, lovely, tiring days of being a professional nerd. If one were to tell my younger self he was attending events like NYCC as a member of the press, that little guy would explode with excitement. It’s an honor, and every moment spent sprinting around the convention center is one worth talking about. However, we have neither the time nor the patience to discuss every second, so I’ve narrowed it down to my top five experiences instead. Creating a list like this is difficult when so much of the weekend was such a good time, so don’t take it as a condemnation of anything that didn’t make the cut. It’s really just the highlight reel for a perfect game.

5. Cosplayers

I love other nerds, so getting to see and talk to them is always going to make the list. I’ve been to quite a few conventions in my day, and if I’m being honest, this year’s NYCC might have been one of the most impressive when it came to fan creativity and cosplay. Every day, the costumes roaming the show floor seemed to become more and more complicated. Many were striking enough to stop me in my tracks. There were giant functioning robot suits, perfect renderings of classic comic looks, hilarious combinations of characters that most would never think to put together, and even one or two people who defied gravity. I saw a man floating and I’m still not sure how he did it.

The communal love we show each other at places like NYCC, as people with a common interest, is so inspiring. I found this to be especially true at the Marvel booth’s cosplay contest, where dozens upon dozens of folks dressed as every Marvel character a person could think of gathered to celebrate one another. There was no hostility or jealousy. Just a lot of compliments and happy reunions.

4. The George Lucas Talk Show

I’m a sucker for comedy and a lover of Star Wars. Therefore, showing up for a live recording of The George Lucas Talk Show at NYCC was a given. For those outside the know, this a satirical show in which comedian Connor Ratliff dresses up as Star Wars creator George Lucas and interviews real celebrities with deadpan delivery. It’s sort of a niche little corner of fandom to find yourself in, but if you like absurdist humor, it comes highly recommended.

The George Lucas Talk Show records an episode at NYCC every year, using the event to secure top Star Wars talent as guests. This time, they managed to secure Mandalorian stuntmen Brendan Wayne and Lateef Crowder, as well as Aphra comic writer Alyssa Wong and show regular Zach Cherry – who exists more in the world of Marvel than the galaxy far, far away. Belly laughs were aplenty, especially when Wayne admitted that Din Djarin is “never nude,” and the recording was a great little break from the chaos of the show floor.

3. The Midnight Club

I’ve loved Mike Flanagan’s work for years. He’s easily one of the best horror creatives currently shaping the genre. So, it was my great pleasure to see him and the entire cast of The Midnight Club take the stage at NYCC for the world premiere of his latest Netflix series. Watching horror with a crowd is so much fun, and the delightful Q&A that followed was even better. The cast and crew were brought onstage alongside a choir of mysterious, hooded, candle-carrying figures, with the lights dimmed all the way down. A theatrical touch I greatly appreciated.

I was also there in person to see Flanagan and his team awarded the Guinness World Record for Most Jump Scares in an episode of television. Not only did it make for a great laugh, but now I’m able to check “watch someone receive a world record” off my bucket list. A little two-for-one special at one of the convention’s most underrated panels. Make sure you watch the show, it’s worth it!

2. Velma

My time at NYCC began with coverage for Velma, the upcoming animated adult comedy from The Office star Mindy Kaling. Before the Main Stage panel began, I had to opportunity to attend the project’s press room, which meant I was lucky enough to share space with Kaling herself as she answered a variety of questions from the journalists in the room. This was exciting in and of itself, but it was Kaling’s genuine kindness and clear joy that really made it so memorable. It was only my second time in a convention press room, and it was all so warm and welcoming.

Of course, things only got better once the actual panel started. The casting announcements were a surprise for me, and I almost dropped out of my seat when Sam Richardson and Glenn Howerton’s faces appeared onstage. Those of us in attendance were also treated to a screening of the series’ first episode, which was wonderful from start to finish. I wasn’t sure what to expect from Velma going in, but it was definitely not a disappointment. Now, I consider it one of the best moments from the entirety of my time at Javits Center.

1. Violent Night

I never would have expected this going into the convention, but the World Premiere screening of Tommy Wirkola’s Violent Night was probably the most fun I had during all four days. Starring David Harbour as Santa Claus, the film sees jolly old Saint Nicholas mercilessly tearing through a group of trained hitmen on Christmas Eve. This isn’t the space for a review, but I can say witnessing that madness with the cast and crew sitting beside me, and a theater full of screaming fans, was an absolute blast. There’s something special about living through the magic that is a large group being insanely happy in unison.

A member of the cast sat behind me during the showing, and hearing the hoots and hollers from his family during key moments was fulfilling and sustaining. Screaming, laughing, and cheering with all my fellow horror fans was a ride. Sitting in the first few rows, and being only feet from Harbour and John Leguizamo as they introduced the screening, was a very warm feeling. One of those experiences that reminds me why I’m doing what I do.

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