It’s an oft-repeated complaint that comic book conventions, like the San Diego Comic-Con and this weekend’s New York Comic Con, have very little to do with comic books. Of course, this complaint has grown a bit tiresome since comic cons have featured movie and TV guests for decades. It’s just that now people with active careers actually attend instead of, say, Jimmie Walker or Yahoo Serious. (What’s that guy doing right now? Whatever came of his lawsuit against the search engine that shares his name?)
Besides, are geeks really going to complain about getting to meet Felicia Day in between scouring for Hawkeye back issues? Peanut butter and chocolate go great together and so do comic books and former Babylon 5 cast members. Still, when you open the gates to stuff like Person of Interest, eventually some things that have no business being at a comic book or sci-fi or geek culture or whatever we’re calling it these days convention seep in. Take a look at a few of the stranger offerings at this year’s New York Comic Con.
Augmented Reality: Arizona’s The Soda Shaq Hoops Game App
We’ll be honest – we may have had a stroke at some point while reading the title of this panel. Ostensibly the unveiling of an app that lets you try to score against Shaq, this is really just a big ad for Arizona disguised as a preview of a “fun” game. Perhaps they’ll finally reveal why Shaq Soda tastes like liquid sadness.
Autograph Signing with Steve Wilkos of The Steve Wilkos Show
Steve Wilkos used to yell at people on TV when he was Jerry Springer’s security guard, and he currently has his own daytime talk show where he yells at people because talk shows are cheap and someday everyone will be required to have one in exchange for our daily allotment of clean water from the Mole People. Pretty much every episode of The Steve Wilkos Show is about child abuse, and a recurring segment features accused abusers taking a polygraph test on television. So you can see how his appearance makes total sense at a convention that also features a panel called “Quidditch Training for Kids.” Though we’ll excuse it if we see a Chewbacca hooked up to the polygraph.
Joel Grey Autographing
All due respect to Broadway legend and Cabaret star Joel Grey, but we’re pretty sure even he is confused as to why he’s signing autographs surrounded by people dressed in Deadpool costumes.
We’re really hard-pressed to find anything in Mr. Grey’s filmography that is even remotely geeky outside of an appearance on an episode Warehouse 13 and his role as Chiun, the Korean martial arts master who trained the titular hero in 1985’s Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins. Hold up – turns out his daughter, Jennifer “The Baby Who Was Put in the Corner” Grey, is married to Clark Gregg. So clearly his appearance is all part of Marvel’s desperate plan to get you to watch Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Will.I.Am’s Wizards and Robots
We would like to think that this is just an hour of the Black Eyed Peas frontman arguing with fanboys about who would win in a fight between Gandalf and Optimus Prime, but unfortunately it’s a panel promoting a comic book that he slapped his name on–er, cowrote for publisher IDW. Raise your hand if you can remember the last time a comic with a celebrity’s name in the title was any good. Put your hand down, Chuck Norris.
Mission in a Bottle: From Honest Tea to a Graphic Novel
Yes, the guys behind the Honest Tea line of beverages wrote a graphic novel. We’ll let the panel description do the heavy lifting on this one: How do two men with a vision for a healthy, lightly sweetened beverage bring it to market and start a small business that eventually becomes a multi-million dollar company? And once they do that, how do they turn their story into a graphic novel that is not only an informative book on small business start-ups but a funny story about two guys learning how to brew vats of tea? Hopefully the chairs at NYCC are sturdy, because anyone attending this panel will literally be on the edge of their seat. Seriously, what’s the deal with all the beverage tie-in panels? It’s not like the con is full of a bunch of sweaty people in heavily padded Bioshock suits who could be easily persuaded to sit through a presentation about a promotional comic book in exchange for a free bottle of sugary iced tea.
Gary Sohmers of Antiques Roadshow
We’re sure there’s someone out there who wants an autograph from the host of the PBS mainstay Antiques Roadshow. And that one person will be standing in line for hours while everyone else tries to get Sohmers to appraise their CHiPs Mego doll.
Graig Weich of Beyond Comics and Ice Loves Coco
Graig Weich is the founder of Beyond Comics, a company known for putting D-list celebrities like Coco and Gary “Baba Booey” Dell’Abate into their comics in the hopes of getting some free press. It’s basically the comic book equivalent of putting the words “Miley Cyrus twerking” in your list-icle. (Hi, everyone from Google!) Why Graig is a featured guest at the con is anyone’s guess, but it’s probably due to the fact that his booth is constantly swarmed with creepy dudes trying to get a photo taken with Adrianne Curry. Or maybe they’re trying to get a look at Graig’s sweet jacket. No, it’s definitely Curry.