NYCC: Day 2 Recap
Friday was the first day of New York Comic Con that was open to the majority of the general public (those who paid extra for VIP passes got access for a little while on Thursday), and my was it busy. The Javits Convention Center was packed to the gills with cosplayers, creators, fanpersons (we are nothing if not PC at NNAR), and even us humble members of the press. While we aren’t able to be everywhere at once, we did try to get around and see what we anticipated to be some of the cooler stuff today. Check out the highlights after The Jump.
Batman: Arkham City
Any day that starts with Batman is a good day, and by that measure this was a great day. The Batman: Arkham City panel started with a screening of the official launch trailer, that featured (deep breath) Batman, Robin, Catwoman, Hugo Strange, Two-Face, The Riddler, The Joker, Harley Quinn, The Penguin, Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy, Bane, Talia Al Gul, The Calendar Man, Zsasz, Solomon Grundy, and… yeah. Everyone, basically. And they’re all going to be more or less active characters in the game. My head hurts just thinking about it, and the best part is that there are still yet more characters to be revealed only after the launch of the game. Rocksteady Game Director Sefton Hill confirmed that there will be downloadable content playable as both Nightwing and Robin (that’s Tim Drake’s Robin, to be clear). Claudio Sanchez, front-man of Coheed and Cambria, talked about his band’s contribution to the companion album, and also nearly started crying as he described just how much he loves Batman. No criticism from us, Claudio; only solidarity. We freaking love Batman, too.
Perhaps the highlight of the panel for me (other than hearing Kevin Conroy speak – I would pay to hear that on end and just imagine I was hanging out with Batman) was comments from Nick Arundel, the game’s audio director. He talked about the most difficult noise to produce – what he and his cohorts came to call the “Wha-chunk!” sound of Batman’s gliding cape opening up. I’m totally gonna shout that at random times. He also talked about how he composed the character theme for Batman, and then how the theme for the Joker is nearly identical except for one different note, and the theme for Catwoman is as if the Batman theme is being played upside-down. Integrating character relations into the music is an absurd detail that speaks to the incredible care and dedication that I’m beginning to think will show through in every aspect of this game when it comes out on Tuesday and takes over my life.
Dark Horse Extravaganza
With such a wonderfully varied roster of titles and creators, the Dark Horse Presents panel was sure to be interesting at the very least. Editor Scott Allie and PR Director Jeremy Atkins led the discussion, which for quite some time was more of an overview of what Dark Horse will be putting out both in their Dark Horse Presents anthology series and in other series. We heard from Tom Morello and Scott Hepburn, writer and artist of the new series Orchid. Tom Morello had some interesting comments that made me think of the series in a different way, and you’ll be hearing about that in my forth-coming review. We also heard about Eric Powell’s contribution to DHP #5, a short piece called “Isolation” that is apparently about robots masturbating (this is why they pay him the big bucks, folks). Powell will be putting out more issues of The Goon in the coming months, and apparently, since he already made fun of “sparkly vampires” recently, he’ll be mocking superheroes and old people next. Bring on the mockery.
Brian Wood was also on the panel, talking about his new series The Massive, which will start as a story in Dark Horse Presents but will soon have its own book. We got a sneak peek in a give-away at the end of the panel – this thing looks cool, and I’m excited to read more and then let you all know if it’s worth plunging into the series.
Batman: Year One
In case you didn’t know, this coming Tuesday is Batman Day (though several jurisdictions make every Tuesday Batman Day, living in fear about what would happen if they didn’t). In addition to the aforementioned Arkham City release, the animated movie version of Frank Miller’s classic Batman: Year One will also be hitting the shelves of a store near you. We got a chance to see executive producer Bruce Timm; casting director Andrea Romano; and the first Batman in my heart, Kevin Conroy.
In addition to lots of talk about the upcoming movie, as well as some good questions about the entire Bruce Timm animation empire, we got to see the premier screening of a Catwoman animated short that will be included on the Year One dvd. We did get a nice surprise with that, as the voice of Catwoman (in both the short and in Year One), Eliza Dushku, graced the stage to introduce the clip. The short was interesting enough, but it was hardly up to the quality that I’m used to from The Animated Series or even Beyond or Brave and The Bold. We also saw the trailer for the new Justice League movie coming out next spring, Justice League: Doom, which features voice work from Nathan Fillion, among others. We’ll keep you posted on that.
This panel was by far the most interesting thing that this author saw all day. This panel was a sit-down with ComiXology CEO David Steinberger and CTO John D. Roberts, and they opened the floor to any and all questions. I will be doing a larger editorial about this panel and digital comics in general in the coming week, so I won’t go into a great deal of detail here, but I will say that we got some great insights and hints about the directions that the company is looking to go in the future.
Star Wars: The Old Republic
As a huge fan of both Star Wars and BioWare games, I have always loved the KOTOR franchise, and as a long-time World of Warcraft (and before that, Star Wars: Galaxies) player, I must admit my interest in an MMORPG from BioWare piques my interest greatly. If this were from anyone else, I’d say it was going to be Star Wars: Galaxies with updated graphics and gameplay stolen from WoW. With BioWare, however, I have a much different expectation. BioWare has always made games that are deeply focused on a detailed single-player story arc, choices that affect the development of the character, and deeply customizable experiences. When they first announced The Old Republic and promised that they would be taking these elements and moving them into the MMORPG space, I was skeptical about whether it could be done, but knew that if anyone could do it BioWare would be the ones.
The discussions with some of the game’s creators today have reassured me of their fitness for this task. As they discussed the game (which is to be released in December), it was clear that all of the elements that gamers have come to expect from modern MMORPGs will be present. This game will have multiple skill specializations per class, raid content, player versus player combat, and the traditional tank, damage, and healer class types. It was also very apparent, however, that they are creating a story and a world that isn’t just about killing twenty rabbits to get a pair of Third’s Worn Boots of Spoiling. Instead, quest givers with full voice-overs and branching dialogue will allow each and every player in the massive world to immerse him- or herself in an epic story worthy of the Star Wars franchise. I am excited to see where this goes.
And on to day 3…
So that’s it for Day 2. Stay tuned throughout Saturday as we flood your twitter feed with all things Comic Con, put out any breaking news as it hits, and provide you with another recap of the day for your reading pleasure. Be sure to check out the panel list and let us know what you’d like to see us cover in the comments below.