New York Comic Con is mere days away (October 9th through 12th)!  And as the world’s biggest combination Muppets/comics fans who happen to live in the NYC vicinity, we’re completely stoked.  And not just for the requisite comic book panels, guests, artwork, and cosplay, but because it looks like we’ll have yet another year of great Muppet, Sesame Street, and Henson-related stuff to see and do!

Let’s break down the Muppety stuff day-by-day and category-by-category for you.  And then if you’ll be able to make it to NYCC, you’ll have a handy dandy checklist of things to make your life complete.


Muppet Vault!

ToughPigs presents – Muppet Vault: Superheroes!
Wednesday, October 8 – 7:00pm
Location – Housing Works Bookstore (126 Crosby Street)

In the week before New York Comic Con kicks off, the city will be celebrating New York Super Week, filled with lots of geek and pop culture-related events to prime you for the big show that weekend.  Among the events are Star Talk with Neil deGrasse Tyson, a Joss Whedon-themed party, a trivia show from our friends at Big Quiz Thing, and much, much (much) more.  We’re proud to be among the special guests, presenting a special Muppet Vault all about superheroes!  Super Grover, Wonder Pig, and Bat Bert will all be making special appearances, as well as some celebrity superheroes like Lynda Carter and Christopher Reeve.  And as always, we’ll have trivia, prizes, and more!  Muppet Vault: Superheroes will be all-ages (for the first time in a while) and in Manhattan (for the first time ever) at Housing Works Bookstore.  The show will be free, with a suggested $8 donation at the door.



How to Be a Puppeteer with Master Puppeteer Noel MacNeal
Friday, October 10 – 4:15pm
Location – Family HQ – 1C03

Make Your Own Puppets with Noel MacNeal
Friday, October 10 – 4:45pm
Location – Family HQ – 1C02

Noel MacNeal, better known as the Bear in the Big Blue House, slightly lesser known as the subject of a ToughPigs interview back in 2011, is hosting two workshops at Comic Con.  The first will be a free puppetry lesson (assisted by James Wojital), where he’ll teach the basics of puppet lip sync, manipulation, and classic Muppet secrets.  Immediately afterward, he’ll host his second workshop, in which he’ll teach you and your young ones how to make your own puppets.  And he should know, he wrote the book on puppet making.  No really, he did.


The Jim Henson Company – Upcoming Comics with Archaia
Friday, October 10 – 5:15pm
Location – Room 1A24

This panel is the big one for anyone interested in what may be the best stuff coming out of the Jim Henson Company right now.  The Henson/Archaia graphic novels have been consistently phenomenal, including the nearly perfect Tale of Sand and the brand new Musical Monsters of Turkey Hollow (both of which were written by Jim Henson and Jerry Juhl).  We’re excited to hear about what else they have in store for us, and this is the only place where you’ll get the big update.  Panelists will include Fraggle Rock comic writer Kate Leth, Storyteller writer/illustrator Shane-Michael Vidaurri, Archaia editor Rebecca “Tay” Taylor, and one of our favorite people, Jim Henson Company archivist Karen Falk.


Creatively Energizing Your Students with Comics Books and Arts
Saturday, October 11 – 11:15am
Location – Room 1A05

A mainstay of New York Comic Cons past, ToughPigs’ friend Mike Lopez is reprising his “Creatively Energizing…” panel yet again, and Abby Cadabby herself, Leslie Carrara-Rudolph, will once again be participating.  This panel tends to be more about advice for educators on how to keep their students involved, but we always end up getting some great stories from the panelists.  And with Leslie Carrara-Rudolph there, that’s pretty much a guarantee.

Leslie will also be serving as a judge for the daily Kids Costume Parades, which will be held on Friday at 4:45, Saturday at 3:15, and Sunday at 11:45, all in Family HQ – Room 1C03.


Drawing Workshop with Katie Cook
Sunday, October 12 – 1:30pm
Location – Family HQ – Room 1C02

While not strictly Muppet-related, we can’t help but share this workshop with one of our favorite artists, Katie Cook.  We imagine she’ll be showing off her artsy skills by drawing the My Little Pony characters, a few Jedi and Sith, and (we hope!) some Fraggles.  Or maybe she’ll be taking requests!  Someone be sure to shout out “Blustering Bellowpane Monster“!


Sesame Street and Pop Culture – 45 Years of Spoofs on the Street
Sunday, October 12 – 2:15pm
Location – Room 1A24

This.  This is the panel to see.  Forget your Spider-Mans, ignore your Batmobiles, skip your Wil Wheatons.  If you are attending New York Comic Con, line up early for the Sesame Street panel.  Not only will you get a special Comic Con screening of the Numeric-Con episode (featuring ToughPigs’ own Joe as an extra – read more about that here!), but you’ll also be present for a panel discussion featuring Sesame Street Executive Producer Carol-Lynn Parente, Head Writer and Murray performer Joey Mazzarino, Abby Cadabby’s best friend Leslie Carrara-Rudolph, and Grover himself – Eric Jacobson.  This.  This will be epic.


Artists Alley

When I go to Comic Con, I try to reserve a good amount of time for Artists Alley.  It’s a great chance to scope out some new artwork, meet the talented people who made them, share your love of comics and pop culture with said people, and maybe give them a little money so you can take their work home with you.  We often find a lot of Muppet fan art around the Alley, with everything ranging from simple sketches of Kermit to beautifully painted panoramas of 123 Sesame Street.  You may have to keep your eyes peeled, but your next framed piece of artwork may be waiting for you there.


Artists Alley is also home to many of the Muppet artists (both legitimate and fan art) that we’ve spotlighted or interviewed here on ToughPigs.  The aforementioned Katie Cook (table C10) will be there.  Muppet comics cover artist and award-winning creator of Mouse Guard David Peterson (table J1) will also be present.  Two of our favorite Muppet comics artists Amy Mebberson and James Silvani (tables C16 and C17) can be found, as always, camped out at adjoining tables.  You can meet Fraggle Rock comic artist Chandra Free (table Q13) and Muppet King Arthur artist Dave Álvarez (table E13).  And making his New York Comic Con debut (as far as we know) is Sesame Street comic book artist and fellow Muppet fanatic Jay Fosgitt (table D12).  And that’s not even counting all of the artists we’ve spotlighted in our Mup Art Show segments, any of whom may be setting up shop in Artists Alley too!

(Super Grover images courtesy of artists Daniel Campos and Jay Fosgitt.)

grovershirtOther Stuff

Booths!  Be sure to stop by the Archaia/BOOM! Studios booth and see what sort of Henson-related graphic novels they’ve got for sale.  Visit the WeLoveFine booth to see what Muppet/Sesame/Henson t-shirts they have available.  Find out where your favorite writers and artists will be for book signings (many of which may be back at the Archaia booth).  Just walk around in circles and see what sort of awesome stuff they have from all the publishers, vendors, and various companies who are camped out on the con floor.  You never know where something Muppety will appear!


Cosplay!  There are SO many people dressed up at Comic Con.  Superheroes, anime characters, action figures, you name it.  We’ve been lucky enough to spot lots of Fraggles, Yip-Yip Martians, Skeksis, and Goblin Kings in the past.  Keep your eyes peeled (and your camera ready) to spot more Muppet fans in some amazing homemade costumes!


Celebrities!  Not only do the panels have their own celebrities, and not only will many of them be signing autographs somewhere at the Con, but you may bump into one without knowing it.  We’ve heard tales of big names like Daniel Radcliffe, Bryan Cranston, and Justin Timberlake donning masks and walking around the convention, as if they were normal human beings (who like to dress up).  You never know, that guy dressed as the Michelle Pfeiffer Catwoman may be Peter Linz in disguise!


Merchandise!  There’s a warehouse full of merchandise for sale at Comic Con, both at the publishers’ booths and sold by the vendors and comic shops.  Leaf through the 50¢ bins and look for that issue of the Muppets Take Manhattan comic book adaptation you’re missing.  Scour through the toy racks in search of the Marvin Suggs action figure you’ve always wanted.  Keep your eyes on the high shelves to find that vintage Mr. Snuffleupagus puppet you didn’t know was missing from your life until now.  Seriously, there’s a gold mine out there for Muppet fans.

Feel free to print this article out and use it as a checklist for your New York Comic Con experience!  Or don’t, because there is literally no wrong way to enjoy a Con.  Except if you miss that Sesame Street panel.  Don’t miss that one, guys.

We’ll see you at the Con, Muppet fans!


Click here to dress up as a hand dressed as Bert dressed as Batman on the ToughPigs forum!

by Joe Hennes –

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