It’s the most wonderful time of the year… if you’ll be in the New York area this weekend… and don’t mind being packed into a convention center with tens of thousands of geeks, fans, and enthusiasts… because New York Comic Con begins tomorrow! In years past, we’ve grumbled that most of the time, there isn’t a whole lot of Jim Henson-related content. Last year, organizer ReedPop heard our cries and said, “You want Muppet stuff at the con? You do it!” So we did! And they liked it so much that this year, we’re doing it again! (Now that sounds like a song cue, but there’s no time for that now.)
If you plan to attend this year’s New York Comic Con, read on to learn about all the Muppet-related stuff you’ll be able to see, buy, and do at the Con!
In case you skipped that opening paragraph, we’ll be hosting our own panel as ToughPigs, the Unofficial Muppet Fan Site Presents: Live Drawing Challenge! Join our own Joe Hennes as he puts prolific illustrators of Muppets Jay Fosgitt, Dave Hulteen, Jr., Richard Gomez, and Christopher “Smig” Smigliano to the test. Will anyone remember what Debbie or The Royal Lackey look like? Should we appease the appreciation society and ask for a rendering of Mr. Curly Twirly? There’s only one way to find out, and that’s to be there! Come to see four artists do their best to keep up with us, stay to make us feel like we’re doing a good job.
ToughPigs, the Unofficial Muppet Fan Site Presents: Live Drawing Challenge!
Sunday, October 15 — 3:45 PM – 4:45 PM
While we can promise Muppets will be discussed at our panel, two other panels could offer clues for what collectibles will be in our future. Diamond Select Toys & Gentle Giant LTD will be offering a presentation of upcoming products and a Q&A session. The official NYCC listing for the panel mentions Muppets, so maybe we’ll finally get an update as to when we can snag those Uncle Deadly and Pepe action figures we’ve been hearing so much about. Or maybe they can just give us some for being so patient. Haven’t we been good this year?
Diamond Select Toys & Gentle Giant LTD
Thursday, October 12 — 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM
Meanwhile, Hallmark will be hosting their own panel called Hallmark’s Pop Culture Connections, where they’ll discuss what goes into making their products while teasing what’s to come. At the very least, you can go and put in a good word for a Sam the Eagle ornament. Can you believe Hallmark’s never made one? That seems distinctly unpatriotic.
Hallmark’s Pop Culture Connections
Saturday, October 14 — 1:30 PM – 2:30 PM
As we learned at Toy Fair, The Pop Insider (Booth #1829) will have an exclusive advanced sale of the new Ernie and Bert Mr. Potato Head PopTaters on Saturday, October 14th. Be the first to have these new toys, which may be the first time we’ve ever had merchandise of Bernice. Buy Bernice, and get Bert for free! (Because the Bernice accessory comes with the Bert figure, you see.)
If you’ve ever wanted to see what a Skeksis looks like under a blacklight, wonder no more! Kaboom! Comics and Collectibles (Booth #4354) has brought back their blacklight edition of their poster for “The Dark Crystal.”
Of course, with so many memorabilia vendors on the show floor, there’s virtually no chance that you won’t pass by some Muppet merch. But if you come across one of the misspelled “Rolf” Disney pins, hands off. That’s all mine.
Did you really go to NYCC if you didn’t check out Artist Alley? A highlight of the event every year is wandering down the aisles, seeing so many skilled artists pay tribute to the creative worlds of Jim Henson. They may be hard to spot at times, but when you find them, it’s a magical moment. And we know there are some folks there who have worked on official projects, like Jay Fosgitt (“Sesame Street” and “Fraggle Rock” comics), Christopher Eliopoulos (I Am Jim Henson), and Art Baltazar (“Fraggle Rock” comics).
Another mainstay of the con, there’s always a handful of fans who dress up in Muppet-inspired outfits. In years past, we’ve seen such creative looks like Doozers, Gonzo taking over the role of a chest-bursting Xenomorph from “Alien,” and Elton John wearing his “Crocodile Rock” outfit from “The Muppet Show!”
With the SAG-AFTRA strike still underway as of the writing of this article, some celebrities have stayed away, but there are still plenty of folks with Muppet connections that’ll be at NYCC this year, like Long John Silver himself, Tim Curry! And don’t forget The Great Escapo, Tom Hiddleston! And other stars with Muppet credits, like David Tennant, Rob Paulsen, Kathy Najimy, Susan Sarandon, Zachary Levi, and Jess Harnell! Worst comes to worst, you could always ask Maurice LaMarche about voicing Baby Animal for the read-along version of the “Muppet Babies” book Where’s the Bear?, if you’ve got the time. But if you’re going on Friday, October 13, be sure to stop by the Playbill booth (#4117) between 5:00 and 6:00 PM for an autograph and photo op session with Lilli Cooper, who plays Doc on “Fraggle Rock: Back to the Rock!” You can find a full list of NYCC guests here.
Whether you like to spend your time attending panels, hunting for the latest piece in your merch collection, getting that dream picture with your favorite celebrity, or just spending time with friends, there’s no wrong way to do New York Comic Con if you’re a Muppet fan. (Unless you decide to skip our panel. Then you’re dead to us.)
Click here to queue up for the ToughPigs forum!
by Matthew Soberman – Matthew@ToughPigs.com