New York Comic Con is my Christmas, Hanukkah, Easter, Halloween, and birthday all rolled into one. It’s four days of costumes and presents and colorful characters and spoilers and celebrities. I have my NYCC weekend down to a science, and I take full advantage of every panel, every visit to Artists’ Alley, every graphic novel sale, and every cosplay photo op as I can. So as you can imagine, I’m pretty excited about this year’s New York Comic Con (as always).
But it’s not just my regular excitement that’s going to make this a great NYCC, it’s that there’s a growing Muppet presence at the event. The 2013 New York Comic Con (October 10-13) will feature Muppeteers, puppetry workshops, Muppet artists, cosplayers, and more. This very well may be the most Muppety NYCC ever.
As we always do, we’re listing out all of the Muppet-releated events, panels, people, and whatever you’ll be able to see at NYCC this year. If you want, you could even put them all into a grid and play Bingo! And the center “Free Space” square would naturally be…
ToughPigs Presents Jim Henson: The Biography
Location: Room 1A01
Possibly the only reason to attend New York Comic Con at all is to sit in on our Jim Henson: The Biography panel, which will be moderated by your faithful and nerdy ToughPigs co-runners Joe Hennes and Ryan Roe, with panelists such as author Brian Jay Jones, Jim Henson Legacy Executive Director (and Miss Piggy designer) Bonnie Erickson, Jim Henson Company Archivist Karen Falk, and Muppeteer Fran Brill! For more info, read our original announcement.
Creatively Energizing Your Students with Comic Books and the Arts
Location: Room 1A17
Thursday is usually “press day” at NYCC, but this year it’s been opened up beyond newspapermen and women. So if you’re lucky enough to get that elusive 4-day pass, you can attend this panel, moderated by ToughPigs’ friend Mike Lopez, and featuring panelists like Bonnie Erickson, Muppeteers Noel MacNeal and Leslie Carrara-Rudolph, and Sesame Street artists Louis Henry Mitchell and Diana Leto! They’ll be talking about using puppetry and the arts in the classroom, with a little Muppet history behind their expertise.
How Puppets are Made Workshop with Puppeteer Noel MacNeal
Location: Family Room 1B02
Noel MacNeal, who we all know as the titular Bear in the Big Blue House, wrote the crafty “10-Minute Puppets“, so he’s an expert in both the building and manipulating of puppets. So he’s an ideal guy to give a quick, free lesson for the young’uns and adults alike.
Drawing Workshop with Sesame Street Artist Louis H. Mitchell
Location: Family Room 1B02
Not only is Louis Mitchell one of the most talented artists to have ever drawn a Muppet, he’s also one of the nicest guys in the industry. So it’ll be a treat for kids to come and see him sketch out our favorite characters and show off some of his secrets for illustrating Monsters, Grouches, and very large birds.
Comics for Everyone: Creating Entertaining Stories for All Ages
Location: Room 1A06
It takes all kinds of talent to create stories for kids and adults alike, and those stories can take the form of books, comics, or a 44-year-old TV show. Among the panelists (which includes Muppet comic artist David Petersen) is Sesame Street head writer and performer Joey Mazzarino! And according to the description, Mazzarino may be bringing along a “Sesame Street friend”. Do you think Murray is more of a DC or Marvel reader?
Leslie and Lolly Make Stuff Up
Location: Family Room 1B02
We love Leslie Carrara-Rudolph. Almost as much, we love Lolly Lardpop, Leslie’s sock puppet alter ego. Lolly gets to say and do everything that Abby Cadabby can’t, and both the puppet and performer have enough combined energy to give the entire Comic Con room a caffeine jolt. This event is more for kids, but you’ll probably see some Muppet fanatics (like myself) lingering in the back.
Leslie and Lolly will also be emceeing the Kids Costume Parades on Saturday from 2:00-2:45 and Sunday from 2:45-3:30, both also in Family Room 1B02. Come for the puppet, stay for the adorable children in costume!
Saturday, 11:00-12:00pm and 2:00-3:00pmLocation: WeLoveFine booth
A few years ago, we were treated to the surprise appearance of Eric Jacobson at the WeLoveFine booth (also known as Mighty Fine), along with a Grover photo puppet for photo ops. This time around, the one and only David Rudman will be on hand for autographs with a photo puppet of his pal Cookie Monster! The line for this one is bound to be a long one, and it will be totally and completely worth it.
Location: Family Room 1B02
Meet Bear! Or, the guy who spent almost a decade inside the Bear puppet (who spent his whole life inside a Big Blue House).
Louis Henry Mitchell
Friday, 3:00-4:00pmLocation: Family Room 1B02
Louis Mitchell has drawn each of the Sesame Street characters so many times, he could probably sketch a perfect Elmo with his eyes closed. Test his talents when you ask for a sketch at his signing!
Saturday, 1:30-2:30pmLocation: Family Room 1B02
Abby Cadabby’s best pal will also be around to sign stuff, as well as lend a little of her endless enthusiasm, energy, and general awesomeness.
Over at Artists Alley, lots of our Muppet comics friends will be there with sketches, prints, and other assorted goodies. Katie Cook, who is currently super popular among My Little Pony fans, will be painting her signature mini cards. Amy Mebberson and James Silvani, both of whom have illustrated some recent Muppet storybooks, will be sharing a table and sketching up a storm. Muppet comics cover artist and Mouse Guard creator David Petersen will be present, and hopefully his homemade fez-wearing Fraggle will be there too. Tale of Sand artist Ramon Perez will also be at NYCC, and we will all be in awe of his great talent and steely gaze.
Also at Artists Alley, you’re bound to find lots of fan art. Last year, we spotted several fantastic pieces of art, and even bought a few. Comic Con is a great place to find decorations for your walls, no matter what breed of geek you may be.
You can’t talk about any comic book convention without mentioning the cosplayers. New York Comic Con has some of the best costumes from the worlds of comic books, film, video games, and just about any form of media that exists. That includes variations like gender swapped costumes, character combinations, and alternate universes. What it boils down to is that the Muppets are important members of pop culture, so we’re bound to see some Storm Trooper Frogs or real Skeksis or human-sized Doozers. You’ll just have to keep your eyes peeled.
That said, there’s also something worth looking for beneath cosplayer’s costumes. No, not naughty bits. Celebrities. A few years ago, Justin Timberlake put on an Ernie costume so he could walk around the San Diego Comic Con without being harassed. Last year, Doctor Who’s Matt Smith did the same thing, as did Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston. You never know who you might see (or might not see), but you may get lucky and pose for a picture with, say, Muppet Show guest star Bruce Forsyth without knowing it.
And then, of course, there’s the merchandise. We’re expecting some of the vendors to be carrying the recent Muppet toys, like the Funko Pop figures and Hot Wheels cars. But many of them also deal in vintage toys, so be on the lookout for old Sesame Street PVCs, well-worn puppets, and that one Palisades figure you need to complete your collection.
UPDATE: Above, you’ll see WeLoveFine’s NYCC exclusive Cookie Monster shirt! When you stop by to meet David Rudman and get your photo taken with Cookie Monster, be sure to grab one of these beauties!
At the risk of repeating myself, don’t forget about our panel! ToughPigs Presents Jim Henson: The Biography on Friday, October 11th at 7:45pm in room 1A01! Get there early, grab a good seat, and enjoy the show!
We’ll see you at New York Comic Con, Muppet fans!
Click here to dress like a sexy Skeksis on the ToughPigs forum!
by Joe Hennes – Joe@ToughPigs.com