Celebrities and Fans Come to Manhattan for NY Comic Con 2013

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New York Comic-Con 2013 has taken Manhattan, and the stars are gathering for a big weekend of pure fan revelry. Celebrities speakers, panelists and autograph-signers this weekend include William Shatner, Seth Green, Chloe Grace Moretz, Sylvester Stallone, David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Sigourney Weaver, Andrew McCarthy, John Barrowman, Felicia Day, George Romero, Joel Grey, Anthony ‘C3PO’ Daniels, and cast members from Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, Haven, Beauty & Beast, Teen Wolf, Agents of SHIELD and the upcoming series Reign. Also in attendance were pro-wrestlers Hulk Hogan, ‘Hacksaw’ Jim Duggan, Greg, ‘the Hammer’ Valentine, Brutus ‘the Barber’ Beefcake, Sergeant Slaughter and Tito Santana. Approximately 700 exhibitors from the Television, film, publishing and comic industries were on site.

The Walking Dead panel screened new footage from the upcoming season. Marvel TV boss Jeph Loeb moderated the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. panel and showed an upcoming episode of the show. The pilot episode of Reign was shown to fans this weekend.  X Files fans enjoyed seeing David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson reunite. The DC animated film Justice League: War was previewed. 50 years of Dr. Who was celebrated. Teen Wolf officially announced that they had been picked up for a fourth season. Also, the first full-length trailer for the upcoming Hercules: The Legend Begins (Not to be confused with the Rock’s coming film Hercules: the Thracian Wars) premiered.

Additionally being shown to fans was portions of Mike Mendez’s new horror-comedy Big Ass Spider, about a giant arachnid attacking Los Angeles. Greg Grunberg, Lombardo Boyar and Clair Kramer star as (respectively) an exterminator, a security guard and a cop who unite to battle the eight-legged menace. The film is being released theatrically on October 18th.

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In terms of comic book news, Superman’s 75th anniversary was celebrated, and the November 12th blu-ray release of Man of Steel was heavily promoted. IDW Publishing announcing two blockbuster Artist’s Editions produced under license from DC Entertainment.—Jack Kirby‘s New Gods Artist’s Edition and Dave GibbonsWatchmen Artifact Edition. IDW is also releasing a collected volume of Jim Steranko’s run on Nick Fury: Agent of SHIELD. The future of Batman and the Avengers was discussed, both in comics and film.

Also, in a daring step meant to appeal the growing market for trans-media intellectual properties in the Christian marketplace, Thomas Nelson publishers has announced the launch of VITAL SHIFT, a publishing initiative which focuses on religious titles, starting with the release of a seven graphic novel series, coming out between 2013 and 2019.

The creative team is led by Chip Brown, Senior Vice President at HarperCollins Christian Publishing. They tested the waters in 2012 with the release of The Book of Revelation, which sold 20,000 copies in its first six weeks of release, outselling every other graphic novel on Amazon except Image Comic’s The Walking Dead. VITAL SHIFT is now releaseing Messiah: Origin, the account of the life of Jesus. Brown says, “Our early market success in pairing the scriptures with illustrations in a graphic novel format is encouraging and we are grateful to be working with such gifted creative talent.”

As far as cosplay costumes go, there is always a lot of variety at Comic-Con. Captain America, Thor, Bane and Matt Smith’s 11 Doctor were very popular among men this year; while Wonder Woman, the Black Canary, Black Widow, Catwoman and Poison Ivy were big with the ladies.

While not as large as San Diego’s Comic Con, the NY Comic Con is definitely growing every year. The total attendance numbers are not in yet, but 130,000 people are expected to attend NYCC at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City this weekend. That’ll be a sizable increase from last year’s 116,000 convention-attendees. Seth Green who hosted a panel for Robot Chicken told CBSNews.com that he’s witnessed NYCC grow quite a lot through the years