Constantine, Rick and Morty and a New Guardians of the Galaxy Cartoon at NYCC

Beats waiting for Hall H

Where do people in sexy stormtrooper regalia go to hear an improvised table read by the cast of Adult Swim's Rick and Morty? That's correct, the New York City Comic Con at the Javits Center.

Friday saw some honest-to-goodness news break out of the event, namely that Guardians of the Galaxy will be a TV series next year as a cartoon on ad-supported Disney XD. Disney put up a preview of the anime-style cartoon as soon after the announcement.

The series was one of several interesting things going on at the con, and not all were announcements. For one thing, Constantine, NBC's new supernatural drama based on the DC Comic series Hellblazer, was ubiquitous. There was a giant banner adorning the inside of the convention center with actor Matt Ryan on it and the network held a panel for the show yesterday at 8:30 p.m. The panels, by the way, are comparatively easy for pass-holders to get into, as opposed to the panels at San Diego Comic Con, for which lines lasted literally days.

New York, too, boasts as large or larger a selection of working cartoonists, many of whom are seeing characters whose popularity they've contributed to reach television or movie screens. David Lloyd, who's contributed stories to the Constantine canon, signed a grade-school-aged kid's copy of V for Vendetta (probably his best-known book) in Artist's Alley, a separate hall where the creators of the characters that earn billions for Time Warner and Disney sit at folding tables and sketch characters for fans.

"I think the important thing is actually to get people to embrace digital comics," Lloyd said. He has put his money where his mouth is: his new project is Aces Weekly, an anthology he founded and to which he contributes a weekly strip. "It's easier for us to do it online and on-screen using the best means of distribution ever invented by man, and you cut out all the costs," Lloyd said. "And most importantly, the creator never loses any control whatsoever. The money comes back directly to us."

Lloyd was taking requests, however, and among them was Constantine himself:

Pure TV shows were popular, too. One of the better-attended panels on Friday centered around Rick and Morty, where the creators of the Adult Swim, Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland, talked about the creative process with actors Sarah Chalke and Chris Parnell (Roiland does most of the other voices). After a few minutes of banter, the group took questions and improvised an astoundingly filthy "table read" as each of their characters. In addition, Adult Swim paid some poor soul to prowl the floors of the con as one the series' race of genie-equivalents, Mr. Meeseeks.

The con is certainly scaled back from the serious one-upsmanship that brands engage in at the San Diego convention, but there are still quite a few brands hawking their wares. Next to overpriced toys and videogame tryout booths, you can find a Geico RV with cosplayers competing for prizes.