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New York Comic Con: A melting pot of pop cultures

Pacific Rim: Uprising actors, comic book artists and voice of Bubbles converge at New York Comic Con

"No cellphone recordings! Or we are gonna treat you like you are flying with United!"

I smiled. Even non-disclosure warnings can be fun at the New York Comic Con (NYCC), one of the world's biggest pop culture conventions.

I was among the thousands attending the Pacific Rim: Uprising panel at Madison Square Garden earlier this month, and we were about to see the first trailer for the sequel to the 2013 sci-fi film directed by Guillermo del Toro, which centred on the battle between colossal monsters Kaiju and gigantic humanoid mechas Jaegers.

I was at NYCC's Californian cousin, San Diego Comic-Con, last year, but NYCC is a whole new ball game. Its record-breaking attendance of over 200,000 fans this year managed to squeeze into the 840,000 sq ft of exhibition space at the main venue, Javits Center, which was reduced by ongoing renovation.

During the Uprising panel, Star Wars: The Force Awakens star John Boyega replaced original leading man Charlie Hunnam, starring as one of the next generation of heroes to fight a new Kaiju threat.

One of the biggest reasons Boyega loved the first movie is Idris Elba, and he is excited to play Elba's character's son.

Opening here on March 29, Uprising also stars Scott Eastwood, Jing Tian, Charlie Day and Rinko Kikuchi.

"I had a curry for breakfast, which was quite an unusual thing for me. A lot of chillies, a few tears shed."Pacific Rim: Uprising’s Burn gorman on his last visit to Singapore

"I do not feel like a sci-fi icon yet," said the 25-year-old Briton. "I think, so far, I have been able to work with the best people and the best cast, and anything you see me do, it is based on a whole team of people who are behind me."

US actor Burn Gorman, who reprises his role as scientist Hermann Gottlieb, said he has been lucky with "this face that God gave me" to play jerks.

AMIABLE

The man himself, though, was rather amiable. He said he stopped by Singapore for a few days last November and was "blown away" by the people and "the best cuisine in the world".

"I had a curry for breakfast, which was quite an unusual thing for me. A lot of chillies, a few tears shed," he said.

And if he was to design a Jaeger for Singapore, it would be "something to do with cooking, like a massive great wok on (one) side and maybe a spice rack on the other, on the arm".

Some creatives in the Artist Alley, such as Liberty Meadows artist Frank Cho and My Little Pony artist Andy Price, have also enjoyed Singapore.

"Singapore was fantastic," said Cho as he signed my Jungle Girl and Harley Quinn issues.

I had met him at San Diego last year and Sydney's Supanova the year before but missed him at this year's Singapore Toy Game and Comic Convention (STGCC).

"I tried chilli crab, chicken rice," he said. He paused before adding: "And a fish dish."

Price, whom I had met at STGCC a few years ago, had a spirited discussion with me over the merits of the James Bond actors, after I mentioned I loved his Live And Let Die spoof for the My Little Pony Movie Prequel #2 cover.

"It is my favourite Bond movie," he said. You Only Live Twice was his least, as "James Bond could not pass off as Japanese".

If you saw 90s and early noughties-era cartoons, you have probably heard one of Tara Strong's many voices - from Bubbles in The Powerpuff Girls to Timmy Turner in The Fairly OddParents.

Her biggest role today is Twilight Sparkle, the alicorn princess in the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic TV series, who is also in the upcoming animated feature film My Little Pony: The Movie, which opens here on Nov 2.

I told her Bubbles was my favourite Powerpuff Girl.

"You find me cute?" she squeaked in Bubbles' voice.

We talked about the panels I saw her at last year in San Diego, and she shared some tidbits on the My Little Pony movie.

At one point, she yawned. I asked if she was exhausted. "Yeah, but you must be excited," she quipped.

I was allowed a photo with her. She gamely posed for three.

"Be sure you like the pictures, you came all the way from Singapore," she said, before giving me a hug.

Indeed, I had. It would be another 22 hours from the Big Apple back to the Lion City, but the journey to "Nerdvana", in all its larrikin brilliance, was worth it.

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