Traveler, writer, reviewer, all-round observer. I like anything cool & fast, but occasionally sit at a cafe watching the world go by.
The best way to describe this yearly celebration, is to reiterate what I wrote in a published review for NYCC 2013, “What do you get when you gather together a plethora of comic books, cosplay, computer games, cartoons, pop culture TV shows and movies, all under one humongous roof in NYC? One of the largest weekend events in the country called New York Comic Con, of course!” Click here for the original article.
Two years later, on the first day of a wild 4-day event, I was standing on a subway platform waiting for the train at 9am and it was easy to spot the Comic Con fans, especially since it was 3 weeks too early for Halloween. The first person I noticed was dressed as the wild and menacing Joker, and nearby him were two groups of friends with Comic Con passes hanging around their necks. When they noticed each other, they gave a smile and a nod.
What was in store for us at the end of this journey was an event so large, with so much, it took more than 1 day to experience it all. Unfortunately, since it is New York City with a subway system run by the NYC’s MTA, it wasn’t easy nor quick to get to the Javits. With 2 years of city planning to enhance the area, one would think things would’ve been better prepared. Yes, there is the number 7 line expansion, but the coinciding maintenance and too few trains caused long delays even during rush hour (really?) added to the anticipation to get to the largest Con in North America. It was enough to drive anyone mad and become The Joker in this modern day Gotham city. In the past, it would’ve taken me half an hour for this same trip -this day it took me an hour and a half!
Finally making it to the new Hudson Yards station was like entering a dream state. However many people that can fit comfortably in a train, all exited with one purpose – Comic Con! The great many that dressed in costume, the cosplayers, made the event that much more fun -like one big Halloween party.
Once inside, it’s hard not to become overwhelmed by it all. You get the sensation of wanting to be everywhere at the same time to make sure you don’t miss a thing. To express how one would feel walking through those doors, allow me to quote myself from NYCC 2013, “As I walked through the doors of the soon to be Capital of Fantasy and Fiction in the glass & steel megastructure of the Jacob J Javits Convention Center, it felt like walking into a secret world reserved only for a special breed with a common interest -an interest that is now widely accepted in the Pop Culture arena. Going up and down the countless of aisles and rows was like watching a tennis match, my head going left and right and left again, and my camera endlessly snapping away. The amount of things going on at once was incredible.” It’s still incredible, and no longer the secret, mysterious world it once was.
Taking a moment or two absorbing it all, I started off to an area called The Block (situated on the south side of The Javits), where one can get lost walking up and down and around the aisles while emptying the wallet buying as many unique toys, music, jewelry, clothing, art prints, and trinkets as you can carry. You’ll not find Toys R Us or the usual shopping mall items here. Instead, what you will see are unique names such as Tenacious Toys, Suburban Vinyl, Furry Feline, Toy Tokyo, RT Vegas, Frombie, Monster Factory, Art Whino, Sugar Fueled, Tokidoki, RAK Graphics, and dozens of others. Taking up a large area of The Javits, The Block has its own 16 page brochure depicting where each vendor is located. It’s a place you gotta visit more than once!
Pulling myself away from The Block and furthering deeper into the halls of fantasy and fiction, I came across a myriad of vendors promoting and selling everything in pop culture portrayed in today’s and yesteryear’s popular TV series, new and old movies, newly published books, comic books, graphic novels, games, electronics, and new technology. On the main floor alone were over 3,000 booths, the larger ones being Marvel, DC, Capcom, Chevrolet, Midtown Comics, ReedPOP, and Weta Workshop.
During my walk around, I met many familiar artists, vendors, and entertainers that I’ve interviewed in the past. For instance, Brian Haberlin -Artist, Writer, Editor, and Producer extraordinaire who played a major role with great titles such as Spawn, Shi, Kiss, Witchblade, Cyberforce, Stryke Force, Captain Wonder, and many others. Couple of years ago, he created two successful graphic novels Anomaly and Shifter, the very first to utilize Ultimate Augmented Reality (UAR) technology. To learn more about this, you can read my interview with Brian. During the last couple of months, he introduced Faster Than Light, the first comic book series to use UAR technology.
The next familiar person I met is the talented and beautiful Yaya Han. What makes her so popular and adored by hundreds of thousands of fans, goes beyond being a cosplayer. She’s an award winning costume designer, and an incredible model. Yaya is widely sought after in the TV and gaming industry, and knows multiple languages (7 to be exact). Despite her fame, she makes herself available to anyone who knows of her. She was introduced to the world of cosplay in 1999, and on a whim, using her illustration skills, she began sewing away designing and creating costumes. To learn more, read about her here: Yaya Han.
There was also Francis Bonnet of Suburban Fairy Tales, the team from Medieval Times, Zebra Imaging, Tread Water Transmedia, Night Stars comic, the fun pirates of Rogues’ Armada, Josh Hibbard of Pickman’s Vinyls, and cosplayer after cosplayer after cosplayer.
On the north side of the Javits was Artist Alley, an entire section filled with tables and booths after tables and booths where one can walk up to, shakes hands, ask questions, and even obtain autographs from actors, authors, writers, and artists.
Meanwhile, the lower levels had several rooms for panels, presentations, sneak peek videos, screenings, and presentations. If I had the opportunity to choose a superpower, it would be the ability to clone myself. In the NYCC program guide, there are 73 pages with a schedule and a description of each event. Some of these include TV screenings such as Dr. Who, The Librarians, 12 Monkeys, The Expanse, Supergirl, Stitchers, Gotham, Blindspot, Sleepy Hollow, and The Walking Dead.
Some of the great many presentations and announcements included Comixology now offering self-publishing, Ashley Eckstein’s ‘Her Universe’ expanding into the world of publishing, the impact of Marvel in comics, and all sorts of The Next Big Thing. Let’s not forget the Q&A panels discussing how to do pretty much anything in pop culture such as how to become a writer, artist, or cosplayer, and reunions with the cast of Firefly, and X-Files.
It would be impossible to continue listing everything that went on, but I think at this point you get the idea. The secret to Comic Con’s success and popularity is its ability to bring all that I’ve mentioned together simultaneously.
Next year’s NYCC is already in the works, and if you do decide to go, I highly recommend attending more than 1 day. One day is just not enough and I’m sure the other 170,000 that attended this year’s thought so too.
To see what is to come next year, you can visit their website at http://www.newyorkcomiccon.com