A few weeks ago, I found myself in the company of Storm Troopers from Star Wars, several Daenerys Targaryens from Game of Thrones, an assortment of Power Rangers and several variations of the TARDIS (Doctor Who for the uninitiated), along with a host of other fictional characters I didn’t recognize. Sounds like an epic Halloween party right? However, I am actually talking about New York Comic Con.
Billed as the East Coast’s largest fan convention, NYCC is a place for people to celebrate their love of comics, manga, video games, movies, TV shows, movies, among others. About 130,000 people attended this year, myself included. I thought the picture below was a good introduction. Because this has to be the most insane thing I’ve ever been to in my life!
You may already have heard of San Diego Comic Con, which is easily the most famous and largest pop culture convention in the world (and also the very first to have been established). The idea eventually caught on and now several cities spanning the globe host their own Comic Con. New York Comic Con is relatively new–the first one was held in 2006. However, it has also become one of the most popular in the years following its inception. This does not surprise me in the least. In a city of 8 million people, there are plenty of New Yorkers looking for an excuse to dress up as their favorite comic book/manga/movie/TV show character and celebrate all things they are fans of.
I have always been curious about Comic Cons but I never thought I would ever go, mostly for two reasons:
1) It’s expensive just to buy a single day pass to these kinds of events, especially something as popular as NYCC (tickets go on sale months in advance).
2) The idea of spending a whole day in a large crowd in a building with few windows sounds about as appealing to me as getting a root canal at the dentist.
However, through some very good connections, I managed to get a four day pass for a very good price. As a total Comic Con newbie, I had the good fortune to attend Comic Con with a veteran (who I will refer to as K) who went last year and who prepared me for what to expect. We both went Friday night after work and Saturday in the afternoon. I cannot stress enough (or thank her enough) how appreciative I was to have K as my guide. Because quite honestly, if I had gone by myself, I think I would have turned right around and run out of there faster than you can say claustrophobia, despite the fact I was a 4 day pass holder. You probably would have too if you had to deal with this.
New York Comic Con takes place in the Jacob Javits Convention Center, an enormous complex on the very eastern side of mid-town Manhattan. I do not know exactly how big it is, but the total floor space of NYCC and walking to the different sections of the convention center are estimated to be about 4 miles. So you can understand why I could barely feel my feet after spending two days walking all over this monstrosity.
Source : The complex is so big, it’s impossible to fit into one picture.
NYCC is a 4 day event, running from Thursday to Sunday (Oct. 10th-13th this year) and usually falls during the second week of October. When I went after work on Friday with K, I did not find the crowds to be too bad. K took me around to the different sections of the main show floor, explaining to me how everything was laid out as she paused at different booths to peruse the merchandise while I just stared bug eyed all around me. There is just so much stuff to look at and take in. Want to buy a TARDIS dress? Check. Want some Chewbacca earrings? Check. Want one of those creepy anime body pillows? Check. Any out there concept, there is a good chance you will find it at NYCC.
After an hour of wandering the show floor on Friday night, we moved on to Artist Alley, a huge room devoted to (mostly) comic book artists showcasing their work. Since it was so late, there weren’t many people around which meant we were able to walk around at our leisure and even got to talk to some of the artists themselves! I think this is probably one of the coolest parts of NYCC: getting to meet the artists and seeing their artwork up close.
It is kind of like being in a (very wacky) art museum–there are different artistic styles that are represented and it is really interesting to see such a wide variety grouped together into one room. I even had a hilarious encounter with some French artists I recognized who go by the artistic pseudonyms of Run and Yuck. I wanted to ask Yuck if he actually goes around being called that, considering it appears on his business card which he gave me. (Apparently someone I know ran into Charlie Adlard, the illustrator for “The Walking Dead” and didn’t recognize him. When she asked him what kind of art he made, he pointed to a giant poster of the comic and responded with “Well, I did that.”) I even bought my Breaking Bad obsessed sister a poster featuring artwork inspired by the character Jesse Pinkman.
The following are the rest of the pictures I took at NYCC, all on Saturday.
I apologize for the quality of these pictures. I believe this booth only featured Korean Boy Band memorabilia.
Unsuccessfully trying to take a picture of The Walking Dead TV show ad. TWD was EVERYWHERE at NYCC, likely due to the fact the comics (not the show) is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. It was also the featured artwork on all of the NYCC passes!
See next post for cosplay (aka the costumes). Also to learn about what cosplay is if you are not familiar with the concept. (I had no idea what it was before NYCC. You’re obviously cooler than me if you already did!)