Sunday, November 8, 2015

Geek on the Street: THE New York Comic Con: A Retrospective

It has now been about a month since my absolute favorite event of the year: New York Comic Con, presented by ReedPOP at the Jacob Javits Center for four days each October.  Much has already been written about the incredible goings on at that show and, rather than repeating that all here, I thought I would take this opportunity, a month later, to reflect on what makes the show great.  This way, I can help advise you, my fellow Geeks on the Street, on how to have the MOST #GeekPositive experience imaginable at a show of this size and scope.
Entering the Show Floor at New York Comic Con, Javits Center

In that vein, then, I have decided to boil down (if such a thing is even possible!) the specialness of NYCC to five key areas:

(1)  Incredible Celebrity Guests: huge national conventions, like NYCC and its west coast cousin, San Diego Comicon, draw some of the biggest names in nerd—and mainstream—entertainment imaginable.  At this year’s NYCC, for example, I was able not only to attend a spotlight panel of my favorite comic book writer Scott Snyder, but I also saw the entire casts of both of Marvel’s Netflix series, Daredevil and Jessica Jones.  These sorts of guests might not appear at your small-town, local show, but they come out for these large, media-apparent events.  If you are attending a convention on the scale of NYCC, you MUST make the time to catch at least one of the big name panels.  It is a really special feeling knowing not only did you see the stars of a beloved program or movie, but also that they probably shared some exclusive or advanced content with you, just for being a fan.
Drawback: Lines for actual autographs and/or photo ops can be tremendously long and the actual meet-and-greet moment might be quite pricey, especially for A-listers.  I actually was not able to dedicate the time for any celebrity autographs this NYCC, as there was just too much else to do to spend potentially hours in a line.  That being said, Artists’ Alley, which is the bread and butter of conventions for us comic book nerds, did allow me the opportunity to meet such comic book top talent as Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie.

More than 100,000 people attended NYCC 2015
(2)  THE CROWDS!: For four days in October, I always feel as though I have approximately 100,000 friends who share my love for popular culture and want to express that passion via costumes and collectibles.  NYCC draws an absolutely massive number of human beings and, despite how sprawling the Javits may seem for any other annual event, the building is continuously jam-packed with this sea of amazing humans.  Most people you meet at a convention are friendly, be they NYCC first timers or seasoned pros, like myself.
Drawback: THE CROWDS!  You are perpetually sharing personal space with strangers.  Everywhere you turn, there are bodies.  You are probably bumping into someone at any given moment… you get the idea.  There are lots of people.  It can be hard to move.  But hey, at least the people are cool!

(3) Quality and Variety of Vendors: You can find just about any nerd swag for which you are searching at NYCC.  I was able to score a couple of SDCC exclusives for which I had been searching since the summer, as well as an original, complete, in-box Kenner Hall of Justice playset.  There are vendors selling everything from collectibles, which is my particular “take my money, please!” indulgence, to handmade items to t-shirts to posters to comic books to… the list goes on and on.  If it is pop culture related and you want it, chances are it will be for sale at the show.
Drawback: Things tend to be a bit pricier than they would be from another venue
or show during the rest of the year.  For example, we noticed a number of recently
released Star Wars items going for double their original price, even though they are not limited edition.  Be savvy about your NYCC purchases; the Show Floor is AMAZING, but try and use it to snag those one-of-a-kind, won’t-find-it-anywhere-else kind of things, not just a toy or t-shirt that you can get anywhere.
Looking down on the Show Floor entrance

(4) Expansive programming: There is so much going on at any time at NYCC.  Often, when we would get shut out of a panel we wanted to see, or were just plain too tired to keep walking around, we would duck in to a panel we didn’t know anything about.  And, every time, that panel turned out to be great!  We saw the premiere of a new WGN entitled “Underground” about slavery and the underground railroad and really enjoyed it.  We also caught part of both the panel for MTV’s upcoming Shannara Chronicles television show and the Disney Infinity Marvel panel and, just from a few minutes in the audience, were committed both to watching the telly program and purchasing the video game.  The bottom line: at a show on the scale of NYCC: just about anything you see is going to be awesome!
Drawback: Although there may be MANY things you want to see, thanks to the
Charlie Cox & Deborah Ann Woll from Daredevil
on the big screen during the Marvel Netflix panel
depth of the programming schedule, it is quite likely that you may not get into desired panels.  I, for example, am a huge X-Phile, but I had to choose between that panel and the Daredevil/Jessica Jones event.  We went with the Netflix panel, as we knew that that would be the hottest event at the con.  Still, I was saddened not to be present for The X-Files panel.  I had my moment of mourning, but I was determined NOT to let this disappointment throw me.  During when I would have been at the X-Files panel, I saw an incredible DC Comics panel instead.  So any disappointment can be turned into a victory pretty easily at a show of this size!

(5) That Once-In-A-Lifetime Feeling!: There is nothing else quite like being at a show like New York Comic Con.  My entire year is planned around being able not only to be at this show, but to being able to commit it to completely: in my availability, financially, with enough stamina to withstand four long, full days.  No matter how many years I attend—this was my sixth NYCC—I always leave the show on the last day wanting more, already making plans and anticipating the next year.  Each show is special and unique, yet also familiar and a favorite tradition.  Much like Christmas, I do my best to keep the spirit of New York Comic Con with me all the year through.  The show is just that remarkable of an experience
Drawback: There is none!  Come out to New York—the greatest city in the world!—and attend our incredible convention.  I promise: you will not regret it.
Celebrating the 10th NYCC in Panel Room

Looking forward to meeting my fellow Geeks on the Street at next year’s amazing, unforgettable, crazy, fantastic New York Comic Con! Until next time, this is your official Geek on the Street Dr. Kelly wishing you a Glorious Geek Day!

Article by Kelly I. Aliano, PhD

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