Superfans Unite: A Day at Comic-Con in NYC

By Marco Tewlow

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From October 6th to October 9th of 2016, the annual New York Comic-Con was held in the Javits Center and I was one of many Beacon students lucky enough to be in attendance. I went on the 9th for my second year on the show floor. With endless rows filled with thousands of booths selling anything one could possibly imagine and hordes of people decked out in their best cosplays (costume play) everywhere you looked, this was sure to be one of the best city-wide events of the year. People of all fandoms attend the convention: gamers, anime fans, Trekkies, comic readers, YouTube watchers, and more. Some go with friends, some with family, and others go on their own. All arrive in preparation to buy cool merchandise, meet other fans, and attend events, panels and autograph sessions by celebrities of all types. This year’s Comic-Con promised to bring an exciting, fun, and super geeky time, and I was determined to have a great day.

 

My sister and I share a special love for a television show called “Gravity Falls,” and we jumped at the chance to attend a panel with the show’s creator, Alex Hirsch. We spent the day in full cosplay (my sister taking the role of Wendy, while I took on Ford), leaving at 6 AM to make the line for the panel and not returning home until 5 PM. We went to the panel and the autograph session afterwards. The joy that I experienced when shaking Mr. Hirsch’s hand was unparalleled. After doing so, I found myself walking across the show floor absolutely stupefied, marveling at the massive structures and snapping pictures of the sights. I met up with a friend from Long Island who had arrived at the convention with the hopes of meeting comic book legend, Stan Lee. Unfortunately, our time together ended after he chose to argue with an employee at the Funko stand. The rest of the day was spent in awe of the sights or in some form of line.

Freshman Oliver Buckley gives another perspective on attending the convention, having gone on the 6th. He went straight after school accompanied by three close friends. He has a passion for gaming of all kinds, so when given the opportunity to geek out with hundreds of others, he had to go. At the convention, he roamed the show floor, meeting many different people, exploring the rows of video game merchandise, and trying out a new energy drink, G Fuel, which he seems to be fond of. As it was a school day, he was only able to spend around three hours on the Show Floor. Nevertheless, his time was well spent, as he left with a new card game, a doll from the daily web comic “Cyanide and Happiness” that had been autographed by the team behind the comic, and many great memories.

Oliver loved the amount of gaming events and memorabilia, but despite the great time spent on the Show Floor, felt like there was an over-saturation of comics. He also feels that tickets should have been sold more selectively so that only true pop culture fans could attend. It is true that between overcrowding and non-fans attending the show, the ticketing process has become a problem. But herein lies the greatest problem with the convention. Tickets were sold online using a “fan verification” system. It was meant to make tickets only available to “true fans,” in the website’s words, but this convoluted new process just made them harder to acquire for convention goers and easier to acquire for scalpers. It became so bad that some potential attendees had no idea how to buy passes, and scalpers were selling them on eBay at nearly triple the original prices. A different ticketing system is clearly in order.

Oliver also complained about the lines, using several profanities to describe his utter distaste towards the wait for his convention pass at Will Call. I seriously agree. Within the 10 hours I spent at Comic-Con on that fateful Sunday, slightly less than half were on line. The biggest offense was the 40 minutes I spent waiting for bad Chinese food in the food court. And the signage didn’t make things any easier, as some were confused about where to line up, incidentally causing non-lines to unknown events to appear inside and outside the convention center. In some cases, there was an absence of directions or event times altogether.

But one final question remains: Was all this too overbearing and detractive towards the overall feeling of the convention? Oliver would argue no, admiring the vibe there and answering questions and recalling experiences with a smile on his face, even laughing in reference to the more annoying or tedious parts of the experience (in particular, the abundance of “Suicide Squad” Harley Quinn and Joker cosplays). I would, once again, have to agree. For every shortcoming, there was a smiling face who wanted to take a picture with you, or talk about the new Pokémon game, or perhaps tell bad jokes about demonic triangles, raccoons with pistols, and every bad choice George Lucas has ever made. Nothing can go perfect, especially surrounding the largest convention in the world, and all things considered, the staffers and presenters did an incredible job at making a judgment-free, safe, and fun environment for people of all races, religions, genders, and sexualities to just geek out and have a great time. We both agreed that New York Comic-Con was an unforgettable experience and I, for one, cannot wait to (at least try) to attend next year.

New York Comic-Con is held on October 5 – 8, 2017 at the Javits Center. Convention passes will go on sale at a date and time yet to be determined.

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