I think I’ve missed one year of the last 5, and this year’s NYCC was the biggest ever. I was not at the first, but I do recall when it was small enough to have to share Javits Center floor space (on only one level yet) with a travel show that was much larger and better-attended. Then, there was some looking askance at the New York Comic Con attendees. Now, the blazered travel agents would stick out, because NYCC sprawls across floors, tiers, pavilions, service closets. . . They say last year had over 90,000 attendees and this year will beat that, once the tallies are in. It was huge and crowded and colorful, and here are some silly pictures and comments from my visit, should it be your kind of thing.
Enthusiasm and juxtaposition is what’s it’s all about. There was the car from Back to the Future parked right near this snappy Adam West-era Batmobile, which The Riddler’s showing to Princess Leia.
As attendees come in all ages and support an enormous range of eras and genres (there are 50-75 years of works to play in, easily), costumes come in all flavors. I think there were also more cos-players (those attending in costumes, sometimes in themed groups) than I recall in the past, and interestingly enough, more genre-bending this year. Whether it was the hundreds of old-school school-girl Sailor Moons, or the scads of Jokers, or the sprinkle of newer characters like Kick-Ass, there were multiples of almost everyone, so it became cool to be pictured with abundance. There was the tang of sweat, as many of the heavier costumes generate, combined with the waft of butter from the popcorn stands.
Coming on Saturday, I was asking for trouble, and sure enough, the lines for panels and screenings were too long for my passion or patience.
Meandering into the same hangar as the tabletop gaming and kitana demonstrations, I found the area where celebrities (not necessarily authors) would have their autograph sessions, and where Whedon reigned as absent king. Eliza Dushku (slayer Faith from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, later Tru Calling) had a big line. However, the ridiculous, paperclip-shaped one was for Felicia Day (once on Buffy, also writes and stars in gamer-geek series The Guild, and was Penny, chanteuse of the homeless from Dr. Horrible’s Singalong Blog). Through the gap created by this hirsute Wonder Woman, you can barely see James Marsters, vampire Spike from Buffy and later Angel.
The Rebel Alliance from Star Wars were there for the kids. Natch! As I skirted the tremendous lines of oddball individualists “joining” just this once, people were looking at my Press badge. As I walked around making notes, I felt like some who met my eyes were trying to decide if I were Someone from Somewhere Important before dismissing me and moving on. Kind of like nightlife in L.A., really. NBA star-turned-actor Rick Fox, it must be said, did not have a huge line, but it would be as cheap a joke as tripping on a rubber chicken to suggest it’s because this crowd isn’t that into sports, due perhaps to having not been picked for teams in the schoolyard. The attendees probably just missed the episodes of Dollhouse and Big Bang Theory he was in.
It took several minutes to get up to the main show floor, with lots of stops for other people’s photos and costumes that required more clearance. Here, I noted the odd, transient smell of cat litter. Have you wondered whether Superman’s curl can wilt? Yes, it can. We weren’t near the section where I could blame Hello Kitty, so I offer it for your complete sensory experience.
When people saw that our crowded walkway just emptied into more crowds, there was a bit of intial swearing, though honestly, I’ve always found Comic Con crowds as considerate and pleasant as any, more than most, actually. And they have to be, because besides the hugely-costumed, other people are carrying rolled-up posters and bows and plastic swords and longstaffs and light sabers. The place is full of things to get up your nostrils and put your eyes out, and the people toting them are pretty good about monitoring their stuff and their personal space.
Comic book vendors—and they are plentiful, so much for paper’s squalling death—have boxes and boxes of categorized issues in plastic for browsers to page through. Even amid the din of beeps and booth music and all the video gaming displays, these are wonderfully tangible and fun to hunt. There’s also themed merchandise of all descriptions: stuffed animals, posters, books, pens, keychains, stickers, suckers, T-shirts that read “Chthulu Saves” or “I Have a Boba Fetish.” My favorites were two calling out wearers as Team Edison or Team Tesla. (Also, 6-dollar plain iced coffees were available.)
Terry Moore kindly posed with my signed Echo collection at his booth. That was a high point.
Another comic I came for specifically was one that I missed last year.
But honestly, issue-by-issue acquisition makes me crazy! I need there to be enough for a collected graphic novel or omnibus. So, I wandered over to Image Comics. Guess which skinny/fat book I was there to get? (Hint: only one of the banners shows a guy in a badge.)
Chew is about Tony Chu, a cibopathic cop, which means he gets psychic residue from anything he tastes. Yes, it means they have him lick everything imaginable. You’d be skinny, too. We will have more about this series later and in loving detail.
I would’ve chatted with the booth staff more about it, too, but there was this guy signing around the corner, whose presence was creating all kinds of lines and obstruction.
Anyway, after spending hours tromping and looking, I was a weary superheroine ready to head back home in the lowering dusk.
So, I called the valet to bring around my car, and put 2012’s New York Comic Con into the archives.
If you went, how was it for you? Did you see the hairy Wonder Woman or a fantastic panel? Discover the greatest comic ever? Break a horn on a door lintel? Spill your bests and worsts!
Clare Toohey is a fierce individualist belonging to loads of organizations and the group blog Women of Mystery. She appreciates crime stories, sitting down occasionally, and things that look shiny.