By Steve HERNANDEZ
CV Weekly designer and self-proclaimed nerd Steve Hernandez shares his experience of traveling 3,000 miles to take part in Comic-Con – New York.
New York City last weekend was invaded by comic readers, media fans and cosplayers (people dressed in their favorite character’s costumes) from around the globe. And as the herds of nerds lined the doors, the NYPD played “The Imperial March” over their intercom as officers drove past, uniting us all in a giant cheer. But unlike San Diego’s Comic-Con, the city forces participants to adapt to its ways and become familiar with its subways. Only a madman (or a local) would consider driving down to the Javits Convention Center during this event.
For us, the starting point was the city of Brooklyn (one of the five boroughs of New York) where we caught the J train north bound. It was 15 stops before we transferred to either the Q, N or R train (eight more stops) to 34th Street in Manhattan (second borough). A one-way trip was about one hour during the Friday morning commute. From the moment you emerge from the subway, you are greeted by the busy people of the city, the tourists and, of course, your own kind: the Comic-Con participants.
Walking the six city blocks from 34th and Broadway, the crowds were more creative in its costumes as we got closer to the Javits Center. It was an amazing sight to see everyone gathered for what turned out to be one of the most friendliest and fast paced Cons I’ve participated in – so far.
Entering the convention center, the main lobby was full of cosplayers of all ages eager to be photographed either alone or with fans. Some cosplayers who were in pairs or groups collaborated to perform as rivals, which led to choreographed fight scenes throughout the convention. Crowds of spectators formed to cheer their favorite character and take pictures/video of the action.
Past the lobby was the main hall that made up the entire first floor. It was filled with comic book companies, video game tournaments and demos, along with booths of favorite TV shows. Though some of the aisles were really crowded, the majority of people worked hard to acknowledge one another and help people get to their final destination. This was particularly important when trying to get to one signing at a given location then having only about 20 minutes to get to the other end of the hall before something else began. Knowing what aisles were the least crowded made a difference.
The entire east wing, which is the size of a football field, was Artist Alley – one of the major reasons to go to any comic book convention. Here was the chance to meet the writers, inkers, pencilers and colorists who work on favorite comics. There were over 100 artists and writers who participated this year with some being unique to the east coast. This means that that they do not travel to the west coast for any reason; therefore waiting for those signatures was worth it. There were many who you see consistently at conventions, but are always happy to go and have a word with them. Maybe you’ll praise them for their latest work while hoping to get a scoop on your favorite heroes and what lies ahead for them.
Eight hours later, we surrendered to the day and reversed our route home. At first the subway was full of nerds and cosplayers, but as we got further away from Manhattan, the fans dwindled to only a few. The small girl dressed as an anime character with her six-foot scythe really stood out.
Along with the cheese pizza I ordered, this was an experience that I shall not forget and I hope to attend next year to do it all over again.
Be sure to check True-Believer.net and gallery for more pictures of the NYC Comic-con.