Written by: Aribeth Gu
As you exit out of Penn Station on 7th ave, you see a mob of people swarming midtown Manhattan, making their way towards Hudson Yards. Families, cosplayers, gamers, each individual with a colored convention badge around their neck. Annually, Reed Pop hosts the New York City Comic Con at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center from October 6th to October 9th. Despite its name being a comic convention, it includes more than just comic books. It hosts companies and panels that delve deeper into pop culture on a global scale. From Japanese animes to Korean webcomics, to upcoming American games, comic con is more than just a comic convention.
NYCC 2022 was my first convention, and I would recommend it to any first-timer. You can easily reach the Javits convention center through Hudson Yards, a large terminal station located on the west side of midtown Manhattan. It’s walking distance from Penn Station and is convenient for convention-goers living out of the 5 boroughs. The actual convention center is massive and offers a Starbucks, fast food Store, concierge desk, and a first aid center. Despite its large environment, NYCC was pretty crowded on the first floor and hard to navigate especially near escalators and staircases.
One would imagine its demographic is composed of the majority of 50-year-olds living in their parent’s basement, playing video games 24/7. Although this is true for some of the attendees, the demographic was incredibly diverse. There were families, teenagers, adults, and even cosplayers with gray hair and wrinkles.
My main purpose for attending comic con was for the experience. Because I only purchased tickets for Sunday, I wanted to make the most out of my purchase. I was not that interested in a majority of Sunday’s panels, and the photos and autographs were out of my budget. I mainly focused on the artist alley and the cosplay competition at the end of the day. I originally underestimated the size of artist alley. Once I was there, I soon realized the reason why a majority of convention-goers attend multiple days. The vast size of Artist Alley itself was enough for one day.
Artist alley included a variety of art and collectibles. On Sunday, many comic artists gave away their comics as prizes for spinning a wheel. However, there was also fanart of video game characters, superheroes, cartoons, and anime characters. Many larger corporations gave away free lanyards, pins, tote bags, and coupons. An independently owned business called Plantcycled located in Massachusetts occupied a table in artist alley. She sold Pokeball terrariums of various sizes, the pokemon in them were recycled toys. We asked her about the process to acquire a table at NYCC, and she told us that it cost her an “arm and a limb”. Larger companies are usually given priority placement, towards the entrances and exits and hanging neon signs. Small businesses are usually grouped in alleys towards the back of the convention rooms. Larger booths sold similar merchandise while smaller businesses or booths sold niche items.
There were a variety of cosplays and costumes. Some were group cosplays, others were individual cosplays. Though some might have been store-bought and others homemade, it was obvious that each cosplayer had put thought and love behind their appearance. At comic con, cosplayers felt a sense of accomplishment when taking pictures with other fans. For instance, we approached a power ranger and he dropped everything on the group to take a picture with us. Though not all cosplays were as wholesome. While in the middle of a traffic jam at the intersection of two alleys, I was stuck standing behind a Pikachu cosplay. His cosplay consisted of a thong with a Pikachu tail, fishnet stockings, and a tank top. One of my favorite cosplays I talked to was a ninja turtle cosplayer. Not only was his cosplay elegantly crafted, but he managed to include his pet turtle “cutie”. Dressed as Raphael, his turtle carried orange nunchucks taped on its shell, meant to cosplay as Michelangelo. Every cosplayer’s energy illuminated the enthusiasm and passion they all had for their characters, community, and cosplay.
Comic con consists of individuals that come from diverse backgrounds, each with their unique hobbies and interests. Comic con is not only an atmosphere for groups of fans to come together, but it is also a haven—a place to share their common hobbies.