New York Comic Con is the mega-spectacle now under way at the Javits Center. It’s the biggest pop culture convention in the East Coast and second biggest nationwide. Last year, it attracted more than 133,000 fans (Armory Show: 65,000; People’s Climate March: 300,000).
Visitors pay $65 for a three-day ticket or $35-50 dollars for one day, making admission comparable to the Frieze Art Fair. (Unlike Frieze, NYCC issues high-tech Radio Frequency Identification Badges containing unique microchips. By “activating” this badge, badge holders permit NYCC to track them – or with the flip of a switch, incinerate them.)
Most NYCC exhibitors come from the worlds of comics, animation, gaming, toys, movies, TV, and publishing. A tight schedule of daily panels, autograph sessions, portfolio reviews, and sneak preview screenings can bring fans closer to their favorite creators and projects. On top of all that, NYCC has its own beer, a DJ spinning all weekend long, and speed dating gatherings all weekend long, and that doesn’t even count the afterparties. So if you can’t get lucky at Comic Con, then maybe Sailor Moon is not the look for you. NYCC is also part of New York Super Week, a weeklong pop culture festival that will turn NYC into “a playground for super heroes, villains, vampires, zombies, geeks and passionate fans of all sizes.”
NYCC is a great place to be an artist, and emerging illustrators can set up shop in Artist Alley, alongside the legends who inspired them. Artists sell drawings on the spot, alongside limited edition prints and copies of their comics.
But NYCC is also a branding blowout. Some brands feel relevant, such as Wacom or Simon and Schuster, who occupy vital positions in the production and distribution of a project, but why do we need Chevy, Sprint, and Geico? And isn’t the cross-marketing of 50-Cent and Star Wars a bit of a burden on a pair of headphones? Last year’s Frieze Art Fair partnership with Gap looks quaint, comparatively.
For owners of small businesses, NYCC looks like a great a place to expand their audience. Conversely, it’s a way for aspiring creators and makers to learn more about making. For example, there were several booths offering 3D printing machines, or animation software.
But not everyone is here to do business. Some are here for pleasure and play. The costume scene is incredible, setting a very high standard for Halloween ambitions, among other things.
As seen in our original video above, some costumes are so sexy that you might reassess your childhood interest in certain heroes (or villains). But lest we forget…
Then again, some people aren’t interested in those attractions. They get their kicks on joysticks.
And despite all the radical self-expression, there are some dominant modes and styles. For example…
NYCC feels bustling with creativity and entrepreneurial drive, and it’s full of clever wit and hilarity…
…though it’s not a laughing matter to everyone, like this “Death Dealer” sculpture:
Amidst the crowds and overstimulation, Comic Con can be overwhelming. It makes you feel crazy, or exhausted.
But the Guardians of the Comic Con are always one step ahead of you.