Thursday, October 18, 2012

New York Comic Con 2012: Where Batman Meets Felix (And Passion Meets Play)

This was my first trip to New York Comic Con; or for that matter, to any serious comics convention. Held at Javits Center, anybody (and I mean anybody) who’s a serious player in comics or pop culture suggested or influenced by comics is there. Marvel and DC Comics are there. But so is every ambitious indie who’s ready to make her mark at “the big show.” It’s impossible not to feel the excitement and the passion in this serious pursuit of play.

Classic "Ghostbusters"
There are similar conventions all over the country. The oldest is Comic-Con (with a hyphen) founded in 1970. Comic-Con happens every summer in San Diego. But you’ll find comics conventions in several large cities in the US. New York Comic Con is a young convention—founded in 2006—but it’s a barn-burner. It’s very first year, it was much more popular than its stunned organizers anticipated. The building quickly surpassed capacity and had to be locked down by the fire department. Guest speaker Kevin Smith couldn’t even gain entry to the building. And it’s been an extremely popular convention ever since.

Comics are just the jumping off point to what is a full-on pop culture, multi-media extravaganza. As I said, every serious player in comics is there, including international publishers and creators with personal appearances, panel discussions, and autograph opportunities with industry superstars. But there’s also representatives from the comics-related tv shows, cinema, video games, music, technology, books, and every type of related product—new and vintage—under the sun.

"Gangnam Style"
It’s a feast for your creative soul and this bunch of fans is hands-down the most devoted on the planet. They love it but they also live it, with many fans attending in amazing one-of-a-kind costumes, often lovingly created by the wearer to celebrate their own relationship with their favorite character. Other fans celebrate the trend of the moment, like the couple I saw dressed as “Gangnam Style” Korean video stars.

Amazing attention
to detail in costumes.
Should you bring your kids to Comic Con? Well—it’s very crowded and very loud. If you and your child are okay with that (and you can ensure they won’t wander off), there’s a lot of kid-friendly exhibitors here; and a bunch of kids seemed to be having a ball. The Lego presence alone was pretty jaw-dropping. Another parental concern surrounds the costumed characters who wander about, because this sure ain’t Disney World. There’s a lot of sexy costumes; make sure you’re okay with that, too. I’m thinking it’s a more natural fit for older kids, especially those who love comics, Star Wars, and video games. And for teens, it’s heaven. I’ll be at Comic Con again next year. And next week, I’ll share my own “Best of NY Comic Con” picks.

All photographs ©Maggie Hames; not for reuse.

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