I’m a season pro of these comic conventions, having gone for about five years, and the experience hasn’t gotten stale for me. Not yet anyway. The energy and excitement near and inside the convention is undeniable. Everyone is happy to be there and we’re all holding our breaths in anticipation of what we’ll be seeing and experiencing this year. Without further delay, here’s a full breakdown of what my convention experience has been like when New York Comic Con hit the Big Apple last weekend.
The first day of the convention started on Friday when me and the friend I usually go with went to the Jacob Javits Center for a few hours after work. The con officially started on a Thursday, but I typically never go for 4-day passes. I simply don’t have the days to take any more additional time off from work and I’m not interested in spending the extra cash to go to the convention four days in a row. Attending the convention for three consecutive days is already exhausting enough. I can’t imagine going for all four days.
In the few hours we had on Friday, it was what I call the “take everything in” day. Fridays tend to be the less busier day of the convention and Thursdays even more so from what I’ve heard from friends who have done all four days of the convention before. This mainly has to do with most people being at work or school during the week, making it tough to go to the convention for the whole day on a weekday. We spent the entire time on the showroom floor checking out any new and returning booths that made it out this year.
My friend and I noted the lack of video games at this year’s convention. I know this isn’t PAX, but I’ve been used to a few video games being showcased at the convention year after year. Nintendo used to be a regular presence at the convention in previous years, but ended up being absent this year. The only video game I recall seeing at the convention at all was a demo for Mirror’s Edge Catalyst. As I haven’t played the first Mirror’s Edge, my interest in the game wasn’t as high as others who may have played and loved the first one.
In between surveying the merchandise on display and grabbing whatever freebies booths were giving away, I snapped photos of any con attendee I saw in cosplay I really liked. Going to these conventions year after year, you start wanting to take less photos of every Joker, Batman, Captain America, and Harley Quinn you find. I started feeling like the convention has gotten overly saturated with Jokers and Harley Quinns. Some are really great cosplays, but then you start craving something different and seeing other fandoms get a little more love.
The second day of the convention is the peak of the con weekend. There’s more people, it’s chaotic, and lines for panels or getting exclusive merch tends to be longer. It’s the day when you’ll want to be well rested and have an infinite amount of patience on hand because, for most people, it’ll be a long and full day. This is why taking breaks in between the overwhelming assault on the senses you’ll experience at a convention like this one is extremely important. The Javits Center isn’t that big of a building, which means almost any spot you go to will put you right in the middle of a traffic jam of attendees getting from one end of the building to another. Be prepared to get up close and personal, for a few seconds, with a Sailor Moon or Storm Trooper as you try to squeeze your way to get to where you want to go. My friend and I don’t like leaving the convention when we take our breaks, so we have made it a habit every year to pack our own snacks and drinks when we go. It’s cheaper and it means you’ll have more money to spend on merchandise.
There weren’t a ton of panels we wanted to see this year. Among the big panels happening that day were the Firefly reunion panel and a screening of the first episode from the upcoming X-Files revival premiering January 2016 with a Q&A with creator Chris Carter and actor David Duchovny afterwards. My friend is a huge Firefly fan, while I’m a huge X-Files fan. As much as we wanted to see those panels, we didn’t want it badly enough to line up for it. This year, the con started a system of lining up for wristbands to guarantee entrance into the big panels happening on the main stages of the convention. While the system is meant to put an end to people lining up for panels they didn’t want to see just to get in and stay for two or three hours until their panel started, it just sounded like too much work to hustle to the area for the wristbands. The convention was crowded and busy enough. There were other things we wanted to check out and we didn’t want to spend it on waiting on more lines. I also saw David Duchovny that one year him and Gillian Anderson did a panel at New York Comic Con. I felt I got my fill of seeing celebrities from a TV show I love.
The panel my friend and I really wanted to see was the previously reported Clueless 20th Anniversary panel that was supposed to happen. However, when we went to the room where they said it would be held at, one of the volunteers for the con said it got cancelled and was instead replaced with a panel for Stephenie Meyer’s new book Life and Death, a retelling of the Twilight series but with the genders reversed––male human falls in love with a female vampire. Ick. To say we were both disappointed is a gross understatement. I mean, yes, having a Clueless panel at New York Comic Con is an odd place for it to happen, but come on! Clueless is an amazing movie from the ’90s and I rather relive that nostalgia than sit through an hour panel about a book that just recycled its plot to gain more money. Clearly, Meyer isn’t all that talented of a writer if she has to recycle her own stories. Who does that?! With no panels on our schedule for that day, we decided to do more people watching, shopping, and scouring the con for more freebies. Any and all the freebies!
Another highlight of the convention was the amount of Marty McFlys swarming the convention this year. In honor of celebrating Back to the Future Day and Back to the Future Part 2 on October 21, 2015, the day Marty time travels to the future, Pepsi gave away the futuristic Pepsi bottle you see Marty order at a diner in the future for free. The catch? You just have to show up at the booth dressed up as Marty to get one. Another friend of mine, who I met up with at the convention, cosplayed as Marty to get the free bottle. He made a great Marty and really got into character throughout the whole con weekend. Seeing the amount of people who were game to cosplay as Marty this year to get their free Pepsi bottle really shows how much Back to the Future is still a very much beloved film series from the ’80s. There really wasn’t anything like it during that time and for many of us, we grew up with the movie. Oh nostalgia.
It was the final day of the convention weekend and my friend and I were starting to lose some steam. The energy and crowds didn’t let up at the convention itself, but by this time we literally walked and possibly checked out most of what we wanted to see. Sunday is also considered Family Day, which means plenty of families showed up with their kids and there were some kid friendly activities geared towards them.
My friend spent most of the convention shopping up a storm, buying comic books and T-shirts, while I had a hard time finding things I wanted to buy. I always find myself not really finding anything that screams, “BUY ME NOW!” at a convention. The figurines are cool, the plushies are cute and soft, or certain art books from video games I love are a feast for the eyes. Do I want them badly enough? Not exactly. Maybe it’s partly because I’m half practical and half too cheap to throw my money down on just anything. Stuff at the con are really overpriced. Even a small figurine you can place on your desk or computer tends to be a bit much for what they’re asking. Still, my friend was adamant about not leaving the con until I at least buy one thing. Luckily, I did eventually find two items I didn’t mind buying––a tiny journal and a small mystery Hello Kitty box from the Toki Doki booth. The prices weren’t fantastic, but it was okay enough for me to bite the bullet and buy them.
For the last day of the convention, my friend and I did check out a panel for Sailor Moon. The panel comprised of a discussion about the love for all things Sailor Moon and announcements for what will be upcoming in terms of future Sailor Moon releases in North America. The panel largely marketed the dubbed versions of the re-released ’90s anime and Sailor Moon Crystal anime for DVD and Blu-ray. The clips played for the English dub was kind of terrible in my opinion. The only English dub I ever liked was when the ’90s Sailor Moon was first released in North America and voice actress Terri Hawkes was the voice of Serena/Usagi during that time. The dub wasn’t perfect at all and DiC Entertainment severely cut up the anime to take out “questionable” episodes or scenes to make it more broadcast appropriate based on children’s TV standards, but it was what I was used to and it was what initially made me fall in love with Sailor Moon and anime in general. The new dub actors just feel and sound weird to me. I cringed at Usagi’s new English voice actress during the clip they screened at the panel. Ever since I started watching the Japanese subbed version of the ’90s anime on Hulu, I much rather watch the anime that way now.
During the panel, there was an opportunity to answer trivia questions to win some small Sailor Moon related goodies. I’m a huge fan of the show, but I guess not as hardcore as some of the fans in attendance. Questions ranged from the name of the Japanese theme songs played in certain episodes to the Japanese voice actress for one of the Sailor Scouts. At one point they asked who was the actor playing a particular character in a live action stage version of Sailor Moon in Japan. Crazy, I tell you, and some actually knew the answers to these. All I have to say is kudos to those who sleep, eat, and breathe Sailor Moon. I’m obviously not at the level some of these Moonie fans were.
This concludes my New York Comic Con experience for this year. I only wish there were panels I was super hyped about attending, but I guess not every year will be as big and as exciting for everyone. I still had fun like I always do and that’s what matters. Scroll down below to see more photos from the convention.