When we think of fall what immediately comes to mind are pumpkin spice lattes, cooler temperatures, and the turning of the leaves in an array of gorgeous colors. At least if you live in my neck of the woods. October in New York City also means it’s Comic Con season, and yet this is the year I decided to skip it entirely.
A few weekends ago was the biggest geek event of the year at the Javits Center. Commuting home from work one Thursday afternoon, I spied a couple with tons of merch they obviously got from Comic Con. A wave of nostalgia and warm feelings spread over me like a cozy blanket as I reminisced about the years I have gone to the convention without fail until this year. Why did I decide not to attend a convention that had been an ongoing tradition for the last few years? Fatigue and finances.
Last year I had gone to NYCC with a few friends on a Saturday. While we had fun like we always do, we were starting to get a sense of outgrowing this particular time of our lives. The biggest problem with attending these conventions is you don’t know what kind of panels and guests will be happening and making an appearance the weekend of October until it’s closer to the date. Securing passes occurs months in advance and during the summer months. If you decide to purchase a pass, you’re basically taking a huge chance that you may or may not be excited about the year’s lineup in the fall. Unfortunately, the last few times we went was an underwhelming experience as far as what was on offer at the Javits Center.
Walking the showroom floor and seeing the many people in their fantastic cosplays never disappoints, but if there aren’t any panels and guests you’re excited for then it just feels like you paid to go to a convention just to go shopping. It really didn’t make sense, which brings me to the other reason why I didn’t go.
As many who have followed my blog know, I just moved to a new place over the summer. I purchased the place I now reside in which means I have a mortgage to pay. Before I had plenty of extra money, after bills, to do whatever I liked. If I wanted to eat at a slightly expensive restaurant, no problem. If there was a live show I wanted to see with the best tickets in the house, I bought it. Having a mortgage to keep up with month after month really changes your spending habits.
Paying for a pass to Comic Con, even for a one day attendance, just seemed unreasonably expensive. There are no guarantees you’ll actually be excited about the schedule once the convention organizers release it on their website. Practicality won at the end of the day, and it was far more appealing to save money than waste it unnecessarily.
It did feel strange not to be in the “room where it happens” to quote Hamilton the musical, but I do feel okay with probably slowly moving away from my convention going days. Same with my friends when I had this discussion with them. That’s not to say I wouldn’t attend another convention ever again. I may if the mood and finances feels right. It’s more like I would be at peace if I closed this chapter in my life.
I have a teenage nephew who is now enjoying the convention experience with his own friends, and I am assured in passing the torch over to a new generation of comic loving nerds.
Have you ever reached a point in your life where going to a convention doesn’t give you the same excitement like it used to? Or are you the kind of person who will keep going to them no matter the age? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!
4 thoughts on “End Of An Era: Slowly Parting Ways With New York City Comic Con”
I’m not there yet, but I always meet up with friends I only see at conventions, and they are like mini vacations where the fun is more about being with friends than the con itself. Plus I also present panels which I still love doing and it does reduce the cost.
I think that’s really the only reason I would still go to a convention. Knowing my friends are interested in going would motivate me to continue going. But now that we’re all of the same mindset of not wanting to go back as much or at all, there’s really no reason to spend the money on a badge.
I hit this moment years even before the pandemic when I realized that the crowds, lack of interesting panels, and the internet largely rendering the vendor hall pointless made the ordeal of going to a large convention like Anime Expo more headache than I’m willing to bear. What I miss most are those few panels with Japanese guests giving really great insight into their processes, but I’m usually able to follow up on the typed up interviews weeks afterward. Something you could consider instead is going to smaller, more local (if available) conventions, which I tend to find far more enjoyable and if it gets too much I can jet back home guilt free.
I haven’t tried going to the smaller ones, but usually that means driving to another state in order to attend one which isn’t quite easy for me to do.
As much as I enjoy the cosplayers and being able to browse some of what’s being sold at a con, the real reason to go is for the panels and guests. The past few years has been very disappointing in that regard, although, the year my friends and I decide not to go to NYCC actually had far more interesting guests and panels this year. Figures, right? 😅
I’m still very much in a never say never mindset and I could very well decide to go back again. It depends if I want to take another chance that the year I go may or may not have what I want to see and do.