New York Family Goes To Comic Con

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The author channeling Bart Simpson

“It’s just going to be full of perverts,” my teenage son’s mother said when I told her that I’d snagged two tickets to Comic Con New York, the contender to challenge the gigantic event in San Diego and the self-styled “largest Pop Culture event on the East Coast.” It’s the place where kids and grown-ups alike don costumes of comic characters and superheroes and mingle with vendors, TV studios promoting shows, stars signing autographs, and lots and lots of like-minded fellow citizens. I guess she was thinking that any guy who’d want to get dressed up would have to be a pervert. She’s wrong. And I wished I’d dressed up.

This year’s sold-out Comic Con New York (the New York Times reported all 151,000 tickets were sold out within hours of being put up for sale) is a marvelous celebration of nerdiness, fan fervor, and just plain enthusiasm. I saw babies (including those dressed up by their parents in elaborate costume), kids, teens, yuppies, hippies, and just about every demographic of New York City, trawling the gigantic floor of the Javits Center, which Comic Con takes over for four days in October.

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Two young Comic Con fans

On this reporter’s estimate, more than half of the attendees were decked out in costumes paying homage to their favorite characters. The halls are roaming with Supermen, Catwomen, Ghostbusters, Star Trekkies, Ewoks, a thousand variations of Japanese anime characters, the Walking Dead, Pokemon, Anonymous, Elsa and Anna, Jack Frost, Dr. Who, Jessica Rabbit (seriously!), Super Mario, Captain America, and tons of futuristic costumes inspired by the host of current games and shows. People stop every couple of yards to either pose or take pictures of others.

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Anna and Olaf from “Frozen”

And it really isn’t a male thing at all. In fact, the aggressive, often highly sexual costumes belong to the women. Reflecting the screen or the comic page, there were plenty of provocative costuming but there’s a real confidence and swagger and role models of women in control. On the day we went, the room was booked out for the panel discussion on “Strong Female Chacters: The Women Shining in Geek Media.” Mums and dads shouldn’t be worried about their daughters, in other words.

It is a humbling experience for a father not to know most of the characters in the hall. Archie was there (even before my time!) and the obviously popular Marvel Comics heroes and heroines, but my son and his friend were preoccupied with their favorite characters. One bought a fine, long, rubber Master Sword from the Legend of Zelda and a highly provocative body pillow of the delightful and scantily clad anime firgurette Wolfandspice (we’ll see how Mum reacts), and the other a t-shirt from the TV show “Futurama.”

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Mortal Kombat

It’s a monster of a show and you can take a couple of days to really enjoy the exhibit hall and its vendors. The panel discussion are a little more elusive. They take place at the lower level, but you have to start lining up early to get a seat for “How to Get Paid for being a Nerd” or Harry Potter NYC’s “The Art of Wand Duelling.” The lines are long and tedious. You also have areas dedicated to having your pic taken with your favorite star or getting their autograph (FYI, William Shatner’s go for $80 a pop – cash up front, no credit cards).

In the end analysis, Comic Con New York is a wonderful, vibrant, three-ring circus where you can watch or participate and just have a whale of a time. Next year, I plan to go as a Dalek from “Dr. Who!”

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Chewbacca

Richard Burns is the Chairman of Manhattan Media,  New York Family’s parent company.   

 

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