by Transmute Jun
New York Comic Con (NYCC) 2023 occurred October 12-15, hosting a packed crowd at the Javits Convention Center. The show was held in the midst of the SAG-AFTRA strike. While this was also true for San Diego Comic Con (SDCC), held this past July, there was more warning for the New York show, as well as a few concessions regarding fan conventions by SAG, allowing NYCC to put on a more fulfilling show for fans than the other premiere cons in North America this year.
For the most part, actors were not part of panels at NYCC, due to the restrictions of the strike. There were some exceptions for The Walking Dead (because AMC had signed an interim agreement with SAG), for some animated and audio properties, for Critical Role, and for a few independent productions. However, most properties presented at the con had accompanying panels with showrunners, directors, producers, and other behind-the-scenes personnel, making the studio presence more fulfilling for fans than simply showing footage. Additionally, unlike SDCC, which was taken unawares by the strike (which began less than a month before the show), NYCC had a full slate of panels, with the Empire and Main Stages hosting content all day, every day of the show.
Additionally, a few actors (such as David Tennant, Chris Evans, and Ewan McGregor) participated in hosted panels without audience Q&A, which allowed them to speak on subjects that were not ‘struck work’ (i.e. not the work related to SAG contract negotiations). In a couple of cases, NYCC held ‘in conversation’ panels, where a group of actors from a specific franchise gathered for discussions that had nothing to do with their shared work history. Attendees very much appreciated the creativity and resourcefulness on the part of ReedPop and the studios, which allowed them to experience much of what fans have come to expect from big cons such as these.
In addition to panels, studios brought out the swag, giving away posters, trading cards, hats, bags, comics, and even t-shirts, to promote their properties. Starz hosted a fan party for Shining Vale on Friday the 13th, while Paramount Plus hosted Peak Screaming, an event that highlighted their horror properties, on Saturday night. These parties were held inside the convention center and became a show highlight for many attendees.
While there were some fun booth activations on the Exhibit Floor, such as ANA (All Nippon Airways), Crunchyroll and Good Burger 2, Audible took the activation crown with their Slayers offsite. Slayers is an audio series in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer universe, featuring actors from the television series in a new story, set 10 years after the last television episode. Audible hosted an immersive offsite, rivaling those generally hosted at SDCC. Fans were inducted into the Slayer society by engaging in multiple activities, including potion drinks, tarot readings, and training photo ops. After completing the activities, all attendees were given a prize/swag to remember the experience.
One of the few complaints from attendees this year was the poor quality Wi-Fi that did not reach many places in the convention center. At the feedback panel, ReedPop acknowledged this failing and promised to make arrangements for better quality Wi-Fi next year.
The 2024 NYCC will be held October 17-20, which is 2 weeks later than the usual timing. This is due to the Jewish High Holy Days being held the previous 2 weekends. Fans can look to earlier timing in future years.
Did you attend NYCC? Join the conversation on the FoCC forums!