It has been a few years since I attended New York Comic Con (NYCC), and while the atmosphere was mostly the same compared to past cons, there were noticeable differences that made my experience a memorable one.
The majority of my time was spent in the exhibit hall and in the autograph halls, adding items to my personal collection. Typical stops on my shopping journey included the Marvel and TeeTurtle booths for exclusive t-shirts I wear often throughout the year, and the Hallmark booth for exclusive items to decorate my Christmas Tree, which is filled with all sorts of interesting sci-fi and pop culture decorations! But there were a few other interesting booths I shopped at including the Swarovski, Hero and Villains, and Equilibrium USG booths. Swarovski brought their limited edition and other pop-culture-themed items for sale. The Captain Marvel figurine was a little out of my budget at $10k, but I did purchase a reusable Marvel sticker set, which I will use to decorate my personal and work laptops. The Hero and Villains booth featured a full line of X-Men clothing and accessories which I found quite appealing due mainly to the design and colors used. Equilibrium USG’s lineup featured a customized backpack system that I found quite comfortable and may have solved a multi-year search to satisfy my need for a versatile backpack for everyday use for cons, and traveling. There were also some gems to add to your collection including comics, handsomely crafted masks from the DC movies such as Batman and The Flash, figurines, and kaiju models. My only disappointment was the lack of presence of official Doctor Who merchandise from either BBC America or Disney+. Considering the upcoming landmark 60th anniversary of the series, this was a missed opportunity to energize the fanbase and, in the case of Disney+, build the subscriber base.
Navigating the exhibit hall floor was a challenge in prior years but this time around it seemed easier even on peak days, such as Saturday and Sunday. Attendees were keen to keep moving and avoid stopping in the middle of the aisles. As such, a highlight for me when walking the floor was the food merchants offering a wide variety of delicious items for purchase ranging from Empanadas to Steamed Bao Buns and delicious fudge! As I passed by each station and even the food trucks stationed outside I observed many, if not all, had high levels of interest and decent lines.
The lineup of guests was robust and ranged from media talent to comic artists and writers, as well as some legendary wrestlers, and a few American Gladiators. For the autograph seeker like myself, there was a high level of activity in the autographing and photo-op areas. Demand was so high in many cases that several autograph sessions sold out several weeks prior to the con, with most notably the Guests of Honor, Chris Evans and Ewan McGregor. Unfortunately, additional sessions were not added on and there were no opportunities to purchase onsite due to the high demand. This meant prospective attendees who did not purchase prior to the sell-out were unfortunately unable to participate. Attendees should take note for future years to monitor the con site and purchase any highly desired autographs as soon as they become available. I was happy to have David Tennant sign a 60th Anniversary Sonic Screwdriver and obtain autographs from John Carpenter, Elizabeth Winstead, Katee Sackoff, and Michelle Gomez.
The programming lineup was robust this year, which featured current series and upcoming shows and films, as well as spotlight panels featuring many of the guests. I attended the David Tennant Spotlight and it was a great experience as a fan! But due to the SAG-AFTRA strike, the focus of the conversation was on stage work, including his upcoming run in MacBeth at the Donmar Warehouse, London, and his pandemic-set series, Staged.
Cosplayers were a very common sight throughout the con as always, and there were a few notables I found interesting for their likeness and attention to detail, such as Rick Grimes, Doctor Strange, Spawn, Aloy (from Playstation’s Horizon series), and numerous variations from the Spider-Verse. The cosplay area, located in the River Pavilion, was buzzing with activity with vendors and photo ops. Mehron, the cosplay makeup company, had two booths at the con with one on the exhibit hall level and another in the cosplay area where make-up artists were on hand to decorate faces, for a nominal fee, and provide tips of course.
Lastly, the gaming section was an interesting treat for attendees whether they were interested in joining a Smash Brothers tournament, playing Magic: The Gathering, or learning something new like Mahjong. Whether you were solo or with family and friends, the area was an interesting, yet, engaging area to visit during the course of the day.
Overall, my experience, or rather, my return to New York Comic Con this year was a positive one. I look forward to returning next year!