While always notable for the artists, the costumes, and the atmosphere, the 2012 New York Comic Con (NYCC) stood out in a new way; 115,000 people attended during the four days of the event. In the four years I have attended the NYCC it has grown steadily in size. In 2009, with attendance of 77,000, it filled only a portion of the Jacob Javits Center in New York City which it shared with the New York Anime Festival. Last year it expanded to the point it occupied the entire convention center. This year it filled the entire convention center and it still could have used more room. They moved the comic artists to the North Hall (which in the many visits I have made to the Javits Center I never knew existed) leaving more room for exhibitors on the show floor. According to the NYCC website the attendance for 2011 was 105,000 people. Those additional 10,000 seem to make all the difference.
For the third year in a row I ran into the internationally beloved technology columnist Andy Ihnatko. After I reintroduced myself and finally told him my name for the first time in three years we talked about the size of the crowds. With his press credentials, Andy gets to go to Comic Con on the press day which is before the NYCC is open to the general public. To be honest, the NYCC is open to the press, professionals, and VIPs (people who purchase a special 4-day package which includes more than the hall pass) on Thursday. Andy told me the crowds were just as bad on Thursday (without general admission open) and the trend seems to have carried on through the rest of the weekend.
Enough with the business of the crowds, on to the festivities. I went to NYCC for the same reasons I go every year. First, my pal Jim (seen here with his custom knit Daredevil hat) is a huge comic fan and would go whether or not I was with him. It’s sort of become our annual thing which we both get about excited for months ahead of time.
Second, Jim has gotten me into collecting commissions from comic book artists. More specifically, the art of Dan Parent who has been synonymous with Archie comics for the last 25 years. What I resent Jim for telling me is the artists will usually draw any character or idea you have in mind (within reason and good taste of course). Last year I asked Dan to draw Betty as Dax from Star Trek: Deep Space 9 and he did! It has become one of my favorite possessions. This year I really splurged and commissioned Archie, Betty, and Jughead to be drawn as Doctor Who, Amy Pond, and her husband Rory respectively. Dan did not disappoint. Yes, the picture to the right is Dan holding the commission.
Finally, there are the costumes. You’ll see everything from store bought costumes to custom designs. You’ll see whole families dressed up to individuals dressed as their favorite character to roving gangs of diehard cosplayers. A couple of my favorites were home grown. The Tintin you see on the left was awesome. I love the commitment of going with the character’s haircut using his own hair. He had great attention to detail.
One of my other favorites worth mentioning was the alien from the Alien movies. I loved this costume for exactly the opposite reasons as the Tintin costume. While they were both homemade efforts, the alien was made from cardboard, duct tape, soda bottles, and string. Seriously, the tail was suspended by a piece of monofilament from the back of the head. This was a genius solution to keeping the tail up as it also made it swish around with a mind of it’s own. The costume wasn’t polished nor fancy. It was made from the heart and you can see by the costume maker’s pose, commitment. That’s what it’s all about to me.
You can see all my photos from the event on my Flickr page.