New York Comic-Con @ Jacob Javits Convention Center

MANHATTAN, NY—Bigger than ever, New York Comic-Con is pretty much one big geekgasm for those who love comic books, superheroes, cosplay and anything related. And according to NYCC organizer ReedPOP, this year it broke their attendance records by a good 12 percent, with 130,000 people invading the Jacob Javits Convention Center from October 10-13, putting it on par with the mother of them all, San Diego Comic-Con. The massive motley crew stormed the aisles, dove into comics bins, posed for photos, met their favorite celebs and flocked to panels about movies, TV shows and various comics-related topics. Interestingly enough, it didn’t feel that much more crowded than last year. Evidently having security use electronic devices to check every badge holder cut down on fake tickets and people who snuck in made a difference.

In the past I have attended a fair number of panels on movies and TV series, and while on Friday I indulged in the fun 25th anniversary of Chucky/Child’s Play panel and the Oldboy panel, I spent the weekend days with smaller panels—like The Ode To Nerds and Comix Chix with Kate Kotler—as well as visiting Artists Alley and loads of comics vendors. I’m always impressed by the devotion fans have to their favorite characters, especially as many of the costumes that you see in this gallery prove, even though I could never do that myself. I’ve been into comics, sci-fi, horror and monsters my whole life, but I never thought they would become as celebrated as this in Con culture. It was nice to see a multigenerational mix of fans.

Admittedly the human traffic jam aspect of NYCC on Saturdays and Sundays always gets a little tiring, and I’ve learned to just give myself extra time to get to where I need to go. However, I didn’t get in to the Superman 75th anniversary panel. I probably should have gotten there sooner, but those great deals on vintage comics kept calling to me. I kept going in, then pulling out. And just when I thought I was out, they pulled me back in. (That just came out wrong.) I spent close to $150, which may not be a lot for true believers, but for me it certainly was!

I should note one big improvement this year: the entry points. While some people might have been irked by having their badges scanned on the way in and out, the space provided for con-goers was much larger, encompassing nearly all of the Javits Center and including the outdoor bus stop and taxi stand between 36th and 38th Streets, which was a nice outdoor spot to chill and grab some noms. It helped ease the ever-present problem of congestion, particularly in the lobby.

The big lesson I learned this year? Plan your day out well. Arrive for panels at least 30 minutes early. Spot the less crowded aisles to cut across. And allot more in my budget for next year. I’d like to collect some artist sketches next time.