Have you ever heard of New York Comic Con?
New York Comic Con, or NYCC for short, is an annual convention that is held at the Javits Center for fans of ‘popular media’ to meet up and share their passions. From what I understand, there is an average of 150,000 to 200,000 people who attend this convention and this number keeps growing larger and larger with every year.
My History with NYCC
I have been going to the Javits Center for this annual convention for a little over a decade. My first convention was New York Anime Festival in 2007. I remember skipping school that day to go to ‘Anime Fest’ and I remember how excited I was to be surrounded by people who were anime nerds like myself.
In 2010, Comic Con had begun to show up in conjunction with Anime Festival. I remember feeling upset at the change since I was primarily there for the anime. However, the crowd still felt as welcoming as ever so I continued to attend whenever I could. With each passing year, Anime Fest got smaller and smaller while Comic Con took more and more space.
The rising popularity of super hero movies made the number of people who wanted to go to NYCC grow significantly. This meant that obtaining tickets to go to this convention became harder and harder. I also had become tired of going to the same convention every year that no longer focused on the media I was interested in.
So when the opportunity to become ‘Crew’ for the convention became a possibility for me, I went for it. And I’ve been Crew of New York Comic Con for 3 years now. Not only did this make obtaining a four-day pass significantly easier for me, but it has also given me a new kind of perspective and experience at NYCC that otherwise would have felt stale.
My thoughts on NYCC 2018
Now that I established my history with New York Comic Con, let me tell you what I thought about it. This is coming from a point of view of someone who isn’t necessarily a ‘comic book fan’, but a fan of conventions in general and a crew member.
NYCC and Anime Fest were separate
In the past, Comic Con and Anime Festival were both held at Javits Center. They would be in separate locations in the building, but one wouldn’t have to leave the building to see both conventions.
This year, New York Comic Con was in the Javits Center while Anime Festival was held at Pier 94. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the landmarks of New York City, Pier 94 is approximately 18 blocks away from the Javits Center. 18 New York City blocks are no joke. This was a 30 minute walk for people to check out the other convention and while shuttle buses were available… They were not very reliable.
Anime Festival was deserted in comparison to the ‘bumper to bumper’ traffic at Comic Con. I went there with my boyfriend on Friday and while I appreciated being able to walk freely without bumping into other people every five seconds, I did feel a little bad for the vendors and panelists who were forced to stay there all four days.
Shoutout to the food truck outside of Anime Fest. It had the most delicious con food
In terms of things to do at Anime Fest, there were a handful of activities. I enjoyed roaming their small artist alley and was thrilled to meet the artist behind DRAWING ALL POKEMON, Christopher Cayco. I also was able to enjoy resting on the Yogibo bean bag chairs that were scattered around the convention center and participated in the drawing challenge that was going on.
My Crew Role was at Shop Studios on 39th Street
In previous years I worked at the various Information Booths located within the Javits Center and I have worked for the Fandom Foodtruck. What I love most about being Crew is the opportunity to experience the convention from a new pair of lenses. Whether I am sitting at a booth answering a flurry of questions or creating menus for a food truck, I enjoy the new experiences and skills gained by being a Crew member.
Working at Shop Studios was definitely a new experience.
This was the first time I worked off-site for New York Comic Con. This meant that while others had to clock in and out the traditional way, I reported to my supervisor to record my work hours. I also got the opportunity to work with panels directly for the first time.
There were times at Shop Studios that all I had to do was smile and greet con-goers that entered in our large chilly rooms on either the 3rd or 4th floor. There were other times that I took a more active role such as handing out pre-signed books to individuals who paid for them ahead of time or had ‘mic duty’ during the Q&A sections of the panels I had the opportunity to sit in on.
Other ‘indoor’ duties I had were to clean up the room between panels, keep track of time for the presenters of the panel, and generally just be available to help out however I could.
As for my ‘outdoor’ duties, I did some line management.
Line management was a skill set I picked up on when I worked with the Fandom Foodtruck. However this year I had two to three lines to manage at a time and each line had their own ‘quirks’. Some lines were only available for people who purchased tickets ahead of time, other lines were for general admission, while on rare occasions we had a line specifically for individuals with medical badges.
Line Management Pro Tip: Use your environment to help create crisp sharp lines. Play ‘the floor is lava’ with people on your lines and you’ll be almost guaranteed to get a laugh every time.
While I did not create beautiful menus as I did with the Fandom Foodtruck, I did quickly create signs with paper and a Sharpie to help manage the lines.
Another highlight that I should mention is that I met Bill Nye the Science Guy who is such a delight to meet in person. He certainly knows what angles suit him best in photos and I loved his sense of humor. I also met Daron Nefcy who is the creator of Star vs the Forces of Evil who was a huuuuuge sweetheart.
Other NYCC 2018 Highlights
The showroom floor was the star of the show.
This was my first 'go-to' place to go when I completed my morning shift at Shop Studios. For those of you who are unaware of the scale of the grandness of this place, watch this brief video by G Fuel to get a better idea.
Here are some of the most memorable booths that I checked out:
Wacom - This is a booth I visit every year, especially because they host a raffle to win one of their tablets... which of course, I want to win. I loved stopping by every day to enter the raffle and on Thursday I did a little doodle.
Java Monster - This was the MVP booth of Comic Con this year, they were giving out free samples of their Java Monster energy drink and they were delish! Salted Caramel gets first place followed by Vanilla
1Up Keyboards - I didn't purchase anything from here, buuuut I did have fun typing on their keyboards. My nails click loudly against the keys and that brings me so much delight!
5-Hour Energy - They were giving out free samples of their drinks. I got the Extra Strength Berry flavored one which I still have in my purse for when I need it.
My boyfriend and I went through Artist Alley to check out what artists were hanging around there. While neither of us made any purchases, it was very impressive to see how many artists jumped on the Bowsette bandwagon due to how popular that meme became.
I regret not bringing my spare sketchbook to have all of the artists in Artist Alley to sign like I did last year.
Funimation Peep Show
This was the only panel I actually lined up for this year. It was an 18+ panel on Saturday night that I looked forward to checking out. While I was online, I was asked to confirm my age, but that's nothing new.
As for the panel itself, it was just a giant advertisement for Funimation to sell their DVDs. However, the host of the panel, Cookie Stratford, was pretty charismatic and I personally loved her dirty sense of humor. I don't think my boyfriend was as impressed with her jokes, but we both had a good time and appreciated any excuse to sit down and not be on our feet.
My Advice for NYCC Con-Goers
Whenever anyone asks me about New York Comic Con, I always give the following 3 pieces of advice. Whether or not any of these will be applicable or useful to you is another story... But I hope they help!
1. Go on Thursday if you can
Many people either have jobs, go to school, or have other responsibilities. Because of this, I highly recommend any person to go on Thursday. Thursday is the least crowded day and you'll experience the least amount of lines during the entire convention. The show floor might still be crowded, but compared to Saturday it'll be a cakewalk.
2. Bring snacks
The food at the convention is overpriced and will taste pretty mediocre. So if possible bring snacks in your bag to keep your stomach from growling. Other ideas are to purchase food from Subway or Dunkin’ Doughnuts that are close to the Javits Center. If you are desperate and don't mind spending money, then buy food from the food trucks because their food tastes pretty good (though the portion size and price are a bit iffy).
3. Be prepared for lines
This is especially true if you are going to Comic Con for panels, an autograph, or photo opportunity. If you have a book that you've been putting off to read, bring it. If you are participating in Inktober, bring your art supplies. If you have a DS, Switch, or another portable console, have it on hand. If you must use your phone, have an external battery on hand because outlets are not guaranteed and your phone is needed to take photos of cosplayers and obvious for contacting your friends/family.
What are your thoughts on NYCC?
Did you go to NYCC 2018? Was it your first con or have you been there before? I'd love to hear your experiences and thoughts.
If you haven't been to this NYCC, then what conventions have you been to and what have those experiences been like?