Now a full four-day event, New York Comic Con drew a record 150,000 attendees between October 9th and 12th, beating out even San Diego Comic Con’s top numbers. Given the proximity of the event to Philadelphia, Boston, and Washington, D.C., that seems to make sense. As expected, the Jacob Javitz Convention Center was packed to the rafters with movie and TV panels, vendors of all types (comic books, video games, toys, and more), and most importantly, the fans. Indeed it could be argued that even beyond the performers that show up for presentations, interviews, and autograph sessions, the biggest stars of the Con are the fans themselves, many of whom spend anywhere from weeks to a whole year preparing elaborate costumes to cavort in. One of the most popular activities of the event is people snapping shots of their favorite cosplayers, and this year the parade of heroes, villains, and other assorted characters did not disappoint.
That being said, I enjoyed attending the panels about ABC’s Once Upon A Time, Cary Elwes’ Princess Bride memoir As You Wish (the man is a charming ham), Ron Perlman’s memoir Easy Street (The Hard Way), and the 30th anniversary of The Karate Kid with stars Ralph Macchio, Martin Kove, and William Zabka. The level of fandom at those events is both enlightening and almost a little frightening at times — there’s nothing quite like watching an episode of Once Upon A Time among a throng of squealing teenage girls or hearing Karate Kid credos militantly shouted out at random intervals. Some fans are truly hardcore, but they are the ones who help keep certain properties alive and prove that when someone says “it’s only a movie,” it simply is not the case. I have never been that obsessed, but I have been quietly devout in my admiration of certain artists or their work.
If there is any word to sum up Comic Con, it is passion. And fans who have passion for anything: comics, toys, roleplay, videogames, TV, and movies. Without that passion, this convention would not be what it is. And I understand it. I still prowl the floor seeking out new things, venture through Artist Alley to check out the art, and dive into the comic bins like I did when I was 10 years old. For some of us, once a fan always a fan. That can be a wonderful thing.
All photos herein ©2014 by Bryan Reesman.