If you know me and my penchant for all things nerdy, then you’ll know going to comic conventions is the epitome of what I’d call heaven.
Going to New York is also my idea of heaven and my partner knows this all too well.
So imagine my sheer delight when he contacts me at work to tell me that he managed to score Friday and Saturday passes to New York Comic Con (held every year at the Javits Centre), myfirst ever convention outside of the UK! Well it gave us the incentive to return to our favourite city (as if I’d need a reason!) Mr Lee had been to NYCC a fair few times before, so luckily was able to fully prepare me for not only the size of the convention centre itself, but advise me how chock-a-block (apologies, I mean crowded) it could get and believe me, coming from conventions in the UK nothing can prepare you for the vastness of NYCC!
It was strange because the first thing I experienced wasn’t even at the convention centre itself; it was a few blocks away in another venue and I was awe struck. Mainly because the comic con practically takes over the city and I’ve never seen that happen with a convention before. In London, apart from the shopping bags that are a dead giveaway that you’ve been to comic con, for the most part it’s pretty contained. In New York City, the entire of New York City knows.
So my first taste of comic con in New York brought me to the main stage at the Hammerstein Ballroom, for a panel I never thought in my wildest dreams I’d ever get to witness.
SpongeBob Appreciation Day, a panel where the cast and creatives of SpongeBob Squarepants not only have a chinwag about how fantastic the show is but also do a live table read of one of the episodes.
Right there, in front of my face.
Ok dramatic, I didn’t quite do that… But I did cry upon leaving said main stage. Yes, 30 years old me cried because I got to see Tom Kenny (aka SpongeBob) perform the iconic chortle more than once and my 10 year old self was living a childhood dream. Things like that just don’t happen to people like me and that was only my first taste of what was to come, from a jam-packed two days of my nerdy dreamlike state.
Well I proceeded to cry another 2 times, didn’t I? This was over the course of our time at comic con, due to meeting people and attending panels that were making me pinch myself every two seconds, such as my childhood hero Sean Astin and the incomparable Rick Baker (I mean… That right there? GOALS… And that’s just to name a few!)
But aside from the guests, what amazed me about a convention that I suppose from the outset can be seen as someone’s worst nightmare if you have anxiety; it is insanely busy and there’s no real quiet spot to take a breather, the queue’s for the toilets are constant and the food can be very expensive.
But you know what? I have never felt so at home.
Honestly. There was this feeling of radiating joy from everyone I came into contact with. Everyone around me was extremely kind, polite and so happy to be in this place of utter happiness! I got to meet new people and connect with friends, such as my pal Andre who I’d not seen in a while because he lives so far away. Also, the amount of people who asked if I was going to cosplay whilst there… Now there’s a good reason why I didn’t do this, because THE COSPLAY’S ARE FLIPPING INSANE!! Are you kidding me? If I want to even contemplate cosplay somewhere such as NYCC I seriously need to up my sewing game and soonish! The level of creativity and detail to people’s costumes is quite simply put- something else; it’s on a whole other planet and I just thoroughly enjoyed marvelling (ahem) at people’s hard work. It was beautiful to witness what people had created in person.
I already know that Mr Lee and I will be returning to NYCC without a shadow of a doubt, and I’m already looking into it for next year.
Some people may say that Disneyland is the ‘Happiest Place on Earth’, but I think it’s fair to say New York Comic Con might be mine.