As someone who has a deep appreciation for DC Comics, the idea of attending Comic Con has always excited me. While the San Diego Comic Con may appear more exclusive (I have heard the process to attend described as “a list to get on the list to get on the list to be considered”), the New York Comic Con is just as worthwhile for fans. Housed in Manhattan’s Javits Center Columbus Day weekend, this year’s Comic Con was the first one I had the privilege to attend. Needless to say, I learned a great deal from the experience. Here are some of my tips for Comic Con:
1) Planning is Everything
Simply put, New York Comic Con is not for the weak of heart or the overly impatient. There will be a great number of people (over 150,000 this year) and there will be long lines. Thankfully, New York Comic Con has both a highly-accessible website and a free online app that frequently updates important information, such as which celebrities will be in attendance, what panels will happen and the specific locations and times for everything. It is impossible to do everything, of course, but it is essential to utilize the app and moreover having a preliminary schedule for the day planned out beforehand.
There were several panels that interested me, but the most important one for me was the 75th Anniversary of Batman panel. Featuring comic writers, artists and Kevin Conroy (the voice of Batman in Batman: The Animated Series) the panel was an excellent tribute to such an iconic character.
2) Autographs are Worth More than PhotoOps
Before attending Comic Con, I assumed that my stance on this would be the other way around. After all, is it not true that having a picture with a favorite celebrity is better than having his or her signature? In most cases, this is probably true. But, this is not so for Comic Con. While having a photo with a favorite celebrity is wonderful, the PhotoOps at Comic Con are little more than paying money for a five-second photo with a celebrity. While it is a fun experience to be up close to a favorite icon, the PhotoOp is so brief that there is no time to really “meet” the person, or even shake his or her hand. However, the autograph sessions are far more intimate. When I met Kevin Conroy, I did not just take a photo with him, but I received a personalized signed photo and—most importantly—I was able to have a substantial, meaningful conversation with someone who played a character that has meant so much to me. Next year, I will be sure to focus on the autograph sessions more, since that experience was undoubtedly the more rewarding one.
3) Remember to Enjoy It
This is ultimately the most important aspect of Comic Con. Do not let the crowds get you down. Several of the most notable comic book artists and writers are all in one place. There is a multitude of contests, free giveaways and exclusive merchandise. There are panels, Q&A sessions and opportunities to meet beloved childhood icons. Every Comic Con is a unique, incredible experience.