5 Ways to Comic Con: Part One
By George Rose
August 16, 2017
The Santa Claus of Comic Con (and, really, comic books in general) is Old St. Stan Lee. He spreads his merry cheer throughout the land, providing stories for the kids and gifts for all. However, Stan Lee can’t get around the entire world in one night, not even with the help of eight tiny little Rocket Raccoons pulling his sleigh or a red nosed Rudolph lighting the way. Stan Lee is old now but somehow continues to show up to the festive Comic Con with the jolly excitement of a ten-year-old first-timer. Every chance he can, he tries to take pictures with the families and sign autographs. This fan service takes up lots of his time because he is a beloved icon of the genre; instead of cramming Christmas into one night there are several stops in many cities across the country spread out over the year. This mega tour of love and creativity and commercialism is known as Comic Con.
The biggest of these Cons is in San Diego, with East-coasters like me getting to enjoy stops along the way in cities like New York and Philadelphia. What once was just a comic book convention has exploded into a pop culture phenomenon. Comic books became movies and TV shows, which then also made appearances at Comic Con. Other nerdy shows/movies caught onto the fandom surrounding the event so non-comic book shows/movies decided to start releasing comic book mini-series that might have only had a few issues, just to say they could appear at Comic Con. Now, it is basically a free-for-all orgy of everything that the internet decides is cool and geeky. I’m ok with this. I’m all for inclusion; if some random store vendor at Comic Con feels like selling samurai swords or statues of dragons, and the sales from that barely relevant brand help continue the Con coming forever so I can buy Marvel crap for years to come, that’s totally fine by me. Keep the peace, keep the love and keep on Con-ing!
I began my journey with Comic Con in 2012. Living in New Jersey I am sandwiched between New York and Philadelphia. I can bounce around between the two for any sort of concert or event. My friends Travis and Heather invited me to go with them to the New York Comic Con for my birthday (NYCC is in October each year). I don’t even know if Philadelphia Comic Con was around back then, if New York got it first because it’s a bigger city or what/when the cities each took on the challenge of hosting one of these circuses. What I do know after five consecutive years of Con-ing is that New York is huge, draws an increasingly larger crowd each year and requires lots of your time. Philly is much smaller, has less vendors and celebrities, and is a walk in the park compared to New York. For now, that is. It’s never long before the masses catch on.
2012 was my first Con. I went for one of the four days; traditionally the event runs Thursday through Sunday. Thursday is usually 4pm-9pm, Friday 10am-7pm, Saturday 10am-7pm and Sunday 10am-4pm. This can change depending on the city or year but this has been the average of my experiences with the days seemingly getting longer each year. In 2012 I went to New York on a Sunday and it… was… MAGICAL!!! As I entered the giant doors of the entirely glass Javits Center, I looked around in amazement. There were people dressed up in the most glorious of garments, ranging from the costly and elaborate cosplay professional couture designs to the bargain bin Party City costumes. I even saw one woman wearing a dress made entirely out of Magic the Gathering cards, another secret nerdy former obsession of mine.