BIG APPLE COMIC CON
By Ayesha DeRaville
We are reminded how easily it is to think about Comic Cons all being the same as vendors, exhibitors, cosplayers and even attendees. Moving from one event to the next. Some working like conveyor belts at an automobile factory, others so disorganized that you swear never to return, again...but you do!
As an attendee you’ve saved up all of this money to purchase “the latest this or latest that.” They don’t have the one thing you are looking for, but you can’t go bust so you buy the next best thing, paying much more than you wanted, especially since it is not your first choice. How annoyingly frustrating, but very gratifying at the same time - you didn’t leave empty handed.
Exhibitors, artists, vendors, cosplayers and attendees, as much as we look forward to attending an event, sometimes we also wished we had sat this one out.
When it is so easy to get lost in a sea of vendors and exhibitors, you are reminded just why you are here. It’s when you meet that one artist that is so excited and proud to show you his/her work and they don’t even care if they make the sale. They want you to see that they are doing the one thing they love and are most passionate about in life and that one thing is creating. Creatives are complex people and each person is brilliant in his/ her own way. Their brilliance shines because by showing a complete stranger their work, by putting it all out there and opening it to much criticism, they have that confidence and dare to ask you to “believe in me because I believe in me.”
You are here to experience freely expressing yourself without fear.
And for those creatives, putting a satisfying smile on the face of that one kid that loves your version of their favorite superhero or anime character, carrying that last issue of that one comic that some guy flew across the country for, or saving enough money and putting in the blood, sweat and tears to create your cosplay, only to be met by awe-struck attendees, fighting to get that pic of you, with you, makes all of this worth it.
This is what Big Apple Comic Con felt like. A floor filled with determined creatives. It is not like any other Comic Con we’ve attended. The crowd is much older, on all fronts both salty and gritty. Old school. They’ve been around the block a few times and it makes sense for an event that is over 20 years old. For some, this is their day job, while others are reaching with that last light of hope in them to “make it.” There were a few that traveled great distances via train and then buses or vice versa, and others that live a couple of avenues over from the Penn Plaza Pavilion, where the event was held.
You come here with a purpose to get what you want and what you need. Not much lallygagging going on here.
Now for the experience. There were panel events. One I actually had the opportunity to attend. I learned a lot. Here are some quick interesting facts. Captain Marvel was too much like Superman. DC Comics sued. At one point in the 1940s Superman was public domain, Steamboat was trying to appeal to a black audience, Tony the Tiger and Captain Marvel worked together and Superheroes are social justice warriors.
One surprise was seeing that Mary Wilson from The Supremes was in the house. We scratched our heads. Nonetheless, as I walked by her booth, there was an excited large crowd vying for her attention. I googled The Supremes to see if maybe there was a comic or some kind of animation showing a connection to the event. The only two things that stood out was The Supremes animation about a family of superheroes, with multiple powers and the superhero Supreme created by Rob Liefeld and published by Image Comics.
Luke Cage’s, Michael Colter was present and we were disappointed not to get to see him. We were told that he appeared a few times but not long enough for us to catch him as we manned our exhibit space.
William Shatner, Captain James Tiberius Kirk arrived. We thought you could get a picture with him or a selfie like many did with Michael Colter, but understandably, there is always a security concern for that level of talent. Not to take away from Michael, but maybe since William Shatner has been around for a while, he’s probably had a number of security scares warranting the limited interaction. Who knows? Autographed images were really the only thing available. Regardless, having a legendary icon like William Shatner at any comic con gives you some serious scifi street cred. Great job BACC!
I was fortunate enough to meet Chris Rankin, you may remember him as Percy Weasley, from the Harry Potter series. He joked with me about how old he’s gotten, saying that it’s been almost 20 years since he’s filmed Harry Potter. I laughed and appreciated how down to earth he came across, but I also lost interest because of the old guy with the long black hair that was either a Big Apple Comic Con volunteer or staffer that kept trying to block our conversation (standing in between me an Chris the whole time), once I said that I was not there to pay for a picture with Chris. I did have second thoughts about getting the picture, but decided not to. The old guy with the long black ponytail, kind of ruined the whole idea for me, but I did not let his presence ruin the overall moment. It was a pleasure meeting Mr. Rankin and age has been very kind to him despite his aging comment.
There were A LOT of people present. I have to say, I liked how the tables snaked around like a maze, making sure an attendee hits every area on the convention floor. BACC did an amazing job fostering interaction with this set up. As many vendors and exhibitors that there were, it was not hard to remember where anyone was set up. I was surprised that I was able to find where I was going because it was so crowded. But again, the set up was very well orchestrated.
The Big Apple Comic Con really is just that. It’s straight up a comic book haven filled with mavens. These guys all talked comics. It was like going to a historical society to learn about the origins and direction this industry is moving towards. We were very impressed with how knowledgeable and “connected” these sellers and creatives were. That being said, one could easily be intimidated being in this sea of aficionados or one could capitalize on it and ingest the wisdom. We may have come across a few that would just “toss you in the waters” as a first time swimmer, while others took their time explaining trade secrets, offering up good sage advice.
Now, it doesn’t boast many cosplayers like Anime Con, Baltimore Comic Con or New York Comic Con, but the level of creativity was definitely up there, especially running into Voltron and Carnage. Very impressive with the details of the cosplay. We did run into some our fanbase in cosplay, who dropped by to show us support. @sweettee816 was there with her beautiful homemade cosplay. We also ran into @mighty_morphin_power_priestess who introduced us to @newyorkssixthranger. Who could not ignore the botanically beautiful @primadonnacosplays as Poison Ivy? Then there were the two lovely cosplayers I ran into, heading towards the bathroom, flawless_by_tenisha and @pink.mason. They looked great and were so excited to be there! But our overall favorite was the throwback to Voltron by @outlaw2lk and we were excitingly scared by @its.fabian as Carnage.
Overall, it was a good time. We enjoyed the experience, met some great people and the venue was in an ideal spot. No complaints on the food since all the world’s taste-buds are a few feet away. Our set up was quick along with our break down. Until next time, we are grateful for the Big Apple Comic Con experience and would like to thank the staff and organizers for the opportunity to participate.