NYCC 2017 - Saturday - Day 3
Saturday, October 7th, 2017 marked day three of the New York Comic Con (NYCC) at the Jacob Javitz Center. Today was considered the pinnacle of the show as close to half a million attendees witnessed the cosplay, the panels, had a chance to play soon to be released (2018) video games and purchased exclusives from various companies such as FYE, Bandaii, Funko, Hulu, Direct TV, and Rooster Teeth.
With increased attendance and the popularity of NYCC growing, this event has turned into the number one place to go to in New York City every first weekend in October. But this year, something has changed. As I looked around the show room floor, listened to the panel discussions and the voices of the fans and vendors, something changed about the con that I can’t quite understand. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but as I was snapping pictures for Region 99’s cosplay Instagram site, buying The Punisher comic series when he was black for my personal collection, and purchasing the first novel of Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin, this feeling hit me.
I still didn’t process it at the time, but the essence of NYCC did change. The great environment that was once a haven to the nerds and geeks; the people who would get laughed at in school because they knew too much Naruto/Dragonball Z, (doesn’t apply to all, but happened to me, even in college) has included others.
The majority of the people who are in attendance are no longer just members of the nerd and geek community. Instead, we now have people aged newborn to ninety in attendance, who have never read a comic and/or anime, but rather watched a superhero and/or anime show on the big screen. These newcomers are now taking more pictures of the people (cosplayers) who go the extra mile at the con by dressing up as their favorite characters because of their love for the culture. Additionally, all races and genders were united and present representing peace and unity as everybody took pictures with everyone without any discrimination.
Actors and actresses from television shows, such as American Gods and the Doctor Who series to movies, such as Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and Star Wars; went from taking pictures and signing autographs with their most die hard fans for free to now charging close to the price of rent for a studio apartment in New Jersey for a signature or photo-op. For example, Mark Hamil’s signature costs $295 just for him to autograph something.
Particular show events are now “pre-ordered/lottery-ed” online or in person in an attempt to prevent overflow of participants and to ensure order within the con walls (because I didn’t preorder a seat for the Cosplay championship, I didn’t get in). Also, big companies now realize that “nerds and geeks,” are the best and safest people to release their products onto. For some reason, I’m still trying to understand why Geico was a presence at NYCC? Does one need motorcycle insurance for their Cosplay costume?
Female and Male cosplayers have turned supermodels as their sexy looks and stances draw some of the most loyal and dedicated fans to the con. Some veteran cosplayers in the industry, followed by the newbies were the real winners of the con as they found a niche within the industry and are now monetizing on it with photos and merchandise of themselves to the fans. More power to the cosplayers.
But the real issue is why am I feeling weird about the con? What’s wrong with me? And then, as I was posting a picture of a father who brought his infant son dressed as Maui from Moana to the con…I realized it…. superheroes have become the culture.
NYCC is now so mainstream that it has become the ‘it place’ that everyone and everybody wants to be part of. The Nerds and Geeks, that once laughed at group, has now become the gods and leaders in the industry and now all walks of life want in on this phenomenon. From the movies to the internet, the superheroes have taken over as the new iconic brands of entertainment, Marvel and DC serve as prime examples that their brands are available to all walks of life….and everyone is or wants to monetize on it.
The Actors/Actresses who would of signed merchandise for free are monetizing from their fans because the fans are selling their [Actors/Actresses] signatures on merchandise for outrageous prices on Amazon/Ebay and presently at the con.
Cosplayers and comic book/graphic novel artists are realizing that the con is a revenue generating business and are now using additional mediums to build income. Presently, Internet subscription services, such as Patreon are building cosplayer brands and growing their customer base on an exponential level. Even more important is that the cosplayers are profiting more from the con by doing special guest appearances, hosting parties and obtaining sign-ups for these subscription services. Additionally, up and coming toy vendors, indie authors and comic book writers/artists, and all things ‘nerd and geek’ are becoming more profitable through the power of creativity, imagination and subscription service.
Representatives from sites such as B.L.E.R.D.S, Comic Nerds of Color, TheBlerdGurl, BlerdHub, Black Anime and Manga Artists, Cosplay Latino, and others were there as they were writing/posting about the con. Furthermore their memberships are rapidly increasing as they are becoming the pioneers and informational hubs on social media to obtain knowledge about anything past, present and future in the realm of manga, comics and superhero movies.
What makes this remarkable is that while the big companies are steadily profiting from the fans, the fans are becoming entrepreneurial and creating avenues to promote and monetize for themselves within the industry. This has made NYCC an iconic landscape in the world of superhero/anime pop culture. As the fans grow in number so does our cultural fixation with NYCC as well.
Understanding the feeling, I welcome it now, but I worry. Will NYCC lose their core audience… the nerds and geeks? Will our cultural fixation with superheroes and anime fade as the fandom grows/diminishes or as the amount of superheroes movies being made increases/decline? We simply do not know the answer at this time. However, I will say this, NYCC has become the mainstream pop culture event of the year and as I see it, it is steadily growing into one of the greatest events in superhero pop culture for both young and old alike.
For pics from NYCC - Saturday Day 3 go to our instagram