The Good, The Bad, The Ugly: My Comic Con 2017 Experience
Comic Con 2017 is sadly now over. As I reflect on my experience this year, I get a wave of nostalgia along with irritation and something else I’ve been trying to figure out. I came into the Jacob Javits Center expecting the same layout with more cramming than usual since they’re doing construction on the building. I, however was very surprised. I must say the organizers this year really thought out the design of the con. Everything was more spaced out due to the fact that they moved Artist Alley to its own section of the center. When I walked on the main floor and noticed the changes, I felt like I was at the con for the first time. I remember the excitement I felt walking through the main entrance in 2012. Those feelings reappeared this weekend. I think I needed that. Comic Con, while I do enjoy going, was starting to lose its mystique for me. The organizers have managed to give that back to me and I really do appreciate that.
This year I took on the big task of going 3 days instead of my usual one. I’m glad I did this. I was told by a friend you can’t do Comic Con in one day because you can’t see everything in one day. Me being me, I doubted this and swore I saw everything there was to see on Thursday. I was sadly mistaken. I’ll be honest, I’m glad I went on Thursday, the first day of Comic Con. It gave me a chance to get a good layout of the show floor. It also gave me a great opportunity to get first dibs on cool purchases before they’ve been picked over or sold out. Thursday is a great day to take the con in and genuinely enjoy it before the madness begins. Reminder to self: GO ON A THURSDAY!
Saturday is the main entrée of Comic Con. It’s when the biggest stars come out, the hugest panels take place, the most sales are made, and the largest traffic flow occurs. I was grateful for my Thursday experience because I was able to navigate the con much better, however this is when the irritation began. As I walked around Thursday, I noticed the aisles were much bigger. I assumed this would help with the massive crowds that bombard the con on Saturday. I was wrong. It was especially difficult to navigate through the Marvel/Capcom area. When the Weeknd came out to promote his graphic novel Starboy, there was an extremely large crowd right in the middle of the main aisle. It was hell trying to get through it. The organizers should have planned a panel for the Weeknd so this event could be placed in an area that would not block the flow of traffic on the main floor. I also thought it was a horrible idea to place so many big named booths in one location. Everyone was crowding around them to the point where you couldn’t even see what the big hype was. I tried my hardest to avoid this area but since it was pretty much in the middle of the main hall, it was impossible. They also placed the Star Wars exhibit in the main hall which was the dumbest idea ever. I want to know what would make them think it was a good idea to put a mini museum inside one of the busiest conventions in the country. There was obviously a long line with what I can assume was a very long wait. It didn’t help with crowd control and actually added to the congestion. Comic Con had many off site events around the Javits Center. This should have taken place in one of those venues. The Funko booth was a fiasco. There was a lottery people had to register for online and if they were picked they were given a date and time during the con to stand in line JUST TO BUY a pop. First of all, if anyone had any sense, they would have walked around and browsed at any of the many other booths selling Funko pops for probably a much better rate. Second of all, that lottery shit was a waste of time. The line didn’t guarantee you anything but a chance to buy something. It wasn’t to get some grand prize. It wasn’t to get access to some exclusive swag. It was to SPEND MONEY. I honestly think Funko scammed people. I’m sure when Comic Con goers entered the lottery, they were under the impression they would get something out of it. Instead they got the opportunity to shop. Yay for them! They should feel so lucky. When I walked by the line, I heard people say they were on line for at least an hour. I’m sorry but I would rather go online and make my Funko purchase than waste my precious con time standing in line (if you read my Pottercon article, you know how much I just LOVE lines). I always appreciate Saturday because this is also the day most people dress up as their favorite characters and the costumes are, for the most part, well put together. You will always have your staples like Batman, Spider-Man, Deadpool, and Wonder Woman, but I like the more creative outfits. My personal favorite was Prince with the pancakes. If you’ve seen the Dave Chappelle episode with Prince playing basketball with Charlie Murphy, then you’ll definitely get the reference. Because these people are dressed to their geeky nines, Saturday is the best day to take as many pictures as possible to relive the memories you’ve had at Comic Con. My only disappointment with the cosplay this year was that there wasn’t enough. I was ready to go crazy with the pictures since I was going to Comic con for 3 days and I didn’t get as many cosplay pictures as I hoped. I did discover one thing that I will utilize in the future, the best time to go to Comic Con on the busier days is 2 hours before it closes for the day. The crowd dies down substantially and you can actually breathe. I’ll still come early, however once the crowd get ridiculous, I’ll leave for some “affordable” food, take a break, and come back to better enjoy myself in the less dense crowd.
Sunday is the last day of Comic Con. On this day I was reminded why I don’t go on Sunday. Two words: Kids’ Day. I know this day was meant for those parents/adults to bring their children and expose them to our geeky/nerdy world. I was prepared for the fact that kids would be everywhere. That didn’t help with my distain for strollers in crowded places. It was cute to see the kids dressed up. Most of their parents did an awesome job. What kills me is why these same parents feel entitled to be jerks as well. I was in Artist Alley, a rather confined space with no air conditioning and too many people packed like sardines in said place, and these two adults just stop to have a conversation with their horde of kids surrounding them in the middle of an aisle. Everyone had to find a way around this large group because these people didn’t think it was wrong to interrupt the flow of the already stagnant traffic. There was plenty of this going on throughout the convention and I could slowly feel myself wanting to give these lovely people a piece of my mind. What surprised me the most was that the crowd size didn’t die down. I thought with Sunday being the last day, people would have been too tired to come out. WRONG! Between the strollers either hitting me or taking up aisle space, adults with kids stopping right where they stand to have conversations with other adults with kids, and the ridiculous crowd that this year’s comic con has produced, I was ready to call it quits after being there for a little over an hour. Once again, I left, took a breather, and came back within the last 2 hours of the con. It was a much calmer experience. The people I came with that day had gotten frustrated at not being able to see the wares exhibitors had to offer and was ready to call it quits as well. Once we came back from our break and the crowd disbursed, we were finally able to enjoy the con and see all the displays. Had we left and never came back, we would have missed out on some awesome buys. One of the coolest things I learned about Sundays are the deals. Since it is the last day and the exhibitors are trying to make their last sales, they’ll discount their merchandise. The disadvantage to making purchases on the last day is the low stock left. While many booths still had awesome swag, some of them sold out of their most popular items. It is possible to find that last hidden gem at an amazing price and I recommend people don’t become discouraged.
All in all, I’m glad I finally had the opportunity to experience Comic Con more than one day. I never knew each day had its own quirk. The Jacob Javits Center is currently in the process of being expanded which is great news for us nerd/geeks. This means when they’re finally finish, there will be the space we so desperately crave-hopefully. It also means the organizers can add more cool things for us to get involved in and more vendors to lose our money to. As much as I hated the crowds and the rude parents, I would do it all again and plan on going to Comic Con for years to come.