Although I can’t pinpoint the exact date, I know my first comic book show (as they were known then) I attended was over 25 years ago. My dad took me to the Holiday Inn on the 5th Street Highway in Reading, PA. The conference room, which at the time seemed as big as a football field to me, was filled with boxes of back issues, retailers peddling their wares, and the din of geek was as loud as a whisper from Black Bolt himself.
I was in absolute heaven. I ran to each folding table that had been filled with comics to finger through the issues in search of everything on the list I “needed” (yes, I had a list). At the time, I never thought life could get any better than a room filled with comic books.
Fast forward to this past weekend.
I spent my Sunday in New York City, at the Jacob M Javits Center with my nephew at the New York Comic Con. On Sunday alone, there would be more people walking through the doors and down each aisle of the conference center than the entire population of the town I grew up in. Fanboys, fangirls, geeks, dorks, social misfits, anyone carrying an obscenely large Final Fantasy sword made of cardboard, Supermen, Spidermen, Robins, Deadpools, Pyslockes, Captain Americas, Batmen, Jedi, Sith, and all manner of Japanese Anime and Magna characters were all in attendance to celebrate comics.
Every year New York plays host to thousands (actually it is now in the 100’s of thousand) fans who are looking for their fix of comics, sci-fi, toys, video games, movies, celebrities, and a place they can wear their Pokémon costume. For fans, it’s as if the Wizard Shazam opened the doors to the Rock of Eternity for all to enter.
I have been lucky enough to be amongst my geeky brethren for the past 3 years. I got two tickets to the Convention this year even after all of the tickets had been sold. Thankfully I didn’t have to buy them from the guy on the sidewalk selling tee shirts and tacos too. This year thanks entirely to my cousin, who is one of the original members of Comic Geek Speak, I scored two Exhibitor passes. Exhibitor passes meaning I got to enter the Con before the tidal wave of dorks got were able to enter.
Two tickets meant I got to take someone with me. I didn’t even bother to ask my wife because I knew what her answer would be (think about it for 3 seconds and you’ll know her answer too). So I took my 14 year old nephew with me to New York so he could experience the show too. I knew he would enjoy it and I wanted to be able to share it with someone who could truly appreciate it.
As we navigated our way through the sea of fanboys and girls in each aisle, I did my best to contain my own excitement and let my nephew enjoy the show too. We scoured the entire show with the meticulousness of Reed Richards examining an Anthrosian from the Negative Zone. We mingled with all walks of life. We shared our enthusiasm with all manner of heroes, villains, Ninja turtles, television characters, the spandex cladded, moms, dads, daughters, and sons. People in costumes who were more than happy to stop and pose for pictures, retailers peddled their wares, we played video games yet to be released, and took in all that was there for us.
Like each time I have been to the NYCC before and each time I spent time in a Holiday Inn conference room with my dad at a show, I soaked it all in. I had the same excitement for the event this past weekend as I did when I was a kid. My eyes were wide open; I walked to stands with quickness to my feet. I pointed out giants of the industry to my nephew (like Grant Morrison). I explained what this was and that was to him. I stood behind him as he let his excitement over come him, and I uttered the words ‘Awesome’ and ‘so cool’ at least a hundred times. I thought a long time ago, in a room full of comics, life couldn’t get any better but I was wrong. Because being able to be in New York with over 100,000 other fans and more importantly, being able to share it all with my nephew, that was even better.