New York Comic Con (NYCC) – the convention for all things comics and, basically, nerd central. NYCC is a well known con that draws in hundreds of thousands of guests from all over the globe, all decked out in their best cosplay. With a quickly thrown together Natasha Romaoff (AKA Marvel’s Black Widow) cosplay and a Saturday badge, I was in for the ride of my life at NYCC 2021. With it being the only sold out day of NYCC, the con was packed full of people roaming the show floor, lining up for panels, and having tons of fun at the Javits Convention Center.
Overall, it’s a crazy experience, but there are so many things that go into this convention. From planning your cosplay to the booths you want to visit, the amount of small factors that go into an NYCC trip is insane. The main part of my experience was getting to meet David Harbour (best known for his roles as Hopper in Stranger Things and Alexei in Black Widow) and attending his Saturday morning panel. With celebrity panels, you really get an insight into their past, current, and upcoming projects. The panels, in my opinion, are the best way to interact with your favorite guests without having to pay an extra fee. Photo opportunities (ops) and autographs, on the other hand, are an extra charge. While you can purchase these ahead of time, they are also on sale the day of on the NYCC floor.
Personally, I find the photo ops and autographs to be one of the best things you can do at a con. You’re allowed to be up close and personal with your favorite actors, directors, and creators of your favorite projects. The purchase of a photo op and/or autograph is a guaranteed way for you to be able to meet the celebrities attending. While it is known that there are chances to spot them on the floor of NYCC, the most guaranteed way of meeting and interacting with them is through photo ops and autographs. Getting to meet David Harbour was one of the best experiences that I can look back on when thinking about my day at NYCC.
However, NYCC is a large convention with so many things to do, and it can get overwhelming. Because of how last minute my plans for NYCC were, I missed out on a lot of things I would have loved to experience. The best way to get the most bang for your buck is to research and plan way ahead. The fact that NYCC 2021 was the first NYCC since 2019 (due to the COVID-19 pandemic) meant that it was insanely crowded. From lines at booths to just an overall feeling, NYCC was a lot and it really felt like everything is knocked out of you once you leave. I believe that the best way to ensure you get everything done that you want is to plan ahead.
Of course, the main thing on my mind all before going to NYCC was their COVID protocol. As someone with pre-existing conditions, COVID safety is an extremely important aspect of events now. I was pleasantly surprised by the protocols put in place by NYCC. In order to purchase a badge back in September, you had to check a box acknowledging that you would only be allowed entry with proof of vaccination status. Once you got to the event, you had to go to a tent about a block away from the Javits Center to prove your vaccination status. You had to show your vaccine card as well as your ID in order to get a wristband that told everyone you are vaccinated against COVID-19. Masks were also to be worn at all times unless actively eating or drinking. I also witnessed this rule enforced on the floor and was, in all honesty, shocked. Most places have those signs but tend to not enforce them, so it was a great show of how the NYCC board of directors and creators enforced their protocols to keep everyone safe.
While NYCC 2021 was overwhelming, it was a great experience. It was like a taste of normal in a time of uncertainty and worry due to the COVID-19 pandemic. NYCC shows that events can be adapted to fit within state guidelines for COVID, as well as allowing the fun and true heart of the Comic Con atmosphere to stay alive. This event was more than just being able to express my nerdy side and freak out over everything even remotely related to Marvel Comics and the MCU. This event shows the ability of progress. It shows how we can eventually get back to a sense of “normalcy” while still acknowledging how COVID is still prevalent in our communities and keeping everyone safe.