It has been two years since the last New York Comicon in 2019. Due to the state of the world and COVID-19 locking down all events, it was a downer for everyone for that year. Not being able to see your fellow nerds, friends and celebrities took a toll on anyone’s spirits.
But now, after the world had time to develop and understand the situation, ReedPop believed it was time to bring New York Comicon back in 2021.
To their gamble, it became a great revival, and it had been a much-needed spirit boost for attendees. While it obviously had to cut back on the grandiose due to the recent COVID mandates & regulations, it aided in keeping things modest and addressing some flaws of previous years at the Jacob Javits Center. Even amending some of the errors of the attempt of Anime Fest @ NYCC.
If I can sum up the experience of New York Comcon 2021, it would be that it feels good to be back and glad to have some color in a tumultuous time.
It was so surreal to head back to the Jacob Javits Center since its cancellation in 2020. With the mandate to show proof of vaccination or a negative test result required of all patrons, it was a strange but understandable requirement. There were also masks orders when you travel the center, with the only exceptions being during the photo op with celebrities or eating/drinking. Once those requirements were met, you are pretty much free to act as one does during a convention.
The layout and amount of exhibitors were less than prior years, but as I said in beginning, with fewer exhibitors we finally have walking space. So many years of New York Comicon, we had the problem of overcrowdedness. Given the exception of the opening Thursday, we would always have to come shoulder to shoulder when walking the main show floor and seeing each shop and exhibit. With the extra space, it feels that we can finally stretch our legs and not bump into each other as often. In the best comparison, it feels similar to the opening year of Anime NYC.
Some mainline exhibitors like VIZ Media didn’t have a shop for patrons to buy goods this time around. All they had was backdrops and statues to take pictures with. Others like the FUNKO booth, Sentai Filmworks, Blackhorse Comics, and Crunchyroll didn’t make their usual appearance. When you walk on the show floor, you can tell there is a sense that there is something lacking. Obvious as booths need to be spaced out as best they can and to keep some distance from each other. We are going to bump into each other either way, but at least they gave some sort of space from each other.
From the main brand booths like AEW, Funimation, Viz Media, to Yen Press and the individual comic and retailers, it was a nice feeling to see them again in this setting. As patrons walked about, costume or not, it was revitalizing to see that the fans haven’t lost their spirit. Whether for anime, manga, comics, movies, or the culture itself, it was good to see smiles again on people’s faces. Even outside of the show floor, the spirit and vigor were like Comicon never missed a beat. The big signs of advertising of Solo Leveling from Yen Press, to the Demon Slayer and My Hero Academia of Funimation can’t help but bring nostalgia to me seeing it.
Even when going down to Artist Alley, it was a sensation that just felt right. Meeting old and new artists and buying their art is always a pleasure. Of course, that can be said for any kind of spending event. Special shout out to @Hammlingu and @ironprinky /Edwin Huang as I bought prints from them. Check their amazing art and buy some if it catches your eye.
While the crowds and lines for panels were typical, the one aspect that is much appreciated is the new expansion at the Jacob Javits Center. Before then, all the panels were packed in the E-Hall and it would lead to packed lines. Now with the building expansion, it has helped alleviate much of the lines for panels. It even adds another big Main stage apart from D-Hall. It is very spacious and has high elevators that can be dizzying if you decide to look down. Plus with the hall being spacious, you can easily take a break and sit anywhere or take some awesome cosplay shots. Here, I attended the English Dub premiere of ‘Gintama The Very Final’ movie, The Avatar panel with Janet Varney, Dante Bosco, and the Seasons 2 premiere trailer of Anamanicas. Though note that there are spots that have no cell signal.
Course, the other attractions like Autographs and Photo Ops with celebrities were a highlight. I felt that they were a big part that supported this year’s NYCC. Some people argue that it was a lighter showcase and that the guest list wasn’t really anything to be excited about. While there aren’t big stars like Jason Mamoa or Ryan Reynolds, there are still some names that will bring smiles, like Adam Savage, George Takei, John Cena, and a myriad of voice actors like Cristina Valenzuela, Erika Harlacher, Johnny Young Bosch, Eric Vale, and many others. Honestly, it just felt nice to see people smile and just have a good time once again. Seeing Erika Harlacher, Cristina Valenzuela and Geroge Takei were a delight for me. Just giving respect and thanks to their work and smiles from both parties is simply a delight. I was first in line to see George Takei, and he noticed my Hentai and Chill T-shirt. He had a good laugh seeing it, and I thanked him for what he has done and the role of Masumi Arakawa of Yakuza: Like A Dragon.
While the world is riddled with problems, bad news and just overall negativity, conventions like these are bright spots in an overall crappy year. Yes, I understand that we have to be careful, cynical, or brazen to protect ourselves. Be it beliefs, ideals, emotions, or health. Yet, life goes on no matter what state you are currently in. Life is gonna hit you no matter what. So in my perspective, you got to take in all the good with the bad. The world can be bleak, but would it hurt to have some color in life? If one focuses on the negatives of the world, one loses sight of the positives and the little things. New York Comicon returning was a needed respite for nerds and otakus in the area. And I’m glad that we don’t have to wait long for the next event with Anime NYC happening the following month. Overall, I enjoyed my time at New York Comicon. From many years of complaints to a modest revival this year. Seeing my favorite actors, the cosplayers, and just the vibe of the setting helps soothe any ailments this year has placed upon me. Its moments like these remind me again that life is meant to be lived. The world is a big and ever-changing place. So make sure you take care of yourself once in a while & do something that makes you happy.
Until next year and to Anime NYC.