The walk from 8th Avenue over to the Javits Convention Center on 11th Avenue in Manhattan is one of the most depressing walks in existence. It’s straight up industrial urban wasteland, and it’s not even wasted enough to be picturesquely post-apocalyptic. I’ve done it many times, and never without experiencing some form of suicidal ideation.
But this time it was weirdly pleasant. I started out from 8th Ave. along 34th St. alone, but the closer I got to the convention center the more surrounded by nerds I became, till by the time I got there I was in the middle of a huge nerdswarm, which included one guy with a full-head Buffy-style vampire mask, and another guy with some complicated steampunk apparatus bolted to his glasses, and a ninja. And a hot cosplayer dressed up as (I think) Princess Peach.
Inside it was all pandemonium — even the Penny Arcade guys found it pretty intense. (I remarked upon this very same intensity while I was trying and failing to get into their panel.) People selling comics, people demoing video games, people playing collectible card games, battling each other to get into panels and screenings, demoing kendo techniques, yelling “let’s get rrrready to rumbllllllllle … “ I did see some promising-looking games, especially Prototype. I also learned that H.E.L.P.eR. and #24 really are dead. Thanks to everybody who stopped by the autographing area, which was not really so much an area as a system of stalls and runs that reminded me of some vast cattle-slaughtering facility. (Yes, that huge line turned out to be for Lou Ferrigno, not me. Though I did score some spillover traffic! Win.)
The heart of these events to me is really the cosplayers, some of whom looked truly amazing. I don’t really know what motivates beautiful women to dress up in tight, low-cut costumes based on characters from popular culture, but I hope it never goes away. (Kotaku has a New York Comic Con gallery here.)
In short, I’m not really much of a con-goer. I mostly got into all this stuff in order to avoid interacting with other people. But at events like this I can’t help feeling a little like I’ve come home.