I finally made it down to the NYC Comic Con this past Saturday. I haven’t been to a NYC comic book convention since the late 1990s. I can’t even actually remember when it was. It could have been 1996 or it could have been 1998. It was so long ago that I really have no idea. In my defense there weren’t many big comic book conventions in NYC for a number of years. As a matter of fact the last one I went to in NYC wasn’t a “Big” comic con at all. It was one of the smaller NYC ones that were held two or three times a year. A small NYC con is actually fairly large just not New York City big.

Being that I’m a cartoonist, a comic book fan, and worked in the comic book business for a decade and half you’d think I’d be able to make it down to one of the conventions but somehow I never did. I tried to go the first year that they held this convention back in 2006 but I never even made it through the front door. There were too many people and the fire marshal closed the place down. That kind of soured me on the whole experience. That and having to order a ticket in advance. Somehow I’m lazy about that and I’m not usually lazy.

Not that ordering a ticket in advance mattered that first year I tried to go but if you want to go to future NY Comic Cons then buy your tickets ahead of time. I didn’t that first year but my friend Ed did and he still couldn’t get in. Y’know, fire marshal and all. I never can decide early enough if I want to go or not and the show sells out quickly. So I never ended up going. Friends of mine have told me to sign up for a professional pass but since I have no real association with a comic book company anymore I never bothered to try and get one. I have since found out that they are fairly easy to come by since it doesn’t involve the convention giving you any exhibition space. Maybe I’ll sign up for one next year.

This year I went with my friend Bob. He’s a cartoonist and had a table in Artist Alley so people could come up and buy some drawings from him. He had an extra pass to the convention so he invited me to come along. They often give the artists extra passes if they ask for them because all the convention has to keep track of is table space. There is plenty of room for people since the convention is in a larger space than the one the fire marshal closed but table space always has to be tracked. There is only so much of it and they don’t want to over-book the artists.

I wasn’t going to be sitting at the table so I didn’t need table space anyway. I wanted to go to the con and see a whole bunch of friends from the business that I hadn’t seen in years. That was my entire agenda for the day and I had a fun time filling it. It’s always good to see old friends.

Bob and I took the train in to Penn Station and arrived at the con at about ten in the morning. It’s a ten to fifteen minute walk to the convention from the train station and it turned into a bit of a parade with all the people walking over to the same location. There is not much over at that part of Manhattan except the convention center. Plenty of people were in costume too which added to the parade atmosphere. It was a little confusing getting into the con since we weren’t sure exactly where to go but since we had Artist Alley Exhibitor passes they let us in some random door that no one else was going in. I was told later on there was an official pro entrance but I never saw it.

After we got in Bob set up his art supplies at his table and proceeded to do drawings all day for people. I started to walk around the convention, mostly in Artist Alley, and talk with friends. All day. From ten in the morning until six thirty at night I didn’t sit down for a moment. I had a great time. I saw some people I hadn’t seen in three months and some people I hadn’t seen in fifteen years. I had a grand old time. People come from near and far for this convention so in addition to the NYC comic book people there were friends who had moved away who come back for this con. I really should have gotten down there years ago.

The only thing missing from my comic book convention experience was comic books. I had no time, nor really the inclination, to look for comic books or anything else for that matter. Artist Alley, where I spent most of my time, was fairly subdued. The main convention part, where all the vendors were set up, was a mad house. It was shoulder to shoulder, crowded, and loud. I popped over to the Marvel Comics booth to see if any of my old co-workers were there but I couldn’t get near it. There was some Avengers movie promotion going on and the place was surrounded by people. I walked around a bit and glanced at the comic book vendors but wanted to get back to socializing. So I did.

There are certainly a lot of people walking around in costumes at the comic con. Way more then there were back in the early 1990s. I liked them all to. I’m for anyone who likes to play dress-up. They’re just having a bit of fun. Why not? There were plenty of good looking women dressed up but there were also some who I can only assume were professional models. You can tell them form the ordinary good looking women because their costumes are well crafted and their asses are hanging out. The regular pretty women have no problem showing lots of cleavage but it takes a professional to walk around showing that much butt cheek. That was the only insight that hit me at the con. You think I’d have something deeper but not this time.

So that’s my recap of comic con. Not a whole lot to tell but that’s how I thought it would be. It was a social occasion for me and a chance to catch up with old friends. I’ll take that any day.