In New York City today, it’s mostly grey and overcast, which perfectly suits my mood. After four days of life in the geek lane among my people, panel hopping and cosplay admiring and screening watching, I’m back to the real world. Con withdrawal is a real thing, my friends. But looking back on the past four days, I can honestly say I experienced a bit of everything that NYCC had to offer. Sure, there were panels that I wanted to go to and got capped out of. But I got to meet up with some amazing people: artists and writers I’ve reviewed over the past six months, people I’ve only seen on the internet and TV until now (looking at you, creator of Doctor Puppet and Alice Zhang), and of course the awesome Sleepy Hollow cast and crew. And despite basically living in the Javits Center for four days, I still feel pretty good, probably because I learned the vital “Pace Yourself” lesson early on. Still, there are things I would do differently for next year, and things that I hope NYCC does differently for next year as well.
I’ll start with the NYCC aspect. One of my major problems this year was that the panels I was most interested in were stacked one right after another. On Friday, I wanted to hit the “Women of Color in Comics,” “Women in Queer Comics,” and “Damsels in Distress Need Not Apply” panels, but they were stacked one right after another. I had to jump from one in order to queue up for the next, often leaving right as the Q&A started. Even at that, we got capped from the “Damsels in Distress” panel. This leads me to my next point: panels about women and diversity are going to attract a lot of people. Women were about 45% of the attendees this weekend, and we women want to see panels about women. Make it easier for us to do that by spacing them out over the weekend. Yes, there were panels about women on other days (Nancy and I went to a fabulous panel on “Women in Geek Media” on Sunday, and there was one on “Women of Marvel” earlier that day that we had to miss because we were in the Sleepy Hollow Round Table), but Friday just felt too stacked.
Also, since it’s a known thing that these panels are going to be well-attended (every one I got into was packed), put them in bigger rooms! I’m sorry, but 1A01 was nowhere near big enough to host a panel with Gillian Anderson and it capped out early as a result. Some of the rooms were a decent size, but NYCC, there is a demand for these types of panels. Program to suit all of your constituents, not just the traditional ones who are in it for Marvel and DC. I would also love it there could be some longer panels, since 45 minutes was never long enough. Invariably an awesome conversation would start, and then time was up. While many panelists were very gracious about continuing the conversations outside the rooms, it would be nice if they were given more time. I’m not sure if that’s a possibility, so put it on my NYCC wish list for next year.
As far as things I would have done differently? I should have asked about policies for queueing earlier, so I would have known that wristbands were being given out for the mainstage, and that you could queue up as soon as the doors open (typically two hours before the floor opens). If they’re doing that again next year—and policies change, which is why asking is good—I’ll be there bright and early on S.H.I.E.L.D. day. That’s really about it, since I’m pretty happy with the way things went down.
A few final NYCC Protips to remember for next year:
- Artist Alley in Javits North has the best ladies’ room. It has a lot of stalls and there is hardly ever a line.
- Do yourself a favor and get the Four Day pass if it’s at all possible. There is just too much going on to cram it all into one day. And if you’re there all four days, you won’t have to worry about FOMO (Fear of Missing Out).
- Pack food. The Food Court is decent, but it’s mad expensive, and you want to save that money for souvenirs, don’t you?
- Hit the floor early in the morning or later in the day, because once it gets crowded it’s practically impossible to see everything. If you’re short like me, you also start to feel beaten down by the crowds in short order.
- Talk to the creative teams! They live to hear that you dig their work. They’re putting their souls out there on paper, it makes them happy to know they’re not working in a vacuum and that someone has seen their art and loves it.
- Talk to the panel guests and moderators after the panels! Seriously, these people love the same things you do and are passionate about them, too. Talk to them, network. If you’re looking to break into the field, it’s a good way to get started. If there are big issues that you want to see changed (harassment at cons, anyone?), creating a dialogue with them can only help.
And that’s a wrap on Geek Prom 2014 for My So-Called Geek Life. The entire What’cha Reading staff has a lot of NYCC 2014 coverage still to roll out, so stay tuned. This is when we post all the good stuff we didn’t get a chance to over the weekend!