NYCC happened last Friday and I’m just now getting to write about it.
This is my everyday. So many things happening that I try to stay up with while juggling my continually collapsing marriage, pushing to get my sixteen year old son to get his shit together for college next fall, coping with my nine-year old daughter who constantly is trying to be more grown than she is, dealing with my mom in long-term care being treated for a cancerous mass in her lungs and keeping my household afloat. There’s less and less time that I genuinely have for myself that is fun and makes me happy. New York Comic Con is…was…is…was one of them.
I’d ordered my ticket back in June or July and was sort of looking forward to this year’s show. Part of me wasn’t because NYCC has gotten too big for its britches over the last several years. The Javitis is just too small now but there’s really no other alternative to having a convention here. It wasn’t so fun trying to make my way to vendor booths through thick walls of people going every which way. And once I got to a booth, there was another throng of people blocking your way like a freakin’ moat to a castle. Eventually, I got to the front but by then I’m feeling pissed and frustrated. Spending two hours like that (as well as the ridiculous time just trying to enter) isn’t my idea of fun but that is exactly how I felt at last year’s con. I planned on not going anymore…until this spring I read that this was going to be Stan Lee’s last NY con. At 93, I was in awe at his stamina hitting so many cons like had so I understand it was time to stop. So that’s why I was going to the con this year.
Unfortunately, my body had other plans that Friday morning. After dropping my son off to early morning review class at 7:15am, I hit the bed to catch an hour or two of sleep before going to the con. I didn’t wake up until 10:30am and I barely got out of bed. I was just too damn tired. I asked myself do I really want to just wait on line for I don’t know how long to get in and then push my way through the horde of folks inside? The answer was no. The energy just wasn’t there…Stan Lee or no Stan Lee. My rationale was that I’ve been to several NYCC so it wasn’t like I was missing anything. Besides, all the good panels are on the weekend or evenings and I’m never there at those times anyway because of my kids’ activity schedules.
So I check the feeds on social media and all I needed to see where those shots of folks on this fucking crazy long lines to feel even better in my decision. Then it hit me. Shit, am I getting too old for this shit? From all the feeds, it seemed to me that everyone looked like they were that 18-35 demographic and probably most have no kids. Cosplayers with fantastic costumes, groups of friends having a good time, occasionally seeing couples with their kids yet all had one thing in common—they seemed so younger than I. Now granted, I don’t look like what most keep categorizing us folks in our near 50s as—old and badly weathered. At 49, I can say that I fool people who believe I’m in my early 30s when they see me. When I say they look younger than me, what I’m really saying is that I don’t have as much youthful energy in me as I perceive them to have.
This past July I went to Star Trek Missions which was fantastic as it was my first Trek con and is my overall favorite show. It was also at the Javitis but in a much, much smaller space fill. No massive crowds, more than enough breathing room in the vendor alleys and photo/autograph ops, panel space was an issue at times but overall it was a pleasant experience. Now Trek and comics are two different types of cons and in all honesty, a Trek con will never be as massive as a NYCC. Just different types of events and fan bases. With that said, I didn’t feel too old for it because all the bullshit in a larger con wasn’t there. The oversized crowds with the generous helping of assholes, the massive line waits, the hoops to get tickets with the sprinkling of trend chasing idiots are what makes me feel too old for the cons. When I was younger, that bullshit I overlooked because my energy level was off the charts just being around all that. Being seasoned at 49 with conventions business and personal, there are things I just won’t deal with anymore. NYCC’s ticket rodeo, entry shenanigans and the pop culture vultures just don’t excite me.
The one thing that I wish I’d gotten into when younger was cosplaying. Never knew there was this culture of costume making and the strong community it has. Seeing folks such as @blerd.vision, @sun_z, @thenerdtruth, @beckanoel, @yayahan, @armenianamazon, @ivydoomkitty and @scarletspyderqueen and others on Instagram inspires me beyond belief. The craftsmanship, inventiveness and creativity they all put into their creations is just adrenaline pumping. It shows committment, passion, desire and love for the characters that bonds us all together as fans of comics. To be able to do that myself would be great but it would be next to impossible for me to do now. So I’ll just continue to live vicariously through their exploits and revel in the cool shoots they post.
So in some ways, I guess I have aged out of the cons. Not due to my lack of desire or energy but rather just life issues. At this stage, I have to focus on my kids and my ailing mom. Here and there I’ll sneak in a few of the smaller cons to get my fix and maybe along the way, make some new friends to enjoy it with.
Oh well, as Stan Lee says, “Excelsior!”