NYCC – A Mental Health Professional’s Take (Part 1)

I’ve had a few days to recover from New York Comic Con (NYCC)…and I’m still on the mend. It was exhausting, my feet are still sore and swollen, my voice is still working its way back to normal. But as with most conventions I’ve attended, I feel as though it was worth it.

At least at this point my mind is able to make sense of things and I can provide you with a post that isn’t gibberish. With that said, let’s get down to the nitty gritty!

The overall feel of the con was very different from San Diego (which is the only con of this size that I have personal experience to compare it to). San Diego is taken over by geeks, so much so that the restaurants and hotels change their names and decor for parties and events.

This is definitely not the case in New York. Walking to the Javits Center, I overheard a girl on the phone asking her friend “is there some comic thing in New York this weekend? I just saw some power rangers walking by.” Cosplayers had to walk down the street to dirty looks and insults from those on the street. And while these things happen at other conventions as well, I feel that they are less blatant and less common other places.

Once inside the Javits Center, it was like being swept into a sea of people. For someone like myself, who does not handle crowds well, it was a bit overwhelming at times. My initial thought when I noticed my anxiety was “Why do we (geeks), as a community of mostly introverts, do this to ourselves?”

The answer: because comics! (or video games, or awesome celebrities, or awesome movies/T.V. shows). Our fandom overrides our sensibilities.


The next big thing I noticed was how diverse the crowd was. Women, people of color and gays, oh my! Everyone was out having a good time, breaking the straight white male stereotype. I don’t think I’ve seen so many different types of people at a major convention before, and it was refreshing. NYCC has said that they believe 35% of their attendees were women…from what I saw, I’d guess more.

Everyone loves cosplay. It allows people to be creative and express themselves in a safe space. I personally love seeing the twists people put on their favorite characters (I don’t have a picture, but I saw a steam punk Darth Vader that was beautifully crafted). One of the many things I thought was interesting was the diversity of the cosplay at NYCC.

There was quite a bit of crossplay throughout the convention. A female Mario, a male Catwoman, a female Green Lantern, a female Dr. Who and companion (adorable I might add) were some of those I can remember. Not crossplay, but definitely in the same vein was this perfect Afrian-American Rita Repulsa:


I feel like it’s a good sign that minorities are feeling more comfortable in spaces like these and are also comfortable making their voices heard.

I missed every panel I wanted to go to. The LGBT and Allies panel, the Mary Sue’s Representation panel, and the Women of Marvel panel. These panels were huge hits and, for the most part, had to turn people away.

On the one hand, it’s amazing to know that these panels are in demand and that so many people want to hear about a different perspective. On the other hand…I didn’t get to go to any panels (but yay for those of you who did!).

Comics as a medium (as well as just about anything nerdy i.e. video games, movies, T.V.) allows us free reign of our imaginations. If the next generation of creators (those who are sitting in these panels) learn that they can create what they want, anything can happen. The sky is the limit, if they can learn to break the mold. Panels like these are important in changing how we look at the status quo and how it can be altered.

I would have loved to have been there when Kelly Sue DeConnick said that progress is being made, but that it isn’t done. Because its not. Giving young women and girls hope of breaking into comics and not being scared because it’s a “boys club” is huge. I think DeConnick (and the rest of the panel) did just that.

There are so many other things about the convention I want to tell you, but I feel like I need to do some more reading comics…er…recuperating.

My coverage of NYCC will continue next week. You can look forward to my interview with the creators of Buzzkill. I’ll also cover all the awesome real life superheroes I found on the show floor. These people are doing amazing work doing nerdy things to help those in need.

For now, I leave you with this adorable picture of Bumblebee and a little Power Ranger:


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