New York Comic Con isn’t my favourite convention. It’s too large and crowded for this claustrophobic fan. And yet I find myself returning year after year. Part of the reason is the location. I’m in New York at least a few days a month anyway, so to not go to a convention that’s so easy to attend seems absurd. I have friends to stay with, which eliminates the need to pay for a hotel room or take the two hour train ride each day. But surely that isn’t enough reason to continue to go.
Is it the panels? The first year, there was one panel I wanted to see. The second, one possible panel. This year, none. Okay, so not the panels. The parties, Nope not a big partier. Comics? Maybe a little, but while I like comics, I’m not a big enough fan of them for that to be the reason. Meeting celebrities? It’s fun, but I don’t usually feel the need to pay money to have ten seconds to say, “Hi, I love your work, nice to meet you.” So I’m back to the beginning. Why do I keep going back?
I think a lot of the reason is Artist’s Alley. I’ve always loved art and an entire room packed with art and artists is an amazing experience. Sometimes I buy pieces, sometimes I don’t, but I always love putting faces to and talking with the creators of the art I admire so much. This year I had the pleasure of meeting Richard Starkings and harassing – I mean, speaking with – Matthew Dow Smith. Although I know Matthew Dow Smith from previous years and other conventions, it’s always wonderful to get a chance to catch up in person.
Alright, so Artist’s Alley is part of why I keep going back to NYCC. But lots of conventions feature art and artists, so there has to be something else too. And I think it’s something that I can’t quite put into words. Every year, something brilliant happens. Sometimes it’s who I get to meet, sometimes it’s who I have dinner with, and sometimes it’s just the realisation that I’ve somehow gotten myself embedded into something truly special.