Like everything else that’s usually fun, indoors, and crowded, Comic Con canceled its annual four-day fan fest last year because of the pandemic. Yesterday, however, the Javits Center was once again crawling with Spideys, Thors, Marios, Peaches, Venoms, Wonder Women, and tons of other amazing cartoon/anime/video game/pop-culture characters I didn’t recognize as the 15th NYC Con finally returned with… well, with something between a bang and whimper.
Capacity restrictions made the usually jam-packed aisles and atria feel almost empty at times. Proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test for the under-12 set are required for entry, and masks are mandatory inside. But after a lost year, devoted cosplayers and their oglers were not going to let pandemic protocols spoil the party.
“I love it!” said Michelle Ford, who came as Mira from Aquaman in an astonishing jellyfish dress that took two months to make. “I come to Comic Con every year, it’s literally the highlight of my year, and I like to hit it hard. Last year I took my 2019 costume and did a cosplay transformation video from home, but this is WAY better. I love the people and the interaction, it’s priceless.”
Manhattanite Alex Is Crafting, who always wears a costume that’s knitted or crocheted, agreed. “It feels amazing to be back,” she said. “To have people here recognizing who I am, and being here in costume with other people, is just so much fun.” On Thursday, Alex was wearing her Wonder Woman knitted outfit, which she whipped up in ten days—her most complicated creation, Zelda from 2019, took her 700 hours—but plans on arriving as a different character each day.
In addition to all the cosplay, Comic Con is also about commerce, and the huge space is filled with vendors selling toys, collectibles, original art, clothing, and accessories. You can also buy photo-ops with or autographs by celebrities, and content creators from all media are on hand hyping their upcoming releases.
Comic Con will be at the Javits Center through Sunday, and badges are still available.