This past weekend, thousands of people of all ages, shapes, and sizes dressed in fancy costumes and headed to the Big Apple. Did Halloween come early this year? Nope—it was time for the annual New York Comic Convention!
The event began at New York City’s Javits Center last Thursday and ran until Sunday evening. An estimated total of 130,000 people attended the four-day festival.
At the convention, vendors (salespeople) sell toys, movies, posters, clothes, and comics. Attendees can also go to special panels. At panel discussions, speakers make presentations about subjects related to popular culture. They may also screen sneak previews of upcoming movies or TV shows.
Fans can meet their favorite comic artists at Artist Alley or get autographs from celebrities. For example, William Shatner, who played Captain Kirk on the original Star Trek TV show, signed autographs and took photos with visitors on Saturday and Sunday.
A BOOST FOR BOOKS
Comic Con (as fans call it) may be booming. But sales of comic books have been decreasing for many years. So the comic-book industry has been working to develop new readers. In fact, many people think comics are a great way to get kids to read more.
The Stan Lee Foundation aims to boost literacy (the ability to read and write) among kids. The foundation is named after Stan Lee, a famous writer who helped create superheroes like Spider-Man and the Incredible Hulk. His foundation had a booth at Comic Con to promote its special reading programs for kids.
“[We] go into elementary school libraries, and we bring in cosplayers [people who dress in costumes as characters],” says Ryan Dawson, who works for the foundation. “We let the kids read the comic books while the cosplayers act it out.” Kids at these programs then get to take comics with them to read at home.
FESTIVAL OF FANS
No matter what is being presented or sold at the festival, fans remain the heart of the convention. New York Comic Con attracts fans of all sorts of different movies, books, and video games. Lots of fans at the festival are even in costume as their favorite characters.
“I’ve been going for three years so far,” says Elissa, 16, who came to the con with her family. She was dressed as Jade Harley, a character from the webcomic Homestuck. “I always have so much fun making costumes and then going to see all of the people in the fandoms come together and have fun together.”
Fandom refers to a community of people who share a common interest in an activity, a work of art, or a celebrity. “We might not know each other,” Elissa says, “but [since] we like the same things, maybe we could become friends later on and build up a friendship.”