New York Comic Con has been taking over the Javitts Center since 2006, and I’ve attended each and every one. Over the past 17 years, the con transformed from a splattering of comic fandoms celebrating the medium into the largest gathering of nerds in the tri-state area. Television and movie stars have always had their role, but somewhere along the way, they’ve crept into the main spotlight with panels and major announcements, pushing away the cartoon word balloons and stapled spines immortalized in the convention’s moniker.
But 2023’s con felt like a different beast (not just because someone took a dump on the convention hall floor) since those stars of film and screen that packed out panels with thousands of fans couldn’t promote their work due to the ongoing Screen Actors Guild American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) strike. It left a void in the halls and panel schedules that had several effects I never would have foreseen.
There were still your usual media brands creating activations with hour-long lines to promote what’s coming up at New York’s Comic Con. Paramount’s “Good Burger 2” had a fake restaurant, “South Park” created IRL versions of props from the show, and “Goosebumps” plastered a creepy doll face on the stairs. But where these shows would normally have packed out panels screaming for Kenan and Kel, instead executive producers, writers, and VFX specialists promoted their work. When actors did show up, mums the word on the struck work — like at a panel for “Guardians of the Galaxy,” where Chris Evans spent most of the time just talking about his dog and his favorite fall activities.
The weird, confusing media landscape we are currently in the middle of felt to me like it had another effect. Usually at New York Comic Con, there’s one costume that dominates and can be seen almost everywhere you look…