As some of you may already know, I recently went to New York Comic-Con. It’s a bit smaller than the San Diego Comic-Con, but it’s full of nerds and nerdy things, and therefore it felt like home.
Comic-Con is a great place for people who are passionate about nearly any kind of entertainment. Comic-Con covers books and comics, movies, television shows, video games, and art. There is quite literally something for everyone, whether you’re a fan of the biggies — like Harry Potter, Doctor Who, or the Avengers — or if you like the the strange and obscure — like Homestuck, Adventure Time, or just about any type of manga.
It’s a place where nerds can feel welcome no matter their preferences or level of fangirl. Funny t-shirts and ornate cosplays are around every corner, and the bigger, nerdier, and more detailed you are, the more impressive you’ll be.
New York Comic-Con was smaller than San Diego, so it was a little easier for me to see the phenomenon of strangers-becoming-friends this time, more so than I did back in July.
It began with a group of girls who were sitting down next to me, resting or waiting until the next activity started (I was frantically typing up an article for Hypable and trying to decide if sawing off my own feet would actually be less painful than wearing the boots I had chosen that day). Another girl, someone this group didn’t know, approached them and asked for a picture. The girls jumped up and posed without question, and then the six or so of them began talking.
It was fascinating to see something like this happen, especially somewhere like New York. But people have such strong identities with their fandoms that strangers no longer feel like strangers. A cosplay costume or a snarky shirt is like a neon sign hanging over your head that says I GET YOU in a language only certain people can read. If you come across a person who can read that language, you’re no longer strangers but people who have a special kind of connection.
While I won’t deny that computers and phones have vastly decreased the amount of face-to-face communication that exists in the world, I have to laugh at those people that feel like it destroys our (i.e. my generation’s) ability to talk to other people. Quite the opposite, actually. I can pick a Teen Wolf fan out of a crowd and instantly have something to talk to them about. And I did just that at Comic-Con. Friends are instant when you share a passion for something as strongly as those do who go to conventions.
In fact, I met up with a couple of people I met through various television shows, and they felt like friends I had known for years. We had so much to talk about even though it was our first time actually seeing each other. In a city where I feel uncomfortable walking up to just any old person and striking up a conversation, something like that is such a comfort amongst the hoards of people crawling through the Javitz center.
Relationships are kindled when you’re waiting in line for hours, hoping you’ll get into a panel. Or when you see someone whose work you appreciate. Or when you meet a person you listen to on a podcast every week. The connections you form with people over the internet are no less important and strong than those you may meet “in real life.” And I think you, blog readers and writers, can understand that more than most.
The moral of the story is that conventions may serve to bring you exclusive information and cool souvenirs and awesome memories, but they can also bring you genuine friendship and a camaraderie with people you may never meet again. And to me, that’s just one more reason to go to nerdtastic conventions like Comic-Con.