New York Comic Con (NYCC), considered the largest pop culture event to hit the East Coast, took over the Jacob Javits Center once again for its 13th annual convention. The fan favorite extravaganza was held from October 4th to October 7th with about 250,000 people in attendance. That’s a lot of people
to have jam-packed in a building all trying to vie for autographs, attend panels, and just to walk from one part of the building to the other.
Since 2006 ReedPop has organized this event to meet the unquenchable thirst of comic fans, bolstering attendance rates every year to the point where tickets (also called badges) sell out within the first few hours of their release. Due to the high demand, event organizers developed a “Fan Verification” system to make it harder for scalpers to purchase tickets and allow guests a better opportunity to buy badges for the days that they want. This method is a bit cumbersome because you have to confirm your “Fan Verified” information every year (not only for yourself, but for the people you are getting tickets for) and you can only purchase them with a unique link that is emailed to you. It also doesn’t really stop scalpers from purchasing tickets and selling them for an inflated price (either online or at the event itself).
In addition, ticket prices have increased this year with no option (at least not that I saw when purchasing mine) for three day or four day badges. Badge prices range from $50 for a Thursday ticket to $55 for Saturday. In 2015, a three day badge cost $75.00, but now in order to go for three days you will have to shell out at least $163 (not including tax), purchasing each day’s ticket individually.
Personally, I believe NYCC has transformed from a fan oriented event to a place that only people of a certain income can enjoy. Whenever I know tickets are going on sale, I make sure to save up money and prepare myself for hours of waiting on a website page queue to score at least one or two badges.
NYCC has garnered so much attention that they expanded their convention to six other locations (which include Madison Square Garden and the Hammerstein Ballroom) as well as a partnership with Anime Expo to host Anime Fest @ NYCC at Pier 94. For the first time, NYCC will be hosting this event as a separate ticket (the cost ranging from $20 to $25 and you don’t need to purchase a NYCC badge). “It’s a full four-day anime focused festival that celebrates anime, manga, cosplay, artists, J-pop, delicious food, and more of Japanese culture,” according to NYCC’s website.
While at NYCC, guests can enjoy more than 420 panels, visit the Artist Alley, compete in cosplay competitions, and check out a plethora of exhibitors where they can purchase merchandise. Sometimes you can even get free comic book samples, posters, button pins, free photos, and play games that haven’t been released yet. However, I noticed that some panels cost an additional fee to attend! That’s right, if you were looking forward to attending “Tardis Time” with two of the former Dr. Who characters (Matt Smith and David Tennant), and the lovely Alex Kingston (Dr. Who’s beau,) you would have to pay $19 to $249.
There were a few other panels that required an additional ticket, which could cost as much as $50.
This year really felt like NYCC was trying to suck every last dollar out of your pocket. From its subtle panel prices to its well-overpriced autographing and photo op sessions with celebrities (actors like Marvel’s Hulk Mark Ruffalo cost $180 for an autograph and $190 for a photo op). Other actors had similar price tags ranging from $60 to $100, and no table selfies are permitted when you pay for an autograph.
Overall, NYCC has become more of a mainstream event where prices are exceptionally high and with the extreme volume of people in attendance panels (the free ones) and autograph areas are difficult to get in to. If you plan on going, I suggest saving money ahead time for both tickets and the expensive attractions. Also plan ahead and look at NYCC’s schedule so that you know what things to go to and when (aim for about two hours ahead to get a decent seat). Sometimes in September, NYCC gives away lottery tickets for the Main stage to get good seats as well as film premieres and exclusive Q&As.
For more information about NYCC visit www.newyorkcomiccon.com
Photos by Dean Moses and Amanda Moses