Freddy Valle writes:
When I was a child I remember having a shameless sense of play and wonder. I can't recall when exactly I became a proper geek, but it all started very young. Once I reached my teen years, I suddenly began restraining myself. Being into manga, or video games wasn't necessarily considered "cool" or popular. But I remember wanting to still be able to play card games without being judged or made fun of. I essentially chose to bury my inner child in order to fit in with my peers.
This year was my first time at NYCC, or any con for that matter. This past weekend I felt like I somehow rediscovered what it is to be a child again, and found a place of belonging. In today's society, it has become cooler to be a geek, and to be into superheroes, and video games, and comic books. Comic Con is a testament to that. It showed me just how large and unifying these interests can be.
Entering the con, my jaw literally dropped. All around me I was surrounded by large banners of heroes and characters I've highly revered since my childhood. It was astounding to see how far the geekdom had come, and how inclusive, as well. I saw people of all shapes and sizes, of all ages, and from walks of life together to celebrate their passions. I felt pure, unadulterated joy. Although we all consisted of different fandoms, there was still a mutual respect for one another.
I had the opportunity to attend several panels, my first being one with Robert Kirkman (The Walking Dead). While it is always great to hear the latest news for upcoming projects, I found that his creative process was the most insightful aspect of the panel. In fact, that was my greatest takeaway from every panel.
I was able to have a peek into the minds of so many incredible creators: Max Landis (Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency), Kevin Smith (Clerks), and Charlie Brooker (Black Mirror). Each one of them unique in their processes, but similar in their passion for making new content. Most of all, I realized how much they are like us. They're all geeks in their own ways, and they share this love for the geekdom. I recall a moment when Landis led the audience in singing 'I Want it That Way' by the Backstreet Boys; it was so fun, and so telling of the type of person he is. The jokes, the moments of play, the way they all engaged with their fans — it was touching.
Cosplay is an art form. It is breathtaking to see the amount of work people put into their costumes. It's almost like stepping into a candy store in that there are so many varieties. For instance, I saw plenty of Jokers, but no two Jokers were ever the same. Each one of them had a different interpretation. I personally went wild for anime cosplayers. I never thought it would be possible to cosplay as Barragan's resurrection from Bleach. I nearly did a backflip when I saw the greatest Garrus Vakarian costume. There was always a surprise around every corner at NYCC!
It's strange having to return to reality. I feel like I've been dreaming for the last few days, and now I have to wake up and go to work. I urge anyone who hasn't gone to Comic Con, or NYCC, to add it to their bucket list. It feels like stepping into a different dimension, where all the troubles of the outside world melt away. This weekend at NYCC I allowed my inner child to come out and play. I have never been more proud to be a geek.