“There are a million nerds here,” my 10-year-old son said Sunday afternoon at the New York Comic Con convention as people pointed at him and said, “It’s Doctor Who!” The annual event at Manhattan’s Javits Center drew 5,500 excited kids like him who dressed up as their favorite comic book, fantasy and science fiction characters for Kids Day, the final day of the four-day extravaganza with special activities and attractions tailored for them.
Author Jeff Kinney’s 45-minute intimate and entertaining multimedia talk about how he goes about writing books in his “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” series could have been enough to see that day, especially since the children in the audience got sent home with a teaser for his not-yet-out latest title, “The Long Haul.” The list of other things to do and see was exhaustive, from a hands-on workshop where little ones got to make their own superhero mask to an autograph session with the Japanese Manga illustrator Moyoco Anno to a sneak peak of the new season of “Ben 10: Ultimate Alien” to a rolling, hours-long presentation of the soon-to-be-released Just Dance 2015 where audience members got to try out the game on stage.
An estimated 151,000 people attended Comic Con over the course of the long weekend — if you are thinking of going next year, check the website early and often because tickets sell out fast — and yet every single person we came across was polite. When either one of us accidentally bumped into folks on the crowded floors, they apologized to us for being in the way.
That was the best part of the event, at least for my son — the camaraderie. He experienced it the most while walking the enormous, packed floors. Kids dressed as Captain America, Groot, Spiderman, Finn the Human, that time-traveling alien known as Doctor Who and on and on — the costumes were endlessly varied — stopped to complement one another, take photos together and chat about their interests. As the mother of one of my son’s school mates put it — for her daughter, “it felt so good to be in a place where there was no right way to be.”