Reflections from NY Comic Con
On Friday I went to NY Comic Con, like everyone else, I guess, with the idea of having fun, of experiencing first hand one of the “major events” that a true nerdy geek can attend. I also wanted to meet Cory Doctorow (although we actually ended up not meeting). It has been years since I last met him, and it was the perfect “excuse” to attend the conference.
When I arrived, I was really surprised to see the size of it. I knew the Jakowitz Center was big, I had been there before several times. But I was not expecting a Comic Con to have such size and be attended by so many people. The waves of attendees kept coming in hours after the doors opened.
Of course, the most readily noticeable aspect of the conference is the customs many people wear. I started taking photographs, only to understand it was a waste of time, since so many people were taking the same photographs, and they would be shared online.
But the phenomenological metaphysics philosopher / cultural anthropologist / developmental psychologist that I carry inside (oh, yeah, it does get crowded in my brain sometimes 🙂 could not just “let go and have fun”. Had I been socially sharing the event with someone with whom to “just enjoy”, I know I would have done just that. But she was not there. So I let my mind have all the fun.
Many were the traits and inter dynamics to be observed and analyzed. This post could turn into a large essay or a book if I went into detail. So I’ll just make a quick note and keep the longer analysis in my “to-do” list:
- Unlike many cos players I spent hours observing at YoYoGi Park in Tokyo, who were expressing themselves, as a personal need to experience the union and self-identification with the chosen character, the American counterparts seemed a bit more interested in the attention, the show, the “cred”, the social aspect of it.
- Those who were “capturing the odd images” as I first had the impulse to do, re-enforce the permeable boundaries of social spheres by doing so.
- Pre-made identities are quite tempting, for they represent an effortless way to achieve a “persona” without the need to work on the issues and more importantly accept the responsibilities and pain that goes into actually choosing one’s own. Because, although somehow restricted by experiences, circumstances, and neurological structures, we DO have a choice. And over identification with fictional characters is the psychological equivalent of fast food: quick, effortless, filling… but it keeps us from healthier choices if it is not balanced.
- The naïveté with which some fans approach story lines, characters, and authors, starkly contrasts the ruthless business interest that go on behind the scenes most of the time.
- Most characters and comics draw (no pun intended) from the very same sources Western cultural tradition has been doing over millennia: the classic Greek drama, full of linearity, polarization, violence, tension, determinism, simplification… On the other hand, there are many sketched Western influences in Japanese comic (manga/anime) works, but they are mainly exaggerated aesthetic clichés rather than an structural narrative influence.
Of course there are many more aspects to analyze, and a lot of fun to be had. So I guess it would be a good idea to return next year, but hopefully in good company 😉