I have always wanted to go to New York Comic Con but I haven’t in the past as it always seemed like it might be too crowded and I also felt that it was too expensive. However, this year I found out about the Pro Pass which is given free of charge to professionals, such as teachers and library workers.
I love mangas and I order them all the time for our library. But most importantly, our young adult circulation went up 48 percent as a result of the increase in manga variety and availability. They are especially popular with our reluctant young readers. So, with the aim of finding out about all of the new mangas, I applied for the Pro Pass and headed to the show, along with my colleague Jermaine Dennie. Dennie runs our library’s popular weekly Animation and Graphic Novel Club. He also bought a pass out-of-pocket for one of his club regulars, Clayon Gaile, an 18 year old who dreams of having his own series called Captain Nitro. (After he talked to Gaile’s mother to make sure it was okay for him to miss a day of school that day).
Since it was early, and Dennie and Gaile weren’t there yet, I just walked right in and went straight to the exhibits. There were so many booths as far as you could see, each one selling or displaying something exclusive or one of a kind. However, the biggest attraction is the fans themselves because so many people were wearing really amazing costumes. I stopped by the Sanrio Booth, and I got a photo with the official Hello Kitty Mascot.
In addition to exhibits, there were many panels and workshops. I attended a few panels, one of them being the unveiling of the preview for “Regarding my Reincarnation as a Slime,” a new manga about a young adult who dies and gets reincarnated as a slime. There were other manga titles featured including one that takes place in the future with people “upgrading” their bodies into gem stones. One manga that really sounded interesting was “Cells at Work,” in which each cell in the body looks like a person with a job to do.
I also attended panel discussions, including one about reading and experiencing graphic novels in 3-D using virtual reality. Imagine being able to live in the world of our favorite characters and stories. At another panel discussion I heard about plans for “virtual libraries” where patrons put on a visor and get transported to a virtual library. They can browse books and read them without ever having to leave home.
Meanwhile, my colleague stayed in line for over an hour to make sure Gaile got his pass to get in. He encouraged Gaile to talk to the different artists and pick their brains about what it takes to succeed in the comic book industry. In fact, one week later on Dennie got an On-the-Spot Award from the library director, which our library gives out in recognition of someone going above and beyond their line of work.