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NYCC 16 – Nerds Unite!

nyccThis being our third year of New York Comic Con attendance, cousin Justin and I decided to go all out: the whole weekend in NYC, the whole weekend at Comic Con. I was excited to attend all the panels; Justin wanted to see the Walking Dead sneak peek and get a picture with Evangeline Lilly. Missions successful.

There’s something about walking into NYCC that is simply joyous. People are dressed up, the crowds are massive, and there’s a lot of cheering. I think people who like sports and attend games must feel this same rush of pleasure when they get to the stadium, field, or court. Here you are, celebrating your hobbies and interests and loves in one space with thousands of other people who have the same hobbies, interests, and loves. It’s this massive feeling of connection that one doesn’t regularly have and it’s pretty darn amazing.

I’m gonna say it, though: NYCC attendees dress it up better than sports fans.

doughnutsAfter an amazing breakfast of enormous doughnuts from Dough, we headed into Comic Con — and directly into a giant line. There are lines for everything: the panels, the comics, the games, the bathrooms. Justin even found himself in line for a line when waiting to take his picture with Evangeline Lilly.

I then wandered off to Book Con, where a smaller group of fans were lining up (in the rain) for a panel entitled “Smells like Teen Spirit” with Ally Carter, Daniel José Older, Maggie Stiefvater, and Lauren Oliver, moderated by Brittany Cavallaro. Funny and confident, the panelists riffed off each other while (mostly) answering Cavallaro’s questions.

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to all of them…but I’ve had something Maggie Stiefvater said bumping around my brain ever since. Cavallaro asked what the authors would tell their younger selves, if able. Stiefvater said there was nothing she could tell her younger self — that her younger self would ignore her because she thought adulthood meant being boring and uncool and awful and that it would make more sense to just punch out now. What her younger self really could have used, she said, was to attend a panel like this: a group of successful adults who are very seriously cool. Providing proof that it does get better would be the best possible thing she could do for her younger self.

audience  cool-panel
Day two was slower and calmer. I interviewed the awesome Brittany Cavallaro (to appear on an upcoming podcast) and had only one panel to attend: “Myths, Fairy Tales and Legends: Reimagining Classic Stories.” As usual, I was woefully under-informed when it comes to adult authors (such as the majority of the panelists) but there was one familiar face: Matt Phelan was there discussing his most recent graphic novel, Snow White. Discussion was smart, quick, and — to be honest — a little bit much for my Comic Con–addled brain. The most memorable moment for me was, following a discussion of morality and Greek myths, Phelan saying with a shrug, “As long as there have been people, there have been jerks.” No truer words, Matt. No truer.


Next year? I hope we amp it up to three days.

Siân Gaetano About Siân Gaetano

Siân Gaetano is assistant editor for The Horn Book, Inc. Follow her on Twitter @KidLitChick.

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