New York City, New York
Aaron Sagers is an entertainment journalist and host/co-executive producer of Travel Channel's Paranormal Paparazzi. He is also the founder of the popular entertainment site ParanormalPopCulture.com and a contributor to CNN.com's Geek Out! He has gained a reputation for his specialty knowledge on the topics of paranormal entertainment, ghosts in pop culture, zombies, apocalyptic cultures, horror movies, curses in movies and celebrity ghost stories. Sagers has spoken at San Diego Comic-Con, New York Comic-Con and Dragon Con and many other large fan events on those topics. Additionally, he teaches journalism at New York University in New York City, where he resides. He recently attended New York Comic-Con, Oct. 11-14, 2012.
I went here to: Speak about zombies on a panel, as well as cover the event as an entertainment journalist -- but really, I used my job as a writer and pundit to go and geek out like a proper nerd during this amazing celebration.
I traveled here with: About 110-thousand other comic book and pop culture fans.
The best way to travel here is: On foot, or via bus or subway to a local stop since traffic is intense near the Jacob K. Javits Center on 11th Avenue in Manhattan.
I stayed at: At my home on the opposite side of Manhattan, but I pretty much lived inside the Javits Center for 4 days during the con.
When it comes to packing, be sure to bring: Comfy shoes. There is a lot of walking involved at the con and even super heroes will feel feet fatigue after a day trekking through aisles of epic goodness. Pack a water bottle for easy refills at drinking fountains. Buying water or soda at the convention will run you about 4 or 5 bucks, so keep your wallet full along with your bottle. If you can, carry a phone charger or extra battery pack because the Javits is a charge-sucking black hole.
The best thing I ate was: A banana I brought in from the outside. Food lines were typically so long as I ran from interview to panel that there was never much time for meals. The food court of the Javits Center has a lot of acceptable options, like Big George’s Smokehouse, but everything is fairly expensive. Unfortunately, the convention center is pretty far from great, offsite restaurants.
I wish I hadn't: Forgotten to pack snacks (and coffee). Because of the distance from restaurants, and the constantly long lines for food, eating is a challenge here – especially when you’re on a time crunch. The queue for the Javits Center Starbucks for a caffeine injection took longer than the Fellowship’s road trip to Mordor.
Don't miss: All the freebies and interactive displays. Comic book and video game publishers, TV networks and movie studios have large displays and brand ambassadors at the con, and they give away a lot of stuff. I came home with LEGO toys, action figures and a half-dozen tee shirts -- so you’ll need a good bag for all that swag. Also keep an eye out for celebrities walking the con floor. But although movies, TV shows and celebs have become synonymous with comic cons, don’t forget to seek out Artist’s Alley to see the artists and creators behind the big blockbusters; spend a few bucks buying some comics you’ve never even heard of before to support the industry. And try not to miss your wi-fi, cell signal or access to social media because your smart phones will be reduced to an expensive brick in the packed center.
Next time I will definitely: Attend more panels. When you work the event you don’t get to attend as many panels, but this is where you learn about new topics and see exclusive glimpses from new movies, shows and other projects. For instance, Guillermo del Toro shared the trailer from his monster movie “Pacific Rim” here while everyone else has to wait until the trailer hits theaters in December. There are always surprise appearances, such as when Nathan Fillion shocked former costars Jewel Staite and Sean Maher when he walked onstage at the “Firefly” panel.
My favorite part of the trip was: Talking with living-legend Stan Lee. Although I’ve been fortunate enough to meet Stan The Man a few times before, the experience of chatting up the co-creator of Spider-Man, Iron Man and the X-Men never fails to revert me to a little kid in the presence of a personal hero. In a similar way, I love meeting and taking pictures with fans dressed up as heroes, villains, gods and monsters of comics and pop culture. The con is a giant dress-up and pretend time that inspires childlike glee.
My advice would be: Embrace the absurd and the weird, and learn to love the con. Even if you don’t classify yourself as a nerd, New York Comic-Con must be seen to be believed and appreciated. If you get overly frustrated by the crowds (and the lack of personal space in those crowds), this might not be for you, but if you can relax and soak up the eye candy, you’ll walk away with an awesome experience.
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