By Michael Avila
Special to DNAinfo
CHELSEA — New York Comic Con has officially arrived.
All the proof needed to confirm that fact could be found at the Javits Center Saturday night during the panel promoting next year’s superhero adventure movie, “The Avengers.”
With stars Chris Evans, Tom Hiddleston, Cobie Smulders, Clark Gregg and surprise guest Mark Ruffalo on hand, the sneak peek at one of the most anticipated films in years was not only a tremendous crowd pleaser; it was the most electric event in the six-year history of the East Coast’s largest pop culture convention.
Attendance figures for the sixth installment of NYCC haven’t been revealed yet, but organizers expect to easily surpass last year’s record of more than 95,000 attendees.
Fans flooded exhibitor booths for free comics and promotional items from major comics publishers like Marvel, DC and Archie Comics. They waited in line to meet comics industry legends such as Todd McFarlane and Joe Kubert. They opened their wallets to purchase rare comics, one-of-a-kind original comic art and special merchandise available only at the convention.
For many fans, it was about discovering something new.
"I'm a fan of “The Walking Dead” TV show, and I bought the first two trade paperbacks of the comics because I wanted to read them," said Ben Marino, from New Fairfield, Conn.
Marino and his friend Ross Lorenzoni were attending their first Comic Con, and all indications are it won’t be their last.
“I think we'll definitely come back next year,” said Lorenzoni.
The cavernous Javits Center also became a de facto Hall of Justice for the thousands of attendees who dressed up in elaborate costumes.
Cosplay - a sub-genre of geek culture where people dress up as their favorite pop culture characters – was a big hit at this year’s NYCC.
“I have a 10-year old, I have a job,” said Kelly, a cosplayer who drove down from Albany to roam the convention floor dressed as a Steampunk version of Batman’s arch-enemy, the Joker. “This is just something I do for fun on the weekend.”
Many people attended not to get the latest comics or a chance to get an advance look at a new TV show, but to play video games. There were deep lines all weekend long to play demos of “Prototype 2,” “Max Payne,” "Halo Anniversary" and "Mass Effect 3."
All of this helped push NYCC even closer to its goal of becoming as hot an entertainment industry touchstone as the San Diego Comic Con.
Of course, as many people noted during the four-day event, New York already has one thing in common with its West Coast competitor — long lines.
Queues for autograph signings and giveaways created traffic across the convention floor. Even food runs took a long time.
Delays also plagued many of the convention’s marquee events, such as Kevin Smith’s live podcast Friday night. Fans were forced to wait more than an hour past the scheduled time for the event to begin
It’s fortunate the aforementioned “Avengers” panel went over so well, because it started 45 minutes late and had fans frustrated and more than a little testy.
Luckily, fanboys are easily calmed with a cocktail of Hollywood starpower and exclusive movie footage.