Escaping My Shell at New York Comic Con
I spent four days at New York Comic Con and found myself pleasantly overwhelmed. As an introverted person living in New York City, I revel in the anonymity that comes with being surrounded by crowds of strangers. NYCC was just like this, but with an unspoken understanding of the collective joy of fandom shared by everyone in the building. I spent a lot of time wandering through the halls on my own, taking in the cosplay, and feeling comfortable enough to throw out an occasional “Hey, nice Ravenclaw scarf.”
Surprisingly, I didn’t leave this feeling of affinity at the Javits Center. Half an hour after swiping my pass to exit, I would sit on the subway crossing back into Brooklyn and notice groups of other people with NYCC badges hanging from lanyards around their necks, talking about the panels they had seen and celebrities they had met that day. It was a strange reminder that the network of fandom doesn’t exist only at the Javits Center, or even just on the Internet. I walk by hundreds of strangers every day. How many of them have my same Ravenclaw scarf hanging in their closet?
In terms of human interaction beyond a quick compliment, I also had the opportunity to meet other MuggleNet staff members for the first time. This felt similar to my first week of college, except instead of “Nice to meet you,” followed by small talk about Life Drawing 101, it was “Nice to finally meet you!” followed by big talk about Potter and MuggleNet. One of the most meaningful moments of the weekend was when two new friends and I ended up on the downtown 7 train to go meet Kelly Clarkson at a book signing entirely unrelated to Comic Con. Standing in Barnes & Noble, waiting for the event to begin and perusing B&N’s table of Potter goodies, I couldn’t help but remark, “How surreal is this? This is the first time I’ve met you people, and here we are on a spontaneous trip to Tribeca, geeking out equally about Harry Potter and Kelly Clarkson.”
Another highlight was sitting in the front row at the SpeakBeasty panel and filming it for the Facebook livestream. If I could sit down next to my 10-year-old self as she sat at her parents’ desktop computer refreshing MuggleNet’s home page, tap her on the shoulder, and tell her that we would end up at a live podcast recording – not just as an audience member but also as part of the team – and then go out for fried pickles and French toast with the rest of said team, the response would have been one of shock and admiration. 10-year-old Meg would have thought 23-year-old Meg is quite cool, but she would be wrong; 23-year-old Meg is still very uncool, but it turns out it’s not impossible to find people to be uncool with.