If there’s one thing that frustrates fans of toys, video games and comics, it’s the exclusive nature of trade events such as ToyFair and E3. Showcasing everything we want to know about new stuff coming our way, but they’re open only to news outlets and industry insiders, not the general public. And then there are media blitzes like New York Comic-Con (NYCC) that caters specifically to consumer attendance.

Just like we get a better sense of a car through a test drive, we get a better sense of video games with live demos; seeing factory paint decorations on a finished action figure may (or may not) be as nice as the prototype you read about months ago. And the new comic book title coming from your favorite writer or artist? Why not chat with them in-person at Artists’ Alley? Nothing is better than enjoying pop culture with folks who may be equally obsessed as you are.

I was this close to Death!And then there’s the dressing up thing, cosplay. It’s better than Halloween; even if you portray a comic book character that hasn’t been turned into a movie yet, at least a few people on the show floor will immediately recognize the origin, complement the craftsmanship, and ask to take a picture of, or with you. However, if you’re looking for multitudes of women dressed as ‘slave Leia’ from Return of the Jedi, you should head to Dragon Con.

Having participated in NYCC for the past few years, I have two points of immediate advice.

  • Purchase passes early enough to have them mailed, or buy them at a local vendor if you can. Even if you print a confirmation barcode from an online order, you’ll still be waiting in long, insufferable queues.
  • Bring along extra batteries or recharging cables for your electronic devices, because having them powered on frequently to Tweet about the event will drain them faster than you realize, and you’ll miss out on the photo op with the hot gal dressed as the Baroness from G.I.Joe.