Big Apple Comic Con 2022 - Post Covid 19 Cons Are Making A Comeback
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Big Apple Comic Con 2022 – Post Covid 19 Cons Are Making A Comeback

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BY March 27, 2022

During the pandemic, it felt for a moment like comic book conventions were a thing of the past. Would people ever crowd around in convention centers in cosplay to celebrate comics and nerd culture? Turns out, they will. It’s been a long time since we could gather in large groups without risking exposure or exposing others to a deadly virus. But now, with 80% of Americans vaccinated (we did it!), each variant getting progressively weaker, and using a little more common sense, we’re going back to normal…ish. Comic Cons were the life of the industry before 2020, but now that we’re entering the post COVID-19 era (hopefully), what does a convention look like? Let’s take a look at Big Apple Comic Con 2022 to see how fans and businesses got back in the big halls.

Big Apple Comic Con was founded in 1995 by Michael Carbonaro – known as “Mike Carbo” to his friends – in a church auditorium in Manhattan. In 2022, the Big Apple Con took place in the historic New Yorker hotel in the heart of New York City. People, some wearing masks out of an abundance of caution, made their way back amongst the tables and cosplayers in the very fancy ballroom. The community of comic book fans and cosplayers was able to come together again, and we had a front-row seat.

Comic Cons Post COVID-19: Big Apple Comic Con 2022 – New York

Comic Con Post COVID 19, Big Apple floor (Image: Comic Years)

Our senior Canadian correspondents, Shah Said and Meghan Hale, ventured to Toronto Comic Con not too long ago, and it was a pretty crowded event. In each of Hale’s pictures, everyone is wearing a mask unless they are eating, drinking, or taking a photo with someone. There were significantly fewer masks at the Big Apple Comic Con 2022 post COVID-19. The current CDC masking guidelines say that masking is optional in areas at low risk for severe illness with low hospitalizations. At the time of this writing, New York and Queens counties are both considered low-risk.

Thankfully, for most people, this won’t be a big deal. Maybe an annoyance, but bearable. However, this means that immunocompromised people and their caretakers will still have to forego the cons for now. As a caretaker myself, I’m certainly disappointed by the lack of caution, but maybe it’s a good thing. Somehow, my bank account was magically depleted every time I went to one of these events. So, is it safe? Yes, for most people, but we’re a long way off from the fully-accessible gatherings we were once used to.

Celebrities Are Returning to Conventions, but Slowly

Similar to Meghan and Shah’s experiences, the celebrity turnout at Big Apple Comic Con was significantly lighter than in previous years. The biggest names came from the CW’s Flash series, seen above. As things return to some semblance of normal, the Big Apple Con might actually build back even bigger than before. However, celebrities aren’t always the draw of the con. For many folks it’s the vendors and artists that they come to see. Other people come for panels or discussions, when they’re offered. But what makes any Comic Con different from a convention of airline pilots or insurance salespeople is the cosplayers. They let you know, on sight, that you are entering into the heart of fandom. And the Big Apple Con didn’t disappoint in 2022.

The Cosplayers of Big Apple Comic Con 2022 Were the Real Heroes

Comic Con Post COVID 19, Spider-Man pointing meme (Image: Comic Years)

Seeing cosplayers in their element again is a breath of relief. Big Apple got some great cosplayers, too, from the massive group of various Spider-fans to the dude who looked like he stole Ben Affleck’s batsuit. In the before times, fans saw cosplayers as a cool, fun part of the cons. Now, seeing them shine at a comic con after the pandemic, their role is far more important – they are the soul of the con. The cosplayer community is bringing to life characters we’ve been stuck inside our homes with for two years.

Comic Con Post COVID 19, Big Apple Cosplay 2019 (Image: Comic Years)

Going to a comic con post COVID-19? Make sure to take some professional pictures with cosplayers in the galleys – most charge between $0 and $50. Pay them, even if it is just a $5 tip, because it all goes back to their craft. Take Pittsburgh’s amazing cosplayer Odfel, for instance. After creating quite a following on TikTok and Instagram, her cosplay went from “that’s really good” to “that’s better than most costumes in the movies.”

Post COVID-19, fan interaction will be an essential part of comic cons, and cosplayers are the best people to drive that interaction.

Keep a lookout for Comic Cons in your area, and if you can go, tell us how it was!

And remember, you can never have too many Batmans:

Big Apple Trading Cards Batman Cosplay (Image: Comic Years)

(Featured Image: Comic Years)


Roman Colombo finished his MFA in 2010 and now teaches writing and graphic novel literature at various Philadelphia colleges. His first novel, Trading Saints for Sinners, was published in 2014. He's currently working on his next novel and hoping to find an agent soon.


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