It was a warm Friday morning and I had just gotten on the back of the line for Comic Con with some old friends from high school. We were packed in on a sidewalk, herded by workers who tried to keep people from cutting the line, but they couldn’t catch everyone who ran across the street to sneak in. It was surreal waiting in line with Captain America behind me and three witches in front of me, but it moved quickly enough that my excitement took over. As we rounded the corner, I saw the glass walls of the Javits Center in the distance and thought about the Chem lecture in Javits 100 that I had cut for this. I was excited, but was also worried that it might be a let down because I wasn’t following most of the TV shows or comics that were being presented at NYCC. The line marched on to the security checkpoint, and after a few bag checks we were in.

The main floor with vendors was where I spent most of my first day. Everything is set up in a grid system and the booths are numbered so you can find what you want. I didn’t know what I wanted, so I ended up just wandering the aisles. By wandering, I really meant waddling, because the venue was so packed that you had to really fight people to get around. Constantly walking at a quarter speed and shuffling along absolutely kills your legs, so try and stay clear of the crowds when possible. When buying merch, try and stay away from any of the grab bags, because it was the most suspicious thing I’ve ever seen. We’re talking brown paper bags with labels on them, which were advertised for only thirty dollars for sixty dollars worth of merchandise. But I didn’t see a single person looking too excited about what they had gotten. The rest of the vendors all had memorabilia from shows and comics, with various shades of credibility. The whole place felt like a flea market without flea market prices.

Apart from the main floor, you can also visit Artist’s Alley. This section was appealing to my personal tastes because there were over a hundred different artists all displaying their work and talking to fans. There were artists showing off the latest in wacom brand drawing tablets, and even real Marvel Comics illustrators like Fabian Nicieza signing comics.

After we had finished shopping, we took a break and decided to just watch cosplayers go by. Some people went all in on their cosplay, like a future Thor costume with glowing parts and a hammer that had some real weight to it. One person even dressed himself up as the Javits Center itself, with tinfoil for the glass of the building. You couldn’t even see his head or arms, just legs in a silver morphsuit.

Aside from these few examples, the rest of NYCC was infested with Rick and Morty cosplay. I’m a fan of the show myself but the community is actually a plague on society. I counted at least twenty Ricks before I gave up about halfway through the first day because it was just painful to watch these people in white lab coats

There was plenty more to be disgusted about when I got to the food, because they were charging $8 for lemonade that was almost entirely ice, and $12 for two empanadas. I considered leaving to get food somewhere else and coming back. Then I remembered the line to get back in would take another half hour, so I settled for getting ripped off.

However, I’m glad I stayed, because I bumped into a man who was dressed up as Captain America, but he was wearing red white and blue instead of just blue. I thought it was just some obscure pallette swap, but when I got closer I saw the yellow sun on his shield and realized he was actually cosplaying as Captain Philippines, which isn’t an actual superhero, just a cultural shoutout, but it lifted my spirits and made me forget I had just paid $12 for a bottle of water.

On the second day, I went to see the Black Mirror panel and we had gotten our fill of the main floor. I didn’t know anything about Black Mirror or how the panels worked, So I did a little bit of research on the train and found out there was going to be a panel for the TV show Archer at the Hammerstein Ballroom before Black Mirror.

None of my friends were too interested, so I split off from them and hopped on the back of a line that spilled out across several streets. Once again, the workers had trouble keeping the line in check, this time because there were several parking garages that needed to be kept clear, so whenever the line moved up they had to ferry a certain amount of people over to where the line continued. The ballroom’s ground floor was packed, but the upstairs seating was open, and I ended up on a balcony on the right side when the panel started.

Comic Con promised that H. John Benjamin, the voice of Archer and Bob on Bob’s Burgers, was going to be there. He cancelled at the last minute and if I hadn’t just stood on a line for a half hour I might’ve left. However, three other voice actors still showed up, Amber Nash, the voice of Pam, Aisha Tyler, the voice of Lana, and Lucky Yates, the voice of Krieger.

To compensate everyone that had showed up they gave us an exclusive look at one entire episode from the next season, Archer: Danger Island. They were so serious about nobody recording the episode that security guards were posted about every two feet so nobody could leak the episode.

The premise of the episode is that Archer and company are on an tropical island in the South Pacific, where Archer is a pilot working for his mother’s hotel. I won’t spoil anything that happens plot wise except that Krieger in this season is now a talking parrot with no explanation. Changes like this have been happening since the series had shifted from overarching plotlines to an anthology, which has caused some division among fans.

The team explained they switched over because it gave them more freedom to work with whatever crazy ideas they wanted while still retaining who the characters were in their new roles. They admitted they were scared to carry out the decision at first. Getting to hear the executive producer talk about the philosophy behind this change was like getting a director’s cut of the episode live. I almost forgave H. John Benjamin for being a no-show.

My comic con experience was honestly a little bit underwhelming. Most of my enjoyment came more from seeing my friends from high school again and weird cosplay instead of the actual event itself. The biggest problem I had with the con was that I personally was not invested too heavily in any of the content comic con had to offer other than Archer. I am not saying that comic con sucks, or that there weren’t fun things to do, just that if you’re someone who is considering going to comic con but isn’t a big fan of something specific that you’re willing to pay fifty dollars a day to see, save yourself some money and get empanadas elsewhere.