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Comic Con Controversy

Ellen Levitt

Posted on October 13, 2022 12:10

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I attended NYC Comic Con 2022, and I'm puzzling over one of the main features.

My daughters and I attended the fourth and final day of NYC Comic Con 2022 on October 9th. The girls wore Pokémon character one-piece outfits, and I carried a 1970s lunchbox decorated with cartoon characters. We wandered around and ogled hundreds of cosplayers, checked out vendors' wares, and gazed at the work at Artists Alley.

I attended a panel discussion on Cosplay and Fashion, which was really interesting, and I hung out with a woman I worked with 30 years ago, who now owns a comic art gallery with her husband.

Overall, I had fun, even if it was an exhausting experience. But one popular aspect of this and other Cons, which I don't bother with, is Photo Ops. The Photo Op involves paying money to take a quick photograph with a celebrity, get it autographed, and then move on. It doesn't even have the rapport of a "meet and greet" situation, in which you can chat a bit with the celebrity. 

To me, the Photo Op is cold and a waste of money. The amount of human interaction is minimal. And it can be very expensive. This year, a Photo Op with actor Brendan Fraser started at $110. A photo op with actor Christopher Lloyd began at $125. With Michael J. Fox or Oscar Isaac, $225 or more. With Sam Heughan of Outlander, $250 or more. Many of the other Photo Ops cost $50 to $70.

People who wanted these had to sign up in advance, and many took to social media to complain of hours-long waits to sign up. And even then, at Comic-Con, they had to wait even with appointments, and many people had to wait for their photos to be printed, and so on.

This can be expensive, with expenditures of money and time that make me scratch my head.

I understand that people like to meet celebrities and dignitaries whom they admire; I have done this in the past, sometimes by chance. I met the late singer-activist Pete Seeger and chatted with him, then got his autograph. I met British actor Robin Ellis and talked with him, and he signed a book I had. 

I understand that people will go to book signings to meet authors and get their books signed. I get that people will go to sports conventions or events and have a baseball or football signed by an athlete. I know that people will attend parades or rallies and shake hands with politicians or other celebrities.

But to me, Photo Ops are a clear money grab. Yet many people love this kind of interaction and will spend hours and lots of cash to do this. I think it's pathetic. But people eagerly post these quickie commercial takes on TikTok and YouTube, and crow about how great their experiences were.

I think this is a sad commentary on society, on how we interact with famous people, and how we spend our money. Caveat emptor.

 

Ellen Levitt

Posted on October 13, 2022 12:10

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