Time to assemble: For the first time since 2019, New York Comic Con, the world’s largest pop culture gathering, will be held with people in attendance. In 2020, the event went completely online, due to COVID-19 restraints, but this year, visitors will be able to enjoy this festival of pop both in-person and remotely.
The convention is primarily followed by pop culture “geeks” around the world, but it may also present investment opportunities, as some of the world’s largest media corporations will be in attendance and making announcements.
“Pop” goes the convention
What started as a small event for comic book collectors in San Diego in 1970 quickly ballooned into the world’s largest pop culture event. The comic book scene gradually shrunk, making way for a stronger focus on movies, TV shows, collectables and video games.
While San Diego’s “International Comic Con” is the original, the New York event surpassed it in terms of attendance in the second decade of the 21st century. Due to its incredible popularity among pop culture fans, the convention has become a hotbed of news, announcements and surprises from some of the world’s best-known brands.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused many of these media giants to rethink their strategies and to schedule some of their announcements at different times during the year. In fact, this year there are no major announcements expected from Disney’s blockbuster brands Marvel and Star Wars, or from AT&T’s DC Comics. And yet, there’s still much to look forward to.
Among the Stars
While some of the better-known pop franchises may feel they are on the fringe, they are usually owned by well-known corporations. The aforementioned examples of Disney and AT&T’s WarnerMedia are quite well-known, but many other popular franchises, even ones that are considered on the edge, are the property of companies that are not synonymous with geek culture.
One prime example (pun intended) is Amazon. Two of its more critically-acclaimed series, “The Expanse” and “The Boys,” will be highlighted in panels in this year’s convention. While the former will be discussed in a panel dedicated to the show’s sixth and final season, the latter will see some of its leading actors talk about the last season and looking ahead to season three.
When it comes to the two leading “stars” of pop culture, Star Wars and Star Trek, the Trekkies have more to look forward to this year. That’s not to say that there will be no Star Wars at the convention, just that no major announcement is expected. However, hardcore fans will still enjoy a panel with the ubertalented Dee Bradley Baker, who is best known for voice acting in many Star Wars animated series.
However, for those who prefer the Enterprise to the Millenium Falcon, perhaps the biggest attraction is the original Captain Kirk, 90-year-old William Shatner, who will be answering questions about his years as part of the franchise and who may even discuss his intention to become the world’s oldest astronaut. However, fans of contemporary Trek also have several events to look forward to, including panels dedicated to Star Trek: Discovery and the upcoming animated series, “Prodigy,” which will also benefit from Baker’s voice work.
There’s no doubt that the absence of a significant Marvel panel from this year’s event will pain many fans. Despite the abundance of fresh content in 2021, including four TV shows and as many feature films, the Disney-owned franchise is apparently not planning any major announcement in this year’s event, and neither is its fellow Disney-owned brand, Star Wars.
COVID-19 fears still linger in New York and many other parts of the world. This year’s Comic Con will definitely be different to previous conventions, with fewer people in physical attendance and fewer major announcements expected. However, it will still be a colourful and energising event, which may signal the beginning of the return to normalcy.