Obtaining tickets for her son and his friend to attend the ninth annual New York Comic Con, which will be at the Javits Center Oct. 9 through 12, was a heroic feat for Barbara Schilling, 48, an Oceanside, LI secretary.
She arrived at Midtown Comics on Fulton Street with her son, Michael, 16, at 9 p.m. Wednesday night, and slept overnight in a smelly alley so Michael could be guaranteed entry to the convention.
Schilling tried buying tickets online, "but the site crashed, and when it came back, (the tickets) were all gone." Many people in the line - which was estimated by one staffer to number more than 1,000 - complained of similar problems purchasing tickets online.
The increasingly popular comics jamboree - which drew 133,000 people last year - is a victim of "overwhelming demand," said Lance Fensterman, global senior vice-president of ReedPOP. He added that the company has reduced the number of tickets an individual can buy from last year's 10-per-person to 6 this year to deter scalping.
"Last year four-day tickets took over 8 weeks to sell out, this year they took 40 minutes," Fensterman said.
There was massive confusion over "refreshing," the online shopping cart (instead of the "queue"), he acknowledged, resulting in many people losing on line ticket purchases, but ReedPOP has made it clear to its ticket vendor that the ponderous delays buyers encountered "is unacceptable," he said. Fensterman added that the company has reduced the number of tickets an individual can buy from last year's 10-per-person to 6 this year to deter scalping, which, he noted, ReedPOP hates as much as fans.
But obstacles are the stuff of which great comic narratives are made and for some, it was worth the sacrifice to commune with others who shared their appreciation of Sailor Moon, Twilight Zone, Guardians of the Galaxy, Batman and other fantasy fare. Comics "help you cope with reality," explained Anthony Perez, 34, an aspiring social worker from Pelham Parkway, the Bronx. Both the event and even the line to get tickets was an opportunity to vibe with like-minded mortals who don't disdain fantasy lives, but cherish the magical and imaginative. "The stereotype is we all live in our mothers' basements and don't have jobs or families." said Perez. "I have my own place - and I'm working towards a family!" he added.
"Everybody wants to think of themselves as strong," added Theresee (cq) Tull, 23, a flight attendant and manga enthusiast from East New York. "When you see people (in manga and comics) being strong, you're inspired to be strong, too," she said.
Spiderman fan Michael Schilling promised to behave heroically himself for at least the next year. "I'm going to be really good," he promised, to thank his mother, a Wonder Woman if ever there was one, for sleeping in an alley overnight.