by Lorne Caplan
Director of Content
Geek or not, the testosterone and estrogen were flowing
This was preview night at New York Comic-con. It's a little more civilized with less crush and a slower pace despite opening mid-afternoon. I was covering my usual beat, trying to identify whether illustrators were drawing women in a hyper-sexualized way for their employers, their fans, or just for themselves. Or whether there was an undercurrent of sexuality, romance and passion between characters that are for the most part, drawn by men for both genders to read.
I've written extensively on the subject, but what I keep noticing, apart from Halloween itself getting very sexualized, is that those at the show who invested the time and money to cos-play, tended to flaunt it and flirt it. Whether they had body paint on and looked like a superb facsimile of Prometheus, or if it was a group of Gothic Lolita girls flirting with everyone, passion was in the air at New York Comic-con. Perhaps the size of the sword for some anime/manga cos-players gave them a feeling of power and that in turn allowed them to be more aggressive physically, as their characters might be. Nevertheless, it was clear that bearing your mid-riff, showing some legs and pushing up your breasts along the lines of Wench-boob contests at Ren-faeres was in order.
As press, we often get sequestered in small rooms and wait for news to come out about the characters or subjects we are covering before we venture out and I was fortunate enough to meet one press veteran of these comic conventions who regaled me of tales when she was 30 years younger. She was proud to flaunt her full breasts and worked hard on bicycles to promote her chiseled legs and buttocks. Not unlike the characters that are drawn by comic illustrators, this woman "got-it" and was happy that she had that time in her life. She didn't feel belittled, harassed or sexually diminished because she tried to reach an ideal physical appearance. It was like the battle armor worn by so many costumed characters. It just gave her that much more confidence, which admittedly, isn't for everyone.
This opinion played out for the most part, throughout the day and may indeed be a comment on the fans and consumers of comic/graphic novels and other related material that are being sold at the show, online and through other media outlets. There just seems to be a significantly higher level of comfort with your body, dress and attitude when you are wearing a mask, pretending to be someone else or otherwise mucking about with a cape and goggles. We know this "mask" theory creates a new reality for some, not all being geeks and it is in full view at New York Comic-con.