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Comic Con arrives in New York this weekend, transforming Hudson Yards from a small slice of Manhattan into its fantastical counterpart, Gotham City. Never been before? If you were under the assumption that this is an event solely for nerds, you would be ... partially correct. But not totally! New York Comic Con is more of a celebration of pop culture in all its forms, from binge-worthy television shows to the nerdiest, ultra-niche corners of the comic world.
Whether you've managed to snag a ticket this year or plan to simply stalk the street style, here's your guide to navigating this (absolutely enormous) annual convention.
What it is
By far the most important thing to know about NYCC is that selfie sticks are not allowed. We're kidding, but that's actually a rule this year. Other things to know: It runs from Thursday, October 8th through Sunday, October 12th, and it's located at the Javits Center, the giant convention hall on Eleventh Avenue right next to the Hudson River. Yes, it's a pain to get to, and yes, passersby will probably give you weird looks on the walk from the subway if you're wearing a costume, but you won't be alone.
The convention is comprised of exhibitor booths, panels, screenings, and autograph signings. Though it's not as prestigious as San Diego Comic Con (celebrity sightings are rare), it's actually larger — last year's convention brought in more than 151,000 attendees.
How much is it?
That depends on the day, but if you're reading this it's too late — everything's already sold out.
Where do I go, even?
Once you've made it inside, which is harder than it sounds (for an extensive guide on how to do so, see here), you'll be on the main floor with booth brands including Marvel and Medieval Times. Aside from that, the festival is made up of a series of first-come, first-serve panels, screenings, and autograph opportunities, with the largest of them located on the main stage.
To attend a main stage panel, you'll have to line up for your designated event as early as possible, and hope that you've queued in time to receive a wristband before the auditorium hits maximum capacity. Then, at least a half hour before your panel starts, you'll have to return back to your line to enter the room.
Do I have to dress up?
No, but also kind of yes. You can wear literally anything you want, but many people in attendance will likely be dressed as some sort of character, be it from sci-fi novels, comic books, fairy tales, Disney movies, action flicks, animé, or otherwise. If you're in need of inspo, check out 50 of the best costumes from San Diego Comic Con 2015.
What's worth seeing?
Scrolling through the events calendar reveals tons of cool panels on everything from diversity in comics to Andre the Giant, plus where to be when your favorite celeb will be signing autographs (hey, Natalie Dormer!).
Notable among the panels: Your favorite 90's variety show, All That, will be reuniting on Saturday at 4:15pm, followed by a main stage panel on the new Netflix series Jessica Jones. Casts and creators of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Dark Knight, Goosebumps, The X-Files, Sleepy Hollow, 12 Monkeys, The Last Witch Hunter, Firefly, and other TV shows and movies also round out the weekend, with another sure-to-be highlight being an exclusive first look at the 2016 film Batman: Bad Blood on Friday at 8pm.
If you're less comic book-nerd and more comedian, you can also watch Seth Meyers discuss his career in showbiz with Vulture's Jesse David Fox on Friday at 1:45pm. Later on that day, married comedians Samantha Bee and Jason Jones will be on hand for the premiere screening of their TBS show The Detour, at 3pm.
And if you're only here for Pretty Little Liars, mark your schedule for Friday at 11am: stars Troian Bellisario, Ashley Benson, Lucy Hale, Shay Mitchell, and Sasha Pieterse will get together to tease what's coming in the next season. For the full list of events — there are literally hundreds of them — see the schedule for yourself.