New York Comic Con is a place of wonder. Walking around the Javits Center, I couldn’t help but smile as I saw excited attendees. The excitement on their faces and the sense of wonder in their eyes was a reminder of what makes events like this special. Everyone comes to New York Comic Con for different reasons, whether it’s comics, animation, movies, or collecting. But every attendee has something in common, a love for their fandom and that sense of wonder.
I began New York Comic Con 2023 by attending the Ultraman panel, and it was a great way to begin the convention. If you aren’t aware of Ultraman, it’s a long-running Japanese television series about a giant superhero who fights giant monsters. Think Godzilla and Power Rangers. The franchise has gone through many incarnations over the years, but it has never lost its audience. The panel was moderated by Jeff Gomez, president and CEO of Starlight Runner Entertainment.
“If any of you have been following me, you know that my favorite character is Ultraseven. I was born and raised on it,” Gomez said, referring to the 1967 incarnation of the series. On cue, the theme song to Ultraseven began playing, as the hero himself walked into the room. The audience erupted in cheers and applause. Ultraseven posed, electrified by the energy of the audience.
As everyone lined up to take their picture with Ultraseven, I watched their faces, and I caught that familiar sense of wonder. When Ultraseven placed his hand on the shoulder of a young boy, the lad jumped in excitement. I wish I could accurately describe the look on the boy’s face, because it was something special. This was a moment he would treasure for years.
This was a man in an Ultraseven costume, not Kohji Moritsugu, the actor who played Ultraseven in the original series, but the audience didn’t see a cosplayer, they saw Ultraseven, the character. Each person that lined up to pose with him had a smile on their face, and a sense of excitement reserved only for their favorite character. Chris Evans and Tom Hiddleston could have walked in that room, and their eyes would have still been on Ultraseven.
I’m glad this was the first panel I attended at the convention this year. It was a great reminder that I should never lose my sense of wonder. They say “never meet your heroes,” but I think the attendees of the Ultraman panel would disagree.