I live in NYC, so this was my 12th New York Comic Con. Before Outlander existed, I attended NYCC for Doctor Who events or for seeing cosplay friends. I have gone to several official Outlander events in the city for S 1, 1b, and 2 where Starz would rent out a theater or hold a panel in conjunction with an established forum for pop culture promotion such as 92nd Y, BUILD, or The Paley Center.
I attended last year’s NYCC panel for Outlander and I felt a huge difference. There was more space if you brought your badge ahead and the event itself was less formal in attitude. I wasn’t given a side-eye for appearing in full Claire Fraser cosplay. I met Michelle last year at NYCC and ran into Vanita at another Outlander event, but this year was a whole new ballgame.
Once Outlander was scheduled to appear again at New York Comic Con, I knew that we may not get a full episode as the air date was February, but we would get at least a trailer or what they call in the industry a sizzle reel. I brought my weekend pass not realizing slowly but surely, many of my fellow Blacklanderz would join me. Every year, friends often come to me for “first timer” questions as conventions can be overwhelming. I’ve been there before, so it felt no different assisting the first timers in our group.
As the date approached, I started working on restaurant reservations and coordinating our pre and after panel meetup. The highlight of this whole con for me by far was being able to see the women I have talked to via Twitter messaging and Google for years in real life! It’s so rare for our schedules to line up for in-person meetings, so I was beyond thrilled I was able to share in the excitement over S5 launching with so many of my fellow Blacklanderz.
The pace was frenetic for the new folks and I am sure that if things were a little slower or if some people didn’t have to go back home for work/school, we would have had more time together.
Our group has supported each other through fangirling over our favorite characters and episodes, as well as through our real-life family and career struggles.
There is a lot of value in fandom communities and especially in carving out spaces in fandom where people of color can be themselves and for that, I’ll always be grateful to my fellow Blacklanderz.
I’m already plotting how we can all meet up again! Follow Amanda on Twitter: @amandarprescott.