Walk around New York Comic Con, and you'll see fans of everything from Marvel to DC Comics and beyond, united in one purpose: To celebrate their favorite franchises.
"The geeks have inherited the earth, am I right?" said Chris D'Lando, New York Comic Con event manager.
About 200,000 people attended NYCC at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan last week. While most came for the panels and the chance to pick up rare collectibles, companies were equally pumped to build excitement for their properties and connect with their die-hard loyalists.
"As you walk through the halls, you see fans getting to hang out with their buddies, people they only see at conventions," D'Lando said. "It's an opportunity for them to celebrate their fandom and interact directly with their favorite celebrities, creators, and the brands who make the fandom that they love."
As media companies compete for intellectual property to turn into shows and movies, comic books and their stories have only become more invaluable. In 2021, the comic book industry was estimated to be worth $9.21 billion, according to Fortune Business Insights. That number is expected to reach $12.81 billion by 2028. 
(L-R) Juju Chang, Daniel Wu, Ben Wang, Kelvin Yu, Gene Luen Yang and Destin Daniel Cretton speak onstage at the Disney+ American Born Chinese panel during New York Comic Con 2022 on October 07, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for ReedPop)
Events like comic book conventions are a way to get social media posts and public attention for upcoming projects. Disney+ brought the cast of its upcoming series American Born Chinese, while Roku touted stars like Daniel Radcliffe and Evan Rachel Wood from its original movie Weird: The Al Yankovic Story. Marvel, which saves a lot of  original content for its Disney-run conventions like D23, still had a presence at the event showing Black Panther: Wakanda Forever footage as well as other engaging Marvel giveaways.
"This is an opportunity to generate some buzz and get some heat on a property and really just show it off to the hardcore of the hardest of the hardcore," he said.
HBO Max took NYCC as a chance to bring S.T.A.R. labs from its series Titans to the show floor. The series will kick off its fourth season starting November 3. It also took the opportunity to reveal footage from the new seasons of Pennyworth and Doom Patrol — as well as emphasize the fact that its parent company Warner Bros. Discovery owns the beloved DC Comics franchises.
"It's certainly at the top of our list in terms of where our fans are, what our fans want and what they're craving," said Alex Diamond, HBO Max vice president of marketing. "It's certainly so valuable to us as we move forward as this new company."
There's a wealth of storylines to turn into content, he pointed out.
"DC has been around for almost 100 years," he said. "We're talking about decades upon decades of some of the most iconic characters and mythology that exists today, from Batman to Superman and Wonder Woman to Aquaman."
For product companies like Funko, which create vinyl collectable figurines for any pop culture icon, conventions help create a sense of community.
"Cons and interacting with our fans are the core of our DNA," said Andrew Perlmutter, Funko CEO. "So not only are we, do we want to attend here — we've attended here in the past — but we want to grow our presence, right? We want to become larger than life."
Michelle Gomez, from left, Joivan Wade, April Bowlby and Brendan Fraser attend a panel discussion for HBO Max's "Doom Patrol" during New York Comic Con at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center on Sunday, Oct. 9, 2022, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
The company released dozens of NYCC exclusive collectables, creating lines and crowds around the convention center. It also hosted Frightmare on Fun Street, a special ticketed event for convention goers that came with even more exclusive items.
More than just collectibles that can appreciate in value, Funko's Pop! Figures help start conversations. It may be something as simple as a Squid Game figure on your desk that helps you connect with a fellow officemate, Perlmutter explained.
"It allows you to kind of open up the dialogue with other people that you might not otherwise have done," he said.
That can be invaluable for people — as well as the companies making the products and the collectors. One San Diego Comic-Con special gold Willy Wonka Oompa Loompa sold in the secondary market for more than $100,000, he said. 
"Invest in it," Perlmutter said. "Open them. Don't open them. Whatever you like."