CraveOnline: Your Comic Con Survival Guide

11 07 2012

Are you going to Comic Con? I am! My friend Al directed me to this most excellent article from CraveOnline that has some great tips for people headed to San Diego, especially for the first time. I know I could’ve used some of this advice the first time out. Well, the personal hygiene stuff I already had covered, but the tips on panels and saving money and stuff are especially good advice. Be sure to check out the full article!

– dEV

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Bibbs and Witney offer some firsthand advice on how to have the best Comic Con experience possible.

July 08, 2012
So next week, William “Bibbs” Bibbiani and I, as we mentioned at the tail end of the last episode of The B-Movies Podcast (now at number 75), will be trekking to San Diego, CA for the geek prom that is Comic-Con, an annual event where hundreds of thousands of people gather to watch previews of upcoming movies, hear some of their admired idols speak, get autographs, talk comics, play Vampire: The Masquerade, dress in those cool-looking but really baffling steampunk outfits, and spend piles of money on old comic books, bootleg DVDs, t-shirts with clever pop culture slogans on them, and bottled drinks made to look like blood. Comic Con was once (many moons ago) a low-key affair where only a few hundred people would gather to talk about the brilliance of Jack Kirby, and swap their favorite Conan back-issues. It is now a frothing, heedless Gomorrah of cross-pop-culture decadence. Whether you’re interested in rumors about the nextTwilight film, or would prefer to hear aging experts talk about Famous Monsters of Filmland, or just want to wiggle about whatever the next superhero flick/trend/movement is, Comic-Con will have you covered.I have attended a mere two Comic Cons in the past. Bibbs has been to a few more. We are not seasoned veterans of the event (I have met people who have been attending consecutively for nearly 30 years), but we both have enough experience, perhaps, to offer some practical advice to the newbie. Seriously, hundreds of thousands of people are going to be tromping through the San Diego convention center come next week, and I’m willing to bet a majority of them are going to be first-timers. This article is for them.

Here, then, are a few important hints for survival at Comic-Con.

Get Comfortable Shoes

Bibbs will back me up on this one. While sitting on panels or watching movies may be your beat, you are going to spend most of your time on your feet. Waiting in lines, walking great distances, perusing the millions of comics for sale. You’ll be spending more time on your feet than an above average day at Magic Mountain, only you won’t have the calming respite of a roller coaster to relax you. So wear your comfy shoes. If you are in a costume that involves chunky boots or high heels, be sure to bring a spare set of sneakers with you. Unless you’re one of those superhumans who can actually walk several miles in pumps and not get blisters, you’re going to need comfy shoes. Some gel inserts wouldn’t hurt either. I’d draw the line at carrying a footspa with you.

Bring Your Own Food and Drink

The only food available inside the San Diego convention center is either going to be overpriced coffee from the Starbucks-sponsored kiosks (which will have horribly long lines), or rat-horrible 7-11-level pizza and nachos from sparsely located food stands (which will also, curiously, have horribly long lines). This may sound kind of extreme, but I wholly encourage you to bring a canteen or a water bottle. Drink frequently. Comic Con can be like a long hike in the Adirondacks, only with white kids dressed as unidentifiable anime characters in place of bears. Stay hydrated. Trail mix can’t hurt either. If you have to eat, bring in a sack lunch, just like you did back in school. You’ll find the extra food can keep you upright for longer periods. Try to stay away from energy drinks and sugary snacks. Their rush will wear off quickly in this environment. It’s true fortification you’ll need.

If You Want a Picture of a Pretty Girl, Ask Politely

Comic-Con is replete with hundreds of attractive young ladies in alluring Power Girl costumes, and any red-blooded heterosexual male will want to stare. Some will even want to take pictures. This is fine. Anyone who came to Comic Con in a costume is likely there to draw attention. It’s just like Halloween in West Hollywood. So take pictures, but, for goodness’ sake, ask them first. Ask them to pose. Snap a picture quickly, say “thank you,” and move along quickly. If you want to talk about the costume, ask. I’m sure they’d be happy to discuss things with you. Don’t leer. Don’t sneak pictures. And please don’t try to take surreptitious pictures of their buttocks. I’ve known some women who have told me stories of buttocks bandits, and they are a feared and hated segment of the Comic Con audience. You’ll be surrounded by flesh. Please stay dignified.


You’ll be crammed into an indoor place with thousands of human bodies. You don’t want to be the stinky one. Wear clean clothes.

Don’t Feel Bad About Saying “No”

All of the stars, panelists, and exhibitors are there to advertise and to make money. Almost every table to pass on the main floor will be hustling and giving you the hard sell. Many booths will be handing out postcards or stickers or some other trinket so you’ll remember their name. After only a few hours of this advertising gauntlet, much of Comic Con can feel like open panhandling. Unless you like to collect postcards and stickers, get used to saying “No thank you” a lot. Don’t be brusque. But it’s okay to refuse.

Attend the Smaller Panels

The largest panel hosting room at Comic-Con is a vast, mythical place called Hall H. It seats, at last estimate, about 9 billion people, which is greater than the entire human population. You won’t get in. The line is too long. All of the biggest news events take place in there, and even though there aren’t enough people in the world to fill it, it will still somehow be full, and billions more will be waiting to get in. And while I have heard stories of people actually getting inside of Hall H, I would encourage most people to pass it by on most days in favor of the smaller, more modest panels. In these smaller places, you’ll find hard-working writers and artists expounding eloquently on their craft, and you begin to see the true heart of Comic Con: the actual passion for comics that started this whole mess. It’s fun to get worked up about, say, Iron Man 3: Toulon’s Revenge, but it’s actually moving and inspiring to hear Alison Bechdel or Seth talk about the power of comics.

(Full Story)




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