There will undoubtedly be tons of things you want to see at Comic Con. The best way to be prepared is to pick up the Comic Con on-site newsletter. Consider it like picking up the daily newspaper. The newsletter is the best way to see all the changes that have been made and plan accordingly. The cell phone app for Comic Con is good but not completely reliable. It also drains your battery. With that said, plan ahead for your daily events and panels. Don’t think you can run right over to see the Amazing Spider-Man panel giving yourself minutes to spare. You won’t get in. People line up hours ahead of time to see panels at Comic Con. It sounds crazy but last year I almost missed The Walking Dead panel because people filled the room during Hawaii Five-O. Since they don’t clear the rooms this practice is a safe bet.
I’ve spent hours in line to get into Hall H. Which is nothing compared to the Twilight Moms that camped out overnight one year. Thursday is probably the biggest day for Hall H and there are usually some surprises as well. Saturday is when the big guns usually show up (Avengers Assemble!). If you do plan to visit Hall H get there early and be prepared (see SDCC Bag list below).
You can go to Comic Con and not spend dime and still walk away with tons of goodies. I am the proud owner of a custom built Scott Pilgrim T-shirt and an incredible pair of Dolby Digital 3D glasses (honestly, those I just took). My advice to you is to take only what you really want and not to wait in line for anything dumb. The time you spend waiting for a big foam finger in the shape of Spock’s hand could be better spent checking out the artist alley or getting in line for Hall H. Free stuff is cool just don’t let getting it monopolize your time which is better spent elsewhere. Remember this too, not all swag is created equal to their property. The Green Hornet might not have been the best movie of this year but damn, is that one comfortable t-shirt. I’ve been asked, more than once, where is Britt Reed’s Garage?
This is one of the main reasons why you bring your camera. Be polite, ask for their picture, thank them and tell them how great their outfit is. Obviously, when you a have big group posing it is tough to do this. One on ones is a different story. I got to know one Cosplayer so well that he and I became Facebook friends. We met up at different Cons throughout the year and now we are legitimate friends. Larry (pictured above as Batman Beyond), last Halloween was gracious enough to hook me up with my own Batman Beyond costume.
These fine young ladies are here to lure you into their booth. They are not evil but a great distraction. I for one thought I was hitting the mother load of Slave Leias when they all turned out to be from the Gentle Giant Ltd. booth. Booth Babes also come in all shapes and sizes so beware. They are there to merely take up your precious time.
For the love of Stan Lee and Steve Dikto please leave your comic book boxes at home. You people know who you are. These guys that cart their short boxes around with tons of books to get signed are incredibly annoying. Each person at Comic Con really takes up the space of two. How can they not since they are carrying a backpack, several exclusives and swag. I know it is supposed to be all about the comics but do you really need to bring a whole box with you?
Not all panels are created equal. Some will have footage, some will not. Personally, my favorite thing is to either take mental notes or hand written notes on answers the actors give. How many times can we hear: “I never read the comic book, but once I did I loved it”. I also like watching the actors that aren’t answering any questions. Mark Strong and Peter Sarsgaard looked as bored as I felt 11 months later while watching their film. Thankfully, this panel had other ample distractions.
The showroom is a crazy and frustrating place. Moving around and locating people becomes the true challenge by Friday afternoon. My advice is if you need to go from one end to the other use the corridors outside the showroom floor. It is quicker and you won’t bump into as many people.
If you have to have that one item then buy it right away. Most of these exclusives sell out immediately. Many of the companies offer items online but then you have to compete with everyone in the world who didn’t make it to Comic Con so your chances are slim. Some companies such as Sideshow Collectibles take pre-orders. Believe it or not many of these are sold out already, yet they do have a pick up time and date for their buyers. Find out that time at their booth and you might be able to buy one of their exclusives that weren’t picked up. Other companies such as Mattel sell out for the day and then restock. Don’t lose hope. Just make sure you get a voucher if they are offering it, to jump in line the next day.
A good friend of mine came up with a little mantra called Comic Con Karma. If you give something of yourself such as time, swag or even a stick of gum to someone it will come back to you in ten fold. I have plenty of friends that can’t make it to the con. One friend even gets Knocking Vid app phone call with a walking tour and shot of various trailers. Somewhere between picking up extra t-shirts and exclusive toys for those back home last year I was tapped with a great gift. A man came up to me and asked if I wanted his VIP ticket to The Walking Dead booth. I said sure and walked up to the booth. The ticket got me an exclusive poster by Drew Struzan. Then in person Struzan signed it as did series director Frank Darabont. Yeah, there just might be something to this Comic Con Karma thing.
Make the most of your time at Comic Con. Enjoy yourself but be prepared. Work with your group and make up a game plan. Comic Con really is Hanukah, Christmas, your birthday, and Nerdvana for five straight days. The more thought and time you put into going the more you’ll get out of it. And for Odin’s sake it’s the world’s biggest comic book show don’t stab someone over a frakking seat.