Thursday, January 29, 2015

Tips For Surviving Comic-Con

Ever wanted to go to Comic-Con?
One word…

Its an insanely crazy four and half day long event. Did I say event? I meant marathon. You will be shoved, kicked, pushed, yelled at, disappointed, angry, and all together exhausted by the sheer process alone. And that's just to get the ticket. Getting there is a whole other story…

Comic-Con started as a fun little 1 day convention for hardcore comic book collectors way back in 1970. With an attendance just under 150 people at a dilapidated hotel in San Diego. 

Today it's a monstrous 4 1/2 day 100,000+ attendee, brouha of an event that stretched the San Diego Convention center to it's near breaking point. 

Myth: Comic-Con is for only geeks and nerds crazy about comics.
Fact: Comic-Con has slowly been subverted from a sole comic venue to an Entertainment Venue, Comic books comprise less that 1/5th of the actual Events/Panels/Sales involved. In fact the presence of actual comics has diminished and is getting smaller every year. One day Comic-Con will only have Comic in the actual name.

Myth: You have to dress up in a costume.
Fact: You can if you want to, you don't have to. Some of the best costume designers and unique ideas come out to the Con's and it's fun to play around but your not required to by any means.

Myth: Comic-Con is fun.
Fact: Comic-Con is fun if you have patience, if you have self control, if you have time, money, can handle disappointment and you have have a general and complete hatred of humanity. Although I have none of these traits I still have a ball.

Basics; To get a ticket to Comic-Con will run you about 200+ dollars for a four day pass. You can also buy an individual day pass for about $75. First time con goers should really just buy a single day pass, Its an overwhelming experience and its a waste of time and money to buy a four day pass if your not planning to go all four days.
To purchase a ticket you must first register. You go to the Comic-Con site register and they will email you the Time/Date to go online to purchase. You cannot purchase a ticket the day off or on site. These tickets sell extremely fast, last year they went in under 93 minutes. So its intrinsically important that you be ready on hand to buy. Demand for this event is high and your odds of getting a pass every year is low. Buddy up and do your best to get a ticket. 
Once you get a ticket you need to find a place to stay. You can garuntee that every hotel in the area will sell out and you will be paying upwards of on average an extra $200 a night for a room. 
Comic-Con is EXPENSIVE. So if you have a plan on going on a budget you should probably forget it. Food, lodging, parking, will all cost you a pretty penny no matter what you do. 
Provided you've purchased a ticket, provided you've found a place affordable and provided you know how to navigate the actual event to get your ticket. You will be met by throngs and throngs of people. Thousands line up sometimes everyday. Sometimes overnight just to get a chance to see some of the big name panels.
Panels are the major draw to Comic-Con, your typically in attendance in a huge hall with seats where you view special sneak previews see the casts, have Q+A's and receive fresh details and giveaways. A lot of people typically come for this purpose alone. These panels are notoriously hard to get into and you can expect to be waiting in line for hours to see one. You have to document your time and determine just when/where the event starts then typically wait in line for 2+hours on the chance CHANCE that you might get in. 
Its good to have a buddy, a crew of networking like-minded individuals is invaluable and will be a great benefit to you if you know when something cool is going to happen. Comic-Con is all about spontaneity you never know when you might run into something or someone that you weren't expecting. Be ready with your camera.
Your cellphone is vital. Don't waste your energy trying to play with your phone while you wait in line. You never know when the perfect photo opportunity arrises or you need to make that phone call to meet with your ride. Your phone dies faster and more frequently on Comic-Con time.
You cannot see everything. You just can't. The schedule overlaps, the lines are too long, the rooms are required to meet a fire code standard so your not allowed to just stand in the aisle. There are multiple rooms with multiple venues happening simultaneously. Chances are if you see something that looks more interesting than the other, everyone else will be going for it also. Be ready to wait in line for a very very long time. 90% of Comic-Con is waiting in line. 
The sales floor is the staple of the Con a giant monster of a sales floor packed to the ceiling and covering every square inch with Toys, Games, Movie props, Exhibits, Cars, Interview stages, Celebrity signings, Comics, Posters, Trinkets, Artists, Writers, You name it. Your money will disappear fast here. This is where you could stay for a majority of the 4 days and you still wouldn't see everything. 
Comic-Con is fun but it is exhausting, Food inside the venue is expensive and terrible but you need to keep your energy up. People fall out all the time from exhaustion, heat stroke, blisters, its an overwhelming experience and you will be very exhausted just from a single day. Hydration is key. 
Its not for everyone, its getting bigger and bigger every year, and the simple fact is that the mainstream has supplanted the original audience of hardcore comic geeks. The Con is an even that you have to see to believe but if you think you have the patience the endurance and most importantly the $. You should try to go at least once.

The ten commandments of Comic-Con

1.       I don’t care how blatantly right you are, you are completely wrong to question me during Comic-Con

2.       You will hate me. Humanity. Lines. Pompous security guards. Crowds. Street Preachers. Stuck-Up celebrities. Vendors charging  $5 for a soda and pretty much anyone who wants to see the same things you do.

3.       You will spend more money than you thought was possible.

4.       You will not understand where your money was spent and on what exactly. You were not robbed (DO NOT PANIC)

5.       Explaining to the security guards you were robbed, groped, beaten, or harassed in any way shape or form will be met with a silent blank stare. It’s not they're fault apparently the only English they know is in barring you from walking through a completely open door and yelling at you to stay inside a line. 

6.       You will spend hours on your feet and hours standing in line and hours sitting down. Best not to complain. (See 1)

7.       You will probably not have time to eat, you will probably not get enough sleep, you will probably not be able to sit or walk or feel anything but pain from the waist down for the majority of the con.

8.       You will be in direct competition with everyone and there mother for something that you want. You must not show any weakness for they will crush you and take it.

9. Using your friend as a human battering ram to plow through a crowd of slow moving people so you can get to a panel/event/sales item or/Celebrity signing is a sign of affection be appreciative that your being taken along and utilized in a productive manner and not left lost in a corner somewhere with no way to get home.

10. If you are not useful in any way and your complaining that your feet hurt that your hungry, sore or sick expect to be left in a corner somewhere with no way to get home. The weak and the feeble are the first to go.

Last note…remember HAVE FUN!

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