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Your First Comic Convention

by Rebekah Kibodeaux

If you’re reading this you’ve probably at least heard of the San Diego Comic Con. This comic convention is by far the most popular as you can actually follow the excitement live on TV as well on the interwebs. With all the biggest celebrities of the year in all realms of entertainment, as well as absolutely any souvenir memorabilia or comic book issue you could ever want, the San Diego Comic Convention truly has it all.

I haven’t quite made it over to San Diego, but my yearly trips to the quick growing Houston Comicpalooza have definitely taught me a thing or two when it comes to preparing yourself for the days ahead. You can always just show up and hope for the best, but these five tips will aid you in your comic convention journey

Buy passes in advance

I cannot stress this enough. Although similar, not every comic convention is the same. There will always be vendors, workshops and celebrities, whether they be A-list or D-list. When you show up without ticket in-hand, you’re bound to be in for a bit of trouble. There should be plenty of passes left, sure, but depending on the event you might need to prepare yourself for at least an hour long wait in line. With the latest technology, most conventions provide online pass purchasing with the click of a few buttons. This is easier for both you and the convention workers, so let’s do everyone a favor and buy passes in advance.

Study the program

Comicpalooza fans are fortunate enough to get a head start on this, and it’s a good thing too. With many conventions lasting between four and seven days it’s important to plan out the events you’d like to attend on each day. If you are unable to procure a program early, take a moment in a rest area or the food court when you arrive to the con to look over the program and do some scheduling. The last thing you want is to miss the last fantasy writing workshop of the week because it’s the same time as Karen Gillan’s Q&A. Often workshops and film viewings will occur at least twice throughout the convention to prevent scheduling issues, so keep that in mind and peruse the entire program before making any concrete decisions. Strategy is your best friend.

Keep an open mind

Schedule–yes–but don’t miss something amazing simply because you would be scrambling up the plan. Street artists and merchandise vendors can be truly entertaining and it would really suck to miss a rockin’ performance due to a strictly followed schedule.

Keep an open mind about socialization, too. You’re one of hundreds, possibly thousands, at these events. You’re bound to run into people who have identical tastes and others who may be at the convention for completely different reasons. Either way, take time to introduce yourself to the fans in line with you or your classmates in the workshops. One of the very best reasons to shell out the cash to even attend events like this are the people you meet and the things you may learn from them.

Dress comfortably, or at least cover your body

There are really two ways you can go about this. You can make sure to wear your more comfortable clothes and shoes so your feet won’t be yelling at you by the end of the day, or you can go all out and attend the convention in costume. Whether that be as Batman or Princess Leia in her slave outfit, I’d check with that specific conventions rules and guidelines. I’ve seen some pretty bare bodies at a con and although it doesn’t bother me much, most events are family friendly and the volunteers may ask you to leave until you are properly clothed.

Have fun and learn something awesome

Remember that you’re spending your time and money to explore the world of the comic convention, so be sure to let loose and enjoy yourself. Even if you don’t think you’re interested, visit with as many of the vendors as possible. You never know what hidden treasures could be lurking in the dealer’s room. And try to calm your nerves enough to introduce yourself to your favorite celebrity. It’s definitely worth the wait in line and the $20 for a picture.

Are you a convention goer? Add your tips and tricks in the comments. It’s almost that time of year again!

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