It's a couple of months away, but I'm attending San Diego Comic Con for the first time ever. I've watched the coverage on G4 and watched the footage on Xbox Live for the last couple of years, and my buddy and I decided we wanted to check it out. He'll be there Thurs-Sunday, I'll be there Friday-Sunday (the fiasco of getting the passes is something I'd rather forget).
I'm not wearing a costume. Sorry, I don't do costumes. I have scores of nerdy T-shirts so I'll rotate those when I'm there. My friend on the other hand will be in costume(s) - he hasn't settled on what yet. But that's a whole other story.
Anyway, if anyone's been, what can I expect/look forward to/dread? (Besides the smell. I've heard all about the foul smells of Comic Con.) Any tips, how to best manage the convention/lines, places to check out in the area after the convention at night? I've never been to San Diego before.
carry water, snack food and other necessities with you. Lines are long to get food, lines are long for everything else (fine time for eating!), food isn't generally good but plenty expensive, finding a restaurant once the show ends for the day may be a struggle
wear comfortable shoes. lot o' walking
if you really want to go to a panel, get there as early as possible. Absurdly early. Whatever time you're think of as early now, you want to be earlier than that. If you want to go to a lot of panels, realize you'll be spending a lot of your time camping out in lines and not seeing much of the show and decide if you're okay with that.
If it was anything like MegaCon, here is some advice on top of cubsfan's great advice.
-Get there early. I thought we were smart by going an hour and half early for it, not so much. We literally stormed the gates due to how far back we where in line and how unorganized it is.
-Check their website to get tickets for pictures, autographs and so on. Also check for cancellations. Bruce Boxlietner canceled two weeks before and threw the entire photo times on Saturday out of whack. Be aware of where and when people are doing signing or photos or panels and who is next to them. Even the least known person can cause a screw-up.
-Be friendly to everyone you are next to in line. You don't know when they may help you out or you help them out and have the favor returned. This may help you out when you are trying to get in line or buy something and someone may help you out.
-If you don't like crowds don't go. I am serious, its going to be wall to wall people. Also, don't take pictures in the middle of the convention floor of people in costume. Wait til they get outside. Almost every other person was doing that, its damn annoying to stop for no reason.
-Go the last day. Saturday compared to Sunday was like night and day at MegaCon. Sunday, you could walk around and talk to people, Saturday was like a refugee camp getting ready to be taken by enemy forces. Sunday is also the best day to get deals. You can haggle on that day and those vendors will be willing to do it. I got in a banged up Obi-wan from Jedi in the box for $10, he goes for $50 on ebay. It is also the day where everyone is more relaxed including the guests. It has a last day of school feel to it.
-Finally, get a plan. Most plans get destroyed in the first few minutes of battle, but have a general outline of what you want to see and go from there. Also, rumor at MegaCon is this maybe Stan Lee's last year if doing conventions. Just a rumor, but if you haven't meet him and want, this maybe your last shot.
Also, The Sky Striker dressed like Starscream with the Cobra Commander figure that has the Megatron gun is going to be the most wanted toy there. If you get, it you can sell for double online or send it me as a favor for this advice. Either way no pressure.
(edited by lotjx on 12.5.11 1241) The Wee Baby Sheamus.
For the first, I give myself a limit based on either how much weight I want to carry or how much money I want to spend. If one day of the con is to be a shopping spree, bring a good backpack.
For the second, my advice would be to seek out the lesser known artists. Unless you really just have to have that Frank Quitely sketch in your book, it's much more enjoyable to visit the artists who actually have time to talk while they draw. If I want to see a famous comic artists's work, I can walk to my bookshelf. The fun part of "artist alley" is seeing all the stuff you don't normally get to see, thinking about whose style would be good for a certain sketch you want, and seeing if they can do it. At the last con I went to, I decided that my sketchbook needed some Galactus in it. So when I saw Roger Andrews' work (he does the Marvel Superhero Squad art), I knew he was the guy for it.
Other than those tips, just treat it as you would if you were going to an amusement park or some similar outing. Wear comfortable clothes, bring compact, high calorie food (trail mix = con mix), and a couple refillable water bottles. I've never tried to go to a panel or anything like that, so I don't bother with schedules and maps. Just wander around and go where the con takes you.
Lloyd: When I met Mary, I got that old fashioned romantic feeling, where I'd do anything to bone her. Harry: That's a special feeling.
I would suggest reading Mark Evanier's blog www.newsfromme.com He has been at every single Comic-Con and has good advice on the Con.
He has had some particularly good advice on where to stay and how to get to the con. (Avoid at all costs driving there and trying to park.)
My own suggestion is based more on Film Festivals than Comic-Con. If you really want to see a particular panel, it sometimes makes sense to attend a sparsely attended panel just before it and stay.
This can cause irritation because you are camping out, but it is usually fine if you give the extra panel you are attending polite attention. Some of my favourite films of all time have been films that I attended because I wanted good seats to the sold-out screening afterwards.
Thanks a lot for this guys. I forwarded this thread to my buddy. It's funny, a lot of your advice is common sense stuff like "bring food and water in a bag" and it probably wouldn't have occured to me on day one. I've been mentally equating Comic Con to WWE Axxess, which I've been to a couple of, but I realize Comic Con is just much, much bigger in scope. Keep advice coming if you've got it. I will heed.
If you're shopping for collectibles, window shop and keep a sketch map of items and locations. In addition to prices falling as the con continues, you can find wild swings in item prices from vendors within a dozen feet of each other. I do this for HeroesCon every year.
"To be the man, you gotta beat demands." -- The Lovely Mrs. Tracker
Regarding buying stuff and having to carry it (home) A friend of mine once gave me great advise. Use flat-rate boxes from USPS. The medium-big ones are not that expensive when you send them, but you can put several books/toys and what not in there. Just ship em to your home while you take the plane and don't have to worry about carrying everything around.
Originally posted by dMpRegarding buying stuff and having to carry it (home) A friend of mine once gave me great advise. Use flat-rate boxes from USPS. The medium-big ones are not that expensive when you send them, but you can put several books/toys and what not in there. Just ship em to your home while you take the plane and don't have to worry about carrying everything around.
I work for the post office and I sort only parcels (everything bigger than a flat envelope) and my advice is bubble wrap. Lots of bubble wrap. Your box, no matter how small, is sorted with others going to the same group of zip codes. They all can weigh up to 75 pounds and get sorted into a 6' tall metal container.
Your box of books/toys might be followed by a box of engine parts or weight lifting weights.
-- 2006 Time magazine Person of the Year -- -- July 2009 Ordained Reverend --
Originally posted by ScottyflamingoIf you are shipping comics, books or trades, ship them by USPS Media Mail. Super cheap.
Media Mail is subject to inspection by ANY postal employee for any or no reason at all. If your comic has any advertisements in it, it will be disqualified for Media Mail rate and will be sent return to sender for proper postage for priority mail.
If you have a sealed CGC graded comic, they will probably break the seal to inspect the book.
-- 2006 Time magazine Person of the Year -- -- July 2009 Ordained Reverend --
I kinda screwed myself this year, but I hope this works for you. If you are staying at a hotel, see if they have postal service. Mine did, but I didn't realize it and talked myself out of some statues that were super cheap. They can also help with the packing if they are cool.
I've gone to San Diego Comic Con three times. Once in 1995 when it was still rather "normal", then in back-to-back years in 2007 and 2008. It's pretty much the craziest thing I've ever been to. The highlight for me was talking to other fans while waiting in line for whatever. In 2007 I waited in line for Ted DiBiase, who never showed up. I didn't care, since I had a blast talking to some random dude for about 30 minutes.
Some other notes/advice: -The outside auditorium is where all the big Hollywood stuff happens. Dog and pony shows for upcoming releases. However, the lines to get in can run you over 2 hours and the auditorium does not empty between events. So somebdoy can stay in there all day if they want. My advice: get in line two hours before your event starts. Be prepared that you may get shut out and will have to see whatever is scheduled after it.
-It's easy to get "Shiny Object Syndrome" and wait for some ridiculous promo item. Just consider what you're getting while waiting in line. I was in line for almost an hour and realized I didn't need another frickin' black t-shirt.
-Saturday is definitely the costume day. Tough to walk around because everyone stops the costumers for photos.
-The show generally sucks for buying back issue comics. They're rather expensive, with very few "bargain boxes" or real deals. If you want a deal, stay home and shop eBay. Comic Con's all about celebrating and indulging in all things nerd. Buy comics another time.
-Spend an hour roaming the "sails pavilion" upstairs. This is where all the random "celebrities" hang out for autographs and junk. I agree with Mark Evanier: if nobody's asked you for your autograph in the past year, you should not be at a booth charging for it.
-For food, take an hour and exit out the harbor side of the convention center. Walk north along the harbor front to the "Seaside Village" (I think that's what it's called). It's touristy, but a nice break from all the hub-bub of the show.
-You can also head a few blocks east to downtown San Diego. Horton Square's a multi-level upscale outdoor mall. Great Mongolian BBQ place on the top level.
-If you're staying downtown (or even someplace relatively close like Mission Bay), take the bus or trolley/light rail to the convention center. Driving and parking isn't worth it. In 2008 I didn't even bother to rent a car. The airport's close to downtown and with hotel shuttles you can "go green" the entire trip. The train also goes to Old Town and Tijuana.
-The train has a stop right in front of the convention center. However, I'd recommend getting off at least one stop before and walking the rest of the way.
-There's a shuttle bus that runs along Harbor Drive. It's supposed to be for certain hotels, but when I used it nobody checked.
-Not a good idea to carry a backpack. Good for you, sure. But consider how wide it makes you. I can't tell you how many times I got hit with a rotating 38 pound backpack from some ignorant fanboy.
-I'd recommend taking an extra day or two to just check out San Diego. Coronado Island and Petco Park are two of my favorite places to visit. The Padres are usually on the road during Comic Con days.
-Weather? "In the 70's and sunny". Repeat 365 days a year.
Personally, i have no desire to go again, at least until there are structural changes, but that's unlikely.
I would recommend that if you go, take at least one day of your trip and do stuff outside the con. Go to Balboa Park, see the Padres if your trip extends beyond the show, etc.
Maybe I am old and jaded, but I really didn't enjoy going two years ago. Just too crowded if you don't happen to have a booth. It took me 30 minutes to traverse the hall and I missed meeting someone in Artist's Alley.
If you're a comics fan, I would recommend going instead to Charlotte or Baltimore or Wonder Con, depending on your area of the country.
Balitmore is almost as bad depending on who you are going to seeing. Neal Adams and Chris Claremont's lines did not move due to fanboys and comic owners bringing their entire collection to sign. On the flipside, I was able to get Bendis to sign Secret Invasion and actually have a chat with him. J.M. Demattis same thing who I talked to and got to sign Kraven's Last Hunt. If you wanted to do the DC or Marvel panels you had to go to a panel before. It was ok for me since it was Image and Kirland who talked about how Walking Dead got greenlighted and he still didn't think it would get made. The cool thing about Baltimore is the Pop culture museum across the street has a ton of classic comics from Action comics #1 to Detective Comics #27 to Amazing Fantasy #15 to Blackest Night #1. I still have the photos on my phone. Inner Harbor is a great place to visit, just be aware of the pricing for food.
A great place to get autographs for dirt cheap as well as comics is Hero Initiative. Proceeds go to charity for comic writers and artist health care. They usually have George Perez, Neal Adams and others their signing. I got a beat up Amazing Spiderman #50 signed by Stan for $75 and a Perez/Wolfman Outsiders/Titans crossover book from Baltimore. This year I got a Neal Adams/O'Neil Green Arrow/Green Lantern issue for $25 and 2 Neal Adam GL/GA reissues for $10. I am pretty sure they will be at San Diego. A great place that makes you feel good for your purchase.
(edited by lotjx on 19.5.11 0754) The Wee Baby Sheamus.
:-) We have the "nonperiodical" ones here -- meaning we get them *every* year! The part of Phoenix where I grew up was especially busy. They'd get into the house, drive the dog crazy, squash themselves on all the light fixtures.