When you say the words “Comic Con” to the average human being, their thoughts turn to one thing. San Diego Comic Convention or “SDCC” for short. This function is a massive Hollywood meets Comic sensory overload. Hollywood shuts down for a week, heads to San Diego on vacation and takes over. Completely. To a lot of people, this is exceedingly overwhelmingly. All they see are news reports based on-location in downtown San Diego where people can’t get around because of the sheer amount of people there. For those of you who want to get to a Comic Convention but are tentative about it, here are some quick tips to getting out and about in the Comic Convention scene.
While SDCC is awesome in pretty much every aspect, it isn’t the only fish in the sea. There are plenty of Conventions or “Cons” out there to choose from. All of these Cons have their area of focus. Some focus on the same things as San Diego Comic Con, others have a niche genre that they appeal to. From the Disney con called D23, which focus on all things Disney related to the Star Wars Celebration, you have a favorite genre or niche, there’s a con out there for you. It may take some hunting, but its out there and it’s most definitely worth the time to find.
Different regions have conventions they like to call their own. They are typically the larger cons. There are some, however that are just starting out or chose to remain small for the sole purpose of keeping a family friendly atmosphere. Central Coast Comic Con or “C4” out of Ventura, CA is a smaller convention on the list. In it’s third year, it is growing. It focuses on the things SDCC does, but it enjoys a little bit more anonymity as it is just outside Los Angeles. The one thing C4 prides itself on is catering to that group that wants to get into comic conventions. C4 has a kids day, where it’s encouraged to bring your little ones, turning the con into a family experience. If you’re just getting into the scene, cons like this one are great because it gets the entire family involved.
Ask A Cosplayer
Undoubtably you will have questions during this process. You’re at a con and finding yourself looking for a conference room, a meeting point or just have a general question about how the convention itself works. While the employees of the convention are great, they all have very specific tasks and sometimes they get tied up. If you see someone dressed up, try asking them on occasion. The cosplayers are often times a very tight knit group of people who have probably been to a convention organized by the same parent company, or theyve been to that convention prior years. Odds are they know the answer to your question(s). In addition, they are some of the friendliest, most accepting people attending the cons. So go ahead…ask away.
Choose Your Own Adventure
Plan, plan, plan. A fair amount of planning needs to go into any convention experience. From finding a hotel room if necessary, to planning the panels you’ll see to finding time to walk the the convention floor, you’ll find your con a much more enjoyable experience if you put a little forethought into it. Keep in mind that when youre planning that some panels may be more crowded than others. (IE. Hall H at SDCC on Saturday. People generally sleep outside over night in order to get a chance to have a seat at the panels as they are the most desirable to see.) Plan accordingly, and plan for a back up event in case your primary plans fall a little short.
Bring your convention experience back to it’s roots. Go visit Artists Alley. This is the place where you can find some of your favorite comic book artists as well as independent artists looking to sell their art or concepts to industry professionals. It’s a fantastic spot to stop and get some perspective for how cons have grown while engaging in conversation with someone you might ordinarily not have. Sometimes, the artists will even draw commissioned works for you. Scintillating conversation, epic art work, and a chance to breathe? Every con aficionado needs all of these.
Do you have any tips for first time convention goers? Leave them in the comments below! And we’ll see you at WonderCon 😉
Photo Credit: Rob Salkowitz