With pop culture’s growing influence from geek and nerd culture over the past few years, from things like the Marvel Cinematic Universe, DC Cinematic Universe, and various television shows from both of them Comic Conventions are becoming increasingly accessible. Compared to what it was when they first were thought about in New York City in 1964. While a lot of has changed since then, from the size of venue to the number of people as the comic industry adapts and grows. For some, this year’s comic conventions are a return, while for other’s it will be their first. Yet the preparation for one stays relatively the same.
Preparing for the Con
There are several things to do before you attend a con. While some are obvious, others you will learn as go. For both seasoned and new attendees, the biggest things start within days of the con opening. Starting with making sure you have your ticket and directions. Along with knowing what guests and artists are attending the show, on what days if the con is multiple days. Something that is often overlooked is carrying your purchases. While most cons do allow bags inside, always check the location’s rules regarding them. It doesn’t take long for comic books to get heavy, and it is easier to move them around in a bookbag or something else stronger than a plastic bag. Remember to make sure that your phone is charged, and your camera is charged if you plan on bringing one to take pictures. Most cons do allow still photos, but, if you plan on taking video, check the location’s rules. Don’t get kicked out before your journey even begins. Also, try to eat before you go, stadium food tends to be heavy which will only slow down your exploration. Lastly, make sure to have plenty of cash handy. While some vendors do accept credit cards, most prefer cash.
Dressing for con
Comic conventions are an excellent time to show off your inner geek/nerd and your fandoms. While you embrace your geek side, remember to dress comfortably. Remember though comic conventions are becoming more family-oriented as younger generations begin to read comics as more comic based movies and television shows are made. Also, probably most importantly is wear comfortable shoes. More than likely you will be on your feet most, if not all day.
Arrival and Con Etiquette
Now that you have arrived, there are some rules you should try to follow. Depending on what time you get there, more than likely there will be other people around you. Some will stop and look at what the vendors are selling, blocking the flow of movement. Which depending on how large the location is could impede your journey around the con. Try to be patient, if you have no room to move around them. That is a frequent thing at both small and large comic conventions. It usually only lasts a few minutes before you can start moving again. Be friendly with people, both vendors, cosplayers, and other attendees. Especially when asking cosplayers for photos, with or without you. From my experience the bigger or more intricate the costume the harder it is for them to move, so be patient if you have to wait for some.
Key things to remember when you are looking at vendors, never buy from the first vendor when you find something you want. It never hurts to look around at the vendors, for price differences. Especially given the various merchandise available inspired by comic books, graphic novels, anime, television shows, video games, film and so much more. While some of it like original artwork, or prints can vary in price, quality, and size. From my experience, most of the vendors who focus on artwork will bargain the more you buy. Funko Pops tend to be the same way, which can save you some money depending on which ones you are looking for.
When it comes to buying graphic novels or comics, rarely will they bargain. Usually, they have a set deal for a certain amount of issues or trade paperbacks. Most of the time they are reasonable. Other times they are not, so don’t be afraid to check Amazon or other sites for trade paperbacks. Never be afraid to look in the dollar comic bins vendors have, you never know what you will find.Sometimes you can find entire smaller runs of old and newer comics alike. If you have questions about what a series is about or, who a character is, don’t be afraid to ask the vendor. They tend to be able to answer them and even give recommendations based on what you are interested in. Even if they don’t have what you are looking for, most of the vendors know each other and can point you in a general direction of a vendor who may.
Panels and Q/A Sessions
While some smaller cons do have panels usually dedicated to cosplay, or artists they are more common at larger cons. The quality of panels isn’t dictated by the size of the room like most think. Try to use your best judgment about what your own interest is in the topic. When asking a question at Q/A panels make sure it is an actual question. Also try to think out your question, and not make it something like “was it fun”. If you have trouble remembering your question, write it down or set a reminder on your phone.
Things to always keep in mind:
- Be respectful of everyone, even others in different fandoms you may not like.
- Try to be patient and use courtesy in line.
- Enjoy yourself.
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