This year’s Comic-Con turned out even better than last year’s for a number of reasons, which I’d like to share with you all. Although it can be overwhelming for even the most seasoned con veteran, there are ways to make the experience more enjoyable and less stressful.
Plan ahead, but don’t over plan.
Last year was my first Comic-Con and I went a little overboard in the pre-planning stage. It stressed me out so much I was incredibly anxious the first night I got to San Diego and was trying to figure out how I was going to do everything. Well, reality check, it’s impossible to do everything you want to do. Events, panels, autograph signings, and giveaways often overlap. The most important part of planning is to know what’s going on within a time block and knowing what your number one choice is with a backup or two in case you miss out on your first choice. The Comic-Con app is super helpful and was created for exactly this reason. It even has some of the outside events on there like the Her Universe Fashion Show and Adult Swim on the Green. With all this being said, that leads me to my next point…
Spontaneity is okay!
Even though I planned ahead and picked out what panels I was most interested in, I only went to about 10% or less of them. The thing about Comic-Con is, you never know what might happen. It’s good to be spontaneous and go with your gut if something all of a sudden appeals to you or you find out about a last minute opportunity or signing. If I had gone to every panel I initially was interested in, I would never have had an opportunity to even visit the exhibit hall. I saw a few different celebrities while I was down there including Natalie Dormer, Elijah Wood, Seth Green, and Edward James Olmos. On Friday, I pretty much abandoned the idea of panels all together and my friends and I decided to do The Game of Thrones Experience and walk around the Gaslamp district for most of the day. We got some fun swag out of it and really enjoyed ourselves since we took turns waiting in line. The point is, don’t be chained to your schedule, Comic-Con is full of surprises!
Make time for friends
Obviously this mainly will apply to you if you have friends that are also going, but it also applies to the random people you’ll meet while at Comic-Con. Don’t be afraid to talk to people, especially while you’re waiting in line. I made some great line buddies during the Gravity Falls panel and I wish I had gotten their information. In comparison to last year, this year was ten times as enjoyable because I went with friends and we all made time for each other at some point during the day, often for a meal or outside event. I also had the opportunity to meet up with other friends that incredibly, I have made only within the past year or so! Meeting these people has been largely due to the making of our Harry Potter fan film “Severus Snape and The Marauders.” (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out my post on our teaser trailer here.) I am incredibly grateful for those wonderful people and super excited to put out our little fan film that we all worked so hard on.
Exclusives are over-rated
I really had my heart set on getting a few of the Comic-Con exclusives this year, mainly the Fight Club 2 variant cover and the Heisenberg Blue Sky Pop vinyl. However, it was pretty much impossible to get either unless you arrived to the convention center at the crack of dawn before the doors even opened. I did not attempt to fight with the hoards early morning just for a chance at an exclusive. I heard horror stories of running and pushing and shoving and yelling, and that’s just not how I wanted to start my day. Even more importantly however, I didn’t want to sacrifice my sleep or my time especially when I could just buy them later anyway. Yes that’s right, you can still buy many of the exclusives after Comic-Con. Sure they might be more expensive than they were at Comic-Con, but not by that much. The Fight Club 2 comic is going for $15-20 and was originally $5, while the Heisenberg Pop vinyl is going for $30-$40 and I think it retailed for around $15 originally. However, I found out through the grapevine that many of the left over Pop vinyl exclusives are available at both Barnes & Noble and Hot Topic after Comic-Con. Unfortunately they were out of the Heisenberg one by the time I found this out on the 16th, but I did pickup the Eleventh Doctor Pop vinyl exclusive at Hot Topic for $15.
Don’t feel obligated to Cosplay, but do it if you really love the character
In the past, I’ve felt like I should be cosplaying at conventions. I have friends who are professional cosplayers and costume designers and their costumes are always outrageously good. The thing is, I always had a hard time choosing characters to cosplay as because I feel like there aren’t too many characters that I look like and I hate wearing wigs. Last year I did Jane Lane from Daria, but I feel like a lot of people didn’t know who I was because I didn’t have a Daria with me. This year I decided to do Dipper Pines from Gravity Falls and had a lot of fun doing so. It’s another easy costume to put together, but is much more recognizable since it’s from a current show. I wore the costume to the Gravity Falls panel and had a great time with other cosplayers just taking photos and talking about the show. The best part however, was the producers of the show inviting all the cosplayers to take a group photo with Alex Hirsch and Kristen Schaal after the panel! Just another example of one of the many Comic-Con surprises that can spontaneously happen at any time!
Only take free swag that you really like, will use, or know someone else will like.
Last year I was in awe of all the free stuff that I tried to collect ALL THE THINGS! This is completely pointless because I think I have less than half of the free stuff I got last year still. Most of it is promotional material for things you just won’t bother with, so only seek out goodies that are of interest to you. Sometimes you’ll get lucky and get an exclusive giveaway or raffle at a panel. Or you may find a brand ambassador for a TV show wandering the Gaslamp Quarter with free stuff. Or even still you might get some sweet swag at an outside event.
Was this post helpful or do you have any advice or lessons you’ve learned from Comic-Con? Leave me a comment below!