10 Ways to ruin Comic Con

Comic Con is only a month away! So if you don’t plan, you are planning to fail. Never argue with a GI Joe- especially when Comic Con is on the line. In the years I have gone, I have learned there are many little decisions that can lead to you losing the Comic Con battle. It’s easy to do if you are a rookie or if you are only there for just a day. Here is my top ten ways to ruining Comic Con- and remember, knowing is half the battle!

1. Not accounting for traffic or parking: Whether you are commuting in all four days or just coming in on Saturday, account for traffic and parking. The first year I went I almost spent an hour in downtown trying to get through traffic and find parking. In haste, I ended up spending $25 and walking across town. I was frustrated and already tired, not a good way to start the day. Plan an extra hour for traffic and parking. Your smartest move is to buy pre-pay parking. Hurry, spots are limited.

2. Relying on the SWAG bag: To me, the swag bags that are given out are more of a hassle than helpful. They are more clumsy than a blaster and wear down your shoulders throughout the day. Instead, bring a backpack. Besides being more elegant, it’s much easier navigating the floor when your hands are free. It’s also more streamlined when sliding through crowds.

3. I’ll eat at the Con: Speaking of backpacks, make sure to pack a bottle of water(s), some granola bars, Lunchable, or anything else to provide you protein throughout the long day. If you are a hobbit, plan on bringing ’second breakfast’. The bad and over priced food is available but you might not have time to stand in long lines between panels. Remember to replenish your supplies each day by mapping out where the convenient stores are along your route.

4. Oh, just go with the flow: You never know what you will need so plan ahead. That means bringing a hat and sunscreen for the lines outside. Good walking shoes is a must, no flip-flops! The convention floor is like three Football fields long so you don’t want to hike it in sandals. Aprin is good to take care of any other problems. A compass and a fire extinguisher wouldn’t hurt either :)

5. Forgetting to prep your tech: Getting to know your line-mate is preferred but if you need some down time then make sure you load up your iPod with quality material. I prefer movie reviews since it helps me stay in the ‘spirit’. If you are an avid Twitter or blogger like me, then make sure you fully charge your laptop. Although wi-fi is available indoors, I don’t rely on it and prefer a data card for instant access. Using the local wifi means your phone will take extra long to upload tweets and photos depleting your battery quicker. Check in on buying an external battery charger for about $50 bucks. Finally, don’t forget to charge your camera battery and clear the memory.

6. I’ll see you around: No you won’t. If you are fortunate to experience Comic Con with some comrades then most likely the day’s schedule will split you apart. Plan times and locations to reconnect and attend some of the same panels. I remember some Cons when I literally didn’t see my group till closing time at the end of the day- which was sad. Comic Con was meant to be experienced together so plan your meet ups. Pairs are the best way to travel. Besides being nimble, you can scout multiple places without sacrificing your place in line.

7. It’s this panel of nothing!: Planning your schedule can be considered an art form. Even your best plans will get thwarted. The key is always have a ‘plan B’ panel if your first choice fills up. Standing there thumbing through your booklet wastes precious time and hundreds of fans will move ahead of you. Prioritize what is a must then schedule everything around that.

8. I HAVE to see the floor first: The floor is massive with more nooks and crannies than Middle Earth. I think it takes about one FULL DAY to meticulously explore through all the booths with time to chat with vendors. If you are not intentional, the floor will attract you away from the real gems in the panels. Remember, the floor isn’t going anywhere so you might want to prioritize it last. It’s hard to do because of all the bright and shiny toys (and babes) but it is a real time sucker and might not be worth it (unless you are hunting for something specific). So the key, at the beginning of each day, go directly to a panel first. New attendees will gravitate towards the floor first giving you more opportunity to get into some of the coveted panels. Hit the show room later in the day once you accomplished some other goals.
Side note, I think 95% of the swag is crap and pointless. You will see crowds trying to get t-shirts and posters which will end up lost in the Narnia closet anyways. Save yourself the stress and just avoid it.

9. Where do ya wanna eat?: Plan where you will want to eat dinner before the day begins, especially if you are with a large group. Nothing is worst than being tired, hot, hungry, and emotionally drained while kicking around ideas of places to eat. Remember that tens of thousands of people are doing the same. Your chances of finding a quick and easy solution in the Gaslamp Quarter is about as easy as making a trench run on the Death Star. So with the help of Google and Yelp, have a place decided (reservations would be nice) and get there right away before the dark side of the force sets in.

10. Party time!: Now that the dust has settled for the day, enjoy by having a relaxing drink with some new friends. However, get good rest because it all starts back up the next day. You WILL regret a night of downing Romulan Ale if you are not careful. I know this sounds like common sense but cutting your night short may give you the needed edge the next morning at the Con.

Well, I hope some of these warnings will help you prepare and maximize your trip to the Con. If you have your own suggestions then please leave a comment. In a couple of weeks, I will post another top ten on how to make the best of your trip. See you at the Con!

90 thoughts on “10 Ways to ruin Comic Con

  1. Great list man! I plan like crazy with a list of what panels I want to see and what time, booth #, what exclusives I’m getting, what booths might give out stuff I want. Not to mention I bring a backpack already to put stuff in and make sure my IPhone and camera are good to go. Stoked for this event!!

  2. These are excellent tips. I definitely have Comic-Con on the brain now that we are just about a month away.
    I hope to use the online schedule tool again to plan which panels to attend. It is so true to have a back up plan. Over the past few years I’ve seen so many people disappointed that they were not able to get into the panels they were most anticipating.
    I walk to the convention center from the hotel, or take the shuttle in the evening if I’m tired. I can’t imagine how stressful it is to find parking on site!
    Thanks for all the great tips.

    • Yea lack of planning can really ruin your week at Comic Con. The first year I went on a Saturday, I had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t even know there were panels so i just walked the floor. Thanks for visiting and commenting!

  3. Very nice. I found your info to be on target and I hope lots of people read it before learning the hard way.
    I’ve been enjoying your tweets too.

  4. Hi Tony, great blog. I was wondering if you had any resources for any of the Comic Con parties that might be going on.

    • Honestly, Twitter is the best place to find those. Not a lot of concrete parties have been announced. Wait till next month. Thx.

  5. On a lighter note, there are seriously other ways to ruin a con,
    1. Kids /Parents who are unprepared
    crying babies, huge strollers, kids on leachs, unattended children.
    2. Obsessed fans
    Twilight anyone? 99.9% are wonderful folks, a few are well…
    3. for gods sake think twice before you bring someone who just doesn’t “get it”.
    Personally , I am guilty of doing all of the above, ( hangs Head), But I can also honestly say that in 15 years, I never had a bad con.

    • Good thoughts! Yea, as long you have a good attitude, you can make the best of any situation. Thanks for visiting and commenting!

  6. Great list. Another one for me at least, be realistic about your budget. I always end up going over what I intended to spend. If you have a strict limit, don’t bring your credit cards out into the dealer’s room 🙂

  7. Although I’ve never been to ComicCon or any other convention like it, I’m sure these rules apply to every convention and most other large gatherings that you’ll find.

    • Oh just wait. The top 10 list of ‘how the make this the best Comic Con ever’ is coming out soon. Thanks for visiting and commenting!

  8. Awesome list – couldn’t agree more! Especially the points about the SWAG bag and swag itself. And yes – the floor can wait! I can’t wait for this year’s SDCC – got my backpack ready 😉 Thanks for this great post!

  9. If you are a hobbit, plan on bringing ’second breakfast’.

    You have no idea how happy this made me, and I’m not entirely sure why. Good post. Nerdfighters and geeks FTW!

  10. This was my favourite post I read all day! Comic Con here isn’t until Halloween weekend, which is great ’cause you get multiple uses out of your costume. Totally agree with all these points – great post 🙂

  11. Thank you for this! This will be my first Comic-Con (a noob…don’t hurt me!) and I have no idea how to even find out about panels, but at least now I know to not get distracted by the floor.

    • Congrats on your first Comic Con! Keep checking back and follow my Twitter feed. I will be posting other tips and tricks on how to maximize your experience. Thanks for visiting and commenting! Let me know what you thought of your first year.

  12. Woohoo! I live in San Diego, so it’s exciting to see a post about the SDCC on the Freshly Pressed especially since I went for the first time last year. I don’t know about the bus system here, but the trolley is pretty reliable (and enjoyable to see other people in costumes) if driving around downtown isn’t your thing. Have fun!

  13. Really I think the best thing to do is get in line for the panel BEFORE the one you really are dying to see. It might make you miss out on something else, but it’s always been worth it for me in the end.

    • Definitely- getting into the room a couple of panels early is pretty key. It’s the only way to be sure. Thanks for the comment.

  14. I didn’t go to the Comic Con… I went to the… WONDERCON! But thanks for the list anyway. I’m almost positive that it will help other people who went. Moaman Out!

  15. Bye the way, I have over 11,000 comics at home that are from 1960-1996! And more! if you want to ask me if I have a comic, I will post it in my next post in your honor. Remember, post a comment at teg007.wordpress.com!


  16. I work Comic-Con I suggest parking wise that people take the trolley down there I know it gets packed but its cheaper and easier by far but plan for the week is by far a smart idea….they should always have their phones where they can either hear or feel it it while down there if a friend calls…hope everyone has fun at the Con this year!

  17. My Veteran of the Comic Con;
    Wise Words! I am DC “The Priest of Tao”, of Saturday’s weekly Post for “2 Old 4 Anime”. I will be writing a “How To” artical on this same thing. YOU KNOW! LISTEN TO THIS MAN! And don’t forget to wear soft shoes for walking! You should MY CON BAG! (MK-2) Tell you what. Give me your e-mail add. And I shall sent you several pick of me in my Cosplay Costume. Also chech on the site: Cosplay/interviews. BE LOOKING FOR ME ALL 4 DAYS BROTHER! Come up and interduce your self. We’ll have to have a picture together. “For it is the WAY of the CON”.
    Your NEW FRIEND of The Comic Con, DC, “The Priest of Tao”

  18. Great list! This will be my first time attending/covering SDCC and I thought I had a good battle plan… until I read this. You definitely had some great tips that I hadn’t thought of yet. I will be sure to make some dining reservations! Thanks.

  19. Haven’t been there yet, and I’m not sure if I’ll be able to go this year or not, but this is definitely good advice for about any Con. I know the first time I did Dragon*Con a couple of years back the first two days were wasted on meaningless stuff outside of the very few panels I had actually planned in advance for. It wasn’t until Sunday when I finally got a handle on what I was doing. Even then, it was rough. Good article this one is, and a must read for people I think. 🙂

  20. Comic Con is the best. Love the tip about bringing a backpack and snacks. Saved me last year when I spent the entire day in Hall H. I had dried chili mangoes to nibble while we were on a stabbing induced lock-down.

    • Oh man. Yea, when the ‘lock down’ happened, it was nice to have some granola bars and peanut butter crackers on hand to help wait it out. You never know what will happen and when you will have a chance to eat. Thanks for visiting and commenting!

  21. I haven’t had a chance to go to Comic Con yet but I’m bookmarking these tips to keep in mind for next year (when I plan to finally convince one of my friends to make the road trip and go with me!)

    • DC Rushton, AKA: “The Priest of Tao” say: “What happens at CON, stays at CON. Except when end up on U-Tube!” Trust me! At 08’s Con, my best friend + EX-WIFE was watching a interview of Cosplayers looking for my interview. Behind the Cosplayer being interviewed was GUESS WHO? Me with a fellow Lady Cosplayer from Canada,IN MY ARMS, that I had my first “One Night Stand” with. We were saying good by! So do learn this Comic Con lesson from the Veteran of THE CON
      Still Alive After His Ex Saw Him On U-Tube, DC

      • Tony;
        DAMN COMPUTER! One of the three MALWARE attacks I’ve had, ROBED me of that one, and can’t find it on U-tube. I can’t remember the title of the one with me and Kate XX-OO. But My Interview on U-tube is “San Diego Comic Con 2010: “What Do Super Heros Eat”. You can’t miss “The Priest of Tao” Costumed Cosplaying ME! Just look for red + black, and Ying/Yangs Japanese Anime Style Cosplayer with a Ying/Yang walking staff, and say HI! I’ll be doing all 4 Days + Nights.
        DC, “The Priest of Tao”

  22. I’ve never been to SDCC – being from Canada – but we have something similar here called “FanExpo.” Last year, there were a ton of issues regarding what you posted about – no food, people complaining, not getting back in after they ate due to fire codes, etc.

    Fortunately, your list is definitely something I’ve done in the past.

    One thing for certain though, is that your advice is universal for all Cons.

    Great post!

  23. I read this and found it fascinating even though I had no-idea what you were talking about to begin with… interesting.. if only i were not the other side of a huge expanse of water. :] xx

  24. Pingback: In honor of all things Comic Con . . . we give you Bruce Campbell, on his birthday no less! « Far & Beyond: A Saga of Publishing

  25. Not a fan of the backpacks since people don’t seem to realize they are stick out two feet from your back and quick turns can whack someone or it takes a space in front of a booth that could be a whole human instead, if the owner is turned to the side.

    Other tips are great though!

  26. Alright! Now, I have 99% of my plan. That remaining one percent is getting tickets and time to be there. So, you know, the easiest stuff. I would like to put forth that this list stands for all Cons, fairs/faires/fests, and big city weekend trips.

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