2013 Top 10 Ways to Ruin Comic-Con 2013

Like Frodo and Sam on the way to Mordor, we have journeyed together to reach this point. We are on the precipice of the final 14 days. Every year, within the last 2 weeks of the con, I write the 3 biggest and most important posts of the year. Here is the first; After a year of planning and preparation, I believe their are a handful of things that can end up ruining your Comic-Con experience. Avoid these missteps and you will be well on your way to having a phenominal Comic-Con:

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 up parking far away and had to walk 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 ACE Pre-Pay Parking. Hurry though, spots are limited.

hallh2. Lack of Planning: If you’re new to Comic-Con and don’t plan your entire day out to the hour, you will not have a very good time. Most other conventions you can wing it- not at SDCC. Other than the showroom floor, if you just try to spontaneously get into panels, you will literally not get into anything. It’s INCREDIBLY frustrating and demoralizing. In a follow up post, I’ll share about the best way to plan for panels.

3. Having the Wrong Bag: I know this doesn’t seem that important but if you have the wrong bag, it can really hinder you all day long. The WB swag bags, while spacious, do not protect your valuables. Make sure you have the right bag and poster tube to protect those valuable artist sketches, posters, and Exclusives.

4. Not Bringing Supplies: Navigating the Con is physically exhausting and there is no way of getting easy food. Sure there are a few vendors spread out but the lines may be too long to get food in time. You might literally be in line from 6:00 AM and not get out of a panel till middle of the afternoon. So extra food, snacks, and liquids are essential. If you are serious about Hall H, you will have to do some waiting outside and you may not have the luxury of the grassy knoll tents. I’ve been out there some years when it was blistering hot. The only way to survive it is to have a hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, etc. You might want to invest in one of those small pop up stools. Those heat induced headaches will end your day early. Besides having nice shoes that you can wear all day, make sure they are properly broken in and ready for the Con.

mophie-iphone-4-juice-pack-plus-cases-with-purple5. Running Out of Power: The Con is a black hole of power that will suck your phone dry. Because of the congested network, your phone spools all day long trying to find a signal. A single tweet could take up to an hour to go out. This means your phone will die much quicker. If your phone is dead, there is no way of finding your friends or maybe getting home. An external battery or charging case is your only hope.

6. Not Having Meds: Speaking of headaches, if you don’t bring a small pharmacy, you run the risk of getting knocked out by headache, flu, sore feet/knees, indigestion, etc… My Kryptonite is migraines. It’s the one thing that will immobilize me and ruin my day. Know your Kryptonite and have preventive measures.

7. Not Coordinating with Friends: If you have a diverse group of friends, there will be times when you will end up going solo in order to see what you want at Comic-Con. If you don’t make a plan to re-connect, you won’t see them for the rest of the day. Believe me, I know. There is always something else to distract you or your friends and you’ll end spending the con day by yourself- which sucks. Comic-Con is awesome but it’s much better enjoyed together.

Dollar paper plane8. Stressing Over Money: You are going to spend a lot of money at Comic-Con, so just accept that. Whether it’s comics, toys, or Comic-Con Exclusives, you are going to spend more than you thought you would. For those of you that fixate on getting the ‘best’ deal, you will drive yourself mad. As soon as you buy something, the next vender will have it for $2 cheaper. That’s okay. Efficiency and economy is low priority. So prepare yourself to let go of the penny pinching side of you.

9. Unrealistic Expectations: Comic-Con is a whirlwind of activity filled with many highs and lows. You WILL NOT see everything that you want. In fact you might miss a lot of things that you were hoping to see. You might not be able to get that exclusive you waited hours to get. That event you were hoping to attend might be sold out. Grumbling and complaining won’t help anyone. The higher your expectations, the greater the chance you will be disappointed. Comic-Con is a constant winning and losing battle. For most there are more wins than losses- and your expectations will help decide that.

Screen shot 2013-07-02 at 10.31.02 PM10. Nerd Rage: From the crowds, to waiting in line, to missing panels, it’s easy to develop serious nerd rage at Comic-Con. There are tons of things to complain about- and do enough of it and you will ruin your day. A bad attitude affects your friends as well as your fellow con-mate in line or in panels with you. You have everything you need to generate synthetic happiness even in the most dire circumstances. When you consider how many people were not able to make it to Comic-Con and if you relish in the fact that you are one of the fortunate few, it’s easier to let things roll off your back. Don’t sabotage your own happiness.

If you have ever let one of these ruin your day or if you have one of your own, please leave a comment. see you in two weeks!!!

43 thoughts on “2013 Top 10 Ways to Ruin Comic-Con 2013

  1. Great tips!

    As an addendum to #2 (as a result of #9) – don’t just have a single plan – make sure you have a plan B (and sometimes C!). Then be prepared to completely ignore most of it. You may want to see whatever panel in Hall H or Ballroom 20, but the line might be longer than you thought or you may not get in, so you want to know where to go when that happens. Some of the smaller panels we went to because we didn’t want to camp out for a big panel ended up being the most fun of all the panels we attended. Also, you’ll get there and see a booth or offsite event you want to try, so be prepared to change your plans at the last minute (which is why #7 is soooo important!).

    • Great tips! Yea, I am going to do another post about how to navigate panels and to maximize time. It sure is an art right?! Thanks for sharing your insight and hope to meet you there! Thanks!

  2. Definitely #9. The year I went in expecting nothing was by far my best. Crazy expectations will lead to disappointment. If there were a #11 it would have to be make sure to bring some comfy shoes.

    • Yea, too much hype is not a good thing but it’s hard to avoid with Comic-Con. Thanks for your comment.

      PS: The shoes tip was covered in #4 😉

  3. Thanks Tony! Last year was my first year and we were woefully unprepared. I didn’t realize how important it is to plan it all out and have a plan B as well. We ended up wandering the floor and being too late for a lot of cool things. I’ve been scouring the web for as much information as possible to compile into a good plan this time. Your Tweets and articles have been really helpful! Maybe I’ll get to thank you in person!

  4. Seriously, #10. I am not a complainer, so it especially irks me when I’m standing in line or waiting a booth and I hear people complain, “The con isn’t what it used to be,” “Some of these kids shouldn’t even be here,” etc. Dude, it’s still an awesome experience. You’re crushing my excitement with your loud, negative vibes. If you wanna have nerd fight over Justice League vs. Avengers or Kirk vs. Picard, I’ll totally hear you out. But don’t whine about the event. Save it for your blog.

    • For sure! Cynicism is the worst!! I can’t stand it when others complain in the midst of so much nerdy goodness. Thanks for saying it and commenting!

  5. I really only want to see The X-Files panel, that’s it for Thurs and Sun tickets. The panel is at 3:30. At what time should I line up? It is in Ballroom 20. Furthermore, Is the Ballroom accessible from the outside? Do you first have to line up at the “main gate” and then go in and line up at Ballroom 20? Or can you go directly to the Ballroom and line up there where the Volunteers look at and scan your badge in for the day? I have read alot and now my brain can’t remember anything. I get migraines too and I have prescription Vicodin. May I bring that on the plane in the original bottle or do I have to put it in checked baggage?

    • It’s hard to say exactly when to line up for X-Files until the entire schedule is released- but it would be safe to say to plan on early in the morning. You can line up first outside then they will let you in around 8:00 to cue up outside of B20. I would plan on getting there by 5 or 6 in the morning. If there is a big panel before it then it will clear out leaving room for the following panel. General rule is give yourself at least 6 hours to get into a room give or take.

  6. In line with #5 i typically bring an external charger like you mentioned but i also bring a travel power strip. They’re small, light, and it gives me a chance to recharge myself as well by taking a breather. Since it’s a multi strip you can share it with that hot cosplayer or fellow con goer and strike up a conversation.

  7. I agreed with Rule #9. Warner Bro had this autograph drawing for their actors. If your ticket have a stamp, you will recieve a braclet to give you access to the autograph. I recalled standing in long line for Game of Thrones for few hours and did not get it. However my friend did win the autograph meet and greeting. She was the FIRST in line for the autograph. It does pay to bring a friend or two along. There wa a line for True Blood autograph drawing. I was not a fan, but my friend is. I accompanied her. She didn’t get the draw, however I got it, gave the winning braclet to her. Even I didn’t get it, it was fun talking during waiting. Worth it!

    • Yea, my belief has always been that good things come around if you try hard enough and are kind/considerate. It doesn’t always happen the way you think it will but sometimes it’s even better. Thanks for sharing your story and commenting!

  8. Do not get in line for something you don’t really want. Last year, I wasted my time standing in line for an autograph I didn’t really want when I could have been standing in the line to get into the Supernatural panel. I ended up standing in the Supernatural panel line for over an hour and didn’t get in. I would have gotten in if I had not wasted my time standing in the other line. On Sunday, not sleeping much will get you, but you’ve got to have your bearings, or else will not have a good last day. Fortunately for me, I got to see Jared Padalecki from Supernatural at NerdHQ that afternoon. If that hadn’t had happened, Sunday would have gone down as one of the worst days of my life because I made a stupid mistake due to my lack of sleep. Don’t make stupid mistakes like I did.

    • Yup, that is the hardest part of line management- trying to know when you are just wasting time. I will definitely be writing more about how to figure out this aspect of attending panels. thanks for commenting!

  9. I had near misses with two of these: My first year I waited through about four panels to see a high priority panel and I burned through my small amount of snacks and water and my phone was in the single digits unable alert my husband of my dire situation. Fortunately, hubby knows me all too well and bought snacks and water and searched for me for an hour in the panel room. My seatmates were quite jealous of his devotion 😉

    • It’s hard to do Comic-Con by yourself for this very reason. Working in pairs help alleviate these stresses. Your husband gets bonus points! Thanks for sharing your story!

  10. I have seen very little talk about the shuttles on the blogs, and a whole lot of talk about parking. Are we (my friends and I) kidding ourselves that we can manage with just using the free shuttles and mass transit in San Diego?

    • Last year, we rode all over town using the shuttles. We didn’t use public transportation the whole time. Just get to know the shuttle map and you can get anywhere you like with a couple of blocks of walking. 😀

    • No, the mass transit is pretty awesome. It’s a little weird because sometime you have to pay and other times you don’t. Most don’t pay without consequence. Shuttles are dependent on how many a hotel have and what the traffic is like. Your hotel can have a long line for shuttles so line up as early as possible. Some hotels are better than others with their shuttle system. Call the hotel before hand and ask. If they have one/two shuttles then you need to line up early for it.

    • The trolley system in San Diego, is pretty good, the special ComicCon one gets a bit crowded though, but hey it’s fun to sit next to IronMan. You can buy a special 4 day ComicCon pass that will work on the trolleys and the busses. The trolleys cover a nice segment of San Diego, so you can escape the craziness of downtown if you need to. Just know the trolleys don’t run too late.

      • Good advice! Yes, fortunately San Diego’s transit system is super awesome and great during Comic-Con. Thanks for commenting!

  11. I can definitely relate to #7. I was going to SDCC, for my first time ever. There was a panel in Hall H that I really wanted to attend. (This was before all the Saturday craziness that Hall H is now.) my friend that went with me, had gone to SDCC before. So I thought that he would be able to show me around.
    Well, we walked the floor a little bit, and said that at (this time) we would meet back at the DC booth to head back to Hall H and stand in line. Well, he never came back. I waited for an additional 30 min for him. No show. So I said, “I am not missing this panel.” So I went to Hall H by myself. But I made friends with people while I was standing in line. And had a good time.

    My other friend, I didn’t see him again until 9pm.

    Yeah, the car ride home, I was pissed. Especially when he told me what he was doing all day.

    • Ha ha, yea I def been there (and had some people mad at me). There is just too many competing opportunities so unless you are intentional, you won’t see your friends till the end of the day. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Last year, for my morning shuttle at 6:00-6:30 am, me and this other guy were the last two people to board. There was only one seat left and he told me that since I got on before him, I should have the seat. A true gentleman! Will never forget that! Had no other problems with the shuttles that trip, they were close to the hotel and only took about 15 minutes in the morning to get to the convention center. I will never try to park downtown ever again. I had an almost identical story to Tony’s a few years ago, except with some major cyring.

    • Oh I cried, I was just too prideful to write it into my post 😉 Great story and it’s nice to know that chivalry isn’t dead. Thanks for commenting!

  13. Well, I am off to Anime Expo in LA (all 4 days), and all the advice here is just as relevant for AX as well. AX opens on 7/4.

  14. I think Tip 2 (Lack of planning) is the KING of all tips. Especially in regards to the lack of nutritious food (not just calories) and water. I harp about that all of the time. Snacking on carbs or skipping protein and meals causes Tip 10 (nerd rage) which could be so easy to avoid with a little extra planning.
    Good post. Thanks.

  15. I plan to bring hand sanitizer. I was only really worried about the protesters holding up traffic on a bridge. I’m staying in a different borough and taking the train to Penn Station, so I won’t have to worry about parking at the Con. Or protesters apparently. I’ve heard that panels are difficult to get into, that people wait for hours just for one panel. I’m wondering if it’s worth going to any panels at all, since I’ve only got one day. Is every booth likely to be mobbed with a huge line? I wouldn’t mind learning about something new, or some sort of independent production. I’m sort of new to comics/graphic novels, I liked Y the Last Man, Fables, and some of Alan Moore’s stuff. Am I going to get the stink eye much from purists for being an amateur?

    • Kaye, it sounds like your interests are more purist than many attendees these days so I wouldn’t worry. Generally, the booths for comics and the like are not as crowded (ironic, yes). The biggest crowds are at the pop-culture panels (and booths). Comic exhibitors will often welcome the opportunity to steer you towards something new. If you only have one day, you will probably have to choose between the Hall H / B20 panels and the exhibit floor. If you’re interested in panels outside of those monsters, then you can probably fit in a good serving of both. Don’t Panic. Have fun! 🙂

  16. So glad I found this blog. This is a great article and I have let my friends who are SDCC newbies know about it. They never believe me, maybe they will believe you. I gave up on Hall H and Ballroom 20 long ago. Last year I camped the room for the Monster High panel and ended up sitting through a panel, the name of which I have forgotten, but it was really fun, I learned a lot, and I ended up buying one of the artists on the panel book. Every year my ComicCon is a different experience, I have learned to just go in with that required positive attitude, and plenty of snacks.

    • Great comment! Yea, even if you don’t make it into the big rooms, there is plenty of awesomeness to be had! Thanks for commenting!

  17. An addendum to #4, most people bring cameras to photograph their trip. Two major things they should consider, rather than one large memory card bring 3 or 4 small sized cards. Nothing ruins a trip more than having a card fail on you as soon as you get home from the trip. The next thing kinda falls into both supplies and power, always always always have your camera batteries charged, and make sure you have a spare battery just in case you go photo crazy.

  18. Great post, Tony! I would like to add my experience of what happens when your planned schedule falls thru. There was one time my friends and I could not get into the bigger panels so we opted for the Falling Skies panel, and were hooked after that. If I recall correctly, we did not have to wait in line to get in. It was more of a last choice panel for us. It happened to be Falling Skies’ first time at SDCC so no one really knew about the upcoming TV show. After hearing Noah Wyle and Moon Bloodgood talk about their show, we have been watching ever since. Each year, the Falling Skies panel gets bigger and bigger. Never give up hope about not attending a good panel. There are many out there besides the ones in Hall H and Ballroom 20. Always have other back-up plans for SDCC. If you can’t get into the panel you wanted, then check out other smaller ones or maybe use that extra time to cruise the exhibitor’s hall. You are bound to snag up some free swag somewhere in the exhibitor’s hall or run into celebrity sightings or to see some awesome cosplayers (like Tony!) in action. All is good at SDCC. Don’t go with high expectations. Just go with fun and excitement…..and comfortable shoes!

    • Great comment! Yea, being intentional and organic is the best way to go. Going to a show BEFORE it gets possible is the way to go! Thanks for the comment and sharing your story!

  19. • Water & Snacks: While you may find some deals on action figures, comic books and sundry collectibles, but expect to pay top dollar for bottom barrel food at the Con. Instead of waiting in long lines to pay good money for bad food, stock up on grub that can be easily transported and noshed on anytime. Clif Bars, bananas, and a bottle of water (I like the Thermos Intak ) should tide you over and keep you hydrated, letting you save your dedicated meals for something finer.

  20. Try some of the new shows before they become popular and help spread the word about what you saw. Comic Con is about seeing these shows first.

    • Tony B Kim:
      “You have everything you need to generate synthetic happiness even in the most dire circumstances. When you consider how many people were not able to make it to [where you are in life] and if you relish in the fact that you are one of the fortunate few, it’s easier to let things roll off your back. Don’t sabotage your own happiness.”

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