It’s finally my favorite month! Not only is it my birthday month, but it also houses quite a few fun events including our housewarming, Eclipse celebration with the girls, the Smashing Pumpkins concert and Comic-Con. That’s right, it’s time for Comic-Con again and I figured since I am now a seasoned pro (::chuckle::), I would impart some of my knowledge with you all.
1. Pack some food.
If you are attending Comic-Con for the panels (as I do), then prepare to wait in ridiculously long lines. And prepare to not have much time to eat, as that would mean you would have to get out of line and enter yet another ridiculously long line just to eat a pretty disgusting hot dog or sandwich that costs you $57. Go the cheap (& smart) route: brown bag it! Hit up the local supermarket on your way in to San Diego and load up on bread, peanut butter and jelly as well as a hefty amount of snack bars. That way, whenever your tummy wants to be satisfied, you just have to reach inside your bag and/or purse and voila! Problem solved. Plus, this also helps you save some money so you can shop on the Convention floor or in my case, drink more at local bars.
2. Keep your eyes peeled.
I know Comic-Con is this massive event that is littered with celebrity guests, but a lot of the time, these celebrities want to jump in on the fun and roam around the Convention floor, attend panels and bar hop in the Gaslamp District. You never know who may be sitting next to you, walking past you or having a drink across the way. Just last year, Deborah Ann Woll, who plays baby vamp, Jessica, on True Blood, was sitting behind us at the Coraline Panel. And later that day, we walked past another True Blood cast member, Mike McMillian, on the street outside the Convention Center. Milo Ventimiglia also was spotted crossing the street and interacting with fans whom he saw sporting Heroes tattoos that were being offered for free at their carnival. It is also rumored that a lot of big named celebrities like to walk the Convention floor wearing costumes or masks in order to be able to check out all the fun undisturbed. So keep those eyes peeled! You never know who you will bump into!
3. Want an autograph? Research!
I can’t tell you how many times I have gotten excited as I passed by an autograph booth for either an artist or actor I admired and was promptly turned away because I did not have “a ticket.” Autograph signings are announced on the Comic-Con site, but make sure to read the fine print! You must usually stand in line at a specific date and time in order to receive a ticket that allows you to attend these signings. You cannot just walk up to the table at the time of signing and get an autograph. Very frustrating as they usually conflict with panels, which you also have to wait in line for. It all comes down to what you value more and sometimes, the information is not readily available. Make sure to check fan sites if the details are not clear on the Comic-Con site as to where you can pick up your tickets.
4. Bring travel size body spray.
You will be in very close proximity with others. At times it will be outdoors (if waiting for Hall H). You will sweat. They will sweat. This is why Comic-Con is infamous for it’s “nerd smell.” At times, you will get really strong waves of B.O. and it is absolutely disgusting. To prevent you from being part of this nerd odor cloud, please bring along a travel size body spray to occasionally spritz yourself with and at times spritz the air around you with. You may be laughing now, but trust me, you will think of me the second you get a whiff of nerd smell and say quietly to yourself, “damn, she was right” before you are knocked unconscious. So please do yourself a favor and pack the damn spray.
5. Expect loads of fanboys/fangirls.
I know this is kind of a given, but the level of said fanboys/fangirls is what may come as a surprise. This place is full of batshit crazy people. I mean, I’m a fan. A big one. I’m sure all of you think I’m crazy. Guess what? I am one of the most normal people at Comic-Con. You have no idea. These are people that camp outside the Center for weeks, they perfect and create their costumes for months (even years), they do not know what the outside world looks like until they step foot in front of the San Diego Convention Center. These people….they are intense. And they will be sitting next to you and experiencing the Con with you. Expect this and have patience. People will cry (OK, so I cried – but it was the last LOST panel ever. EVER, people. And they showed Charlie’s death scene in slow motion. Assholes.), people will scream – sometimes into microphones – for seconds and minutes at a time, and random nerds will sit next to you and talk to you about ::insert fandom here:: for hours. Also, do not expect intellectually profound Q&A sessions at panels. It’s just not going to happen. It will be fangirl after fanboy either shrieking (into said microphone as mentioned above) or gushing or even better, asking for a hug or a photo or even participation in a porno (this really happened, people). So remember to drink the Kool Aid and just enjoy the complete madness.
6. Do not forget the nightlife!
You may be exhausted by the end of the day after all the panels, shopping and walking you have done at Comic-Con, but make sure to have some energy reserves for some nightlife! Whoever sponsors Comic-Con (last year it was True Blood) usually hosts promotional parties at local clubs and bars with lots of free drinks, swag and even surprise appearances! Last year, True Blood hosted a series of happy hours at different bars nightly and is where I celebrated my birthday. We did not pay for one drink that night and had the most fabulous time. Information on these parties usually is released a couple of weeks before the Con, but Google and Yelp are also your friends.
7. Sneakers please!
You will be doing a ridiculous amount of walking so please wear sneakers. Not sandals, not heels, not those shoes that you never wear because they give you blisters. C’mon people, be sensible. Throw on those Converse and be on your way!
8. Twitter is your friend.
Live tweeting is the name of the game at Comic-Con! Last year I was lucky enough to live tweet for The ODI, a really great movie and TV site, and would provide a play-by-play of all the panels I attended. There are a bajillion other Twitter users that offer the same up to the minute information, including special giveaways at certain booths and celebrity sightings. Make sure you check in routinely to see what’s up around you. Also, make sure to add Comic-Con’s official Twitter account as well as some of the unofficial ones as well! Gotta stay well-rounded!
9. The Hilton Supermassive Black Hole.
Ah, the Hilton Bayfront. Last year, it was made another site for last minute panels such as Glee and Heroes and by the looks of things, this year will probably be needed due to attendee and talent overflow once more. This is a great site because it is where most of the celebrities stay during the Con so you have a 90% chance of having some sort of sighting if you hang around the lobby long enough. Trust me, it was in this lobby that I stood around the entire cast of Vampire Diaries (complete unknowns at the time) and V. However, it does have its downfall: no cell phone service. I do not know if this will be resolved this time around, but just keep in mind that you will not be able to get text messages, receive or make any calls while in the hotel. The only spot you will receive any sort of service is in the lobby, which is why I was lingering there long enough to have my celebrity encounters. Again, hopefully this will be taken care of this year.
10. Comic-Con iPhone App
It’s not all that great, but download the Comic-Con app if you are an iPhone user. It won’t be your saving grace or anything, but the Convention floor is extremely large and overwhelming so having a map of it handy is useful in case you get separated from your group or can’t find a certain booth. Otherwise, nothing special.
11. Make a plan of attack
Definitely the most important tip. When programming is released (probably in the next week or so), print it and start making plans. Highlight the panels you want to go to, see if there are any conflicts (there will be, never fails) and preferably make your own daily schedules. It will make your day run so much smoother if you already know when and where you will be going at all times. It also helps coordinate with friends if you are going in a big group, like we are.
Hope this can be of use to all of my fellow Comic-Con attendees!
This year will be a totally different experience as I will be attending as press (!!!!) along with Rosy from Accidental Sexiness, so I hope I will be able to provide you guys with a lot of fun stuff throughout the weekend. Remember to add me on Twitter as I will be trying my best to be as active as possible in order to make you guys feel as if you are there with me!