As summer approaches, so does the season of the Comic Con. I’m not only referring to the San Diego Comic Con that takes place every July, but also to locally based conventions that get their fair share of celebrities and industry types. The average con takes place over three days. That amount of time can get a little taxing, not only to your feet but also to your mental stability. You can only see so many 11th doctors before you start to question reality.
For this list of comic con survival tips, I want to take it deeper than remembering to stay hydrated or charging your phone. Certain practical decisions should be obvious. I know it’s distracting to meet your favorite C-list TV actor of the ’80s, but you still need to remember to eat and breathe.
Leave Your Judgment at Home
No one is guiltless when it comes to passing judgment. A fan convention is a people watcher’s dream. From the moment you step into the hall, you’ll see varying levels of quality cosplay from Iron Man to Frozen’s Elsa. Visually, it’s a bit much to take in at once. You won’t be able to help yourself from smirking at someone’s attempt to recreate Lion-O out of cardboard and sweatpants. You’ll see more than your fair share of big-boned slave Leia’s as well. One rule that will mentally save you is to refrain from judging. True fans come to these conventions with the intent to find like-minded people with the same passions and interests. Sure, you may feel pity for that guy in the husky Charmander costume, but you need to remember that he’s there because dressing up as his favorite Pokemon is what makes him happy.
There is no cool table at Comic Con. There is only a community of geeks, nerds and casual fans looking for an entertaining experience. I assure you, you’ll have more fun when you let go of cynicism and go with the flow.
Avert Your Gaze
Just because you leave judging behind, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have good judgment. Fan conventions are typically meant to be family friendly, though that’s not always the case. Many people use conventions as an excuse to parade around in past Halloween costumes they wore in college a few years back. This applies to women who choose to wear revealing sci-fi and superhero outfits that leave little to the imagination. Sure, they want attention, but it’s best to not be one of the thousand perverts gawking. The best advice I’ve ever received about not looking like a perv is to “stare at the bridge of her nose.”
Averting your gaze will also save you from seeing unsavory men wearing speedos or unitards. There are certain things you can’t unsee. Do your best to keep your vision at eye level.
Use Panels to Give Your Legs a Rest
The floor of every convention is basically a large-scale farmer’s market. But instead of granolas and non-GMO tomatoes, it’s comprised of mini Hot Topics and people who don’t like deodorant (Okay, so that’s the same as the granolas). There is plenty to see on the floor of every convention. You’ll walk through booths filled with original artwork by the comic industries’ greatest artists. You’ll also wait in line to get signatures/pictures of the cast of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Basically, you’re going to need great shoes and even then your legs are going to give out.
At any point during a convention there are around 4 to 5 panels dealing with niche geek conversations of every type. Take frequent opportunities to see a celebrity interview or panels about literature or British TV. These hour-long panels will give your legs a rest and refresh you for the next walk through the crowded floor. Who knows, you might even learn something.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Cosplayers for Pictures
While the term cosplayer may sound strange and fetishistic to the uninitiated, it’s basically the short way of saying “Fan who dresses like their favorite character.” Cosplayers dress up so they’ll be noticed. Essentially, if you ask to get a picture with people in pajamas meant to look like the original Power Rangers, they’ll feel honored and overwhelmingly say yes. Just don’t be a pervo and take pictures of people without asking them. That’s not good for anyone.
If you want a convention to be a challenge among friends, you should create a photo scavenger hunt. Come up with a lengthy list of characters you need to get pictures of. Divide into groups and start cosplay hunting. You’ll most likely get even the most random characters crossed off the list.
Bring Mints and Deodorant to Share
With thousands of people walking the halls and floor of a fan convention, there’s bound to be a cloud of odor wafting above your head. There’s a near-corporeal gaseous cloud made up of hot breath, taco stains and axe body spray. It can get hot under those costumes and there’s bound to be some back sweat present. If you bring a survival pack with snacks, drinks, etc. You should pack some Febreze and randomly spray certain areas of the convention.
While standing in line with odorous fans, you can stealthily grab your bottle of Dove spray-on deodorant and spray a little on their back. Sure, that might make them smell like a girl, but that’s far better than smelling like an unwashed Warcraft Larper.
If you want to curb the horse breath that’s sure to be prevalent at the con, you need to bring a lot of gum or Altoids. There are few nice ways to offer someone gum without them thinking you hate being in their presence. The best option in this case is to stand in line waiting to get a celebrities’ signature. You simply need to pull out a pack of gum and loudly proclaim “I can’t wait to meet (celebrity), I’m glad I brought this gum so I won’t have bad breath!” The three people closest to you will longingly look at you and non-verbally ask for a piece. If you catch anyone’s eye, you should offer the pack of gum as you would a steak to an angry Doberman. They will accept. And you’ve done your small part to improve the convention.