July 27th, 2009
01:10 PM ET

Comic-Con: Dos & Don'ts

Imagine, if you will, a futuristic outpost in the middle of outer space filled with more than 100,000 beings of all species wearing all manner of dress. Some basically humanoid with different skin textures (particularly on the forehead) and others sporting appendages and tentacles.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/27/art.comic.con.cnn.jpg caption="During Comic-Con, the San Diego Convention Center effectively becomes its own city within San Diego, California."]
Comic-Con is just like that; the San Diego Convention Center effectively becomes its own city within San Diego, California, complete with its own special transit system. Attending became a daunting prospect for this Comic-Con rookie despite my experience at that little local event, Dragon*Con in Atlanta, Georgia. If you've ever wondered if you should make the trip, here's a few dos and don'ts that I jotted down just in case.

DO chat with the aliens, robots, furries and Klingons around you and ask permission to take their pictures. Who knows? They might know about a cool event going on, or they might just have a great story to tell.

DON'T carry around too much stuff unless your elaborate robot costume requires it. Comic-Con takes a lot of physical stamina, since some events are spaced far apart and have long lines. You may be routed around a venue the long way to maintain clear traffic paths.

DO wear an awesome costume that shows your love for a favorite franchise or at least some kind of ironic T-shirt.

DON'T slack on your appearance and hygiene. Stars and cool folks are around every corner.

DO plan well in advance. If you want to attend all four days, you need to get your membership for the con several months in advance. Hotels should also be planned as early as possible. And don't forget to reach out to your connections.

DON'T limit yourself to the obvious schedule. Find out what else is going on and don't be afraid to wander around and chat people up. You never know who you might encounter or run into.

DO take the shuttle bus and make use of the conveniences in the city around the con.

DON'T limit yourself to the hot dogs and other con food. And try to park off site if you can.

DO make an effort to seek out celebrities and people you want to see. It doesn't hurt to ask around. There are so many well-known folks hiding around every corner, especially in the earlier days of the con. And of course seek out some panels on your con schedule. We got to see Seth MacFarlane do some voice acting with other folks from FOX's "American Dad," for example.

DON'T buy just anything. Look for con exclusives, one-of-a-kind items, freebies, photo ops and free hugs.

DO give free hugs if that's your thing.

DON'T give out free annoyances.

soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Hanzou

    One of the reasons I've avoided the San Deigo Con is because its slowly losing its soul as a comic convention. I'm actually surprised they still call it "The Comic Con" given the hollywood take over that occured several years ago.

    July 28, 2009 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Blu

    I’m really surprised by this writers comments on Dragon*Con. I don’t know where she was during the event, but Dragon*Con is huge. Takes over that part of the city. All the hotels and restaurants are having parties. It’s a great event.
    Having worked downtown (in the immediate area where Dragon*Con is held) for 9 years before attending, I can only say that it has been growing steadily the whole time. I love it when all the people dressed as their favorite characters come over to the food court at Peachtree Center. It’s cool to see Stormtroopers and superheroes sitting next to all the regular business people. It really brings a great energy to the city. We’re glad to have it. I’m sorry this write felt the need to bash it.

    July 28, 2009 at 9:02 am | Report abuse |
  3. Eric

    I don't think she was trying to minimalize Dragon-Con in anyway shape or form. Isn't Dragon-Con one of the most all encompassing of the Cons out there? It may not be as HUGE as ComiCon, but that may be why the author enjoys is better. Smaller crowd, not as much planning completely needed. No need to rip the author apart over her preferences in conventions.

    July 28, 2009 at 4:32 am | Report abuse |
  4. Femme Fan

    It's been a while, but I truly enjoyed comic con when I was last able to go. It's gotten too big for me–if I got back to a con, it'll be a smaller one like Chicago, Dragon or Heroes. Yes, I'll miss the media feel that SDCC has, but as a comics fan, I'll be happy enough where-ever I go.

    SDCC will always have a media influence due to it's closeness to LA...and it's got the edge over Creation events in that the whole crowd is *not* there to see the same stars. (Though I understand Lost and Twilight Crowds came close this year.)

    I have to agree that if you *do* San Diego, bring comfortable walking shoes, walkie talkies, fannish t-shirts of your favorites (easy way to meet people and dealers will dig out cool stuff for you). Planning ahead is a must if you plan to catch up with friends.

    July 28, 2009 at 2:32 am | Report abuse |
  5. Nicole

    Daywalker54: If I were to be perfectly honest, I have to say that I prefer Dragon*Con over Comic-Con, and that's just a personal opinion. 🙂

    July 28, 2009 at 1:29 am | Report abuse |
  6. Orikes

    Uhm.. Daywalker54, you do realize that the author was being facetious about Dragon*Con, right?

    July 27, 2009 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Chris

    Um, I think she was being sarcastic and meant "little local event" in jest there.

    July 27, 2009 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Celidah

    I'm pretty sure that Ms. Saidi was being sarcastic, Daywalker.

    July 27, 2009 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Daywalker54

    Ah...sorry...rereading the article I have duly noted that you consider yourself a rookie....rookies should NEVER jump to uninformed decisions. Although you attended both Cons, you need to get a few more under your belt before you promote one over the other.

    July 27, 2009 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Daywalker54

    "that little local event, Dragon*Con in Atlanta, Georgia"....you're joking, right? Dragon*Con is an incredibly awesome Con. The ONLY two that are worth their weight ARE Dragon*Con and Comic Con (San Diego). There are a ZILLION pluses to going to Dragon*Con instead... cheaper, WAY more fun, the parade, the repeat attendees (my husband and I being two of them) and the convenience of Atlanta's downtown area for places to eat, shopping, etc. Although we don't shop outside the Con. My beef with this article is that the writer is obviously not a TRUE sci-fi/fantasy fan or she would NEVER minimalize Dragon*Con the way she did....rookie!

    July 27, 2009 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |

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