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First time to Comic Con and you have no idea what to expect? Well here’s a little guide to help you out.

I went for the first time this weekend and learnt a lot but realised that I wasn’t fully prepared for the madness that is Comic Con.

What it is:

For those who have no idea what I’m taking about, Comic Con is a convention for all things comics, superheroes, games, films, tv shows and the like; if you think something is classed as ‘geeky’ it’ll fit right in at Comic Con. You can buy stuff, find out more about the sci-fi, comic, and tv shows you love through panel interviews, you can meet like minded people who share your passion, and get as involved or not as you want. And it’s a chance for the everyday Joe to transform into their favourite character or hero whether it be Captain America, Princess Mononoke or the Nazgul’s Witch King – everyone is welcome.

Comic Con Nazgul

When to go:

Comic Con happens twice a year in May and October, so if you can’t make one, there’ll be another chance in a few months.

The expo lasts for three days (Friday – Sunday) and you can buy a whole weekend ticket or pick a specific day to go. Here’s what I learnt about the difference between the days:

Friday – This is the day to get your shopping done. There’s lots of stalls and businesses selling their stuff and since it’s the first day, they’ve got plenty of stock where you can get the best of the best. With stalls selling everything from artwork, to lego, to foreign foods (mainly Japanese and American sweets – sorry – candy), to figurines, to clothing, to ‘mystery boxes’, and of course a whole lot more – there’s something for everyone.

Saturday – This is the day when the cosplayers really come out to play. It’s the day to go all out on your costume or simply admire the efforts other people have put into theirs.

Sunday – This is the day to find out more about some of your favourite actors with Q and As and panel chats. Although these do go on all weekend, there’s usually a ‘saved the best till last’ panel or two for Sunday.

If you can only go for one of the days, make sure you get yourself a priority/early entry ticket so you can be there for opening at 9am and go see the things you really want to see then. As soon as 11am hits you won’t be able to move for bat wings and Harley Quinn hammers in your face.

What to wear:

Comic Con Cosplay

To dress up or to not? I dressed up but did it my own way of doing an ‘everyday’ look for my character. I went as Rey from the newest Star Wars – The Force Awakens, and although I was happy with the result and worked with what I had; I did get a few ‘pitying’ and ‘condescending’ looks from other Rey’s who had gone all out. Some people can be bitchy that is for sure.

Then again, not everyone is comfortable with dressing up fully and so doing an ‘everyday’ look can still help you get you into the spirit of the occasion, Ignore the nay-sayers. Plus, if it’s a last minute decision to go, and you want to make a bit of an effort – it’s better than nothing.

Be prepared though, if you make a good effort of your costume, people WILL want your photo. Random people. And ladies, if your costume is provocative, you will be stared at and again asked for photos of. Only do and agree to do what you feel comfortable with – you don’t have to be obliging to anyone – don’t be afraid to walk away from people. You’re dressing how you want to dress.

BUT, you don’t have to dress up at all if you don’t want. There’s sure as hell nothing wrong with going as you.

Comic Con tips:

  • Get there early, as previously stated, and do what you really want to do then (obviously not including if there’s something happening at a specific time, then you’ll just have to wait and put up with the crowds).
  • Expect to be bashed – a lot. After 11am when the doors open to the rest of the world, you won’t be able to move much at all. You’ll be herded along, and will have only seconds to look at a stall’s goods before being pushed along more. So…
  • Read up on the website before hand to find out who will be there, what’s going on and what you think you’d like to do. There’s nothing worse than finding out after an event that that-one-person-you’d-die-to-meet could have been mere meters away from you and you had no idea.
  • There’s chances to hear speak or even meet influential people from the gaming, creative, film and tv worlds through panel interviews, by chance bumping into a celebrity, paying to meet a celebrity, or by visiting the brand stalls and signing stalls.

Comic Con Panel Warwick Davis

  • Take food with you. I cannot stress this enough. Yes it’s a pain to carry stuff around with you, but it’s much better than having to stand in some of the world’s longest queues for anything up to an hour (some even longer than that), just to over pay for some small amount of greasy, bland food. Honestly, bring your own.
  • Need to sit for a while? The theatres where the Q and As and panel interviews happen are usually quite quiet and offer seating where you can stop for a breather and eat your lunch.
  • If you see someone has made a great effort with their costume and you like it, tell them. They’ll be over the moon. And if you are dressing up, try out a few poses for your look in the mirror beforehand so you’ve got a bit more than the family photo smiles to bring your character to life.
  • With so much tempting stuff to buy, it’s a good idea to take a set amount of cash that you are willing to spend. Most of the stalls only take cash and although there are cash machines inside the event – the queues are always long and you’re charged for the privilege of using them.
  • Be prepared for it to get smelly in there. That fourteen year old boy’s bedroom smell, yeah, that one.

I think once a year is enough for me, I’m still shattered from the sensory overload that is Comic Con. But it was a great experience and now I know what to expect, I’ll be able to better handle the rough with the smooth.

I’m already planning/trying to think of a good costume for next year’s event; there’s just so many options, where to begin?

I’d love to hear about your experience of Comic Con, have you been before? Planning on going to the next one? Did you cosplay it up or decide against it?

Until next time.

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3 thoughts on “The beginner’s guide to Comic Con

  1. I’ve been to a few locally, don’t really bother with guests and buying stuff, go for the photo opps and take Tiglet and make videos, all great fun! Well done on the Rey costume!

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