The last time I went to Comic-Con,, you actually had room to walk around the grounds without making like a salmon to get past the next horde of otaku or faux-paparazzi scrum around a scantily-clad geeky girl. Mind you, this was less than five years ago, which tells you how gigantic of a clusterfuck it's turned into by now. Still, I'm not gonna turn down a one-day free pass to the thing. And neither should you. You just need to play it smart. Here's a few tips: ******* 1. Be Respectful. You wouldn't think I would need to list this, right? Unfortunately, there's still schmucks out there who take being socially awkward as an excuse for being socially irresponsible. Kevin Church explains here. That crap shouldn't be happening, pure and simple.
2. Skip The Panels. They're just not worth the time anymore for a one-day trip. Of course, as MightyGodKing says, your basic panel falls into one of three categories, anyway:
9:00: You’re a Retard And You Think You Have A Future In Comics So Here Are Some Really Basic Baby Steps You’ll Probably Ignore Anyway
9:45: Hey, Remember That Old Comic We Did? Want To Hear Some Rambling, Only Intermittently Entertaining Stories About It?
10:30: Big Comics Company Wants You To Hear About Its Exciting Upcoming Projects! Guaranteed To Be As Exciting As Any Marketing Initiative Has Ever Been!
Do any of those sound like the kind of gatherings you want to sit around for hours waiting to get into? Is it that important for you to get those utterly inconsequential "hints" about the next season of Captain WonderPants? Do you really want to be the live-action version of those goons who post "FIRST!" in a thread? Didn't think so.
3. Pack deodorant, spare socks and a spare shirt. There's thousands of geeks and fangirls walking in circles for miles in an enclosed area in the summer in California. Many of them wear black. Many of them don't usually walk that many miles in one day the rest of the year. Add up the odorous potential. You'll thank me for this later.
4. Want a pic? Have a schtick. Yes, there are an awful lot of pretty people walking around. And an awful lot of them happen to be female. But let's refer back to tips #1 and 3 for a second: even if you have the best of intentions and are somehow not a Sweaty Fanboy, you have to expect some people to be a little leery of randomly wrapping an arm around some dude they chanced upon in the crowded aisle. Luckily for me, I came armed with alternatives. These may work for you:
* Absent Friends: my co-worker Roger and Brother Kev-Fu couldn't make it to Con this year, so they asked me to shoot some stuff on their behalf. I scribbled "HI KEV" and "HI ROG" on a notepad, and alternated telling their stories to whoever I wanted to shoot. Nobody got lied to, nobody was forced to touch me, and I got good shots out of it. Everybody wins!
My last tip is optional; if you're already following it, you're probably in for the long haul.
5. Have something to pitch: Put simply, you never know when you're going to get the chance to. Not only did I bump into DC Comics head Dan DiDio, but I found myself atop a high-rollers hotel in downtown, with the chance to talk to Whitney Masterson from USA Today, and both times I had nothing. I did, however, give Whitney a mixtape that I'm sure continues to rock her world. No, really. Quit looking at me like that. Just go, have fun, and don't stink up the joint, alright?
Besides writing my thoughts and reviews here, I'm a Special Correspondent for Racialicious.com and the co-creator and co-host of Hour 42, a podcast covering superheroes -- in the air, on the air and all around us.
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I'm not a good person. I'm the guy who whistled "Always Look On The Bright Side" during Passion Of The Christ. I've gone to SCA battles and yelled, "WHAT'S IN YOUR WALLET?!" You can say it, it's okay: Smart-ass. Jerk. Bigmouth. This is where I share my take on ... well, basically everything. But especially the geeky stuff in life.