10 Keys to an Awesome Comic Con

I shared my Top 10 ways to ruin your Comic Con last week which received 70+ comments! Thanks all for sharing lessons learned from past Cons. I wanted to follow up with some tips on how to turn your experience from good to great. This is the only time of the year to enjoy an event of this magnitude and it takes intentionality to maximize its potential. Here you go and please leave comments with other ideas:

Click through the jump to continue reading the rest of the post…

Embrace the pain; There is nothing easy or efficient with Comic Con. Large crowds and limited seating capacity will affect your attitude worst than a having a Ceti Alpha eel burrowed in your ear. So accept it and enjoy the fact that everything you do will take 3 times longer. Surrounded by thousands of fans, you will not out-run or out-wit anyone. A positive attitude doesn’t happen by accident, it’s a choice. So go with the flow with a smile on your face and be thankful that you were able to get a much coveted ticket to ‘nerdvana’.

Share the love: Getting to know new people can change everything. If you go and leave without meeting new fans, then you really have robbed yourself of the best part. By sharing your story and networking with others, your experience will be 10 times better. I know it’s hard for you introverts but remember, it’s a small world and taking a step of faith can open up all kinds of possibilities. A dinner invite, a saved seat, and Twitter follow can literally change your life. Don’t waste it by being your same, conservative self.

Bend the Spoon: This means believe in yourself and take initiative. Most of the time, it’s easy to let a key opportunity pass because of hesitation. When you see a celeb, writer, producer, or more importantly, a cute girl, go for it immediately. Don’t be obnoxious, but pay a compliment and ask a specific question. ”Wow, how did you make that costume? How does this Con rate with others? Were you always a Comic Con fan? Remember, celebs are real people too, treat them that way and they will treat you the same way. Gawking and asking for photos is what everyone else does. Also, be bold and ask a question in the panel. My friend asked a fun question to Eliza Dushku and we have laughed about it ever since. Be different and bend the spoon.

Social Media is your friend: Even though you are surrounded by thousands, you have to remember that most of the world is on the outside peering in. I have picked up a substantial amount of followers by Twittering and blogging regularly throughout the day. I know it’s hard but waiting days after is too late because it will get lost with everyone else’s updates. So take the time while waiting in line to post updates and news. Comic Con will pass but new fans and followers will continue for a long time.

Play by the rules: The only way this imperfect system works is if we all play by the rules. That means you shouldn’t engage in line cutting or slipping into rooms. I know it’s nice to skip the line but remember that your faithful comrades have been waiting for hours and you wouldn’t want the same thing to happen to you. Pay your dues and support the system.

Be kind and rewind: Before you get upset about something, you will be surprise how far you can get by just asking with a smile. One time, I tried repeatedly to get a coveted Star Trek shirt by waiting in line and I failed several times. By just walking up and explaining my dilemma kindly, I got a shirt. These people fighting off the undead hordes all day long so a little kindness will go a long way.

Let go of your personal space: I know it’s nice to have a buffer zone of seats around you while enjoying your favorite panel. But soooo many seats get sacrifices because they are not together. So as you see late comers wandering around, frantically trying to find seats, consolidate what is around you and offer multiple seating. I know it’s counter intuitive, but a compassionate gesture goes a long way. Who knows you might need it reciprocated back in the next panel.

Splurge on yourself: Unless you are fortunate enough to live locally, this trip is going to cost you and in this economy, it’s not easy on anyone. But, this is the one time of the year to be less practical and get what you have been waiting for. You made it this far so spend a little extra on yourself. To you penny pinchers, stop doing the internal math and pull the trigger. Get that shirt, collectable, autograph, etc that you always wanted. It will last forever and hopefully the debt won’t. After a few years of going, I have forgotten one Con to the next, but the memorabilia has helped solidify it in my memory.

Don’t be a Cosplaya hater: If you are a cosplayer (costume play) veteran, you know that your Comic Con experience is totally different. Instead of being a part of the crowd you become part of the experience. Sure you might not be able to see some of the panels, but it’s extremely rewarding to dress up in your favorite hero and to really give yourself to the fans. It makes others so happy and it will make for a memorable experience for you. So if you always have wanted to dress up at the Con- go for it! Plus, it’s great for ‘leveling up’!

Dream BIG: My guess is that if you are attending then this special and magical place, it is touching at something that is at the core of your heart. This is so much more than just seeing a preview, getting swag, or seeing celebs. From all this pent-up passion, there is probably something greater stirring in you that you were meant to do. Stop containing your passion and share it with the world. Maybe from this, you need to start a new website or blog to communicate with like-minded fans. Maybe you need to quit your job and take a step towards the comics industry. Maybe you need to go back to school to learn about illustration and design. I heard a great quote that said, ‘Stop being an imperfect version of someone else and start being a perfect version of you!” Whatever it is, make it big and go for it. Comic Con is about you discovering yourself. Don’t just sit on it till the next CC but take steps and make your dreams come true. All those stars, artists, producers, and directors you experience were just like you at one time. All they had was passion and a dream and they made it happen. As Master Yoda says “Do or do not, there is no try”- or was that Mr Myagi? You get the point.

You can read more from me at Crazy4ComicCon.com or follow me: @Crazy4ComicCon


About Tony B Kim

  • Troy

    Wonderful post! Im a first timer and this was great information. I’m from Dallas, TX and im spending a small fortune on the trip for me and my GF. It hasnt set in yet, and this article gets me excited.

  • Tony B Kim

    That’s great! I grew up in Plano! So from one Texan to another, welcome to Comic Con!

  • Another tip … TAKE PUBLIC TRANSIT!! Don’t try to find parking!
    From North County – Take the COASTER train – gonctd.com/COASTER
    In San Diego – Take MTS buses and Trolleys – sdmts.com

  • Just to clarify for you out-of-towners …

    North County means North County San Diego, which includes towns like Carlsbad and Oceanside. If you could only get a hotel in those northern San Diego County towns, you should take the COASTER.

  • Troy

    Thanks Tony, I actually live in Frisco and work in Plano. Glad to see another Texan! I actually lived in San Diego for about 4 years (’92-95), my Dad was in the Navy there and I love the place. I definately plan on taking public transit, my hotel is in Hotel Circle.

  • omg!! i almost cried when i read the last tip!
    i’m from argentina and this will be the first time i go to comic con and also the first time i travel abroad so, i can’t be more excited and nervous.
    thanks for the helpful info!

  • tyler

    Great post! Me? Last year was my first comic con. I had such a great time, at dinner one night a colleauge and I thought to ourselves – we could present here – THAT would be great (and be crossed off our bucket list) We put together a panel, and we were APPROVED to do a panel this year! First time panelist! So excited! Yes, we are Friday at 8pm (Room 9), which isn’t prime time, but I will be a panelist at the same conference where Joss Whedon is a panelist. THAT is cool. BTW – our panel is “geekEd.” (geek education) – Bringing Geek Back to Higher Education – come and check our panel – we’ll have cool college SWAG!

  • Mike

    Tony is a mean spirited troll who posts nasty comments about certain people he does not like. These comments have no bearing on facts, just opinions and superstition spreading hate speech.

    He then writes in this article about “sharing the love”. What a hypocrite. He makes these vile hate posts to cause pain and hurt in the hearts of those who may read them. He is an awful person.

    He is the last person I would ever want to associate with at Comic Con. He is a mean two-faced hypocrite.

  • Tony B Kim

    Your not still sore because of my negative review of Summer Glau. I know you love her and all but man, let it go. Why don’t you write up an article of why she is so great. I’d love to hear your thoughts- I be you have some compelling reasons. I’m open.

    Sorry you don’t like me, I think your passion pretty cool. Thanks.

  • Jeanette S C

    This will be my Sophmore year at CC & unlike last year, I’ll not only be with my BFF’s, but with my husband and kids who’ve never gone. I cannot stress enough, how many things I’ve been warning them about. They are in for an experience they have NEVER had, so this article really helps. It’s exactly how I feel about CC. I love it. The craziness, madness, loudness, crowds…and you’re right about breaking down (On the 3rd day of CC & after 4 hours of standing in an autograph line that moved 4 feet, I was the one wandering around the less crowded area of the Exhibition hall, on the phone with my husband crying like a baby…but after an encouraging convo, I got off the phone & proceeded to take pics w/ ALL Cosplayers dressed as my all-time fav characters…and it cheered me up & put me back in the positive) It WILL get to you. There will be at least ONE moment where you will wanna explode on whoever is nearest, so I appreciate this article…it’s very informative, and absolutely true. Thanks~J

  • Raye

    Quick tip: Use your badge to keep on schedule! Each day I write down my “absolutely, can’t miss, must be-on-time places” on an index card and slide it inside the back of my badge holder. Yes, I have my highlighted book of events and my schedule is blocked out on my phone. But in past years I was surprised how often I was compelled to check that I wasn’t missing what was the most important to me. A quick flip of the badge was comforting and easy. Plus, it makes a cool keepsake that lasts long after the phone schedule is erased.