As you already know, San Diego Comic-Con is awesome. If you didn’t, you probably wouldn’t be reading this in the first place. But I’ve been seeing the same question repeatedly from concerned attendees:
“I’m attending Comic-Con by myself this year. Will it still be awesome?”
The short answer, is an emphatic “YES.”
Case in point – I’ve attended Comic-Con exclusively solo since I started going in 2010. Since that time, I’ve met scores of fellow geeks with whom I’ve kept in touch with over the years, many of whom I’ll be seeing at our fan meetup on July 17. Through my network of friends I’ve met during the con, I even got the chance to write for this blog. The moments I’ve experienced the past four years still make me smile upon reflection, and none of them have been made better nor worse because I was attending by myself.
Making New Friends
Being among 130,000 people with common interests sure does has its benefits.
Wherever you are – be it at an offsite event, sitting in a panel, camping out in line – you’re guaranteed any geeky comment will be a conversation-starter with the people around you. What would normally be an offhand comment about feeling like you just got spit out of a Sarlacc pit, or your feet feel like you just hiked barefoot up Mount Doom, at SDCC instead is an ice-breaker. You may be attending by yourself, but you’ll by no means be “alone”. Whether it is the camaraderie of participating in such a big event together, or just spending a lot of time with the people next to you in line or sitting at a panel, you’ll find plenty of situations where you’ll be instantly striking up a conversation, and others will do the same with you.
But that’s only half the fun. Once you start talking, you’ll find interesting things about the people around you. Maybe they’ve traveled from halfway around the world to attend, or maybe they work for your favorite video game developer. Or it could be that you’re introduced to someone from your own backyard, whom you never knew before lived near you. Once you get under the surface, it’s not the common interests, but rather the individuality of others that make the most interesting conversations and lasting relationships.
SDCC is about comics, video games, television, movies, and toys. You may be interested in all of those things, or you might only be there for the comics. When talking with others, you might find that they are more versed in a particular area of the con that you weren’t, and they might pique your interest in something you might have overlooked or never considered to take a glance at. Maybe it’s someone in Artist’s Alley you never would have known about otherwise. Or maybe its praise for a television show you didn’t know existed. Or a cool board game hidden on the exhibit floor that you might have overlooked. Striking up conversations at SDCC is more than just passing the time, it’s about opening your eyes to new and exciting things.
Not Being Over-Encumbered
Let me get geeky for a second. You know in Oblivion, when you take on too much equipment and become over-encumbered? Sometimes you’re slow to move around or halted dead in your tracks until you drop some loot. It’s a PITA, so you load up that PC mod to remove that feature from the game altogether.
Going solo at SDCC is a lot like running that over-encumbered mod, but in real life. See, without having someone else joining you during Comic-Con, you can be flexible in the what you want to see, when you want to see. For example, let’s just say you want to hit that big panel in Ballroom 20, but the line is astronomically long. You can make a quick decision and instead go to an alternate panel, or hit the exhibit floor, or even decide to check out the many events in the Gaslamp. SDCC is all about choices, as we’ve said before, and there are so many variables that it’s wise to just go with the flow, lest you’ll miss some spontaneous happening or encounter that would make your con. Like a random encounter with a celebrity.
You also won’t have to worry about finding someone in a crowd, or scheduling a set time to meet at a certain place. Enjoy your freedom to wander about and take things in at your own pace, on your own schedule.
That leads me to my last point. The best thing about going solo at SDCC is that you don’t have anyone to worry about except yourself. Maybe that’s selfish of me, but sometimes it’s therapeutic and necessary to maintain one’s sanity. You won’t have to worry about some else’s plans to score that hard-to-get exclusive merchandise, or compromising on which panel to attend when there’s a logjam in the schedule. Comic-Con is intense, but only as much as you want it to be, so slow it down and enjoy the geek ambiance every once in a while, without worrying about the “other person”. Make it the best con experience for you.
Do you have any solo tips you would like to share with our readers? Let us know in the comments.