Gather around my childrens, my brethren, my sistren (?)…my peoples. The eve of Comic-Con International 2014 is upon us. 23 years I’ve been doing this wonderful walkabout.
I’ve seen it all – The Good: That one year when Hayao Miyazaki, fresh from his announcement to retire, got a wall to wall standing ovation in a packed to the brim Hall H. Domo, Hayao-san. And I’ve witnessed The Bad: Remember that year with all the Pogs?!? Brrrrrrr. Things change and things get more expensive – Seriously, $2.00 for a can of Coke?!? When I begrudgingly buy one, I hand the cashier my money and raise my hands… cause if you’re gonna rob me, it might as well look authentic. Things are always in a constant state of flux, some for the worse and some for the better.
But there is always going to be one thing that stays constant – year after year, Vampirella after Vampirella, there is always going to be people who are unprepared for what is going to happen at Comic-Con. Most of it you can chalk it up to rookie mistakes. Some of it is from vets who haven’t learned from their mistakes yet. Perhaps it’s time for some Con Basics. Hey, nobody told me about this when I first started. I had to bumble around and learn the hard way. And since the Internet was in it’s infancy when I began, now that I can reach many people all at once, maybe its time to reach out to people and get them to start off on the right foot.
Bring a bag, preferably a messenger bag with quick and simple side access. A backpack will do, but you’ll have to deal with stopping, taking off the backpack, putting it on the ground, and unzipping and re-zipping it up. You just need something to keep your stuff, and oh boy, there will be stuff to get. You’ll want something to carry all the merchandise you purchase, or miraculously win, or sometimes, in varying degrees, you’ll come across some sweet, sweet SWAG. Ah, SWAG- Stuff We All Get. They will provide you a bag. But its the most cumbersome bag you can imagine. Basically, it will be like a giant sandwich board you wear to help promote something you most likely don’t normally support. And it’s not just ridiculously big… its Moby Dickulously big. Unless you’re as tall as a Wookie, this free bag you get will just drag on the ground like a sad, sad cape of unwieldy inconvenience. Remember, just cause you get it, doesn’t mean you have to use it. So, yeah. Bring your own bag.
Bring some water. You’ll need to stay hydrated. And hello, $2.00 for a can of Coke. Did I mention, they only had Diet Coke left?! I am not proud of it. I was young and I needed the cold high fructose corn syrup. Pssst…$8.00 paper boat of nachos. Sorry if that last sentence made you spill a reasonably priced can of Coke onto your internet viewing device. But yeah, they have that inside the Convention Center snack bars. And the reason they can sell something at 200% inflation is people are willing to cough up the dollars to get it. People get hungry and snack bar food is just nearby. One way you can fight the hungrys, and in doing so will also fight the wallet jackings, is to bring your own water. It will cool you down when you need it (and you will need it). It will hydrate you so you don’t get so thirsty that more expensive drinks sound like a good idea. And the water in your belly will help make you feel full, and it will delay the hungry feeling until its time to walk out the door and find delicious food at reasonable prices elsewhere.
Bring a good pair of sturdy shoes – not sandals, not slippers/flip flops, not Uggs, etc. There’s no going around it. Your feet are gonna hurt because you will be on your feet most of the time at the Con. One year I needed to leave early, my friend and I walked the floor lengthwise from the lower 100 aisles to the high 1000 aisles. It literally took 30 minutes to accomplish this. Not necessarily because its a lengthy distance, but also because there were so many people in the pedestrian traffic with us that we had to take tiny baby steps just to move forward. Now each of those baby steps would be more tolerable if you had a comfy pair of shoes.
Snug fitting shoes will help your feet feel less awful at the end of the day. Roomy shoes will make whatever part of your feet and ankle start to chafe once you start rubbing up against it during your trek around the Convention floor. You can tell who has not followed this advice in the afternoon. You go back on the floor and you see exhausted bodies, leaning up against the cold concrete wall, all looking like a sad menagerie of kids who got taken out of the dodgeball game by a giant wallop to the face with the red jelly ball. One year, early in the day, we saw a very authentic looking Street Fighter Ken and Street Fighter Ryu walking around Cosplaying. They were so authentic that they walked around barefoot- way to stay dedicated to the character. But come around 3pm, we passed both of them sitting under a tree near the sidewalk, miserable and massaging their feet. Inadequate Footwear Ultra Super Hyper Combo Knock Out!!!
Okay, time to get personal. Lets talk (looks to the left, looks to the right) personal bodily odors. Hey, we’ve all been there. That moment when you are having a not-so-fresh feeling. Well guess what, some of your fellow Con-Goers stink, reek even. And they simply aren’t aware (Personal Nose Blindness), or just don’t care if they do. Bring your own personal aroma paraphernalia. I can’t stress this more. Overindulge yourself with lotion, or cologne, deodorant, body spray, baby powder, whatever you use to smell civilized. Use it and use more than you normally would. Do this only because there are some folks out there who do NOT do this. It’s just them, out there in the elements, with barely a thin sheet of cotton cloth between you and their musk. There have been times when I have figuratively walked into an area inhabited by somebody else’s body funk; like some invisible booby trap that attacks your lungs and nose and makes you cry. And you look around, and the guy who owned the funk is leaving those death traps every time he lingers too long in one spot. The only defense for this dirty bomb, biochemical warfare is to shield yourself with a fortress of pleasing smells. I know, sometimes it would just make you feel better if you go up to a stinky person and just punch them in the face with a boxing glove soaked in Febreez…but violence is not the answer. Have we learned nothing from the Nerd-on-Nerd mechanical pencil shivving that occurred several years ago?! Can’t we all just get along and more importantly smell pleasant?!
And with that, I shall leave you. I know it seems like a lot to take in but it’s not really.
- Bring a bag.
- Bring good shoes.
- Bring water.
- Make sure you smell abundantly good.
Now take these Con Basics and go and frolic and get hyped. Got everything? Everyone ready to storm the castle? Double check your gear. Get your badge on and be visible. Leeeeeerooooy Jennnnnkiinnnssss!!!!!