Back in 1970 when Shel Dorf brought the first Comic Con to San Diego, I doubt he ever imagined what it would turn into 50 years later. 300 people has turned into a swarm of well over 180,000. That’s even a swell of 50,000+ since 2013! Exhibitors, street vendors, cosplayers, celebrities… everyone comes out in droves. I’ve been going since 2012 and the amount of growth I’ve seen from there to now even is incredible. So, what’s the pull? What keeps us wanting to go back with such a crowd? Is it worth it?
As a fan of comics, movies, tv, games, and collectibles, Comic-Con International: San Diego provides all these things and more. Walking through the crowd this year I would find myself saying “Look at that!” or “Niiiiiicccccceeee.” There just seemed to be astounding pieces that would surprise you around every corner. That happiness would lift you up and carry you through the slow moving herd of people, the long walks that you forgot you were on, and the hours spent waiting in line. You would float, and right as you would start to come down (if that happened at all) another sign or figure or beautiful cosplayer would start that feeling all over again.
It’s the addictive passion that fans exude every day of the five day event, that sparks curiosity and our own sense of passion that carries us through the convention. It stays in our hearts even after its over and makes us feel past the exhaustion that, hey, we can keep on doing this.
If you haven’t been to San Diego Comic Con (SDCC) before, but want to go here’s a few tips.
- There is a lot of tips out there. Make sure to do your research and pick a plan of action before embarking on anything having to do with the con. That includes tickets!
- Get those tickets early! This is a big one. You might be saying, “Well, SDCC 2020 is a year from now.” Yeah, my point exactly. Start planning now! Put the ticket dates in your calendar, do what you have to now so that when the gates open for everyone to get tickets you were ready months ago. Always remember there is someone if not thousands of people out there who are already more organized than you and who will make the ticket portal sell out within minutes, if not seconds, the day it opens. Trust me on this, it’s happened if within the professional badges circuit.
- Make plans for lodging and parking as early as possible! Things will happen and yes, you may be able to find these things within days of getting to the convention. However, if you don’t want to end up looking like the Black Knight from Monty Python and the Holy Grail because of all the money you would have to spend to get those things last minute, then make sure to start planning now for next year. And be creative! Keep in mind that trying to think of alternative ways of approaching where to stay and where to park may save you time and money. In years past, I have stayed in hotels and airb&bs, and sometimes its been with a group of people in a room and others with just my family. Each have their perks but it’s best to consider all of these things when making your plan.
- Have as many things planned out before that week! Consider SDCC to be a great production. You want to do a very thorough pre-production before it begins. Being able to attack the show with confidence and ease will relieve so much stress. There’s many things you won’t be able to plan, but knowing you have done your homework will really help you handle those unknowns when they arise. (I’ve never run into this problem before *wink*wink*) Also, when you pick up your schedule that first day, set aside some time to review it and pin point the events or panels you want to attend. This will help your timing of things for the rest of the week and insure you don’t miss anything you really wanted to see.
- Preview Night is the best night for purchasing exclusives. Though you will still have some luck throughout the rest of the week and if you are extremely, extremely lucky then there may still be some around on Sunday. Make sure that if you do want one of the big ticket items, like Funko or Hasbro, that you are aware of how to go about it. Most of the more popular exclusives have a process where you have to get a ticket to be in line, etc. in order to be a part of possibly getting an exclusive. It’s been said before that one does not simply walk into Hall H and that goes for exclusives, as well. One does not simply walk-in and get an exclusive.
- If you want to cosplay, keep in mind how well you move and if you think you’d be able to hold up for many hours in heat. If you think you can last up to 4 hours, then make sure to be aware of that in your planning. The days will go by quicker than you think so every moment is a gem and you don’t want to look back regretting the time lost.
- Take snackies with you and a bottle of water! There is a plethora of eating spots and whistle-watering holes to keep you stuffed to the gills, however, to save on money, I recommend taking some bits you can throw in your bag (which you should always have a bag of some sort). This will not only keep you going, save you money, but will also cut down on time having to go get those things. Remember… long lines, big crowds… need I continue?
- Take a black magic marker, a pen, and a notebook with you. You never know who you will meet or what you may want signed in the moment. Make sure you are ready for any situation!
- Take breaks! Now after all that about not wasting time I should take breaks? Yes! Just factor them in and take them when you can. There’s a lot of stimulation on top of a lot of people, a lot of excitement, and long days. Make sure to take care of yourself during the whole convention so that you can last the five days without burnout or getting sick. Think of it as an observation moment for cosplay watching!
- Have fun!!! I think this would go without saying, but when people get tired or frustrated because they can’t get what they want or where they want to be, they get moody. Mood begets mood begets mood. To keep on the lighter side of things, remember what you love in the first place, what brought you to the convention, your favorite shows, superheroes, artists… take in that this is a moment in time and how wonderful and bizarre it all is. Enjoy it! And pass on that fan passion to the person who is standing in line behind you!