Adrian and Eileen of the Adrian Has Issues podcast/blog run down 5 essential tips for enjoying (and enduring) comic book conventions.
The ever-increasing popularity of comic book culture has ensured fans that they don’t have to wait very long until the next convention rolls into town. Summer marks the height of the convention season, with many vacationers either adding stops at cons to their itineraries or planning trips around them altogether. Whether you’re racking up frequent flyer miles or just staying local, comic cons are fun destinations and great networking opportunities. We at Adrian Has Issues have provided some useful tips to help make your convention experience an enjoyable one!
1. Do Your Homework
Attending a comic book convention for the first time can be an exciting experience. However, they can also feel a little intimidating. Most conventions offer programs and booklets which include floorplans, booth numbers, panel rooms, etc. Familiarizing yourself with this information can save you a lot of time and needless backtracking. Also, convention websites may allow printable versions of this information online and some provide downloadable apps for easy navigation. To save even more time, it is good practice to obtain this information early on. That way, you can create your own schedule of events to participate in and leave extra time for walking the floor.
Additionally, premium photo ops and autograph sessions may require pre-payment via website or limited numbers of tickets may be distributed at designated areas within the convention on a first-come, first serve basis. Learning this information prior to entering the con will help make sure that you don’t miss out.
2. Wear Comfortable Shoes
The amount of time you wish to spend at a convention may vary depending on your schedule. If you’re like me, you’ll want to take in as many signings, panels and photo ops as you can. Cons can be held anywhere from one to four days with each day extending as long as 8-to-10 hours. These hours could be extended if you attend any after-hours events. That’s a lot of walking! Comfortable shoes are essential to navigating conventions. Cross-trainers are always good shoes to wear, as they’re already designed for athletes. However, if you’re compelled to wear other types of shoes, picking up a pair of insoles can provide extra cushioning.
3. Bring (Healthy) Snacks
Dining options may vary depending on the venue’s size, unless you are willing to go off-grounds to outside eateries. In order to tide yourself over until lunch and/or dinner, some light snacking is a necessity. I’m mainly saying this from experience: It’s super-tempting to binge on junk food and energy drinks to get a quick boost while you’re waiting on lines. That quick boost will undoubtedly be short-lived and the last thing you’d want is to feel sluggish and lethargic while you’re getting that sweet photo op. Instead, pack light snacks with fiber and/or protein to keep you full without the burnout of quick carbs. Not only will you be hungry, you’ll probably be thirsty too. Stash extra bottles of water or sports drinks with you, stopping frequently to stay hydrated.
4. Consent, Courtesy And Safety Are Key
Your convention experience will be filled with a plethora of sights to see. You’ll want to capture it all on various forms of media--whether it be photos, video and even live streaming on social media--to commemorate the event. While you may want to snap a pic of cosplayers or celebrities and share them , asking their permission first goes a long way to ensure that everybody has a good time. Should the individual decline the offer for any reason, respect their wishes. Be aware of your surroundings and make note of any and all exits in case of an emergency. Additionally, most conventions employ volunteers who are on-hand to assist attendees with numerous issues that may arise throughout the weekend.
5. Make Connections
Conventions aren’t just for entertainment purposes. They also present opportunities to network with creators and others in either the comic or related industries. Take note of any panels in the con's programming pertaining to either networking or marketing. Depending on their schedule, some comic creators might be willing to review a portfolio of your work at their booth or at a designated panel. Comic book publishers or related companies often host "after-parties" at venues located in or outside of the convention. These are great avenues for people looking to network with industry types in a more relaxed environment.
Bonus: Here are some quick traveling tips courtesy of our friends at A Life Fantastic!
- Bring a copy of ID/Passport.
- Refer to your airline for which items are allowed on a plane and which are not. Search local hobby shops/stores for last-minute cosplay necessities. Large items can be shipped directly to your hotel if necessary.
- Bring cash and keep it secure on your person at all times.
- Avoid excessive walking. Research the area for any taxi/Uber/Lyft options.
About The Authors
Adrian King is the host and creator of the Adrian Has Issues podcast. Foregoing typical interview structures, Adrian relies more on in-depth and informative conversations filled with absurdist humor to keep guests and listeners on their toes.
When not yapping on podcasts, Adrian can be found playing videogames, writing numerous unfinished scripts and blogging about bands you probably haven't heard of.
Eileen Melendez may be the Producer and Creative Director of Adrian Has Issues, but don't mistake her for being just a "Girl Friday." She is the glue which holds this very podcast together. Whether it be scheduling, public relations (and the occasional swift kick in the ass), Eileen keeps the show running and is truly the best girlfriend Adrian could ever ask for.
In between working behind the scenes or serving as the occasional co-host, Eileen is also a talented poet and artist under the moniker, Verse In The Heart.