It's known by many names.
The Big Enchilada. Geekstock. Comic Book Mecca. Whatever it's nickname, the San Diego Comic Con is the largest confluence of pop cultural currents on the planet...and something every comic book fan should try to attend at least once.
Me? I've been to two Comic Cons, one in 2003 and another in 2005. Both trips had plenty of positives and a few negatives, but overall they were some of the most exciting, interesting, surprising and...yes...surreal experiences of my life.
However, as fun as those visits were, I sure would have appreciated getting some advice from experienced "Con Veterans" as I was planning them (especially the first one). Sure, I was able to nab a few tips here and there off the internet, and the Con itself does a fairly good job of explaining things, but alot of my plan was pure improvisation...exciting and invigorating in one way, yet not always the ideal situation when you're spending wads of cash to fly thousands of miles to a bewilderingly huge event in an unfamiliar city.
With that in mind, I thought I'd share some of my own tips, observations and recommendations for those of you who'll be attending your first Comic Con this summer (July 26-28), or maybe contemplating a future visit. I'm by no means as experienced as others are, and every person goes to the Con with a different set of expectations and goals...but for people who are:
(A) essentially superhero comic book fans,
(B) on a budget and
(C) not a comic biz big-shot, reporter, networker, or acolyte/sidekick, maybe I'll have some helpful information for you.
Rather than cram everything into a single entry, I thought I'd tackle individual topics over the next several weeks, including:
2. Gearing Up
Oh, by the way, I will be hitting the Con again this summer...though this time around I'll only be attending on Sunday, the final day.
Why only one day? Well, while toying with a return trip earlier this year, I came across some great airfare deals. So great, in fact, that I suggested to my wife that we take our family vacation this summer in sunny San Diego...the same week as the Con!
You see, during my previous two "pilgrimages", it was a little frustrating to spend virtually the entire four days inside the San Diego Convention Center without getting to see anything else in that beautiful oceanside city. So, this time around, I'll get to soak up the San Diego experience for most of the week, then hit the Con for awhile on Sunday with the family, who have no earthly idea what's in store for them.
That is, if they haven't read my San Diego Survival Guide by then.