Countdown to Bristol International Comic & Small Press Expo 2010 – Day 13 ‘Ten Tips for the Comic Con Newbie’

As I was wondering what to do for today’s countdown I was checking the tweets on twitter and realised that a fair few people that are heading to Bristol are doing so for the first time and for some this is their first ever comic con. So for today’s countdown I’ve got together with some of the con folk to put together a fun little list of handy tips for the con.

1. Have an idea what you want to do before you.

Before you head to the con it may be worth getting all the panels printed out to bring to have a look at. Chances are there will be a programme guide handed to you on the door but it’s worth having one anyway. You can then  compare them side by side tick those panels you really want to attend and make sure they don’t clash with other panels or signing times. To help here’s an easy text document with all the panels for you to print out. You could rearrange them so you’ve just got the panels you want to attend on them, up to you!

The Ramada Panels

The Mercure Panels

You don’t have to get too anal and make a list of every single thing you want to see and do but just having an idea in your head of some of the things you want to check out can be useful.

2. Creators don’t bite…well most don’t

I know some folks who really want to go up to creators and have a chat with them but for some reason are scared to do so. A  lot of these guys have come in from other countries so this may be your one chance to have a chat and get some insight into your fave creator’s mind, maybe even have a drink with them in the bar later. I’m hear to tell you to just go for it as all creators I’ve gone up to at the con have been friendly and more than happy to chat to (so long as you don’t go Bat Shit crazy on em) whoever so give it a try and chat to a creator today.  Of course if they punch you in the face don’t mention my name.

3. Don’t spend all your cash on the first con circuit.

The first con I did I made the  rookie mistake of spending pretty much all the cash I had on the first circuit  and then discovering some hidden gems I could no longer afford. Pick a few things up for sure (especially if they don’t have many copies) but it’s always worth hanging onto some cash for the second or third trip round.

Also watch out you don’t spend that beer money either (another classic mistake on my part) you’re going to need it.

4. Don’t be afraid to go Small Press

Whether your a hard core DC or Marvel fan and you’ve never tried a small press title before make the effort to hit the Small Press Expo over at the Mercure and give one a try. I still love my Marvel and DC stuff but there is a bucket load of fantastic small press stuff out there waiting for your time and money.

I know I passed by the Dexter’s Half Dozen guys a few times at a con and then they pitched their comic to me by saying ‘It’s the Dirty Dozen meets Indiana Jones’. I bought two issues on the spot and loved it. They also gave me a free coke…result!

5. Bring a small backpack if poss and allow for extra space for the trip home.

You may not be planing to buy a lot but let me tell you once you pick up a few trades, perhaps a model or two that sturdy plastic bag won’t seem quite so sturdy. Having a small backpack is a useful accessory to have. Also remember unless you’ve got a car you’ve got to carry what you’ve bought home so that eight foot cardboard cutout of Power Girl may not be an practical purchase after all.

6. Whiskey please my good fellow!

There’s a lot drinking that goes on at a comic con (not by me of course). No law saying you can’t have a bottle or two of the good stuff  in your hotel room for a few drinks before the evening kicks off (the hotel staff take a dim view of people topping up hip flasks at the bar so try not do it).  Oh and please eat something before hand not like me who seems to think that the Chips fairy is going to appear and drop some much need sustenance in his lap.

6. Bring a Sketch Book and pricing.

If you want sketches then bring a sketch book…nuff said really. Be aware that when asking for sketches some artists will charge and some won’t. The price on this can vary so be aware.

7. Bring reference material if you’re after a specific sketch.

Very useful piece of advice that I’ve fallen foul of. You may think that your fave creator will know exactly how to draw Indiana Jones and Doc Savage kicking Batman’s ass but chances are the conversation will end with he or she saying ‘Doc who?’ So if your desperate for that once in a lifetime sketch then bring along a pic of the character in question. If the creator doesn’t need it then great but is it really worth the risk?

8. You’re not chained to the Con

If you’re like me, who can get a little clausterphobic with all the people and what not, a con can be a bit much sometimes. There’s a tendency to just go round and round and round getting more stressed about how busy it is. If you hit that point maybe go to the other con at the Ramada or visa versa (one is usually more busy than the other at any one time). Head to your hotel for a bit and chill out with a new comic, maybe hit the pub for a drink and a snack the con will still be there when you get back I promise and hopefully you’ll be a little less stressed.

9.  Cleanliness is next to godliness…or something like that

There’s a lot of bodies crammed into a typical comic con and it can get HOTTER than Satan’s armpit (hmm does Satan even have armpits I wonder?). Some of you folks thinking you can get away with natural musky scent and no deodorant I say think again people, come prepared to battle the forces of B.O. Also to combat aforementioned heat bring some water (chilled if poss)with you.

10. Post Con Blues

This is a dangerous one. Symptoms include, tiedness, sore legs and feet, dehydration, mood swings and the urge to have long skype/forum conversations which start with ‘Do you remember when this happened?” or “So funny when so and so said this…”. Usually comes on the first day back at work/home after a con. In extreme cases it can cause the victim to suddenly look at the norms in the office and feel the urge to scream’ YOU’RE ALL ASLEEP! WAKE UP AND JOIN ME IN THE WORLD OF COMICS BITCHES!!!’  this is followed by crying and drooling for about ten minutes* and more screaming. This is something you have to ride out and it will pass. If you’re lucky there’s another con around the corner which will help to ease P.C.B (hello MCM Expo Comic Village) but eventually it will catch up with you. There is no cure but be safe in the knowledge that others are suffering and it means congratulations you’ve just survived and hopefully enjoyed your first con!

* times vary depending, on height,weight and age.

Thanks to Dave, Stephen, Cheryl, Simon,Lee and Derek for helping me put this list together. Please feel free to add more tips in the comments section!

See you tomorrow!

GS Reporter: Nuge

More from the world of Geek Syndicate

%d bloggers like this: