Sunday, September 16, 2012

To Come in Costume or Not in Costume, Welcome to the World of Cons

I have been to ONE comic book convention. It was splendiferous! I felt a wave of Nerdvana wash over me as I first stepped out of the car. We had seen a few people in costume. But, the girl getting out of the car just then, she made my day. I was the only one in our group that knew who she was. Well, the character. I even knew the episode! "Shindig" from Firefly. Out steps a lovely auburn haired girl in a pink confectionery delight of tiers upon tiers of ruffle. I knew that I had found my happy nerdy home.

So, I decided that since I have a few friends who have never been to a "Con" (short for convention), I would make a list of hints, tips and general things to know before you go. My lovely assistant Jerry Don shall help me. OK, he has been way to way more conventions than me.

1. Bring your camera. And, make sure it is well charged. Yes, you will have your phone. But, I assure you, the service will be non-existent and/or the battery WILL die. There are so many things and people you will want to take your picture with. And, don't think, "OH, I will come back to take the picture then". Most likely, you won't get another opportunity.

2. Check the website before you go. You will want to be prepared for how much autographs and such will cost. Yes, the big celebrities will charge you for an autograph. Some of the actors will even charge you to take a picture with you. But, not all. Some will have prints available to sign. They might charge for them. They might not. When we got the autographs of David Prowse (Darth Vadar) and Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett) we could have had our pictures done. But, we were so excited, we forgot. David Prowse had prints available that he included in his price. we had one with Vadar and Boba. FYI Star Wars actors are generally far  more "generous" than Star Trek. So, we have them framed together. And, just because the site says that they won't be there, they might still. It's best to be prepared. The comic book artists at the last convention in Dallas would sign up to two pieces of work. And, some will even do sketches for you. 

This is my favorite comic book. I got to meet the artist Jamie Tyndall in Dallas. Also got a signed print. He is a really nice guy. His wife does cosplay. Speaking of which...

3.  Cosplay, short for "costume play," is a type of performance are in which the participants don costumes and accessories to represent a specific character or idea. There will be cosplayers at conventions. The bigger the convention, the more cosplayers. When taking photos of cosplayers, common courtesy is to ask permission and ask their name and verify their name. Besides, they are generally hams, and they will pose for you.  These guys and girls spend a lot of time on their costume. And, some of them are nationally known. Tallest Silver and Kit Quinn are our favorites. Here are some examples.

A female Gambit - Marvel

Black Widow - Marvel
Poison Ivy - DC
Storm - Marvel
Darth Maul - Star Wars

 And, if you want to come to a convention in costume, you will most likely be asked to get your picture made. Be a good sport. :)

4. You will want to each bring a back pack. Even if you don't normally, you'll want one. There are so many things to buy. And, if you are planning on bringing items to have autographed, you'll need it. Also, it gives you room for the camera we mentioned earlier. Plus, you may not want to leave things like a GPS in your car. You will have to pay for parking. But, that still doesn't guarantee your car will NOT get broken into. Another thing that you may want to consider is a poster tube. I would post a picture of ours. But, I can't remember where it is. Most of the prints available are not small. And, they have straps, so your hands are free. And, look around before you start actually shopping. There are going to be booths selling the same goods. Some booths will be a lot more expensive than others.

5. Bring snacks and a bottle of water. There are concession stands. But, they are not cheap. And, there will be lines. Generally, long lines. And, you are not going to want to leave for lunch and come back. 

6. Label your child. If I took a child under 10, I would use a Sharpie, write your names and numbers on their arm. Mostly because there are so many people in one building. 

7. Expect long lines. So, whenever possible, buy your tickets ahead of time. It is not unheard of to spend 2 hours getting in without tickets. And, long lines EVERYWHERE. Food, booths, to get in, to the bathrooms. Just be ready.

8. Even if you are in a group of adults, pick a meeting place. As I stated earlier, the phone reception in most convention centers is really bad. So,you can't count on being able to call or text each other.

9. There will be costume contests, panel interviews and such. Figure on being there early. It may be packed. Especially if Stan Lee or Patrick Stewart are involved. Also, if you are in a group, you might have someone hold seats for you.

10. Don't expect to see every star. Just because they are in the building, you might not see them. (I DID get to see Summer Glau, however. She is as lovely and graceful in real life as she is on screen.

11. When you meet a celebrity, rule of thumb is to never quote one their lines. It gets REALLY old.

12. Even though it is a "comic book convention" there will be booths, actors, artists and vendors from a variety of genres including, gaming, comics, anime, sci-fi, and all things geeky. INCLUDING Doctor Who. Lots of Doctor Who. I love Doctor Who. If David Tennant ever comes to a Con in Texas, I will simply die. 

13. The Dallas Con is not the San Francisco Con. The bigger the Con, the more there is to see, do and buy. There are often movie previews, a lot more actors, exclusive merchandise, and more opportunities in general. However, there will be a lot more people, a lot less true "nerd" based media and much longer lines
14. And, if you are an artist, feel free to bring your own work. The artists are generally very kind, patient and supportive of other artists. Our kids shared their work with Richard Dominguez, I believe it was. He gave the kids very patient and enthusiastic critiques.

15: Wear Tennis Shoes. If you are in costume, bring them. There is NO WHERE to sit down inside.

16. Steampunk... Well, that's just another blog all together.

1 comment:

Spiffy said...

And don't be afraid to talk to the comic artists and writers. They are there because of you the fans. Without you, they wouldn't have jobs. They know this, and you'd be surprised by how gracious, kind and eager they are to meet you. Or you could be like me, the hovering painfully near their table until they look up and then stutter like an imbecile when asked, "Would you like a sketch?"

I could cosplay Awesome Android, walk around with a chalkboard tied around my neck. My Con conversations might go more smoothly then.