11 Things You Should Know Before Going to the San Diego Comic Con

Every year, we are astonished at the number of people who enjoy San Diego Comic Con. This year's convention will be held July 20-23 at the San Diego Convention Center. If you've decided this is the year you're finally going, you may as well be prepared. And there's no one better to prepare you than Neatorama author and annual SDCC attendee Jill Harness. Learn how to negotiate long lines, what to buy, who to see, where to eat, and how to plan your days at the con to get the most enjoyment and memories out of them. For example,

Hall H is the biggest waste of time and one of the most awful experiences in all of Comic Con. As I mentioned, you have to wait FOREVER to get into the panel, then even if you make it before the cutoff, you’ll still likely be in the back of the room where you’ll just be watching everything on a giant TV screen anyway because the hall is so big you can’t even see the people in front of the room from the back.

Some people will still justify it by pointing out that they got to learn all the amazing stuff about their favorite show or movie before anyone else, but the difference is literally the length of the panel itself because as soon as the panel is over, everything that just happened will be put up on the internet -so you just gave up AT LEAST half of your day at Comic Con just so you could see stuff on a screen happen an hour before the general public.

That makes sense. A first-time attendee would do better to get an overall feel for everything that is Comic Con than to use a whole day for one activity. There's a lot to do, so spend your time well. Check out the rest of the Comic Con tips at Rue the Day.

And whether you're going to SDCC or not, we'll have pictures of the cosplayers from Jill and Zeon the next week, as we do every year

(Image credit: Flickr user Kevin Dooley)


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Ah Hipsters. I feel your pain and give you both sympathy and empathy. Every once and awhile (OK frequently) I troll my kids about them. This one was good, but it doesn't compare to the time I put my hair into a Man Bun. That was epic. Unfortunately there are no pictures. OK fortunately. :)
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It does strike a nerve with me because I hear that every year and 99% of the time, it's from people who have gone one year or who only went to Hall H or didn't even walk the floor. As his blog post states, there's still a huge section of the floor that's all comic books and the funny thing is that you'll hear people bemoaning how there's no comic books because they themselves don't actually want to look at comic or buy comics, they just want to complain because it's the hip thing to do. Obviously you actually care about comics and aren't one of these hipster too-cool-for-everything types that I'm talking about, but they are why I get so short tempered about people saying that crap. The people who actually care about comic books go and buy comic books, or prints from artists who work on comics, they don't sit there and whine about how there's nothing there related to comic books.

SDCC has always been a bit of a different beast because Star Wars was actually first promoted at the convention back in 1976 before anyone even thought the movie would be a hit. No other conventions were home to exclusive movie content back then, but that's what made Comic Con what it is. Complaining about having pop culture stuff at Comic Con is complaining about what made SDCC THE convention of note.

And as the mainstreaming of geek culture (which is precisely what made SDCC so insane over the last decade) is starting to become less of a thing, the crowds are thinning out. A lot of studios are leaving the convention, MTV scaled back it's stupid Fandom Awards ceremony and even companies that do belong there, like Syfy, have greatly reduced their budgets.

The bubble burst, which means soon enough, people who want to buy passes won't have such a tough time getting them and actually getting in to the convention center. With any luck, it will also mean floor space will clear out a little and more independent artists and distributors will be able to get in because that's what the majority of visitors (outside of those Hall H idiots who by and large don't actually visit the floor at all and just want to stand in the same room as a celebrity) actually care about.

Chuck's blog mentioned how there were less people there and he seemed to insinuate that it was because there's free stuff outside, but it wasn't that they issued less passes or that people just decided not to go (it was the same number and they still sold out), but now that they have RIFD chips, people can't "lose" their passes and give extras to their friends or just copy extras on their scanner and print them out. The fewer people in the hall were actually the number of people that were supposed to be there for the last few years. People who are going to all the free stuff outside are largely doing it because they can't get in to the convention itself (trust me, I live in SD and most of my friends go to that stuff for that exact reason).

Bottom line: there's still plenty of comic book stuff and in the next few years, there will be more of it and more fans around to support it.
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Hmmm. Looks like I struck a nerve. All Comic Cons feature cosplay, movies and other related stuff. They're a natural outgrowth and integral to the industry. It's what allows them to survive. San Diego, compared to New York, Boston, Montreal, or most of the other conventions is an entirely different animal. It's mutated.

If you're familiar with comics and the industry you may have heard of Chuck Rozanski, the owner of Mile High Comics in Denver. Chuck's a bit of a lightning rod, but he's been around for a long time. Here's his recent take on San Diego:

Mile High Comics Newsletter
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I always hate this argument. Yes, there's tons of pop culture stuff here, but there are also tons of booths selling comic books, comic book memorabilia and art based on comic books. There are tons of artists making comic books with booths here. Overall, comic book movies and tv shows are the biggest panels at the convention. Just because there's other stuff at the convention doesn't meant there's not also way more comic-related stuff than just about anywhere else. I feel like people don't even want to bother looking at the booths or any of the comic book stuff at the convention and then they want to bitch about there's nothing related to comics -and people always want something to bitch about at SDCC.

And you know what else? Most comic book shops sell stuff related to Star Wars and D&D as well, so I guess they should change their name to reflect that too, right?

People who like comic books tend to like other geek stuff as well. Catering to those interests as well doesn't make a convention or a comic shop less dedicated to comic books.
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You left out the most important thing to know:

Don't go for the comics. What was once the foremost gathering for comics - the industry and profession - has devolved into a pop-culture media fest. They need to change the name.
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