Comic Convention Survival Guide

Subject:      San Diego Comic Con Survival Guide - suggestions?
From:         AP's Matt [antarc@texas.net]
Date:         1996/06/24
Message-Id:   [4qlasa$iq8@news2.texas.net]
Newsgroups:   rec.arts.comics.misc

Well, it is only a week and a half until this year's San Diego Comic
Con, where tens of thousands of comic fans diverge to the city at the
corner of the US for a four-day comic fest.  And, as always, there
will be plenty of "first-timers" attending.  So, I have an idea:  What
about putting together a "San Diego Comic Con Survival Guide" to help
the first-timers survive the convention?  Here's a couple of
suggestions to start the list:

1)  Make sure to wear comfortable shoes.  The San Diego Convention
Center is BIG - probably close to a quarter of a mile across  (well,
maybe not quite that big, but it does take some time to walk from one
end to the other).  You will probably end up walking a few miles a
day, and you'll probably be on your feet for hours on end.  The LAST
think you want to wake up with on Friday morning is a couple of big
blisters on your heels.

2)  Bring a backpack, sack, or something easy to carry with you. 
Whether you are bringing comics for creators to sign, or you are
buying lots of stuff, you'll be glad when you have something handy to
carry your stuff around in.  Many people bring luggage carts, which is
fine - but keep in mind that the Convention Center does not allow
wheeled carts in the foyer.

3)  You might want to bring a few cokes or bottles of water with you
to the convention center.  The cost for drinks and other concession
items at the Convention Center is horrendous - sometimes $2 for a can
of coke.

4)  Make sure to visit the ATM *before* you come to the convention
center.  The line for the ATM at the con is usually very, very long by
the end of the day, and you don't want to be stuck in the ATM line for
30 minutes.

5)  If you plan on buying your ticket at the convention center, try to
get there as early as possible.  The line to get into the convention
center in the morning is very, very, very long - several hundred
people (if not a couple thousand people) all standing in line.  The
convention center opens at 9:45, but the line starts backing up at
around 8:00 AM.

6)  The San Diego Convention Center is just south of the "Gaslamp
District", which is the old downtown area of San Diego.  There are
plenty of good restaurants there, ranging from fast food to upscale
dining, and going out to eat there can be a good respite from the
convention itself.  However, some of the more popular restaurants
(like Cabo Cabo, The Spaghetti Warehouse, and The Brewery) get
absolutely packed in the early evening just as the convention is
closing down.  If you plan on going to some of the more popular
eateries, you might want to go during the off hours, like
mid-afternoon.

7)  Beware some of the downtown sections of San Diego at night.  There
are some seedy and dangerous parts of town (such as around the Hotel
San Diego, which is nicknamed the "Hotel Slum Diego"), and it is best
to go walking in groups late at night.  If at all possible, use the
Convention Hotel buses, which circle the whole downtown area (for
FREE) on a regular basis - sometimes as frequently as every 10 minutes.

8)  Be careful of how much you spend.  Since the San Diego Comic Con
is the largest convention in the US, it also has the most amount of
merchandise to offer, from the rarest of Golden Age comics to all
those hard-to-find independent comics you've searched for the past
three years.  It is a good idea to set a spending limit before you
enter the convention, and stick to that limit.  With most vendors
accepting credit cards and personal checks, it is very easy to
overspend.  Remind yourself that you don't have to buy everything on
the first day - stuff rarely sells out on Thursday or Friday.  Take
the first day to just browse and compare prices, and then come back
the next day to make your purchases - that way you won't make any
"rash" decisions and hit your limit too early.

Anyway, these are just a couple of suggestions.  Anybody want to add
to the list?  Please?  I didn't really include anything about dealing
with the artists, writers, creators, etc - and about having manners
and being polite (which should be a given).


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Subject: Re: San Diego Comic Con Survival Guide - suggestions? From: AP's Matt [antarc@texas.net] Date: 1996/06/24 Message-Id: [4qldnd$ldp@news2.texas.net] Newsgroups: rec.arts.comics.misc I'm not in the habit of replying to my own posts, but I've thought of a few more suggestions - 9) If you are an aspiring writer or artist planning on going to the Comic Con to try and get work, plan your portfolio carefully. Many companies have specified portfolio review times to review your work. It's also a good idea to develop a tough hide, and don't take any criticism personally. Many editors do not have time to review scripts or artwork at the convention, but you can make "portfolio packets" that you can drop off with the editor so that he/she can look over it after the convention. It is also best to go around meeting the companies and editors early in the convention and early in the day - by the end of the convention most editors are sick and tired of being bombarded with portfolios. 10) Remember to SHOWER EVERY DAY and CHANGE YOUR CLOTHES at least once a day. I know there's a lot going on that the convention, but that's no reason to ignore personal hygiene. It is a good idea to pack more clothes than you plan to use, just in case. 11) San Diego has a moderate climate, and temperatures are usually in the 60's and 70's. However, at times it can get pretty hot (one year temps were in the high 90's most of the convention), so bring light, airy clothes in case the weather turns hot. 12) Many companies at the convention have free stuff they will be handing out, but do not assume that everybody is handing out free stuff. Ask before taking. 13) In most cases it is okay to "haggle" on prices. Usually on the first day you will get very few deals, but if you stick around until Sunday afternoon, you can usually get some great discounts. 14) Every year the convention has a blood drive. If you have the time, visit the Bloodmobile and give a pint - it's for a good cause! 15) If you do not have a hotel room, good luck. Chances are you will not be able to get a hotel room in downtown San Diego by this time - or if you do it will probably cost in excess of $100 a night. However, San Diego does have a great light rail system, and there are plenty of hotels a few miles from downtown - it's not as convenient but pickers can't be choosers. 16) Beware of pickpockets and guard your wallets and purses carefully. While theft is rare, it is still a good idea to be wary.
Subject: Re: San Diego Comic Con Survival Guide - suggestions? From: rocket-man@worldnet.att.net (Michael R. Grabois) Date: 1996/06/24 Message-Id: [4qlgav$ess@mtinsc01-mgt.ops.worldnet.att.net] Newsgroups: rec.arts.comics.misc On 24 Jun 1996 05:59:38 GMT, AP's Matt [antarc@texas.net] wrote: A bunch of good suggestions, most of which can be generically applied to any con. >Anyway, these are just a couple of suggestions. Anybody want to add >to the list? Please? I didn't really include anything about dealing >with the artists, writers, creators, etc - and about having manners >and being polite (which should be a given). 1. Bring a list of what you are looking for. I carry my all-purpose want list, which covers everything from the high-ticket Silver Age items to stuff I missed last month at the comic shop. Bring a pen or pencil to mark stuff off. This is also good for writing down the location of a booth that has something you want but can't get just yet. Nothing worse than finding that elusive comic and then losing the booth.... 2. Bring business cards to hand out to friends and dealers. It's easier than writing your name on a scrap of paper. Plus a lot of them look cool. 3. Go over the panel listings the night before each con day. Plan which ones you HAVE to see, which ones you WANT to see, and which might be nice to see if you aren't doing anything at the time. 4. Haggling is OK. So is trading. But be reasonable. 5. The quarter/dollar boxes have treasures you won't believe, especially if you're looking for Silver Age stuff and don't mind not having mint books. 6. Trading or selling books you have is best done early in the con. Towards the end, they're looking to get rid of their stock so they won't have to take as much back home. 7. Bring a camera. It'll be nice to put faces to all these familiar names. 8. Be polite when talking to the pros. Don't gawk at the semi-naked women. And try not to act like a drooling fanboy when you meet your favorite creator; they're people, too. (Well, most of them.) 9. Try to meet as many people as you can. You might not remember their names, but they might remember yours. Dinners and after-hours parties are often more fun than shopping.