10 Things I Wish I'd Known Before My First Comic Con
Fall is here! And for those of us east coast dwellers of the nerdy variety, fall also means the arrival of yet another great time of year: New York Comic Con! Four days of cosplay, sweet merch, and getting to see your favorite entertainers, artists, and writers--It's the stuff from which every nerd's dreams are made! And this year, it goes down October 5th through the 8th at the Javits Center.
Yours, truly will be in attendance on the 6th and 7th (as well as cosplaying, but you'll have to wait 'til the con to see those). As NYCC time approaches, I've been thinking back to my first comic con experience and just how unprepared my friend and I had been upon arrival. And when I say "unprepared," I mean that we were total con noobs lost in the awesome cosplay sauce. We had no idea where to go or what to do, so we'd ended up winging it. Despite the overall success of our first trip, I heavily advise against trying to figure things out the day of the con. To help with that, here's a little list of the things I learned from my first time at NYCC.
If you wanna cosplay, COSPLAY. It's New York Comic Con! Let your nerd flag fly! I can guarantee you that you'll be on a train, bus, or subway car with at least two other cosplayers on any given con day, so don't let nerves stop you from having as much fun as possible.
Make sure that you plan the panels, events, and autograph signings that you want to go to ahead of time. I really only had time to think about two things that I wanted to check out, and only got to be first in line for Kevin Conroy's autograph signing by sheer luck (...and my fiery determination as a rabid Conroy/Batman TAS fan).
Bring enough money with you, just in case you end up wanting to buy more things than you'd originally anticipated. There are a LOT of great vendors and craftspeople at NYCC. Believe me, you will be making some hard shopping decisions, friends.
Bring something to carry your purchases and freebies in. You. Will. Need. It.
If you see a great cosplay, ask the person if you can take their photo (or if you can take a photo with them). Most cosplayers are cool with taking photos with people who actually ask them and, of course, who appreciate the time and effort they put into their cosplays. Some of them might not be up for photo ops, but you'll only know if you ask! (Quick tip: If you're planning on posting it on public social media accounts, find out if they'd like to be tagged in the picture.)
If you're stuck in a long line, striking up a conversation with the people nearby is a good way to branch out and meet new acquaintances. Even if you're an introvert like me, it's not so hard to say hi or compliment a well-done cosplay. And if you happen to make a cool new friend while passing the line wait time? Even better!
Wear comfy shoes or have a change of shoes with you. There's a whole lot of walking; the convention center is HUGE and the lines are often long.
Beware of creeps. While there are tons of great people at NYCC, there are also some creepy ones. If someone is acting inappropriately toward you, let an NYCC staff member know. The con has anti-harassment rules for a reason.
Think about your food arrangements ahead of time. Nearby restaurants will be hard to get into, especially since New York City is already a busy area.
Give yourself time to explore the exhibition floor! There are so many things to check out that it's actually a little overwhelming. Make sure that you leave some time to walk around and see what Comic Con has to offer!
Been to New York Comic Con or other cons and have additional advice for first-timers? Leave a few helpful suggestions and tips for newbie con-goers in the comments!