So this will be a short blog on what I’ve learned from my first time at Comic Con in London and what tips I can give to other UK-based first timers in the future. When I was searching online for tips for first-timers, it all seemed to be primarily American based. The advice was still good but I still had my doubts due to the potential unknown differences between different countries. So here are some general tips on Comic Con, that I have outlined with the sort of questions people would tend to ask.
How early do I need to queue?
American Comic Con’s are naturally way busier than their European counterparts. So if you read that you need to start queuing at 4:00am for a 10:00am start in San Francisco, I can promise you there’ll be no need for such measures here in the UK. Getting there an hour or two before opening will suffice even on the Saturday (that tends to be sold out).
Do I need to dress up?
A big part of these conventions is dressing up and joining in the cosplay. If you want the full experience, I would 100% recommend dressing up. Although I did not dress up for my first time but I still enjoyed myself a lot. So if you cannot afford an outfit or are having other issues then don’t worry. There are a lot of people who dressed up but also a lot who didn’t, it isn’t frown upon whether you decide to do either.
I have no one to go with but I really want to go.
Fortunately for you this is one of those very rare occasions where you can actually attend an event alone without it being awkward. I remember seeing a lot of people riding solo in their outfits throughout the day. Introverted individuals would thrive at a social event such as this because:
- They are partly concealed within their outfit that acts as a barrier for direct social content – this includes potentially being seen by people you would rather avoid ( or just being seen on your own)
- At the same time, the outfit is the key to 90% of social interactions as (if it is awesome enough) people will want to know more about it and in a lot of cases take pictures. Costumes are the best icebreaker in most conversations i.e. “So you’re into Marvel comics?”/ “A One Piece fan? Sweet!”
- Small talk – a common pet hate of introverts – is irrelevant here. You are surrounded by multiple forms of entertainment, so you might as well talk about shows, games and cartoon series from the start making for more meaningful conversation.
- Depending on the lay out you can simply go to areas that interest you and talk to people who share similar hobbies
- It’s totally okay to talk to random people because they look as “interesting” as you do
In a nutshell, if you have no partner in crime to geek out with you, it really doesn’t matter. As long as you dress up (this is essential if you’re a lone wolf) and know how to entertain yourself you’ll have a lot of fun.
How do I get the most out of the Comic Con?
There is loads of information on this but here’s my take on it:
- Look up the schedule as soon as it is available – This tends to be a couple of weeks before the event. Find what interests you and plan around it, whether that’s attending a Theatre session, going to a Photoshoot or entering a casual games tournament
- As mentioned dress up
- Be prepared to take photos, lots. Next year I can imagine myself probably doing a Snapchat story haha.
- Take a bottle of water, cash (most stands accept card but just in case), a durable bag and your phone fully charged
- Get your hands on the lay out/map whether it is on your phone or the physical version, it’s easy to get lost – I did sometimes but I have a terrible sense of direction
- In terms of contacting people and accessing the outside world, don’t rely on the internet (I know right, it’s 2015). They may provide free Wi-Fi but it is poor and already being rinsed by thousands of other people in the same venue as you. Tell the people you are with where you will be at certain times in case you cannot get in touch
- Keep an open mind – try different foods, step out of your comfort zones, try different games/ comics to explore the depths of the entertainment industry’s imagination
It’s called Comic Con, and I’m not into comics much so what about the other areas? Such as, TV shows, Anime and Games.
Yes, it is a Comic Convention but based on what I saw here in the UK. Comics play a much smaller part to the other areas; I guess this is how the culture has shifted over the years. These conventions are nowadays dominated by blockbuster movies and games with a fast growing presence of anime and Japanese culture. You’ll be surprised what you actually find, who knew they had dedicated sections for Asian pop music, eSports and Steampunk? The industry is evolving every year so there is always something for everyone.
How long do people plan to be there for? Should I get the Day ticket or the whole weekend?
In my opinion, one day should be enough unless you intend on going to specific events at specific times. Browsing either becomes tedious after a couple of hours or you run out of money so it is always good to see what else you can do there. Also they tend to have an after-party in the evening. If you intend to attend this, you have to consider whether you have the stamina to walk around all day then go out afterwards. If not, maybe it would be best to get there midday so you still have energy left to have a good night out.
Should I buy a Priority Ticket?
The only difference is that you have to queue up for an hour/ hour and a half longer max. Unless otherwise specified (don’t just take my word for it, please check the official website) it won’t make the experience that much different beyond getting inside ahead of a lot of other people.
Well that’s all I could think of. Maybe I’ll have more tips and add it later on. Do you have any? Let me know!
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