Comic-Con isn't an event for the faint of heart. In many ways it is like a more relevant, hyper Sundance Film Festival full of strange and exotic nerd wildlife. Only At Park City, you don't have the Comic-Con pandemonium, and the San Diego attendees hardly ever get to see the actual movies and TV shows that thousands of people are schilling. In a day and age where breaking news is covered every second of every minute, Comic-Con takes this idea, centralizes into one finite spot...And then cranks up the intensity 1000 percent.
Basically, you need to have a lot of tricks up your sleeve to even keep your eyes above the water level. Whether it's attending a just scheduled panel for Godzilla in Hall H where Gojira himself has decided to attend, or standing in line for hours when you could be watching another, maybe even better panel, or accepting a dreaded "Free Hug," there are certain dos and don'ts that will make your time spent on the convention center floor a better experience for all involved.
We've boiled them down to "10 Important Tips for Surviving Comic-Con 2013."
1 Bring Jock Itch Powder
The Con is a big place filled with people from all walks of life. At some point you are going to be using the bathroom. Pee will splash on your thighs. At some point, you'll be running to Room 24, then back to the main floor where everybody is peddling their wares, and then you'll be scampering to an event off site somewhere. The point is that your private area is your core, especially when you are at an event like this. You need to be comfortable, you need to be fluid, and there'd be nothing worse than meeting Kristen Bell or Michael Berryman with your genitals feeling like sandpaper. Doused in fire. Which is then covered in Chiggers. Don't be cheap, buy the good stuff. And make itch a thing of the past!
2 Free Stuff is Future Garbage
Haste makes waste. A stitch in time saves nine. These are time tested statements and they are true. Well, let us add another one to the canon. Free stuff, while great at the time, is free for a reason. Nobody wants it. Sure, it seems cool to get a bag full of crap and walk around it with for hours, but you can't get something for nothing. Chances are if people are giving you something for free, it's with the idea that at some point you will be using a related product or service that isn't free. Aside from all that, do you really want to have to schlep around a bag of free stuff when you're ultimately going to toss it in the trash anyway? Lighten your load and let some other sucker tote that swag around. Its just an advertisement for something you'll probably end up hating anyway.
3 Don't Eat the Food in the Convention Center
This is just simple economics. The folks that put on the Con know that they are going to have a concentrated amount of people in one spot. Chances are they know that said people will not want to leave this spot when they get hungry. Why? First of all, leaving the Con means leaving the most fluid fan related information hub in the world (at that moment anyway). Why would you pay all that loot to go there and then chance missing something only to spend more loot? Secondly, as there are a lot of people clustering in this one spot in San Diego, it isn't like you can just move in and out easily. Trust us, the Con knows this and that's also why they know that a .50 cent slice of rubbery, cheese pizza can go for upwards of $5! Save your money, pack a lunch, it will be much cheaper and healthier too!
4 Don't Put Your Mouth on Convention Floor Strangers
We live in a culture that is star struck by even the most Z-list celebrities. Somebody who was once known, for being known, as somebody who hung out with people, that knew some people, that were somehow connected to Tobey Maguire, can get a reality show today. This "connected" person can hook up with people for the rest of their lives, simply because of this "connection." Now, factor in Comic-Con where girls and guys are hanging out all day getting "access" (or praying to get access) to people they never would otherwise. There's a lot of mouth on mouth action happening and chances are oral hygiene isn't at the top of anybody's priority list. Why in the world would you chance catching something from someone who could potentially give you an infectious disease? Take their number, let them detoxify, then, without the googles of the Con clouding your judgement, decide if this is a person whose mouth you'd care to mingle with. But never go, ah-hmm...Downtown in any situation at the Con. These guys and girls have been walking in a cesspool of stink for 12 hours. Their crotch region, no matter how clean they may keep themselves in other situations, is going to be a sweaty, germ-filled mess that could forever stain your lips white and make your teeth fall out.
5 Never Get on a Pedi-Cab, Even If it Claims to Be Free
You've heard the saying, "Never get in a car with a stranger"? This is the same thing only applied to an event where there are going to be potentially 130,000 strangers. First of all, how much distance can one of those three-wheeled contraptions cover? Are you really going to save time by taking one? Considering how much time you spend watching content that is related to Comic-Con, should you really avoid, potentially, all of the walking opportunities that this magic time in July really affords you? Is it going to make your experience at the Con more romantic? (On a side note, if you are coming to the Con to be romantic you have a lot more issues than riding Pedi-Cabs!). "Now," you might counter, "what if it's free?" Once again, there's no such thing as a free lunch, and anybody giving free Pedi-Cab rides at Comic-Con probably has an agenda that will see you paying out of the wazoo at some point. Pedi-Cabs are an expensive rip-off and they will certain take you for a ride ever chance they get!
6 Lines Are for Suckers (Unless You Really Need Some Garbage)
People come to the Con with the wrong mindset. They feel that they need to be somewhere or else they are going to miss something. Well...Have you ever heard the saying (man, are we fond of those today), "If a tree falls in the forest and nobody hears it... did it really fall?" Ultimately, we (the consumers) make the decisions on whether or not something is a hit. Sure, studios can "create events" around movies and TV shows, but, if we don't watch them it doesn't really matter, does it? So... with this piece of knowledge, why would you ever wait on line? Especially, at Comic-Con?!?! Is there going to be something so special that you can't catch it on YouTube later? Are you really going to miss getting that tiny, plastic, red, white and blue Captain America shield that will be inevitably littered on the floor seconds after the panel for it has commenced? Slow down. Take your time. If you have to wait longer then it takes your iPhone to load an episode of Breaking Bad then you should probably go to an event that is open and available.
7 Be Prepared to Pay For Autographs
Anybody who has been to Comic-Con a bunch of times knows that this is a bottom line event. Everybody who is remotely somebody is attending to make some money. So as much as stars talk about loving this event and the fan enthusiasm, that should translate as, "I am hoping that that packed panel, that I just did as a contractual obligation to the studio I made the movie for, makes my backend points worth something!" We are not just talking about big stars, little stars, medium stars, burned out stars... we are talking about ALL stars. If you want somebody's autograph be prepared to shell out some of the gringo green, or be told that they "have to run, there's a car waiting."
8 Security Guards Aren't Sh*t!
We at MovieWeb would never encourage you to break the law. However, the security guards at Comic-Con are not the law. Not in any legal sense. They are no doubt hired by the San Diego Convention center. So basically, you might be told that you can't go somewhere from time to time... and sometimes you shouldn't. However, if its a chance to get into a packed panel for The Amazing Spider-Man 2, or perhaps you can crash a legitimate party with studio money behind it, you can safely ignore the security guards and know that, most likely, the worst thing that's going to happen to you is that you might get kicked out of the Convention Center. And if that happens... then perhaps you deserve it for not heeding Tip #1 and thus not getting adequate spring in your step.
9 Never Accept a 'Free Hug'
Hugs are great.
Without context, all you have are random people walking up to you asking to rub up against you for an undisclosed amount of time. If the idea of that happening at Comic-Con doesn't creep you out, then you need to review Tips #1 and #4. You might wonder how somebody's clothes touching your clothes could be a problem? It isn't a problem, if said person's clothes are clean. However, they don't know your hygiene habits, you don't know their hygiene habits and rabid fans of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. might not be the cleanest lot. This tip, however, does have some wiggle room. For example, if the person offering you the hug looks like the Predator, you should steer clear. If they look like Santanico Pandemonium (Salma Hayek) in From Dusk Till Dawn, you might want to ignore this tip.
10 Don't Tell Bruce Campbell You've Never Seen Burn Notice
Would you tell God you haven't been to church? Would you tell Lemmy the only song you know by Motörhead is "Ace of Spades"? Would you ask Dave Grohl, what else, aside from Sound City, he's worked on? Would you get an exclusive interview with Christopher Nolan and only ask about Following? Would you interview Mike Tyson and only ask about the vocal proclivities that he displayed in The Hangover movies?
No, you wouldn't.
Show some respect... or, just avoid any real personal contact with celebrities. Period.
Now, take this newly learned knowledge and head into that convention center prepared for the best of the worst moments of your life. It's the true wormhole of all existence.