In the spirit of Barry Allen and his fellow speedsters, I’m going to keep this brief.
Plus, my head feels like it’s been set to “Lynchian mode”, and so I really don’t have a clue what I’m doing these days. I feel like I’m a resident of Twin Peaks and I have no clue what’s going on around me. Not coincidentally, this is what the average non-nerd feels like when walking the convention floor of a comic book convention.
But I’m here to help.
If you plan on attending NFCC for the first time and you feel more than a little apprehensive about the whole endeavor… you should.
In fact, you should be freaking out.
Comic cons are not for the faint of heart. They’re densely packed, hot as Hades and they’ll suck the energy out of you faster than you can say, “Holy Sandman, Batman… I’m knackered!” Of course, I briefly had a girlfriend in high school who fit that description as well.
I didn’t complain then and I’m certainly not complaining now.
But I am now a veteran at dealing with overwhelming situations; if you’re not, you’re going to want to heed my advice.
ONE) Wear comfortable shoes or risk amputation. Seriously, unlike my former high school girlfriend who spent more time vertical rather than horizontal, you’re going to be on your feet for hours. (Though it’ll feel like days.) Traversing the ScotiaBank convention floor in Niagara Falls can make your tootsies feel as though they crossed the desert with the Jews, so break out the super soft insoles and slip them into your best pair of Nikes because you’re going to be putting some miles on your legs, folks.
And if you’re planning on wearing some creative footwear for your cosplay be sure to stuff those boots, etc., with insoles or anything soft. Personally, I find puppies are the most effective liner available but the animal rights people always raise a fuss so keep this tip between us, all right?
TWO) Pretend you’re Aquaman… stay hydrated! Tens of thousands of people, Wookies, stormtroopers and the like will be breathing the same air and sharing the same space as you and that will dry you up faster than a porn star at the end of a marathon shoot, so that bottle of water will be your best friend.. friend.
Yes, my imagery is slightly blunt but we’re all over eighteen, right? So shut up.
The point is, a bottle of water will cost you as much as an actual kidney at a con, so spend the two dollars, buy an entire case and share the wealth with your fellow con-goers.
THREE) Keep that souvenir guide handy! Most people just file the field guide a volunteer hands them upon entering NFCC into one of their bags, but that sucker will save your life, man!
Use it to locate the coolest vendors. Use it to educate yourself as to which Q&A panels are going on – and where – and most importantly, use it to locate your favorite celebrity’s table. Trust me, wandering around aimlessly is no fun when you’re bashing into tens of thousands of hyperactive nerds who rarely spend time above ground…
FOUR) Be sure you’re in the right line! Honestly, the last thing you want is to spend two hours in line only to discover you’re about to hear no one’s favorite D-List actor tell stories about working as Kirk Cameron’s body double on Growing Pains before landing the coveted role of the first guy shot in the face in a Stallone picture. That was three hours of my life I’ll never get back…
FIVE) Be prepared when your turn comes at the Q&A. Everyone chokes, but you don’t want to do that in front of an actor you idolize. I once unintentionally threw caution to the wind and asked Shatner, “Is it true some of your original Star Trek cast-mates still drive by your house and shoot out your porch light in retaliation for stealing all the good lines?”
I choked. Shatner almost got up to kick my ass (Star Trek style no doubt) but he broke a sweat lifting himself up so I was able to get the hell out of there before my fellow geeks tore me to bits.
So prepare that Q in advance, kids. Your life may depend on it.
SIX) Eat beforehand and immediately afterwards… never at a con! Unless your last name is Stark or Trump, that is. Convention food will drain your wallet quickly and kill your organs slowly. So seek nourishment elsewhere, kids. Save that money for a mint copy of Archie Meets The Punisher. (I’m not kidding. Look it up.)
The comic world is rife with drug use, obviously…
SEVEN) Bring plenty of cash! Forget using the Visa and your debit card on the convention floor; cash is king at a con. Period.
EIGHT) Be respectful – of everyone. Even The Shat deserves to be treated with dignity. (Even though his career would suggest otherwise.) I once saw a brawl breakout between a group of Hello Kitty and Care Bear cosplayers. I can only imagine the horrors of the Vietnam war would come in second to that spectacle…
Before I forget, always remember to be nice to con sluts. For example, don’t refer to the scantily-clad young ladies you’ll see as con sluts. They won’t like it and I can’t say as I blame them.
NINE) Watch a NHL hockey game before getting out on that convention floor. Respect is vital, it’s true, but sometimes, when a Red Hulk just won’t move out of your way… you need to body check a nerdy bitch.
TEN) Everything else. Let’s see, what have I forgotten?
Only about a million things. Like making sure your phone is fully charged, designating a meeting place for your party when you inevitably go your separate ways (which you will), bring a few bags (vendors run out pretty darn fast), make a list of all the goodies you hope to score, the list goes on. And most important of all… have fun!
See you on the convention floor, kids…
(I’ll be the guy dressed as a middle-aged, balding nerd.)