Helpful Comic Con International Guidebook (v 1.0)

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Helpful Comic Con International Guidebook (v 1.0)

Postby Rakuras on Sat Jun 11, 2005 3:44 pm

Ahh, the wonderful melding pot of culture known as Comic Con. Well, it's not just all about the comics anymore as it now ranges from video games to anime to cosplay. Everything about the place reeks of the subculture that most reading this belong to: the comic/webcomic industry.

What is Comic Con?
Comic Con is a convention held every year in sunny San Diego, California, at the San Diego Convention Center. This convention started about 35 years ago (or 36, if we count this years') as a small gathering of comic book fans (less than 2000). It grew from there into the beast that it is now, bringing in between 50,000 and 80,000 people each year to the vast halls of the San Diego Convention Center, with last year reaching over 87,000 guests. (any spare info could help people :) )

So, how do you get in?
Well, first you have to get to San Diego (or already be there, as is my case :P) and buy your tickets. Tickets can be purchased at the gates, online (soon, but not assured), or by mail for between $40 and $70 for a 4-day ticket (depending when you buy your tickets. See here for details) and single day tickets costing ~$20-35, dependant upon age, only at the gates. After that, you just have to go get a badge from upstairs in a very big hall and walk through the doors!

What's there to do?
Every year the hooded council of Comic Con people invite speakers to come and discuss about their lives, works, and many other things within the meeting halls upstairs. They also invite companies to come and set up different booths along the ground floor for show, sales, and presentations. Many things are for sale on the ground floor, but it's not just a giant sales pitch. There are also artists, writers, and many other fine people scattered about at booths signing and talking as well as at the artist tables at the far end of the Convention Center (and I need to find a map of the floor, as it shows it better than I can tell). There is also the Masquerade Ball where most everyone dresses up in costume and tries to win fabulous prizes (mostly money and gift certificates from companies)... but there is a limited amount of space, so if you want in then get tickets early! There are also Art Shows, Art Auctions, Movies and Anime (upstairs), and the Eisner Awards. There's so much to do- and always changing from year to year- that it takes four days to enjoy it all :)

Where do I stay while in San Diego?
Ah, yes, this misery. The Comic Con site has some referrals to decent rooms near the Convention Center (Here), but you could just as easily stay at any hotel near the San Diego Trolley lines. The Trolleys run right past the Convention Center, so if you are unable to get a room nearby (as they fill up fast!) you should try to get one as close to a Trolley line as possible. Trolley info is detailed below. Other hotels can easily be looked up through any travel website and some of the best deals are far and away from the Convention Center, if money is an issue. (I'll be looking this up and posting the "cheap link" later when I find it...)

How about parking? And what about getting to the Center not by car?
Parking is available right under the Convention Center (see here for their info) at a price that I shiver to mention (I recall $15 for the day, if not more, when I went last year). Parking outside of the parking garage (and dealing with the nasty traffic that it causes) can get you ticketed outside a marked lot. That, and the new baseball stadium downtown will cause much more clutter during the evening games. What would be easiest would be to leave your car at the hotel, if possible. Most of the hotels near the Convention Center are on a public bus route, allowing for free transport to the Center... but some Hotels charge you a decent sum to park your car in their lots during this time of year. If you got a hotel away from the center or you are a San Diego local, it's easiest just to take the Trolley. Fare information can be found here. The easiest thing to do is buy the Day Tripper Passes. $15 for 4 days worth of use is fully worth the cost as you may want to head somewhere else after or during Con. The Trolleys usually come every 15 minutes or so (30 in some areas such as the Santee stop), and the stops are listed here with a layout map here. There are also bus services (see here and the fares page), and taxis, so finding transportation is all too easy.

I'm hungry!
That's not a question, but I'll answer! Well, as you may note when you get to the Convention Center, food is outrageously priced. Who wants to pay $4.50 for a cookie?! Well, I definitely do not. The best option here is to run outside the Convention Center and across the street to a wonderful little area called The Gaslamp District. It's filled with restaurants and little shops to eat at. Look around and you'll find it (as I don't have a map of the area yet...), and if you get lost come yell at me! Anyways, there are many places to eat and there is also the option of taking the Trolley. I don't have a full list of available places, but Seaport Village has some eateries and also has some decent shopping places, perfect for trinkets to take back to the family... so something.

Helpful Links

Comic Con International: http://www.comic-con.org
San Diego Transit: http://www.sdcommute.com/

Well, that about wraps it up, for the time being. Please read the posts on the front page by Fletcher and Ghoti so you all have a completed guide (and to save me from copy and pasting their statements). Well, best of luck to those of you who will be attending Comic Con in the future and hope to see you on the glorious convention floor.
Last edited by Rakuras on Sat Sep 02, 2006 1:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Helpful Comic Con International Guidebook (v 0.5)

Postby LCARS on Sat Jun 11, 2005 4:36 pm

The REAL guide to the comic con.

What is Comic Con?
It's a comic book convention turned hollywood exhibition. Despite what your uncle may think it is NOT a communist's convention.

What's there to do?
Whatever you want to do, as long as you don't piss off security (dry-humping Amanda Tapping's leg is right out).

Where do I stay while in San Diego?
With 4-5 other people unless you like paying $600 for 4 nights in a sleezy hotel.

How about parking? And what about getting to the Center not by car?
Don't.

I'm hungry!
Unless you wan't a small $8 slice of pizza, you're eating in a local restaurant/Deli/Coffee shop or get something from the Kroger on Market street.

Helpful Links
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Postby Rakuras on Sat Jun 11, 2005 4:47 pm

Well, that's true LCARS, but this is more for the, err, newbies. Mostly the ones over in the EGS boards who I've been dealing with since they started the Comic Con thread there (now on page 2 or 3...).

Ah, yes... I just noticed Ghotti's helpful Survival Guide. That'd help with updated links or just plain added here. Not that he reads the baords much anymore... so I'll just ask him later :) Anyways, what do I need to add to this, other than possibly a "What to bring?" bit?
...

I'm supposed to put something here?!!

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Postby DarkShive on Sat Jun 11, 2005 5:23 pm

I haven't noticed a "Comic Con" thread in my forums, though I'll be making one no later than early July.
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Postby Rakuras on Sat Jun 11, 2005 5:40 pm

Darkshive wrote:I haven't noticed a "Comic Con" thread in my forums, though I'll be making one no later than early July.


I'm going to point here then turn around and never meantion that again.
...

I'm supposed to put something here?!!

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Postby DarkShive on Sat Jun 11, 2005 6:15 pm

heh...it's been a month since anyone posted there. Not on page 1, it doesn't exist ^^;
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Postby Fletcher on Sun Jun 12, 2005 12:28 am

Other helpful tips, from someone who's been going for almost a decade now:

* Bathe. Seriously. I'm not joking when I tell you that there are people who, should they identify you and you alone as a source of odor upon the floor (one hell of a challenge, let me tell you, but it DOES happen), will not hesitate to beat you with soap on a rope. Security has been trained to avoid interfering in soap-beatings (unless you go for the person's wallet, in which case they'll give you a friendly spray of mace). If the hobos downtown can bathe, so can you.

* Off of that last tip: don't fuck with the hobos. Seriously. Tell them you have no change, tell them you gave your remaining change/cash to the hobo down the block, sprint and run away, but do not taunt the San Diego hobos. New York has its giant cockroaches, we have our tenacious, more-than-slightly south of sanity vagrants.

* Food-wise, the first two posts in this topic probably revealed that eating inside the convention is a sucking waste of cash. (If not, allow me to put it in Irish terms: don't buy food inside the convention center walls, and avoid drinks as well unless they come from the Starbucks on the bottom floor, which will overcharge you at the universal Starbucks "this coffee cost me how much?!" prices. The food is overpriced, the portions are smaller than the tips most of you leave the guy working at 7-11, and the nutritional value is NEGATIVE. Spending a weekend living on stale pretzels and old cookies, combined with the mass of unwashed humanity, can actually kill you.) There are, however, fun alternatives depending on how you're staying in town (and how long).
-If in a hotel room with a fridge provided, head to the Ralph's (it's a grocery store, for those who don't have one locally) nearby. Buy a loaf of bread/tortillas/something bread-based, and some toppings of your choice. Proceed to live off of sandwiches/burritos/quesadillas/something of the like all weekend. Make them in the morning, shove 'em in some bags (also available at the store), and put it in whatever you're using to haul loot around the convention. Eat as required. (It should go without saying, but buy some bottled water or something as well when getting the food. A bottle of water is, last I recall, $3-ish in the hall, and a can of soda is $2+.)
-If in a hotel room without a fridge, either bring a cooler or buy non-perishable items.
-If you're rooming with a friend in town, steal their food. (Unless you were told you'd have to provide your own food anyway, in which case follow my first tip, using the friend's refridgerator.)
-If you're sleeping in your car, make damn sure you brought a cooler with you. Use the "hotel room without fridge" tips.
-If you live here, do what you always do (which will probably be either "bring your own food" or "hit Taco Bell on the way home, just like every time you leave the house").

* A tip for anyone even THINKING of cosplaying: make sure you do it according to your body type. I don't care how high a quality the suit is, shoving a round body into Sailor Moon's skirt does not work. (I'd add a counterexample of skinny guys not looking so good in larger costumes, but it's one hell of a lot easier to pad up than slim down.) Another cosplay note: don't dress your infants up. They're too young to know why people are laughing at them, why subject them to that? (A single exception: the people who made the truly badass Megaman outfit for their son last year.)

* Space on the floor is at a premium. It's true for anyone who paid for a booth, and it's true for the people staring at them. Don't stand in the middle of the aisles, and try to help leave a path in the middle of said aisle so people who aren't browsing can get by. This is another one of those "security will not save you if you're an asstard" rules. Get used to it. (On the other hand, don't cling to someone if there's actual space on the aisle, as rare as that may be. It's just creepy, especially if you don't know him/her.)

* A good plan, for those who follow the "browse now, buy later" approach, is to carry a notepad or some other form of device that'll let you write down where you saw some item and come back to it later. (It's also handy at times when things get way too loud, as you can use it to communicate with those around you.)

* If you plan to get into a panel, arrive early. The larger the panel (and you ought to know what I mean), the earlier you should arrive. You have been warned.

* If you see people igniting food at Seaport Village (a nearby area that has eateries and some interesting shops), it's probably the CRFH!!! fans. Say hello.

Anything else, ask, and the great <strike>sage</strike> cynic shall answer.
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Postby jtdarlington on Sun Jun 12, 2005 5:02 am

For what it's worth, although the primary focus is specific information about GPF at Comic-Con this year, there's a lot of useful general Keenspot-related information in the GPF Comic-Con 2005 Pre-Con Report. This includes the location of the Keenspot booth, the date, time, and location of the Keenspot panel, and numerous useful links. This page will be updated as frequently as I can get information, so checking in every so often (or even daily, give my recent rash of updates) wouldn't be a bad idea.
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Postby Ghoti-Heads on Fri Jun 17, 2005 11:40 pm

Right, what to bring:

1. Granola bars or other durable snacks.

It's sturdy, it tastes good if it's hot or cold, nigh indestructible, and dense enough to keep you going till you can get a bigger meal.

You really don't want to buy food or drink at the convention hall, as mentioned above. To give you a real idea of how insane it is, the Starbucks there is the only place that charges the same amount inside the convention center as outside it. I guess they decided they couldn't gouge you any more than they already do.

Oh, and bring gum or breathmints. Even if you don't need it, someone you're talking to might. And that's very unpleasant when it happens.

2. Water.

Walking around the seller's floor with all those hot, disgusting smelling people (see Fletcher's post) will take the water out of you before you know it, so keep drinking water. I usually bring a soft drink of some kind to caffeinate myself at the beginning of the day, and then refill the bottle with water later.

3. Notepad(s).

For writing down witty quotes, noting booths that had something of interest for you, or getting contact information for someone interesting that you meet at the con. All good.

4. Backpack/totebag/swag carrying device.

The plastic bags they hand out for free at the con are getting sturdier and sturdier, but they're pretty bulky, and they're still more likely to give out on you than a backpack. That and with mutiple compartments you can be better organized.

Likewise, a lot of places have nifty posters, and some even hand them out for free. So bring something to protect 'em.

5. Highlighters.

Invaluable at Comic-Con if you ask me. I highlight everything in the program that I want to see, and each seller booth that had something of interest for me. It makes quick reference easy.

6. *CASH*

You *need* cash at this convention. Very few vendors will take credit cards, so make sure you have enough cash. And trust me, you don't want to rely on the ATM. There's always a line at the ATMs at the con, and it seems to move very, very slowly.

Personally I rely on travelers' checks for safety. Almost every seller at the con will take them, so they're a life saver.

7. Good walking shoes.

You'll need 'em. Oh, but you'll need 'em. It's *huge* in there.

8. Stuff to be autographed.

This is around the last thing you need to worry about. Check back at the Con website frequently to check the programming schedule, and then plan accordingly.

9. Sketchbook.

Particularly valuable to us Keen fans. This protects your sketches, gives you an easy way to carry them, and keeps them all the same size.

Remember: if you ask any artist for a sketch, give him money, please? Pens, inks, pencils and their time ain't free.

(Optional) 10. A book, Gameboy, or other time filler.

You'll have new purchases to entertain you during most of your waiting time at the con. However, when you first pick up your badge you may need a book or some other kind of entertainment. I'm going to try to be there pretty early on preview night, so I'm probably going to be in line for a long time.
Last edited by Ghoti-Heads on Sat Jun 18, 2005 12:51 am, edited 5 times in total.
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Postby Ghoti-Heads on Sat Jun 18, 2005 12:22 am

Tips:

1. Scout the exhibit hall early.

Walk through, note what booths and what sellers interest you. Buy any bargains you're sure you want. But if there's something you're not quite sure you want at the price they're offering, come back on Sunday. Sunday is the day to haggle, due to vendors hoping to unload all their stuff rather than pack it back up.

2. Pre-registration saves a bunch of hassle.

And it's a bargain. Even if you choose to ditch preview night, it'll save you time. Especially on Saturday.

If you like the con, consider preregistering for the next one during your stay. During the con it's the cheapest time to register all year.

If at some point in the year you find out you can't attend, you can roll over your registration to the next year. There is a deadline for this each year, but you can roll over your registration from year to year until you can attend.

3. Check the programming, and try to stay at least a day ahead of the Con.

Make sure you check the Comic-Con website near the time of the con to have a look at the programming schedule so you can plan.

Start highlighting the program as soon as you get it, and mark it for the next day too. Check the updates and changes daily.

4. To see the Masquerade with less fuss, go to the Masquerade party instead.

There's more room to move around, there's snacks, there's drinks, you can finally hear the contest thanks to a nice beefed up sound system, and you don't have to wait in line.

5. If you aren't moving, get out of the way.

It's annoying to be stuck in behind a bunch of people who aren't moving and don't seem to realize you exist. If you stop to talk to someone, be aware of what you're blocking and get out of the way.

And please, don't make sudden stops, at least without glancing around first.
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