There’s one golden rule for any successful comic con. In the words of Jerry Milani of Wizard World, it’s pretty simple: “Have fun!”
Milani should know. His company sets up comic cons across the country, and their mantra has always been to give fans a great experience. But while that may be at the top of the list, there are some other rules to follow if you don’t want to be the bad apple that spoils the bunch. We talked to Milani, along with a few seasoned convention-goers, and got a few tips for first-timers and veterans alike.
Consider this a helpful guide to not being That Guy. Nobody wants that, especially when you could be Batman—or Wonder Woman, or Spock—instead.
Don’t Be a Jerk About Waiting in Lines
Whether you want a sandwich or the chance to see Buffy in person, you’re going to have to wait. On her blog, “professional nerd” Colleen Lindsay suggests “letting those with exhibitor badges cut ahead of you in bathroom and food lines” because they might actually have somewhere important to be. The same goes for those with wheelchairs, canes, or crutches; not only is it the right thing to do, but it “expedites the process for everyone and keeps the line moving quickly.”
If there’s nothing you hate more than standing in line, the best solution might be coughing up some extra dough. “For some [panels], you can also buy tickets for earlier seating,” explains C2E2 veteran Jessica Bocade. “We did it for the Jay & Silent Bob Get Old podcast, and it was totally worth it.”
Keep the Traffic Moving
On those crowded comic con floors, a little consideration goes along way. Frequent con attendee Derek Betts cites people who aren’t conscious of their “giant backpack and travel luggage” as one of his biggest pet peeves. It isn’t just about how much space you take up, however. “It’s all too easy,” writes Lindsay, “to accidentally trample a child, a small person, or someone in a wheelchair if you aren't paying attention to where you're walking.”
Don’t Buy (or Bring) Too Much Stuff
Monopolizing a guest’s time because you want everything you own autographed is a surefire way to irritate everyone around you. “My first piece of advice here is simply: DON'T,” writes Lindsay. We’re inclined to agree.
If you plan on bringing (or buying) a lot of books, the person you’ll annoy most will likely be yourself. One way to avoid that? “Invest… in a locker on site,” Bocade advises. “Although that full six-edition set of hardcover, signed Oz graphic novels is totally bad ass, you bought them at 12 and now it's 6 and they are heavy as hell.”
Always Ask Permission
Comic cons are basically the only place where you can see Veronica Mars and Groot in the same room, so it’s okay to get excited. Just remember to be respectful. It may tempting to snap photos of cosplayers left and right, but make sure you’ve got their permission first. “Always ask if you can take a photo, either of the costumed guest or with them,” Milani tells us. “They are there to be seen and nearly all will be happy to oblige.”
It’s not just about photos, though: keep those hands to yourself, as well. This rule should be pretty easy to follow, according to playwright and con-veteran Will Goldberg. “Don't touch (on purpose) anyone you don't know—even if they have a costume on,” he writes.
Want to be even less That Guy? Read up on the “Cosplay is not Consent” movement, consider taking these bystander tips from Geeks for CONsent to heart, and always look for opportunities to help out a fellow fan.
Remember to Bathe
Yes, it seems like common sense, but this point comes up again and again. “Please shower, wear deodorant, and be polite,” Bocade pleads. “We are all crammed into the same space together.”
Photo: Comic-Con 2013 by Pat Loika under CC BY 2.0