11 Things You Should Know Before Going to the San Diego Comic Con

Thursday, July 13th, 2017
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If you’re going to the SDCC for the first time this year (or any year), the experience can be equal parts intimidating and exciting. Here are the tips to know before going in order to make the trip as rewarding and fun as possible.

Don’t Fall for the “Line Ride”

Lines, lines, everywhere you look there are lines!

Lines, lines, everywhere you look there are lines!

There’s an old Simpson’s episode where Bart insists they wait in a huge line at Duff Gardens, explaining, “if a line is this long, it’s got to be good” -then the camera pulls up to reveal they’re in line for the complaints department. Unfortunately, some people at Comic Con seem to live by that mentality and just jump in any line they see.

There are a ton of lines at Comic Con (just about every signing, giveaway, photo opp and convention exclusive draws its own massive line). I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked someone what they are waiting in line for only to be told they don’t know -half the time the people just assume they’ll get an autograph or toy they can resell later.

While I shouldn’t have to explain how stupid it is to waste your own time waiting in line for something when you don’t even know what it is, it’s also worth noting that doing so is also incredibly selfish because just about every line at the convention is limited to a certain number of people, so by standing in line for something you don’t care about, you’re also likely to be taking a space from someone who legitimately cares about what’s in the front of that line.

If you’re thinking “what if I want to get stuff to resell?” let me be the first to let you know that most of the autographs at the convention would never sell for good money. As for the toys, they usually go for a lot right after the convention, but most of them lose their value about a month later -so just let someone who actually wants to own the collectibles buy them rather than hoping you can make some money on it later.

Know When to Buy What

Perhaps the most exclusive toy of all time

Perhaps the most exclusive toy of all time

For most people, half of the point of Comic Con is to buy collectibles, artwork and toys from the massive exhibit hall. But there’s an art to the timing of buying goodies at the convention.

Overall, if you want a limited edition item, a Comic Con exclusive or something that the vendor only has a handful of, buy it as soon as you can. These items will sell out quickly and I can’t tell you how many people I know waited to buy one of these rarities only to come back (sometimes in as little as 15 minutes) and find the stock was completely sold out. Some Comic Con exclusives require you to participate in a lottery system and then come back at a certain time of the day and obviously those types of rules are what you have to abide by if you’re getting something of that nature.

Buy posters and artworks late in the day so you can get them out of the convention with minimal risk. The exception, of course, is if the artist (or actor/band member/writer, etc. of the work depicted) is signing things that day. In this case, you’ll want to buy the poster in advance so it can be signed, but try to find out in advance if the person doing the signing will only be signing a specific item or you could be wasting your time and/or money.

If you have a badge that’s good for Sunday, you might want to wait until just before closing to make that big purchase you’ve been planning (assuming it’s probably not going to sell out in which case you should absolutely buy it as soon as possible). Most vendors are happy to minimize the amount of stuff they have to pack up and bring back with them, so they’re often happy to offer deals on the last day of the convention. Don’t wait too long to start your negotiations though or you might get thrown out by security before you seal the deal.

On a final note, there are often exclusives that are practically impossible to get a hold of. Vendors throughout the convention might end up getting a few and reselling them for a small markup, which is often worth paying. If you can’t get a hold of an item during the convention though, be assured it will almost certainly end up on eBay. If you absolutely must have and will pay any cost to get your exclusive, buy it on eBay right away while there are still some available.

If you don’t mind taking a small gamble though, most exclusives drop drastically in value a month after the convention is over. Wait a few months and assuming people are still listing it on eBay and that exclusive will often end up going for the same price it did at the convention -and sometimes for even less.

Take Public Transportation

Not even Batman would want to drive around here

Not even Batman would want to drive around here

San Diego is a car-oriented city with a mediocre public transportation system. That being said, the one place with good public transportation is the downtown area and with a Comic Con badge, getting around is even easier since the convention offers free 24 hour shuttle service going all over downtown and to a few other areas that have a lot of hotels. There are also pedicabs and Ubers everywhere if you want to get somewhere a little faster.

Parking in downtown is notoriously bad when there’s nothing going on there. During the biggest annual event in the city, you’re lucky if you can find parking within an hour of arriving downtown. Most spaces are subject to a two hour maximum and you can bet your butt that the city is on top of those time limits.

If you’re willing to pay for a lot, most far away lots charge at least $20 (and you’re still going to have to walk an extra mile or two to get to the convention) and the closer you get, the greater the chance the lots will be completely sold out. In fact, ACE Parking and a few other companies sell spaces online prior to the event and those spaces were sold out over a month before the convention even started.

If you’re a local, drive to a trolley station with a lot of parking and then take the trolley the rest of the way. If you’re a tourist, you probably should just forgo renting a car at all, but if you insist on having something to drive, leave it at the hotel unless you’re going somewhere besides the downtown area.

Wear Comfortable Shoes

Even socks are geeky at the SDCC

Even socks are geeky at the SDCC

Even if you do take the trolley right from where you dropped off your car or from your hotel and got off right across the street from the Convention Center and even if you don’t plan on doing anything outside the Convention Center, chances are you’re still going to be walking a lot.

The Comic Con exhibitors hall is over three miles long and that’s if you start at one end and walk in an organized fashion to get through all the booths. More realistically, you’ll end up walking five miles to cover the whole thing because you’ll double back, have to walk to the restrooms, trek to a specific booth to get someone’s autograph at a certain time.

And, let’s be honest, most people don’t just come and walk the floor and go home. You’ll probably also leave the convention to get some decent food rather than a poor-quality $15 burger with a $4 soda. You’ll want to check out all the crazy things movie and tv studios set up outside the Convention Center. You’ll probably want to do something in the evening too since all of downtown basically becomes one giant geek party.

I actually used Google Maps to estimate how much my boyfriend and I walk on a typical day at Comic Con and the answer was between 15-20 miles. Granted, we have press badges and we geek out trying to cover every single thing we possibly can, but I think most people who actually eat outside the Convention Center and do stuff in the evening tend to walk at least 10 miles a day.

And yet, I can’t tell you how many women I’ve seen try to do as many convention-related activities as is humanly possible all in stiletto heels. Do your feet a favor, wear your most comfortable set of shoes and if you don’t have any, buy some now and break them in before the convention.

You Don’t Have to Cosplay

But I'm still pretty glad this guy did

But I’m still pretty glad this guy did

Whenever I tell someone who has never been to Comic Con that I’m going to go, the first question is always “are you going to dress up?” And with a few rare exceptions, the answer is always “no.” Pop culture, particularly shows like The Big Bang Theory, has made the general populace assume that anyone attending a convention will always cosplay as their favorite character, but that’s just not true.

If you have cosplay skills and have been working on a costume, by all means, wear it! Comic Con is a great place to show off good cosplay and find people that are truly appreciative of your talents.

That being said, if you were just going to wear a costume you bought off the rack and wore for Halloween a few years back, skip it. You’ll get far more compliments and love for a geeky tee shirt than you will for a crappy polyester and plastic Superman costume.

Wearing normal clothes is also going to keep you a lot more comfortable, which matters a lot at Comic Con. Just because everyone envisions San Diego as a magical land where the weather is always a comfortable 80 degrees doesn’t make that a reality. There have been years where it has been 95 degrees. There have been years where it’s been 85 degrees but with so much humidity that it felt like 95 degrees. There have been years where it has been 70 degrees and rainy. Wearing crappy, store-bought cosplay costumes isn’t just going to make you look like a half-assed fan, it’s also going to leave you uncomfortable. Check the weather reports before you go and then wear something you’ll feel comfortable in.

Get Ready to Party

Comic Con is easily the biggest event in downtown San Diego and with so many bars and restaurants all trying to compete to bring in the most geeks, the whole area turns into one giant nerd party. A lot of big-name movies even rent whole lots to host exclusive parties and while you might not be able to get in, you can sometimes catch major bands like Weezer if you’re willing to stand across the street from a huge Hollywood party.

Over the last few years, MTV took over the Padres’ baseball stadium across the street from the convention to host a huge party with food, rides and live bands -and that’s open and free to everyone!

While few people leave the downtown area during the day, many attendees are willing to take a journey after the exhibitors hall closes and now there are nerd events all over the county trying to attract Comic Con attendees with live music, burlesque and art shows. If you’re looking to do more with your evenings than go to bed and wake up early for another long day at the convention, it pays to do a little research into events going on outside the convention.

I personally recommend fans of geeky rap to check out MC Chris, who has been featured on multiple Adult Swim shows, most notably Aqua Teen Hunger Force, at The Music Box on Thursday, July 20 or Mega-Ran, who takes inspiration from the classic Mega Man video game series, at The Merrow on Friday, July 21.

Skip Hall H

The worst line of all

The worst line of all

For those who know nothing about Comic Con, the phrase “Hall H” is meaningless, but those who have attended or keep up on the news from every convention know that Hall H is where all the biggest movie and TV show panels are held. Fans will wait in line not only for hours, but some for days, camping out just so they can get in to see their favorite actors in person. If you really want to get a feel for just how miserable waiting for Hall H can be, don’t miss this article on The Verge.

Hall H is the biggest waste of time and one of the most awful experiences in all of Comic Con. As I mentioned, you have to wait FOREVER to get into the panel, then even if you make it before the cutoff, you’ll still likely be in the back of the room where you’ll just be watching everything on a giant TV screen anyway because the hall is so big you can’t even see the people in front of the room from the back.

Some people will still justify it by pointing out that they got to learn all the amazing stuff about their favorite show or movie before anyone else, but the difference is literally the length of the panel itself because as soon as the panel is over, everything that just happened will be put up on the internet -so you just gave up AT LEAST half of your day at Comic Con just so you could see stuff on a screen happen an hour before the general public.

On occasion, the panels might give away some piece of exclusive swag you can’t buy anywhere else (Cartoon Network does this a lot), but even then, not everyone in the panel will want theirs, so if you’re that concerned, you can still go on eBay and spend $15 to get one from someone else who waited in line for hours. If the swag is really your only reason for going, then consider what your time is worth -getting the item on eBay is almost certainly going to be cheaper than 4+ hours of your day.

Don’t Try to Do Everything

This is what happens to people who try to do everything

This is what happens to people who try to do everything

I’m not just talking about skipping Hall H, I mean everything as in EVERYTHING. There’s so much to do at Comic Con that a person literally couldn’t do it all -and if they did, they’d be moving around too fast to actually enjoy any one thing they did do. Decide what autographs and panels you have to do, what booths you have to visit, what giant outdoor attractions you have to see, what after party or concert you must attend -then try to fill in any leftover time as it arises. Chances are you still won’t be able to do every single thing you want to do, especially when you sit down for dinner and realize all you want to do is take a bath and go to sleep, but if you prioritize everything ahead of time you can hopefully catch the things that matter to you the most.

Expect the Unexpected

While we’re on the subject of planning only to do the things you really desperately want/need to get done, remember to leave yourself time for unexpected surprises. Comic Con is a weird and wonderful place. You could easily end up going to a bar and find yourself sitting next to your favorite actor who actually wants to talk to you for a while. You could find yourself in the middle of a zombie walk you had no idea was happening. You could go to a musical about Jurassic Park because the idea is just so stupid and then find that the experience was the best thing you did all weekend. You could get free ice cream from a girl dressed as a victim of a serial killer. You may stop by a party just to say “hi” to a friend and realize that it is the only place you want to be that night. You could end up playing an officially licensed game of Double Dare Live hosted by Nickelodeon. You could stumble upon a concert where one of your favorite bands is playing a secret show before a woman dressed like a storm trooper does a striptease.

These are all things that have really happened at Comic Con and will all very likely happen again. If you can’t embrace the randomness and weirdness, you’re going to miss out on a lot of fun.

Discuss Your Dining Options Early

As I mentioned earlier, you almost certainly do not want to eat inside the convention center where you’ll be getting terrible food that is marked up 4-5 times its value. That being said, restaurants nearby will be slammed with customers -especially if you go to eat right after the hall closes. Decide ahead of time with your group if you want to wait an hour or longer for a table or if you’d rather walk or take a pedicab (they’re often the fastest option when the streets are slammed with people and cars) to eat somewhere a little further that won’t have a line.

If you want to try a particular restaurant, check ahead of time to see if they have a special Comic Con menu and if that menu is any good. Most restaurants within a few blocks of the Convention Center will have a special menu. Some places offer that menu in addition to their regular offerings to show that they are celebrating the convention, but others try to deal with the massive surge of customers by offering only a slimmed down version of their regular menu (which often features higher-than-usual prices as well). If you have an allergy, be particularly wary of places that only offer those slimmed down menus because many of them have pre-made the food and cannot properly cater to allergies although over-bubbly waitresses may tell you they can (I speak from personal experience here). Also, don’t set your heart on trying one particular restaurant because it’s entirely possible that they will have way too long of a wait all weekend long.

Overall, most restaurants downtown are expensive because the rent is expensive and it’s where San Diegans go for a fancy night out on the town. That being said, there are some cheaper options but expect either a long wait or a long walk because when it comes to food near Comic Con, you can get things fast, cheap or close, but not all three.

Celebrate the Crowds

When the floor closes, that's when things get really messy

When the floor closes, that’s when things get really messy

Comic Con is actually getting less crowded these days both because the mainstreaming of geek culture has finally slowed down and because the convention introduced RIFD technology into the badges which makes it impossible for people to just scan their badges and resell them to others. If you went between 2010 and 2015, you’ll probably notice how much less crowded the exhibit hall feels when you walk around these days.

That being said, the convention is still crowded as all heck and you’re just going to have to deal with all the people. The best thing you can do is embrace the crowds as much as possible. It’s not always easy when you’re stuck in an aisle and can’t move anywhere else and someone farts, or when you’re waiting half an hour just to use the bathroom, but if you’re just feeling claustrophobic or mildly annoyed with the number of people around you, try to look on the bright side of having so many people. First, remind yourself of exactly that -it’s not as bad as it used to be.

Second, remember that all of these people are also geeks and that many of them are all into the same stuff as you, so it’s not like being surrounded by thousands of random strangers, many of these people could end up becoming your friend if you actually had the time or patience to sit down and talk to them. For many geeks who are used to being surrounded by people who have no idea what Battlestar Galactica is or who have never played D&D, this can be a refreshing feeling worth celebrating.



Comic Heroes Themed Online Games

Wednesday, May 10th, 2017

Comic heroes themed online games have always been popular when people have been able to find them. Many people would certainly love to see more of them. Introducing games like this can sometimes be complicated, of course, because they are going to be subject to certain copyright laws and rules. People who use Marvel and DC heroes of all kinds are going to have to deal with the different copyright laws and restrictions, and they are certainly going to have to deal with the perceptions of the parties that hold the rights.

Some gaming developers would actually be better off creating their own superheroes to go with their slot games. This is the kind of thing that is going to give developers more control over the property. People often like comic book heroes of all kinds and all stripes, and a comic book hero that was completely invented for a particular slot game could still certainly be popular. Of course, a character like this would not have the built-in audience that people will be able to get with the comic book heroes that have been introduced already.

Many of the superheroes that people love today were actually created a half a century ago at least. These characters get introduced time and time again and their stories get refreshed, but they are still the same characters at the core. Many of the comic book heroes who were created well after the 1960’s or 1970’s did not manage to achieve a great deal of lasting popularity for whatever reason.

Some new superhero characters created after those eras have managed to achieve some popularity, but many of these characters were created in order to parody the superhero genre. This is starting to change these days with superhero television. Superhero television is starting to revive superheroes that were fairly obscure, and it is helping people who were not originally familiar with comic books learn more about the characters that have not gotten as much exposure. This might turn out to be something of a major improvement for the online casino gaming developers who want to be able to use superheroes more often in their work.

Players can join Royal Vegas and play free video slot machines with a lot of other different themes at Royal Vegas online casino. Royal Vegas Online Casino games are going to be available in large numbers, and the gaming catalogs have been expanding all the time in recent years. However, given the popularity of superhero movies and superhero television shows in addition to superhero comics, people might be surprised by the fact that finding games that have superhero themes is actually relatively rare in these instances.

The fact that Marvel has discontinued so many of its popular slot games that have superhero themes is certainly an upsetting precedent for the people who love to see slot games and superheroes combined. However, it is possible that this situation is going to change. The superhero trend isn’t going away any time soon, and it should influence even more media today.



Head to Groupon Coupons If You Want to Learn Something New

Friday, April 28th, 2017

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It’s only been a few years since Groupon introduced their coupons site to the world and it has already become one of the most popular and most reputable coupon sites around. And now you can use their coupons to learn new and marketable skills through Udemy. Whether you’re trying to learn a new skill so you can get a better job or just like learning for the sake of bettering yourself, Udemy has all kinds of helpful courses ranging from Photoshop to stock trading and from computer programming to making a better first impression.

Coupons include not only the ability to take any course for a measly $10 (many of which are originally priced at $200 or more), but also the ability to take all kinds of free classes on the site. So if you want to get learning, head over to Groupon and get your coupon today.



This Ice Cream Shop Makes an Ice Cream Cone for a Local Squirrel Every Day

Sunday, April 23rd, 2017

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Putter is a squirrel that lives in a tree outside of Fantasy Isle Ice Cream and Mini Golf in Holden Beach, North Carolina. The shop owners have grown to love the little squirrel and now give it two little tiny ice cream cones daily. The ice cream might not be great for the little squirrel, but before the shop started volunteering cones to Putter, she would mooch from visitors and take their leftovers instead. Now she is a guest favorite and she doesn’t actually need to be feed by the guests themselves.

Via Distractify



Watch A Kitty and His Fennec Fox Buddy Reunite

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017

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Rupert the Fennec Fox has been at the International Primate Rescue since he was just four weeks old. Since then, he’s become best friends with William, a cat that lives at the rescue. The video doesn’t say where Rupert was before he was reunited with William, but it doesn’t matter why they were separated when the reunion is so sweet.

Via Hi Homer

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The Weather Outside is Frightful, but These Christmas Cards Are Delightful

Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

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It’s always nice to get a Christmas card, but it’s even better when you get a geeky card that also makes you laugh. While I can’t help you get better Christmas cards, I can tell you where to find better ones and I suggest heading to Castle McQuade’s Etsy shop, where you can get delightfully geeky cards such as these.

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Designs include geek favorites, including Harry Potter, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, X-Files, Die Hard and more. And each one not only has cool artwork, but also a great punchline.

So checkout the cards over on Etsy

Via Nerd Approved



Star Wars Christmas Decorations That Make Perfect Gifts for Your Favorite Geek

Tuesday, November 29th, 2016

Christmas is almost here and it’s time to start decorating your home and buying gifts for everyone on your list. Luckily, we’re here to help with these delightful decorations for your own home or to gift to your favorite nerdy people.

Chewbacca Wreath

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This great burlap Chewbacca wreath by Buttered Burlap is just waiting for its big moment in the Star Wars Christmas special.

Star Wars Stocking

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Hang this stocking by artistedfibre from your mantle and you know you’ll impress Santa with your  great geek style.

LEGO AT-AT Ornament

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Let’s hope that no little Rebels are on your tree ready to take down this adorable AT-AT LEGO ornament made by MoLGifts.

Star Wars Holiday Cross Stitch Pattern

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Looking for something a little crafty to make this Christmas? Then consider trying out this fun cross stitch pattern by Up2XStitch.

Personalized Han and Leia Ornament

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Looking for a romantic gift for special geeky someone in your life? This ornament by PrismaticPatterns has glow-in-the-dark glitter inside and can even be personalized with any name you want on the back.

Fuzzy Chewbacca Ornament

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Anyone can decorate a glass ornament, but making a delightfully furry Chewbacca design isn’t quite so simple, yet RandomSmash totally nailed it.

Princess Leia Life Day Card

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Whether you celebrate Life Day or Christmas, this precious Princess Leia dog card by kalyxcraftopia is a great way to spread holiday cheer to everyone on your list.

Christmas Cheer Banner

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Bring the cheer into your home with this Dark Side banner by Lessssismoreee.

Star Wars Nativity

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Some people may think this nativity is a bit offensive, but when you think about it, Luke is kind of the King of the Jedis. One thing’s for sure, AMORgiftshop did a great job crafting this beauty.

Whether you end up grabbing one of these geek gifts or something completely different, we hope you have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Life Day.



Interesting Facts About Every US President

Tuesday, November 8th, 2016

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By now, you probably know way more than you want to know about our current presidential candidates. You probably even know a little bit about some of our more recent presidents and the more famous historical presidents, but do you know much about Rutherford B. Hayes or Martin Van Buren? Chances are you don’t know much about either of them, but you’re in luck because this great Today I Found Out video can offer you a little more information on each of our 44 presidents.



Finalists for the Comedy Wildlife Photography Finalists

Saturday, October 22nd, 2016

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Nature photography is incredible and inspirational -except when it isn’t and when it comes to the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards, it most certainly isn’t.

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Their photo contest is entirely too hilarious and you won’t want to miss the contest’s 2016 finalists, which include the silly shots featured here and many, many more.

de VAULX Nicolas draguignan Phone: 0952115610 Email: nico.san@free.fr Title: Damn ! Description: A pelican was flying over our small boat. The fisherman was playing with him and threw him a fish. The pelican caught it but he lost it a few minutes later. I like his sheepish look on his face… Animal: Pelecanus crispus Location of shot: Kerkini Lake ( Greece )

Celebrate the derp and enjoy the fact that it’s only natural to occasionally take really bad pictures.

Via Digg



Do You Believe You Can Fly?

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

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I used to be able to lucid dream and when things started to get scary, I would just fly away. Sometimes I’d just decide to soar so I could get to a new adventure. Unfortunately, real life isn’t so simple, but we can still fantasize thanks to a few clever Etsy sellers.

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Whether you want to be a butterfly or an angel, Etsy is a good place to let your inner desires fly. Unfortunately, seller OrangCatMinsk is currently out of their beautiful angel backpacks, but you can always bookmark the shop and eventually you may be able to get one of your own. You can still  get your hands on a magical butterfly scarf thanks to CostureroReal though and while you might not be able to soar in reality or in a dreamscape, you can fly away in your fantasies and that’s something beautiful.