This was my first time EVER at a convention of any kind and I had a total blast. Comic Con is great because despite the title, it’s actually a perfect convention for fans of all kinds. The official website breaks down the events and guests into 5 categories: comics (duh), sci fi, horror, anime, and gaming. Even that doesn’t cover all the appeal, though! Alice Cooper of the Rock and Roll hall of fame was there for metal fans, there was an array of booths selling fantasy garb akin to what one might find at Scarborough, a few Steam Punk vendors selling goggles and gears, and art art art art art. Art everywhere. There is something for everyone at this convention.
My friends have always been the type to go to conventions all the time. I’ve been invited over and over but always declined. To my introverted self, it sounded like a scary place where tons of people gathered. Tons of extroverts – the kind who want to stop and talk. *shiver* Plus, the idea of a con seemed so broad – what exactly does one do at a con? The idea of cosplay – dressing up as favorite characters – always appealed to me. But I also cringed at the idea of drawing so much attention to myself. Spoiler alert: my fears were all unfounded.
Going to a convention is rather hard to describe, but I’ll do my best. What helped me the most was reading my friend The Dallas Fan Girl‘s blog. Her posts helped me picture what it would be like. If you’re a convention first-timer, I highly recommend checking her out.
So if you have a chronic illness, is a con for you? Like Disneyland, I say it’s doable, but you have to do it right. Know what you’re getting in to, have a game plan, and don’t over do it! Before I go in to detail of all the awesome reasons you should go to a convention, let me start with some words of caution:
- It’s very much NOT wheelchair/scooter friendly. I saw one or two people navigating the con in wheelchairs, but crowds and narrow aisles of booths didn’t give them an easy time of it. They did come with lots of friends, though, which helped a lot! Don’t go it alone!
- It takes a LOT of energy. I’d say more than a theme park. At least rides give you a chance to sit down. Unless you go to a Q&A, you’ll be on your feet the entire time. You’ll have to make a conscious effort to leave the main areas to find a seat and take a break. It’s especially hard because you won’t want to! But try to make an excuse. Sit down to re-arrange your bags with new purchases, thumb through a new comic (or magazine!), and update your social media to brag about your adventures.
- Dallas Comic Con is a HUGE event, and that means crowds. We went for two days – Friday and Sunday. Saturday is notoriously the most crowded day. If you have concerns about air-born exposures due to MCS, or if you have a weak immune system, consider attending on low traffic days. Friday is also a great choice because “con flu” hasn’t spread yet. “Con flu” or “con cough” is something you’ll hear a lot of cosplayers talk about. It’s common sense – lots of people in one place taking pictures together and waiting in lines is a perfect breeding ground for little bugs and colds. By Sunday, everyone is very tired and has been bouncing around in the human petri dish a while. Friday everyone is fresh and not germy. If you do have MCS or an immune system illness, you might consider attending a smaller con. They’re held all over and often. If you’re in the Dallas area, Dallas Fan Girl writes about cons of all sizes, and her site is the best place to get updates of upcoming cons. If not, just hit up google! Smaller cons may be more specialized, too, which is a plus if you’re looking for one kind of fandom in particular.
- Most conventions are held at or near large hotels. If you’re planning on going for all three days, or if you’re just worried about running out of energy, you might think about getting a room. I would have loved to just walk across the street and crash in my room at the end of the night or even for a break.
- If you don’t get a room but you are cosplaying, Dallas Comic Con features a “cosplay hideaway,” a small room away from the main areas where cosplayers can sit down, slip off large or hot costume pieces, and relax without being asked for photo ops. Even if your cosplay isn’t getting a ton of attention or you’re not a “famous” cosplayer, you’re welcome in the lounge, and it’s nice to have a quiet place you know you can retreat to if all else fails.
- The number one piece of advice I’ve gotten from friends and bloggers is DO NOT PARK AT COMIC CON. It’s expensive and you’ll likely have a long walk ahead of you. Here in Dallas, it’s easy to hop on the DART train from almost anywhere, and it drops you off right at the door of the convention center.
- Eat something. Unlike theme parks, food is NOT allowed in the convention space, though there are food stands right outside the doors. But again, you really won’t want to take a break or spend money on anything that’s not that sweet ninja turtles shirt you just met eyes with from across the room. On Friday I was there shooting for Cosplay with Me, which I’ll talk more about below, but towards the end of the night we were kinda dragging our feet and he said to me “I’m getting so tired, I don’t know why.” I agreed, and in unison (keep in mind we’ve never met before this) we both said “I think I need to eat.” and you know what? We didn’t! Because it’s freaking comic con and look over there, is that Stan Lee?! So on Sunday my husband and I made PB&J to eat in the car on the way there – no time wasted. Plan a time for food. You will not eat if you don’t plan to.
So now I bet you’re like agh, that sounds like it’s tiring and loud and unpleasant. That was my general impression before I went. I’m glad I decided to try it anyway, and I hope you see why as we go on. It’s picture time!
First thing to know – you can pick up your tickets early. This really helped lessen my anxiety about the whole thing. It was something I could check off my list early and know that as soon as I got there I could go right in. We originally planned to only go on Friday, and since that’s the first day the line for tickets was terrifying – I was so glad I went and got them the day before! More props to Dallas Fan Girl – she’s not paying me, she’s just awesome.
I’ll get to why we ended up going back on Sunday later, but we did have to wait in line since it was a last minute decision. Luckily the lines were minimal. The con opened at 10 am, but we arrived after lunch around 1 – no lines! That’s another huge piece of advice – take it slow! We just wanted to take it easy, and we weren’t interested in any of the Q&As, so we just went with no schedule. If it’s your first time, this is the way to go. See if there’s any panels you just can’t miss – if not, just go, walk around, see the sights, shop, take pictures, and go with the flow.
Getting tickets the day of does have one benefit – we ran into a guy who was supposed to meet his wife there, but she canceled last-minute. They had 3-day passes and since it was the last day he gave us hers for ten bucks, which saved us $15 at the door. BEWARE, THOUGH. Scalpers are a thing. Don’t pay more that the tickets are at the door, and don’t just buy anything. Since we had been there on Friday, we recognized the wristband he had as a valid one, but if we hadn’t been he could have easily given us a fake. Just be smart.
When we first arrived, I was actually shaking. And it wasn’t just me being dramatic either, hubs was too. When you walk in, there is just so. Much. Stuff. And people. And colors. And booths. So you kind of wander aimlessly, not really seeing anything because your brain is a pile of sensory overload. It’s okay. You’ll feel better soon. Just get your bearings and wander and eventually your brain will turn back on.
My brain turned back on when I saw this. I wanted to take a picture of me with it, and I did! And then I was like okay, I can handle this. Just looking at cool stuff and having fun. Got it.
There was also this! So many things! Yay!
Now like I said, the main reason I ended up going was to help out a friend of a friend, Jeremy of Cosplay with Me. He’s the mighty fine Joker you see pictured above. I was excited to use my skills in order to cross-promote each-other’s blogs. I quickly learned, however, that DSLR cameras and steady-cams are not exactly like riding a bike. I sometimes forget that it’s been over a year since I filmed anything professionally. I was a little rusty, and that’s generous. Jeremy was a totally sweet and creative guy, though, and was overall very patient with me. By the end of the night my hands were shaking from holding that heavy rig and I was turning into a zombie of just being tired. But despite being taxing it was a very fun experience and I can’t wait to see the finished video!
Probably the most rewarding part of filming for Cosplay with Me was watching how Jeremy approached cosplayers. I knew I wanted to get connected with people, and to tie in to the cosplay-themed ad I ran in Samaze Magazine I decided to try and get as many cosplayers as I could to pose with this sign. The idea behind it, which was not always explained in the chaos, was to play on the idea of all these people being dressed up and focusing on how people “Look.” It’s obvious that these people are NOT the characters they portray, yet not obvious that people that portray a healthy, normal look may be struggling with illness.
What was awesome about filming Jeremy’s interviews was seeing a how-to on asking for photo ops. Jeremy would walk up to someone in costume and address them by their character’s name. Sometimes they responded in character, other times they were just tickled to be recognized. Either way, they were won over. Jeremy being in costume himself had lots of people coming up and asking for pics that took different approaches, but I liked his way best. He said it’s always a little intimidating to ask for photos or interviews, even though you know cosplayers want their pictures taken. He wanted people to take pictures of him. But it’s all a little weird for everyone, so don’t be embarrassed.
People in masks or helmets can be especially hard to approach since you can’t read their reactions or mood, but I could not miss the chance to get a photo with this amaaaazing Brak. I grew up watching Space Ghost Coast to Coast, and I was so jazzed to see other fans of this obscurity.
This was probably my favorite cosplayer there. I’m a huge Ninja Turtles fan, and I was so thrilled that April O’Neil let me hold her Turtle Comm. Dream come true right there. She was also sweet enough to chat with me about this blog a bit. She’s super nice and you should definately check out her other awesome cosplays here!
I actually saw a LOT of Velmas, but this one had Scooby too so we snapped a pic. My grumpy cat was not pleased to be sharing the plushie spotlight.
I was very nervous to talk to Rorschach. He’s one of my all-time favorite characters but he’s not exactly a nice guy. Lucky for me he was being played be a nice guy. Plus he had one of those awesome masks that moves just like the real Rorscach’s!
Grumpy cat, do you feel like someone’s behind us?
A very cute Misty with Pikachu!
This guy right here is an amazing guy. This was towards the end of the night, and by now I was really in a daze. I was just kinda slowly walking by and stopped to blankly stare at these crochet beanies when this guy’s awesome sales wingman started talking to me. He said something about “brocheting” and I was like “wat” and then he said it all started with a comic book and I was still like “wat” and then he pulled out a comic book and for a second I forgot I was falling asleep and getting all hurty. The whole comic book was photos of these crochet characters. Wingman explained that Revy, pictured above, always wanted to tell stories but couldn’t draw. I could relate to that, being a screenwriter. I had never seen anything like this, it was AMAZING. I got to talking to Revy and he’s just the sweetest guy. He’s so unique and SO talented. He wins for best lasting impression. I ended up going back later to buy a little something for a GIVEAWAY coming soon….in the mean time, check out Dope Comics!
We wanted our picture on the red carpet, so we found this girl wearing a rainbow dash shirt. Apparently cool shirts do not a photographer make.
We ran into a lot of our friends there, but we were most surprised to find our pals Larry and Holly volunteering! Aw man, we had an in this whole time? They’re awesome of course – just like all the comic con volunteers!
It’s true that BIG things happen in Dallas! Special thanks to Grumpy Cat Plush for dotting my I.
This has turned into a Grumpy Cat post. #sorrynotsorry
Here’s all the awesome stuff I came home with, including the FREE Samaze Magazine featuring Do I Look Sick’s first official ad!
Glow in the dark Derpy approves.
Plus my car finally got it’s cutie mark and name – Dashie.
And now, since this post is WAY too long and I’m WAY out of spoons, I’m signing off. But stay tuned! Pictures from Day 2, along with more advice for convention newbies, coming soon!
P.S. – recognize any of these amazing cosplayers? Leave their website in the comments so I can get them linked up!