Is it too soon to start talking about this? No, not really. San Diego is coming right for us, and already you can get a VERY full calendar. I’m not going to post a billion links every day but I think a weekly round-up will function to get us all into shape, as it were. Above image © Megan Byrd from 2013, graciously used with her permission.
§ Tony Kim’s Crazy 4 Comic-Con blog has a list of reader tips that are all very sound, like ways to stash caches of food around the con. You know, I didn’t not think that stashing food caches would one day be a smart thing to do at a comic-con, but it is now. I personally just carry a big bag of GORP in my rucksack for those all day hikes, but some people may prefer MREs. Shoe inserts are another popular tip. Also: a poster tube with a strap will make you very happy if you have it. They give these away every day at one of the studio booths, but you have to stand in line for hours to get one — much easier to just bring your own.
§ Off-site events are already piling up. Everything from Judah Friedlander to a Funko event to The Voice tour to…oh god just go to this FB list. Or this list. Or this website, called Outside Comic-Con. A symphony orchestra will play the music of Danny Elfman. There will be a craft beer festival. And this:
FilmCon (Date and Time: TBA) – Film and Animation Festival
Screenings, networking mixer, filmmaker panels, film screenings, special guests, production alley, awards presentation and no-host bar
Horton Grand Theater, 444 4th Ave, San Diego, CA, 92101
The annual Zombie Walk lost its corporate funding but they crowdfunded the party (just like NerdHQ) and there will now be a party at the Horton Grand Hotel. This used to be the quietest place in downtown San Diego but NO MORE.
§ Among all this, no word of Tr!ckster coming back. Tr!ckster, you will recall, was the indie comics festival/flea market/get together than ran for the last three years. The first year mega awesome, as I sipped a magnificent Spanish rosé right across the railroad tracks with all the people I liked hanging out with. One of my best recent con memories. But the last two years it wasn’t as much fun and it may have been priced out all together. Looks like to find comics you’ll have to go to the actual con.
§ Speaking of comics, I saw folks on Twitter complaining about the cost of party venues. Given the amount of money that flows, you can’t blame locals for wanting top dollar but I miss those days when even Friends of Lulu could get a bar or hotel to let them put on an event.
§ Speaking of olden days, also gone are the days when the locals hated con. Now the Gaslamp district has a whole section of its website devoted to welcoming Comic-Con!
San Diego is proud to be the home of the world’s largest comic book and popular arts convention. Each year, Comic-Con International takes over the San Diego Convention Center and a wave of comic and graphic arts enthusiasts, cosplayers, and fan boys and girls flow into the Gaslamp Quarter, East Village, Uptown and beyond. Gaslamp’s Geekdom here in the Gaslamp Quarter are already plotting for next year’s nerd-tastic extravaganza, so be sure to mark your calendars for July 24 – 27, 2014 (Preview Night on July 23)!
You might want to bookmark this site as it offers local deals, parking maps and other useful resources, and tips like this being a good time to splurge on that VIP bottle service since you never know who might sit near you.
§ Psychologist Dr. Ali Mattu, who bills him/herself as “the science fiction psychologist” has a VERY useful piece on the psychology of going to cons. A sample:
There’s also the horror of waiting in a lot of very long lines. Research has shown being bored while in line, not knowing how long you’re going to be in a line, and not knowing if you’re going to make it into the thing you’re waiting for makes people agitated. This stuff happens ALL THE TIME at comic-cons. I waited 2 hours at New York Comic Con to see a Walking Dead panel. I didn’t get in, was really upset, and felt like I wasted my afternoon.
Turns out how you feel at the very end of a line is very important – if the line speeds up or it took less time than anticipated, you feel really good about the experience no matter how long you waited. If the line ends badly, you’re going to be very upset at the people responsible. Disney has mastered this kind of stuff – they advertise longer wait times than reality so you think the line went by faster than it did, their queues are full of entertaining stuff so you’re not bored, and the length of a line is always hidden so people aren’t turned off by the sight of an enormous slow moving line. Comic-cons could benefit from copying Disney’s tactics.
§ I still have not had a proper breakfast burrito since 2011, so this year it is my priority. Tips welcome.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.