Well it is just about that time! After a nearly 18 month wait the 2010 New York Comic Con is upon us. Aside from the legendary San Diego affair, NYCC is the largest gathering of comic book collectors ( as well as sci-fi, movie, TV, game and Anime fans!) in the world. This year well over 100,000 fans will be attending the show which runs at the Javits Center from October 8th through the 10th.
Now you can go to the NYCC or you can go with a plan. Either way you will have a great time. But if you take a little bit of time to plan your days you will get the most out of the convention experience. With that in mind here are some tips and tools you may want to add to your NYCC Survival Kit:
1) Make use of the tools and schedule posted on the New York Comic Con Official Website. (http://www.newyorkcomiccon.com/ ). They have everything from floor maps to panel and show schedules, a list do’s and don’ts, booth locations for every dealer and show exclusives. This is all tied into an online show planner tool so you can print out your master plan! Trust me, you will NOT be able to attend every event at the Con. If you go in blind you will likely miss that ONE event you want to see most. So spending a few hours with the Show Planner is time well spent.
2) Arrive EARLY on the day of the Con. It is an absolute madhouse and it is very easy to find yourself still waiting to get in a good hour after the convention starts. Get into Manhattan early, have a BIG breakfast (you are going to need it! But more on food in a bit), and be among the first on line. One of the best times at the Con, for me, is chatting to people who are waiting to get into the show. It is a great opportunity to make new friends who share your passion for comics.
3) Bring a shopping “kit”. Believe me you don’t want to be walking around the floor with your swag dropping behind you. My kit consists of a good sized back pack with the following: two or three very sturdy shopping bags, a poster tube, bags and boards for any loose comics, Comic Book Price Guide, Folder with my show plan print outs, camera and extra batteries, and some snacks.
4) Ok, let’s talk food. You do NOT want to buy food inside the Javits Center. It is not bad by any means but it IS expensive and if you are like me, you have a limited budget. I for one would rather spend my dough on collectibles and not a $6 hot dog. Eat before you come in, slide a bag lunch or snack into your kit, and go OUT for dinner. There are several reasonably priced eating options outside the Javits Center. Believe me you ARE going to need to eat and refuel as NYCC will severely test your endurance!
5) We all know that one of the main reasons we attend the Con in the first place is to satisfy our UNBRIDLED AVARICE! When I look around at all that swag and all those dealers I feel like an Orange Lantern! Larfleeze Lives! MINEMINEMINE!!! BUT you can’t have everything so you need to maximize your bucks. Take the time to make a shopping list. What items are you aggressively hunting? Which are “nice to have” and which are low priority? Set a drop dead price for your items. Don’t over spend on a collectible. You may not get it at the Con but it WILL come your way down the road at your price if you are realistic in your expectations. Don’t go ANYWHERE without your trusty price guide. A CBG or Overstreet guide is a must in your kit. Second, shop around! Chances are that several dealers have the items you want. Don’t be afraid to bargain (just be polite and reasonable) and do your buying at the END of the day, preferably the end of the day on Sunday. Why? Dealers always give their best prices at the end of a show. Also anything you buy early, you are going to have to carry around for the rest of the day (unless you have a VIP pass and access to the VIP lounge).
6) FREE STUFF! Even if you don’t spend a DIME on a single comic or collectible you can go home with BAGS of free swag, from comics, to tee shirts, toys, posters…you name it. This should be your first hunter/gatherer activity because the best swag always goes FIRST. Hit the smaller companies first because they generally run out of give a ways before the big guys like Marvel and DC.
7) PACE YOURSELF. Especially if you are attending all three days you are going to need to take some breaks just to get away from the crowds. Breaks are the best time to find a quiet place and organize your swag/purchases to make sure they are not being damaged or lost. It is also a good idea to use breaks as a way to hook up with people you are attending the show with. Over the course of the day you WILL get separated so having a set time and place for a break will cut down on the “OMG!! I lost my little brother” syndrome.
8) Secure your personal electronics and your money. You are going to be sharing space with 100,000 people and on Saturday in particular you won’t be able to MOVE on the main floor. It is easy to lose your I-Pod, Cell phone or money if you don’t keep them secured properly. Plus, as much as we don’t like to think so, not everyone is honest. People WILL try to take your stuff if you tempt them by leaving it within easy reach. Keep your money in a front pocket and not in a wallet or purse. Think about living without your I-Pod (LEAVE IT HOME!)for the day and make sure your cell phone is secure on your person. Also, most of the transactions you will make will be in cash. While it is rare to find a dealer who will try to cheat you with change and such, they ARE handling so much money at the same time that it is EASY to make a mistake. It is ultimately YOUR responsibility to make sure you account for all of your change on purchases. COUNT it right there in front of the dealer before you leave the booth. A little vigilance will keep your weekend from being ruined by loss or theft.
9) One of my personal pet peeves is people dominating an autograph line. Nothing is more inconsiderate than bringing a BOX of items for a creator to sign. They have a limited amount of time to sign and if they burn up ten minutes of the hour on one person then other fellow collectors are going to go away disappointed. Don’t be a part of that problem. Three items or less is plenty and will help the line move along!
10) FINALLY make sure to tell everyone you meet that YOU shop at the very best comic shop in the world. Comic Book Jones! (Ok it’s a shameless plug but then I am a shameless guy !)
Have a great time at the con. See you there!