Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Road to NYCC '11: Con Tips

We are one week away from New York Comic Con!!!  Now is the time to get planning all the small things you might need.  Here are our top tips and recommendations for NYCC goers, new and old:

Do your Research (and carry it with you) – There is a lot going on at this con, and you won’t get to see it all.  Make sure that you go over the NYCC website and write down everything that you want to go to.  Then, it can get tricky.  In order to know all of the fun stuff going on, you need to do some searching online for everything that is not on the NYCC website.  Some of the best stuff is happening at the booths, and it is only posted on their website.  This includes NYCC exclusive items and celeb appearances/signings, so make sure you check out everything.  The reason to carry it with you is that there are some things, no matter how long you wait, that you will not get into.  Rather than be disappointed, you will have a handy, dandy plan of something else you want to go to. 

Loud Alarm Clock – Are you heading to NYCC for autographs?  Then you better get there early!  The line for autograph tickets starts outside the Javits Center and for the right celeb, people will sit out there all night.  If there is a must-have autograph on your list, make sure your alarm clock can wake the dead.

Layers of Clothes – The weather is becoming cooler in New York. Be sure to dress appropriately. It will get hot in the convention center but whether you’re waiting on line, outside at 4 AM for that coveted autograph ticket or you’re leaving the center at 11 PM when your panel lets out,  you’re going to get cold. Bring a hoodie or something else you can easily remove.

Good Shoes – You will be walking a lot.  While that can be said for every con, this one is in New York City.  Chances are you will be walking everywhere.  Take care of your feet.

Get a Metro Card – The closest subway/train stop is Penn Station on 34th St. & 8th Ave. The A, C, and E stop there as well as the 1, 2, & 3 (they involve a little extra walking). The Javits Center is three long avenues from Penn so pack your days things accordingly. If you have to bring several items such as half your comic book collection for signings or a sleeping bag, you can also take the bus from Penn. I've never done that but I've asked around and the best buses to take are the M32 and M42. They run crosstown on 32nd St. and 42nd St.

Pick a Meet Up Spot – You're going to get separated from your group at least a few times during the con. Whether it's because you want to go to different panels or there are too many people in the exhibition hall, you're going to lose each other. While everyone is sure to have a cell phone, the reception isn't always the greatest and batteries can died so it's best to arranged a particular time and place for everyone. Speaking of phones.....

Good Phone and Charger – They charge for wi-fi access at the Javits Center.  Bring an internet ready phone so you can get twitter updates.  Many booths announce giveaways and celebrity signings during con.  If you are draining your battery with all of your tweeting, try to charge during a panel or when you are taking a short break on the floor.

Go in the Correct Entrance – This year, NYCC is color-coding entrances to speed things up.  If you have a ticket, you go in the green door.  If you need to pick up your ticket, you go to the yellow entrance.  Professionals, VIPs or ticket buyers need to head to the blue door and according to the comments, us press people need to go to the red door.  Please, make it easier on everyone and go in the correct door.

Protect your stuff – If you are going to stock up on all the great comics that will be there, pack a few bags and boards to protect them.  You don’t want your brand new NYCC Exclusive Uncanny X-Force #1 to be wrinkled by a free junk toy you just shoved in your bag.  Additionally, you will have the opportunity to get all sorts of nice posters and amazing works of art.  Protect them by getting a poster tube.  If funds are already spent on the fun, keep your eyes out for freebie poster tubes.  There are always one or two of the major booths giving them away.

Feed Yourself Well – This can be said for every con but here it is again: DON’T BUY FOOD IN THE CONVENTION CENTER!  It is always overpriced and frankly, not that tasty.  Try bringing a refillable water bottle and some granola bars to get you through the next panel.  If you need to buy food at the con, head over to the Anime Festival area, where a lot of booths are selling tasty candy.  When you are ready for a real meal, don't go to the carts outside.  Check out our top spots right here.  There are a lot of options in the area, but you will have to walk a bit.  Make sure that you get food before you buy too much stuff to carry!

Stay Patient  –  The convention floor is always crowded and busy at NYCC.  Just like last year, the Javitz Center will be under construction during con.  This means part of the floor has a big tunnel going through it, which gets extra crowded very quickly.  Please, don't push at the people in front of you or complain that they are moving too slow.  On the other hand though, don't stop in the middle of the aisle/hall/staircase/street when there are people behind you.  It is just not safe.  Please move to a safe spot before stopping.

Keep Clean – This shouldn’t have to be mentioned but it is in every article written about cons. You’re going to be in a crowded space with several hundred people. You’ll be racing from one end of the center to the other to get to that one panel you HAVE to see; everyone else will be doing the same thing. It’s going to get hot and sweaty. The last thing anyone needs to be subjected to is someone who decided to save time by not showering. Bring some moist wipes to freshen up during the day and don’t forget to shower each morning/night.

Show Respect for the Professionals – As a dedicated lover of comics and all things geeky, you, of course, have strong opinions about particular artists and writers. That’s great. The professionals who go to the cons want to hear from their fans but be sure to ask for permission before snapping a pic or going in for a hug. Also, if you see a professional whose work you dislike and you feel compelled to tell them, do it in a calm and respectful way. Most pros are open to hearing complaints provided they are intelligent, thoughtful and not just because you didn’t like it. Not only is it disrespectful and mean, but it ruins the con for all the other attendees who wish to show their appreciation.  Keep in mind, the story will go viral and you will be subjected to ridicule and condemnation by not only the fans but the very professionals you so admire. 

Find People to Walk With – New York is definitely a safe city.   However, if you're from out of town or you're carrying a lot of things with you, the walk to and from the Javits Center can feel a little lonely and isolating, especially at night.  If you came by yourself, try looking for groups of people leaving the Con and stick close (but not creepy stalker close).  You might even make some new friends.  If you're going with friends, it just makes sense to leave with some of them, if not all of them. It's more fun, you're less likely to get lost and less likely to get jumped & robbed of all your sweet Con swag.

There is also a NYCC-sponsored bus that does dropoffs at local hotels and transportation hubs.  If you have a long haul, or feel completely lost, try taking one of these.  It is a safe bet.

Have Fun – You’ve done all your planing, you know exactly which panels and screenings you have to go to, you’re ready to wait all night to score a ticket to get Brian Michael Bendis’ autograph, and you’ve decided on the exclusives you must have,  so now what? Now it’s time for you to take a deep breath, relax, and enjoy the con. You’re not going to be able to do everything you want and that’s okay. The most important part of the con is the experience and the celebration of all things comics.

Like what you just read? Let us know in the comments below and keep up to date by following us on TwitterFacebook and Tumblr!