lightning octopus phoenix comicon 2013

The local (and epic) nerd revelry known as Phoenix Comicon arrives in less than two weeks!

Some people have been planning for months and months to prepare for this event, while others show up and “go where the con takes them.”

Either method will lead to much enjoyment – it’s hard not to have fun at these things, and I actually prefer a happy medium somewhere between the two – but either way, some basics can help enhance the experience for everyone.

Logistical

I highly recommend bringing a comfortable bag and making sure it has room for the treasures you’ll find, as well as filling it with a few necessities:

  • Bring snacks. Food can get expensive in the convention center, and nearby downtown. It doesn’t hurt to have something at least somewhat healthy and satisfying in your bag.
  • Bring water. I mostly say this for health and safety as there are water coolers all over the convention center, but please carry at least one water bottle with you. It can get hot & crowded sometimes.
  • Bring Cash. Events are catching up with more mobile card technology, but cash is still king at vendor tables.

Also, chances are you’ll be on your feet much more than you’re used to for an entire weekend. Comfy shoes = good.

Social

Some unspoken rules about spending so much time around so many different geeks:

  • Ask cosplayers for pictures. Most people in costume are happy to stop and pose with you. Just ask first, out of respect and courtesy. If you love their costume, let them know and tell them what you like about it.
  • Be patient. When literally tens of thousands of fans with similar interests get together, statistically, they’re going to congregate around certain things. Like, big celebrity panels, signature events, etc. This can mean lines. Lines can mean waiting. Waiting needs patience. (I recommend using these moments to make friends.)
  • Be respectful. Everyone there has chosen to be involved in Phoenix Comicon at different levels; selling stuff, geeking out, casually observing. Be okay with hardcore fans, and casual participants alike. (I also recommend taking 3 seconds to remind volunteers how awesome they are, every time you get a chance.)
  • It doesn’t matter what people are wearing – there’s never an excuse to harass, cat-call, touch, leer at, or tease anyone. Please don’t be that person.

Philosophical

Quick perspectives on how to approach the comicon, and get the most out of it:

  • Know the schedule, then explore. There are at least 7 bazillion things going on over the weekend, so make sure you’ve scheduled yourself to be at the events you don’t want to miss. The Phoenix Comicon has online scheduling tools, as well as phone apps (just learned they didn’t get them made this year) to help with this. But make sure to “float” at least a little. There are rare opportunities all over to find new stories, gain some inside jokes, and meet people you’d never meet in any other setting.
  • Geek out. Seriously… Geek out. Love what you love.  Take pictures of everything that makes you smile. Spend way too long talking about your favorite comic books with a vendor. Let loose at The Geek Prom. Go to panels on things you’re curious about. High five the guy wearing the obscure reference t-shirt, and nod to each other knowingly.

Or, as one Lightning Octopus reader put it:

Let your inner geek out to play. Get in there and go large. Embrace the oddness, it’s why you’re going, right? Pull something out of the closet you would never wear in public … And finally, talk to people! I can’t stress this enough! Conventions exist so that people with similar interests can all be in the same place at the same time. Don’t stand back and look, be part of everything you see. These are your people!

Any basic advice of your own? Leave it in the comments!

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