Sunday, 10 July 2011

Countdown to Comic Con 2011 - all about the Q

Last year I made the geek pilgrimage to San Diego for Comic Con and it was a truly awesome experience. This year I'm not going, but rather than sit around all sad and bitter about it I thought I'd put my experience to good use and offer some advice for first timers making the trek to the convention centre. The most important advice I can offer is all about queues.
Pic: taken by me at Comic Con 2010

If something's worth sitting in Hall H for it's worth turning up early for
Comic Con is all about the experience of sitting in a room full of fellow fans looking at your favourite TV/film actors/directors/writers so why the hell are you still in bed at 7am? Some people have been sleeping out on the street to be at the front of the line! If you don't get up and queue don't complain when you can't get into the hall for the panel you really want to see. Sleep is for the weak at Comic Con, and sitting in Hall H is totally worth getting up for.

Check you're in the right queue
Always check you're sitting/standing/sleeping in the right queue. Don't assume you're in the right place and sit patiently in line. Don't be British about it! Ask the people in front of you and the crew managing the line. The big film panels are in Hall H (yes, that dark and scary place where one fan stabbed another in the eye with a pen last year) and most of the big TV panels are in Ballroom 20. For some stupid reason, Castle is in one of the smaller room again this year which means you're even less likely to get in. Check your queue or you could be weeping on the front row of a panel discussing feminism in modern horror rather than rocking out to Jeffster in the Chuck panel.

Talk to your neighbours, they're nice people (probably)
Comic con is a mix of hardcore fans who go every year and those of us who can't afford to make the trip an annual holiday. If you're sitting in a queue for hours, talking to your neighbours is a good way to pass the time and share some geekery. There are probably some people you should avoid, and you can easily spot them by the words on their customized t-shirts. But if you're waiting for The Big Bang Theory and you see a guy wearing a Bazinga t-shirt why not go and say hello? Or even Bazinga?

Respect the Comic Con crew, they can kick you out
I have so much respect for the people who crew conventions, because I would never have the patience to managed thousands of eager fans who are high on caffeine and low on sleep. If a crew member asks you to move, don't argue with them. If they tell you to queue away from the fire exit, move your ass. Remember that if you act like a tool you'll be out of the convention centre in a heartbeat and no one will have any sympathy for you.

Never ever ever queue jump
You think queue jumping is bad in the real world? Then try jumping ahead at a convention - you won't live to tell the tale. Wait in line like everyone else and you'll have a lovely time. Try and jump ahead and you'll be taken out before you can shout "Bam said the lady".

Take something to read/do/listen to/sit on
Let's be honest, queueing is dull. After you've spent a few mornings on the pavement outside the convention centre you'll have stared at every sign, every building, and every piece of promotional stuff hanging off buildings and you'll have little else to do. Chances are you'll be so tired you can barely keep your head up let alone make conversation with other geeks. So take something to make your wait a little more comfortable, even if it's a pillow so you can get some sleep while you queue.

And finally some advice from one of my favourite space cowboys about sitting on your ass. I think it's relevant to queues too.

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