Comic book conventions are booming in the year 2015, as a new one seems to spring up every week somewhere in the country. A lot of you might be new to them, but don’t worry folks, we’ve got your back.
With San Diego Comic Con looming on the horizon, it is important to understand a few things related to etiquette. After all, you managed to survive the dreaded SDCC queue, dominated hotel roulette, and are going to attend the biggest comic book convention in the world. It wouldn’t do to get kicked out early, or leave feeling sour because other con-goers gave you the stink eye after you crossed certain social boundaries.
DO make line buddies!
No joke, line buddies are going to be the saving grace at a convention like SDCC because you’re going to be standing in a lot of lines. You’ll wait in a line to get into the convention, you’ll shuffle into lines around the booths, you will probably sleep outside waiting in a line to get in to see a coveted panel, and by the end of the con you’re probably going to have some pretty intense flashbacks the next time you’re waiting to order at McDonalds.
You’re going to have to embrace the line culture, and part of that is making line buddies. Talk to the people around you, especially if you’re traveling solo. You’ll not only meet some interesting and fun people, but you’ll be able to step away to use the bathroom or catch a few hours of sleep without having to worry about losing your spot in line or your stuff.
DO NOT be a jerk to the staff manning the line!
We’ve all had our run-ins with the red shirts, or some form of security at conventions. It can be obnoxious, especially when you’ve been circling a booth for an hour trying to jump into the freebie line to have it dismissed by security for being too packed.
However, it is important to remember that they are there to do their job. They were chosen to stand among the swarms of sweaty, stinky con-goers and pull the fanboys and fangirls away from their prizes. Their job is rough, and you’re going to attract more flies with honey than vinegar.
Engage them when appropriate, be kind to them, say thank you, or apologize if you realize you were infringing on their rules. Respect the staff, because their job is to make sure no one gets hurt and that the Fire Marshall remains happy so that the con can continue.
DO wear deodorant and shower – PLEASE
For the love of all that is good and wonderful in this world, please keep up on your bathing. I know that between the long waits in line, eating, and running around in the Gaslamp District, it can be hard to take fifteen minutes to shower and apply deodorant. However, the people around you are going to be thankful that you do.
No one is going to want to make nice with the smelly person who hasn’t showered in three days and is currently sitting in the line with them. Pack deodorant in your bag and reapply it often. Con stink is a real thing, and once you get a whiff you’ll understand why this really is an issue of etiquette.
DO NOT stop walking in the middle of the convention floor.
If you need to stop and take a picture, double check your map to find the booth you’re looking for, or your mom is calling, please for the love of Spock step aside out of traffic.
I cannot tell you how many people I’ve nearly knocked over because they suddenly stopped moving in the middle of a packed convention floor. Unless you’ve just spotted Chris Pratt two feet away and want to alert everyone behind you that he’s taking fan pictures, do not stop moving. Either keep walking, or move to the side. Otherwise you’ll stop off traffic and at SDCC, that is a recipe for ticking people off.
DO bring water, snacks, and entertainment.
As previously mentioned, you’re going to be waiting in a lot of lines. You’re going to want to make sure you’ve got what you’ll need to be entertained while waiting in them. If you bring snacks, bring enough to share with your line buddies. If you’ve got a multi-player game, like a card game, or something that can include those around you, you’re going to make some fast friends who can become your allies at the convention.
Having water, snacks, and things to entertain are your tickets to making your line and convention experience pleasant. Also, if you need a suggestion for what to put in your bag be sure to check out our post about it.
DO NOT disrespect people’s space!
While you may be pressed up against strangers’ bodies in the middle of the convention floor as you struggle to make it to the FOX booth, it is important to respect people’s space whenever possible. If you want to take a picture with someone in an amazing cosplay, ask before violating their space. When you’re waiting in line, try to leave some space between you and the person in front of you.
Sometimes all people want in the midst of chaos is a little breathing room. No matter your intentions, good or not, give people space, whether they ask for it or not. Conventions are an insane gathering of way too many people in a way-too-small space and the least any of us can do is try to still be respectful of personal space when possible.
Finally… DO watch out for each other and have fun!
The point of SDCC is to smash as much possible fun and stimulation into four days (plus preview night!) as you can and it will leave you exhausted. The greatest thing you can do for others and yourself is to keep an eye out for those around you. If you see someone being aggressive, be quick to point it out to security. If someone looks lost, upset, or scared (especially someone younger), don’t hesitate to act to help them.
If you notice someone rummaging through another person’s stuff when their back is turned for two seconds, point it out to the distracted person. If we watch out for each other to keep the convention a safe place, then everything else will fall into line.
At the end of the day, have fun, be safe, stay hydrated, be kind to those around you, and for goodness’ sake, take a shower.