If you’ve been to a convention, then you understand just how packed the exhibit hall and artist’s alley can get. This whole conundrum is made all the more frustrating when it seems like the people who are in the flow of walking traffic don’t understand how to appropriately navigate. There are a few different types of people you’ll want to keep an eye out for as you’re perusing booths and checking out what artists and writers have to offer you at New York Comic Con this year. These are also the types of people I hope you do not become!
The dazed and confused
These are definitely the newcomers, the people who probably have never stepped foot at a comic convention. They could also be woodland people who have never had to experience that many people in a small confined space before. Whoever or whatever they are, they’re the ones who walk very slowly with their head swiveling back and forth as if they’ve never seen anything but a cement wall in their entire life. They slow down traffic with their meandering pace, and often travel in groups.
Here’s a tip: move out of the way. Yes, conventions are overwhelming and there’s a lot to take in. Yes, there’s no way to see everything there is to see in one go around. Yes, I get it, there are cool cosplayers and famous people around every corner. However, if you want to keep from becoming an easy target for unstoppable fury, step to the side. Or keep walking and circle back around. Stopping in the middle of the floor, in the middle of the walkway is an easy way to get roughed up by the crowd.
The Fangirls and Fanboys
I know, I know. This is what conventions are all about. They’re about seeing famous people, hanging out with strangers dressed in costumes, and buying up all the art that’s possible. However, standing around swooning or openly gawking at your favorite comic book artist or writer isn’t going to help the crowding situation. It also isn’t going to get you any closer to meeting them.
I understand that there are times where the phrase “star struck” is going to become quite a literal thing, but let me tell you something: act. Do something. Step up to the booth and commit, or keep walking while you consider whether or not you have the strength to walk up to someone you admire without peeing yourself out of excitement (and believe me, we’ve all had those moments). Don’t just stand there in the middle of the isle gawking at someone who doesn’t even realize you’re gawking at them.
There are going to be amazing costumes at New York Comic Con. This is a given, and tends to be a given at any convention. I, myself, have stared in wonder at the detail people put into their cosplay outfits, and have asked for many a picture with people dressed as my favorite characters. There’s a difference, though, between politely pulling a cosplayer aside (with their permission) to take a picture, and stopping dead in your tracks to whip out your camera and take a picture in the middle of traffic.
Are we seeing a trend here? I hope so. Because the paparazzi are causing the same issue as all the other tedious convention goers: they’re blocking the main line of traffic. Sure, with today’s technology it should only take a couple of seconds to snap a picture and be on your way. Unfortunately, I always seem to get caught behind the people who have to unlock their phone, grapple with whatever application they’re using, and make sure they are set up for the perfect photoshoot in the middle of the blasted show room. Take your picture, and move on. Or step aside. Your choice. Otherwise I’m going to photobomb your pictures. I swear I’ll do it.
Cosplayers: I love you. You all make my wildest dreams come true and I love posing with each and every single gorgeous Captain America cosplayer to get a picture. I really do admire the work you put into your costumes, and your dedication to assuming the character. Honestly, I don’t think conventions would be half as interesting without all of you there. That’s the honest truth.
But, when you’re traveling in a giant group, for the love of all that is good in the world, walk in a single file line or get out of the way. It annoyed me when I was in high school and people walked side-by-side in front of me, blocking off every chance to pass, and it annoys me when cosplayers do it too. This could go for all groups of people on the floor, honestly, but I’ve found cosplayers are some of the worst offenders. I know you look cool. Everyone knows you look cool. Take a minute, though, and stop sauntering and start navigating.
The ‘I just remembered I don’t think I turned off the stove’ people
Other types of con-goers can be aggravating, but these people are the worst. Why? Because we’ll be going along through the crowds, easily navigating between and around people, and I will be following their lead because they’re clearing a way through. It is teamwork. It is beautiful. Then it happens…
They stop dead in their tracks and I almost crash into them.
Why do they stop? I don’t know. Sometimes they just stare at something as if they’ve been deactivated, or they’ve just remembered something important. Other times they’re responding to a text message, or checking to make sure their shoe isn’t untied. Regardless of the reason, they stop all of a sudden and the magic and beauty of our previous symbiotic relationship disappears. The feel-good moment is replaced with a deep sense of rage as I withhold every urge to shove them down for their painful betrayal of our once beautiful partnership.
If you’re going to stop, get out of the way. Unless you really did leave your stove on.
Be thoughtful of those around you
Everything in this article boils down to this final and simple point. Be thoughtful of the people around you. Emotions run high during a convention, and it can be a stressful weekend, but be aware of your surroundings. It is not only a good thing to do to protect yourself and your well being, but it can help cool tempers and keep the traffic in the exhibit hall moving forward instead of coming to a halt. Knowing who’s around you and being aware of the space you’re taking up is the key to successfully navigating the floor, and once you’ve mastered it, you’re set.
A convention is an overwhelming thing, but the more quickly you learn that you’re one part of a bigger people puzzle, the happier everyone will be.
For more convention tips, check out our post from San Diego Comic Con.