Here we are again my friends! One year later, ComicCon is upon us Montrealers and if you went last year then you are one year wiser. Now, since I’m sure some of you are new to this so sit back, relax and take notes because I’ve got you covered. If you’re a seasoned Comic-con adventurer you may have been to Montreal ComicCon, or Fan Expo in Toronto, heck maybe even NYCC convention in the fall or for the geekiest of us all…maybe even San Diego ComicCon (widely considered the “BIG SHOW” to most geeks). One thing that stands true through all these conventions is that they get crowded. The following is a guide on how to explore, shop and get the the best out of your ComicCon experience.
Scheduling: The first thing you should do is to find out which guests are attending and what day. Most conventions have their biggest guests come on the Saturday, giving them the chance to try and draw in as many attendees as possible (within safety limits) with their biggest names. Check the schedule, look up panels, check out the vendor list and make your own personalized schedule. You might have some conflicts once things get moved around, but that’s half the fun of Comiccon; you can only plan so much, sometimes you have to let the con guide you. For example, David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson of X-Files fame, were both expected at Montreal ComicCon this year, but due to Gillian’s filming schedule, she had to excuse herself. If you bought tickets with plans to see her and Duchovny, you’ll still have David, Mitch Pileggi and William B. Davis. Don’t let that discourage you though, it just means you get different X-Files stars.
Know the layout: Possibly one of the most important things to note. Knowing the layout of the convention isn’t only important for your safety, it can make getting around a breeze. Take advantage of the Montreal Comiccon site and all the links, because if you explore the site, you can find the layout for the convention before they release the official one in the swag bags (hint: it’s in the exhibitor section under Floor Plan). Once you find it, you can use the Exhibition Hall list and start marking off your main points of interest. Use landmarks like K.I.T.T. from Knight Rider or the big central Sony Playstation booth. Once on the convention floor, it is easy to get turned around.
Montreal Comiccon Q&A
Shopping: If you’ve ever been to a ComicCon you may have noticed that the prices for some items can be… inflated. It happens partially because the vendors are trying to make back the money they spent on their tables. Tables at Cons can get pretty expensive, so the vendors work hard to at least breaking even. Your job as an attendee is to be informed: if you have a specific comic you want to pick up, maybe a figure from your favourite game or even a shield, know your prices going in. With a couple thousand fans walking around the convention hall, service can sometimes be slow. If you’re negotiating a price on a limited edition Star Wars figure, for instance, you want to know 1) how much it should cost? and 2) how much you’re willing to spend to add it to your collection? The game has changed with the internet, so take advantage and get informed before someone takes advantage of your wallet. Plus, there is always the Sunday Fire Sale. When the convention is coming to an end on the last day, many vendors would rather not have to lug everything back to their stores or storage lockers. This can really work in your favour, especially on TPBs (trade paperbacks), mystery boxes, and clothing.
Food & Water: This one is short and to the point: pack some snacks! If you are going to be moving around a lot, whether it be from panel to panel or game room to convention floor, you will need to recharge those batteries, so have some food. There are usually food counters at the con, but again, those prices can be inflated and if you’re like me, you want to save your money for autographs and action figures, packing a bottle of water, and a couple granola bars can mean the difference between two Marvel Legends figures or one.
Health: This may seem like a weird one, but “Con-Cold” or “ComiCough” are real things. With that many people touching and checking out all this cool and interesting stuff at the convention, not everyone is cleaning their hands before they touch the merch. You don’t have to wear gloves, but you should do your best to clean your hands often and sneeze or cough into your elbow. Vampire routine still works folks, it isn’t just for kids.
All this to say, Comiccon can be an amazing time, especially if you go in with a plan. More info on the programming of the weekend-long convention can be found here, and more info on the early badge pick-up (happening Thursday July 5th) can be found here. Happy planning, and have a merry ComicCon!