There’s no way around it – human beings are filthy, germ-spreading animals. We use our hands to touch everything, we sneeze and cough in public, and some of us simply have bad hygiene habits. All of this gets cranked up at comic book conventions like SDCC. Imagine 130,000 germ factories all squeezed into one place, side-by-side, for four and a half days and you’ll begin to see the importance of taking preventive measures.
At a mega-con like San Diego Comic-Con, everyone is too busy and too stressed to think about personal hygiene and proper manners, so it’s up to you as an attendee to make sure you don’t catch or spread any germs, otherwise known as “con crud.” It happens to the best of us, no matter how extreme your measures are, because there’s nothing you can really do if the person sitting next to you in Hall H sneezes on your face and you have to spend the next 8 hours pressed up next to them.
Thankfully, over the years I’ve learned some best practices to at least lower the chances of catching con crud. I personally follow each of these rules myself, so they’ve been through many real-world tests:
If there was one comic book convention that you have to visit to boost your nerd street cred, then that’s easily San Diego Comic-Con or SDCC, for short. Most people will comment how crowded this convention is and how difficult it is to obtain tickets to the show. But what most people don’t understand is the commitment that countless nerds go through each year to ensure they walk the convention floor or sit in the elusive Hall H. I’m going to give a short run down on my journey back to SDCC 2015 after a year away, caring for my nerd-in-training baby boy, Aiden.
As a fan of this convention, there’s sort of an insanity that comes with trying to go to the show every year. If you were lucky enough to go to the show the previous year, SDCC started a Pre-Registration period where those guests can attempt to get badges for the following year. The caveat is you are required to keep last year’s badge and input your unique ID into the system. This is the first chance guests have to get the 4-day plus Preview Night badges that almost always sells out first. Now, the entire stock of tickets aren’t sold during this period because they need to allocate supply for the Open Registration period which allows anyone try for badges as well as both the Creative and Trade Professional registration periods.
We were lucky enough to make the trip up from San Francisco to the Pacific Northwest to attend Emerald City Comicon for the first time – and it was definitely worth it. Considered part of the “Big 3” of comic book conventions among San Diego Comic-Con and New York Comic Con, it drew over 80,000 attendees from all over the country (and even overseas). It’s not just comic books, however, but all things comic book and pop culture related – dealers, panels, celebrities, gaming, creators, cosplay and more. We managed to soak all of it up, and had a blast!
We wanted to attend ECCC for several reasons, but mainly because we’ve never been before and we’ve been to nearly every California convention already. While our main focus is comic books (obviously), we still like to attend panels, meet celebrities, do some gaming and sometimes cosplay ourselves. If comic book conventions are buffets, we like to sample a bit of every dish.
In this recap and review, we touch on different aspects of the show:
something that is similar to something else but different in some way
Star Wars #1 with art by John Cassaday
Star Wars #1 Variant cover by Skottie Young
As a comic book collector, variants aren’t just an expensive single issue. It’s a way to follow your favorite artist. From personal experience, anything J. Scott Campbell draws, I’m going to try to purchase it. I’ve followed him from his days drawing Danger Girl to penciling covers of various Marvel issues including The Superior Spider-Man and The Amazing Spider-Man double-spread and some one shots like John Carter of Mars and Thor.
Hunting for back issues at a comic book convention can be a very fun and rewarding experience, but it can also be stressful and expensive! After attending many cons myself and spending countless hours flipping through long boxes, I’ve designed a fairly effective process that works well for me. Everyone is different and has their own goals and objectives at a con, so feel free to use this information in a way that works best for you.
The focus of this guide is strictly on buying back issues at comic book conventions; not toys, artwork, trade paperbacks, high value CGC-graded books or anything else at a con. Each of those has its own unique approach, but if you’re attending a con to try and fill some gaps in your collection, pick up some key issues or dig through dollar bins, then this is the guide you should be reading.
This past weekend we had the pleasure of attending Long Beach Comic Con for the first time. It’s an annual show in its third year, and draws around 20,000 attendees over two days. The focus of the show is definitely on comics and creators, and less about pop culture in general, which is what I was hoping for.
The vibe at LBCC was very friendly and welcoming, and it drew a diverse mix of comic book fans and geeks. What I liked most about the size of the show is that it felt substantial in the scope of the expo hall and programming, but it never felt crowded and overwhelming, unlike San Diego Comic Con, which draws over 120,000 attendees.