Every year, nerds around the world unite to enjoy international Comic Con conventions. Many fans of the event gather at the San Diego Comic Con. Although some are avid goers, some are newbies just you like you. If you have never attended a comic con convention, there are a few tips and rules you need to know. Each tip, hint, and helpful suggestion will help you navigate Comic Con like a pro. While you might not know the scene too well, you will surely fit in just like all the other pro nerds. Learn what to expect, what to wear, and most importantly, how to enjoy yourself to the best of your ability, with this guide to Comic Con.

What Can You Expect?

First and foremost, you can expect a rather large gathering at any Comic Con convention. Even smaller venues will feel packed to the brim. The event is quite popular, as is proven by the number of attendees each year. The first Comic Con convention took place over the course of three days in the U.S. Grant Hotel’s basement and saw 300 attendees.

The L.A. Times reported an expected 135,000 attendees or more for the 4-day San Diego Comic Con convention in 2016. Imagine 135,000 nerds or more converging in one location. You might come to expect a madhouse of sorts when you think of it that way. Truthfully, it is somewhat of a madhouse.

Expect to Run Around

As a first-time visitor to Comic Con, the experience can seem overwhelming. Prepare yourself for lots of things to see and do. In fact, there are so many sights and places to go, that you will not likely see it all. Of course, this is one of the most important rules: Do Not Stress! Accept the fact that you will miss certain things and move along so you can enjoy what you do see.

Expect also to do a lot of running around, seemingly like a chicken missing its head, as you excitedly rush from one place to the next. Don’t worry about trying to contain your excitement. You might think this makes you look like a newbie rather than a pro nerd, but even the pros still run around in excitement. Rather than sticking out like a sore thumb, you will fit right in with the fun rush of the rest of the crowd.

Expect Long Lines

The fans that attend Comic Con travel from across the world to enjoy the same experience as you. Unfortunately, that can translate to long lines. Of course, with so many panels, you would think that you could surely slide into one of the more obscure ones rather quickly, right? Wrong. There are enough fans in attendance with similar interests, even for the most oddball panels.

A good rule of thumb is to estimate how long you think you will wait in line and add roughly two hours to that wait time. In truth, you might not wait in line for 2+ hours for some panels, but you need to lower your expectations. If you set your expectations too high is a first-time goer, you will feel disappointed.

Lowering your expectations brings with it the chance to feel surprised. When the line moves quicker than you expected, you will feel a sense of excitement rather than disappointment. Of course, there are instances where your addition of two hours might prove true. In those instances, you already know what to expect, so it will not be a disappointing surprise.

What Should You Wear?

Since you have never attended Comic Con before, you are likely stressing over what to wear. Of course, your sense of fashion is not the most important consideration for an event like this. Instead, focus on your comfort. You are going to find yourself standing and walking for several hours. If you focus on fashion rather than comfort, you are not going to last very long.

Instead of sacrificing your feet, and perhaps a small portion of your soul, wear the most comfortable, supportive shoes you own. Not only will you focus more on enjoying the event, but your feet will also thank you by the end of the day, too. If you are one of those fashion-conscious people who simply can’t help it, try wearing a nerdy t-shirt under a blazer with jeans and comfortable shoes.

Some rooms may feel cooler than others. Wearing a blazer helps minimize your discomfort. When it gets too hot, you can remove the blazer and cool down. When you enter a room that feels more suitable for a polar bear, you can put the blazer back on and feel comfortable and stylish at the same time.

You will, of course, see several other attendees dressed up. Their sense of cosplay fashion may seem like one of the coolest things you have ever seen, but it is not recommended for first-time goers. Instead, your first time should be about:

  • Experiencing the event
  • Enjoying yourself
  • Feeling comfortable
  • Learning to get a feel for the crowd

If you focus on cosplay too much your first time out, you might miss out on the fun and excitement that awaits you.

What Mistakes Should You Avoid?

Every first-time Comic Con attendee makes the same mistakes. Some common mistakes made by newbies include:

  • Purchasing Priority Tickets: The truth of the matter is, it doesn’t matter if you arrive earlier than the crowds or later. Priority tickets mean you must wake up earlier just to feel rushed. Waking up later allows you to feel energized and refreshed, which will allow you to enjoy the event.
  • Unauthorized Touching: You will see a LOT of people dressed up. You might even spot your favorite video game or comic book character. However, you should not make the mistake of running up to touch someone or snap a selfie. Instead, ask the person permission, first.
  • Not Bringing a Pack or Bag: You will need a backpack or bag to bring with you. Pack bottled water and plenty of snacks, of course. Make sure you also pack a backup battery for your cell phone and bring your deodorant. All that walking around and excitement is a sweat-inducing experience.
  • Fearing Your Solo Status: Do not worry about going stag to an event like Comic Con. Many others do the same thing! The crowd is roughly even among male and female attendees. Rest easy knowing that 47% of females in attendance and 50% of males in attendance are also single, and many of them go stag.

By knowing what mistakes to avoid, what to wear, and what to expect, you can make your first-time experience a great one. Comic Con should always be about how much fun and enjoyment you get out of the event rather than how much money you spent or how stressed you felt.

With these tips and hints in mind, get out there, unite with your fellow nerds, and enjoy Comic Con to the fullest!