“People never learn anything by being told, they have to find out for themselves.”
– Paulo Coelh
I’m the type of person who likes to blend in when travelling. I don’t want to be the tourist that stands out in the crowd. When the opportunity arose to spend the weekend at Phoenix Comicon I immediately had to grab it. I then immediately began fretting over what to do. I turned up empty handed after the bit of Google searching I did on the subject of “first time comicon tips”. In other words I was going in blind.
Until that is I ran into a fellow Comicon attendee in the form of a customer at work. She was looking for a specific flashlight style to light up the top of her TARDIS costume. Her eyes lit up when I knew what a TARDIS was. Once she found out it was my first time going to Comicon she let me in on a tip.
Create an account in PhoenixComicon.com and add to your ConQuests.
Now by this time I’d already been through Phoenix Comicon’s website. The FAQ’s, Photo Ops, Guests, etc. But until she told me this I had no idea how to plan out my day. After creating my account there was hours, yes hours, spent reading through everything going on.
I began adding ConQuests to my day, sadly I was only going to make it one day, until I started running into the issue everyone has. Double booking myself. Even triple booking! I didn’t realize the scope of everything covered at Phoenix Comicon. I should have known better, this was the largest collection of all things nerd, geek and otherwise in Arizona.
I thought the Arizona Renaissance Festival was big.
The night before Comicon was like the night before Christmas morning. I couldn’t sleep. Was still thinking about what panel’s I wanted to attend. Running a checklist through my head.
If I had to give advice as briefly as possible it would be: try everything.
Not wanting to stand out like the tourist I was I spent about an hour just wondering around the convention center. Getting to know the floors, rooms and buildings. I highly suggest this to any first timer. By doing this I was completely comfortable rushing to a panel, people watching and sight seeing in the exhibitor hall. I felt like it wasn’t my first time which took pressure off me.
In a wise move on my part (if I do say so myself) I picked up some Chex Mix, gum, bottles of water and a spare battery to carry in the small shoulder bag I had. I did not have to stop to eat lunch, buy a drink or charge up. I was able to snack while watching a panel, drink on the run and swap batteries.
For a first timer I suggest not trying to plan out anything for your first day. Be familiar with whats going on during the day. But don’t worry about forcing yourself to see something. There is so much to take in that you need the flexibility of not being stuck to a schedule. I also highly suggest visiting the Experience Comicon panel.
This panel is led by some of the people who put on Comicon. It’s not only fun but educational on some of the larger events going on. And to really top it off they are very liberal with giving away really cool gifts if you are interactive with them!
So pack snacks, water and a spare battery. Wear comfortable shoes. And above all explore, taking it all in, this is the time to check out something different and new. And not be judged by anyone for enjoying yourself interacting with a LARP group.
Look for my journal ‘Day 1: Phoenix Comicon’ to see just how my day ended up.