?Held over four days, consisting of more than 350 hours of programming and boasting more than 130,000 attendees, San Diego Comic-Con International isn’t so much a convention as it is the Nerd Olympics. Amongst others, this year’s events include Long Distance Queuing, Exclusive Collectible Weightlifting, Freestyle Crowd Jostling and the 100m Sprint for A Seat in Hall H.
With so much to see and do, all in a state of frenzied, sleepless, extremely caffeinated excitement, it’s easy to make some terrible social faux pas. But fear not, TR(ue) Believers, we’ve compiled a list of things you should avoid doing to help you navigate the Con with a minimum amount of offense to others and physical violence to oneself.
12) Cosplaying as a Character Everybody Hates
This is best avoided if you planned on, you know, actually enjoying the Con rather than being constantly berated and/or beaten up. Oh, you were wearing the Jar Jar Binks costume ironically? Good luck trying to explain that when you’re being beaten to death by a horde of incensed Star Wars fans.
11) Cosplaying as a Bad Version of a Character Everybody Loves
It’s inevitable that there are going to be 33,218 Wolverines, 36,741 Spideys and 27,288 Slutty Catwomen at any given comic convention. In fact, those numbers are probably mandated by some kind of regulation. Chances are you’re not going to be the best, but what you DO desperately want to avoid is being the worst, because even having just one or two minor details wrong on an otherwise good costume guarantees so much relentless commentary from pedantic nerds that you’ll be forced to murder somebody using the cutlery you taped to your hands two minutes before you left the hotel room.
10) Doing the Swamp Thing
Dressing like Swamp Thing is cool. Smelling like Swamp Thing is not. Yes, the stinky, con-attending nerd is a stereotype, but that’s because there are still some nerds who apparently believe attending a con means you’re not allowed to take a shower. In the rush to make the most of Comic Con, don’t forget to take the time to take care of your personal hygiene. Just think of it as your personal exclusive novelty gift to everyone else.
9) Letting the Team Down
Attending a mega-convention with friends is exactly like team orienteering, except indoors and with more comics. Seeing, doing and getting everything you want is going to be nigh on impossible even for the best prepared, most punctual of nerds. So if you’re normally lucky to turn up to dinner with friends on the right day, let alone at the right time, you better lock that shit down for the duration of the Con, because if YOU’RE the reason your friend misses out on that exclusive Thundercats Mumm-Ra The Everliving Deluxe PVC Staction figure, then prepare to never, ever hear the end of it again. Ever.
8) Forgetting It’s Cosplay not Cosserious
Getting into character is great. Endearing, even. Getting so deeply into character that you forget you aren’t actually the Batman and attempt to accost a bunch of street thugs in a dark alley after watching the new trailer for Arkham City and end up getting beaten to within an inch of your life? Not so much.
7) Being Characterist
You know that character you love beyond reason and are at a complete loss to understand why everyone on Earth doesn’t love him exactly as much as you do? Well that’s exactly how Naruto #18 or Emo Edward Cullen #380 feel about their favorite characters too. So be tolerant of other people’s fandoms, because let’s be honest, you just spent three hours discussing whether Green Lantern could beat Superman in a fight (he couldn’t). You’re not exactly solving the world food crisis either.
6) Getting Cocky
Remember that epic story of the time you made it into Hall H just in time to see the Amazing Spider-Man preview, or how you were one of the 250 people lucky enough to get a 1st Edition Artist Signature Tick Action Figure? Well that’s also the terribly tragic tale of the time the 5,000 people waiting in line right behind you didn’t. Be happy you made the cut but don’t rub it in less fortunate people’s faces because karma comes back around, much like that dodgy breakfast burrito you just inhaled outside the convention centre.
5) Asking Stupid Questions
You’re in the audience for the panel of The Best TV Show Ever?, enraptured by every hilarious anecdote shared by the charming cast and wunderkind writer/director. The Q&A session begins, the vibe’s great, then IT happens: somebody asks a really stupid question. Not just “awkwardly delivered due to nerves in the presence of greatness” bad. We’re talking “attempting to one-up the show’s creator” or “asking William Shatner what it was like to be in Star Wars” bad. The kind of bad that is so horrifically embarrassing that everyone nearby suddenly wishes that the ground beneath them would transform into a Sarlacc, swallow and slowly digest them over a thousand years, because it would be less painful. This definitely isn’t the time or place to discover that, actually, there are both stupid people and stupid questions.
4) Cutting in Line
Remember how Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine killed all of the Jedi, oppressed an entire galaxy and blew up a planet inhabited by 2 billion people? Queue jumping is worse. Do so at your own risk of becoming an enormous douchebag, because sure, maybe nobody will say anything, but they’ll be thinking it so hard. And there is no more powerful, long-lasting hatred in the universe than impotent nerd rage.
3) Being “That Guy”
You know the one – the guy who goes to meet his favorite author/artist with EVERY SINGLE COMIC THEY’VE EVER DONE and expects to get them all signed, no matter how long it takes. Of course, Murphy’s Law of Comic Conventions (What? It’s a thing. Shut up.) states that whenever you’re three people behind “That Guy”, the booth will inevitably close the moment it (FINALLY!) gets to your turn. Don’t be That Guy.
2) Being Creepy
Unless specifically stated otherwise, staring, stalking, hair sniffing, “admiring” costume stroking and asking weird and/or overly personal questions of attractive lady panelists are all firmly in the “OH GOD NO!” category at Comic Con, and indeed outside of it too, in case you’re a little hazy on social niceties. Yes, there are very pretty nerd ladies wearing very skimpy outfits everywhere. Do ask for a photo, if you feel you must. Politely. Do NOT take an Extended Edition Director’s Cut film with your eyes. Stay classy, nerds.
1) Stabbing Your Friend in the Eye
It cannot be overstated enough how much of a downer stabbing someone in the eye is at the best of times. Wanting somebody else’s seat at a comic convention is DEFINITELY NOT the best of times. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES should you stab, slice, electrocute, shoot, poison, or otherwise attempt to murder your friend at a comic convention. If in doubt, ask yourself: What Would Superman Do?
Remember, all of the basic commandments still apply: thou shalt not steal other people’s signed comics, thou shalt not commit adultery with any incredibly attractive superheroine cosplayers, thou shalt not covet they neighbor’s limited edition Sideshow Iron Man Mark IV (Secret Project) Figure. Or, in the immortal words of Wheaton’s Law, just “Don’t be a dick!”