Gang, the old joke used to be that nerds were virgins. Then they all banded together, invented the internet, which was used for porn at first, and then dating sites so they took what they learned from porn, and put it to good use with other nerds. They then successfully bred, and now we have millennials. Such it is written, such it has happened Roachinthins 5:69.
They also came up with conventions, which is what this article is really about, because who really wants to talk about millennials? Facebook does, that’s who.
This is the beginning of convention season. It runs until about November. Then the holidays hit, you spend all your money on presents and booze, then save for a few months, and the Convention season hits again.
What type of conventions? You C2E2 (pop culture, comics) that starts it all off in the Midwest, the the Horror Hounds start up (horror fans, bigfoot, art, etc), you have Wizard World (comics, pop culture), ACE (the bastard brother of WW, they splintered off of WW), Walker Stalker (Walking Dead and anything remotely related to it), and there is another Horror one that slips my name. (Days of the Dead) Then you have the big cons that are in almost every state (Emerald City, Rhode Island, etc), and then a bunch of mini cons, some bigger than others, then comic shows. I’m not forgetting the cons for specific shows. When I was on MWH, we had a guy tell us about a Godzilla con he went to, and destroyed a statue by accident. (spoiler alert)
If you’ve never been to one, I highly recommend it. For a day, it’s not bad. They have all types of packages for any budget. The first time you go, you feel that 3 days isn’t enough, and you missed everything. After a few, depending on what you are into, One day is plenty.
Personally, I have gotten away from movie celebrities, so one day is more than enough, and I usually like Sunday. It is a short day, the crowds are small (Saturday is peak), and the comic guys are ready to make deals so they aren’t taking all their stuff home. (Same for sports cards if that is your thing)
Here is a top ten list of things that I learned over time, so it gives you a head start on becoming a pro
Cash is king.
Most of these guys do this on the side, and if you are at a big Con, they are paying a boatload of cash for a table, and if they have two, it is doubled. Fun fact, if they have electricity, in Chicago, they literally have to have a union electrician come in, and plug in your strip, and then charge you hundreds of dollars for that “service”. So when you use a card for a $10 item, they get charged. It may seem like much, but they are fighting for every customer, and that shit adds up. If you have cash, you may be able to talk them down a little too. Especially the comic guys.
Buy a backpack
Now gang, you see the cutesy ones with Spider-Man, or My Little Pony (Kenric’s favorite, he’s a Brony), but for the most part, you will get a few uses out of them, because the quality is shit, and just looks cute. Myself, I bought a backpack on sale, I’m thrifty, for baseball guys. The quality is above board, there’s lots of little pockets to hide stuff (Edibles, snacks, aspirin, etc). I use my backpack as carry on when I travel, it has been to New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Kentucky, Indiana, Iowa, Florida, and all around Illinois
Don’t go too crazy because A) It’s heavy B) You don’t want your stuff to get sweat on if the water bottles condensates. (That is a $25 dollar word, contact me to paypal it.) Seriously, the convention places are expensive, and if there is a store around it, they’re expensive too.
Honestly, I like packing trail mix. I’m a diabetic, so this can get you through the day. I’m not a fan of fruit, because it’s heavy, gets jostled and bruised, and who wants that. Beef Jerky is good as well. I actually found a trail mix with Jerky in it, and it’s amazing, salty and savory, much like myself. Lately, there is a taco place and a sushi place that has been setting up at the Chicago shows, and they are surprisingly affordable. The taco place must be good, because its always a long line, but not everyone likes sushi, so you don’t have to wait that long, and the beverages aren’t outlandishly priced. Very tasty as well, I recommend it.
You are in the middle of a crush of people, so you may suffer on the walk over, or waiting in line, but it gets warm in there. I don’t suggest hoodies. Wear a light jacket, so you can at least unzip it, or tie it around your waist if you don’t mind looking like you escaped from a DRI show (google it)
Take lots of pictures.
Not of the artwork, they can get testy. You can ask a vendor or artist, but most are not thrilled by it, because people suck, and will take said picture and print it. But all those people who took the time to make a costume, you make their day asking them for a picture. Pose with them, have fun. Make them feel like a celebrity. You will see something you are into if you wait long enough. Some of them are amazing, some of them are in a rough stage of amazing, and honestly, some of them suck. But they made the effort, and it is a fun way to preserve a memory. Some of them are so good, they have Instagram pages, and make appearances. Myself, I cosplay as a world famous writer for Spoiler Country, and you CAN book me for appearances.
Get a room close by if possible
Days of the Dead, and Horror Hound, are partying conventions. First, they are generally smaller, self contained in a hotel, and are filled with metal heads and horror fiends. Those people like to party. You get yourself an insulated cup (bigger the better), alcohol and mixers of choice, and you can go back and fourth from your room, get liquored up, meet lots of people, take a rest, eat some food in the comfort of your room. If you can’t afford it, find friends who do have a room, and use it as your home base while you are there. They’ve been there, most are happy.
Make a pass around the room before you start spending money.
If you are locked in on one thing, you should still follow this rule. It is pretty rare that you are going to find the cheapest one first thing. The last comic book show I went to, I did buy a Savage She Hulk #1 almost immediately, but it was so cheap, I wasn’t going to regret it regardless, because I wasn’t finding one much cheaper, and if I did, I’d have bought that too. Then I wandered for an hour and a half, took some notes (sadly, this checks out), and then started to buy. If it’s something you really want, you’ll remember where it is at. And if you are staying there all day, you’ll pass by it over and over.
Don’t be afraid to say “Hi”.
I am generally a shy, quiet person until I get to know you, but when I go to con’s, I try and meet people. I like hearing their stories, what they are passionate about that is there, who they’ve met, what they thought about them…I enjoy hearing about their passions. The best place is by the food court, the tables are always packed, so you often have to sit down by a stranger. I can’t sit there and not say “hi”, and you meet some really interesting people. In Indianapolis, we shared beers with a guy waiting for his granddaughter to get a signature. We happened to have an express pass that we weren’t going to use on the person, so she got to got to the front of the line, which gave her time to meet someone else she didn’t think she’d get to. You realize that it’s a community.
Visit Aritst Alley
Even if it isn’t your thing, you’ll see guys selling their dreams, and will sign every one you purchase whether you want them to or not. You can get sketches done (for a price) by guys you never thought you’d meet, let alone have them draw you. You can buy original art, comic book covers, meet legends in the industry, meet people who you’ve never heard of but you could later. Sometimes something will catch your eye, or your ear, and you’ll buy stuff you never imagined you needed (Gay Pirate books come to mind)
Save your nickels.
You may have to drive a few hours, but totally worth it. You can meet celebrities, writers, sketchers, tracers, like minded people, musicians, anything you can imagine, you can find it at a con. I’ve even heard of people finding spouses at Cons, but after two failed marriages, who wants that shit?
Go to Spoiler Country, and listen to the great content Overlord John and Ol’ Kentucky are putting out, with the help of Moonpie. Misery Point Radio, Shootin’ the Sith, and many others are on there…really, you won’t have time to listen to other podcasts once the #spoilerverse gets their claws into you.
Find me on IG and Twitter @jaycanchu. I draw things, so take a look at them, and my cats, and pies, and my delicious body, and then if you see anything you like, make an offer. I have to pay for Cons, so I’d sell most anything.
Author: Jay Roach
Jay was born and raised within a 30 mile radius of Ottawa IL, home of Scotty Bowers and a guy who was in soap operas. His family was Catholic, somewhat filled with ’50 Ideals and conservatism, which they attempted to pass down, and lifetime Democrats.
Jay am none of that nonsense, though he is probably more liberal in social views than most of them. He's tattooed, has two wonderful boys who are both talented, one a musician, the other designing games. He have two ex wives that he still get along with. Jay have two cats (Chloe and Panda Lucifer) who are ambivalent towards Jay's existence unless wet food is involved.
Previously, Jay was the cohost of My Worst Holiday, and left on good terms but will still fill in on occasion. He now write nonsense articles about whatever grabs his fancy, from old Universal Monster movies, to lunch health, to lists that get stuck in deep in his head and has to purge them.
Jay is pretty sure he is allowed to hang around because he have watched a LOT of Burt Reynolds movies. (This is true)