Calling all comic book nerds, geeks and pop culture enthusiasts: Your favorite event of the year is finally here! The 45th annual Comic-Con International: San Diego returns to the San Diego Convention Center, July 24 – 27 (plus Preview Night on July 23). An estimated 130,000 people attended the 2013 Comic Con event. Nearly 150,000 attendees will make their way to the four-day long, sold-out occasion, which means a little preparation and insider knowledge about the massive convention can ensure an experience of epic proportions.
Pick up your attendee badge starting July 23, or on the day of attendance, at the San Diego Convention Center, Upper Level. For 4-day consolidated and Thursday pass holders, another pick-up location will be offered July 23, at Town and Country Hotel, Grand Exhibit Hall.
Various ACE parking lots are designated for those driving in and spaces can be reserved via the ACE parking website. Public transportation is an option as well, but if you want to forego the headache of Comic-Con traffic, there is a free, 24-hour shuttle that makes frequent stops at 60 different locations.
The Line Up
Comic-Con features 600+ programs like hands-on workshops, educational seminars, anime and film screenings, games (like the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset that puts you into the Sleepy Hollow show environment), special guest panels, art shows and after-parties. The world is your oyster – just keep in mind, the allocated convention center rooms, which house anywhere from 168 to 6,500 seats, have limited capacities per shindig.
Set schedule goals wisely, study the map and arrive early to events (it’s not out of this world to camp out the night before a morning panel). Side note: a little potty humor is funny from time to time, but if you’re the type that happens to have that overactive bladder, it is not a laughing matter during Comic-Con. Visit the water closet in between programs because if you go during, you may forfeit your coveted spot.
What’s in it for You
Fill your SWAG bags with free stuff at exhibitor booths and bring some extra cash for Con exclusives (souvenirs only available at Comic-Con). These collectible items prove to be an investment well worth it – their value is bound to sky rocket on eBay once the show is over.
Get With It
What’s a pop culture event without throwing in a few hashtags to prove your social media status? Follow Comic-Con’s Twitter and Facebook page for live updates and trends, and be sure to download the Comic-Con app to receive useful information about shuttle times, exhibitors, special guests, maps and agendas. You can even download comic related apps to get you ready for the action.
Brush Up on Etiquette
It’s tough to maintain composure when Hunger Games heroine Jennifer Lawrence is 10 feet away and you’re next up to ask about on-screen make-out sessions. Have your questions ready and be aware that others are just as excited as you. To keep it enjoyable for everyone, try not to turn autograph sessions into long, selfie photo shoots with your favorite celebs.
Comic-Con 2014 will combine the minds of comics publishers, artists, film directors, writers, producers, actors and fans in a true popular culture collaboration. Follow the above-mentioned guidelines to guarantee a full-force fete appreciating the arts in its most fun form.
How well do you know Comic Con fans?
Do you think there will be more Marvel or DC Comic fans at this years’ event? What about Xbox vs PlayStation fans? Check out the results of a quiz the Freshly Techy street team delivered to hundreds of Comic Con fans last year.