Five Things I Learned at the 2012 San Diego Comic Con

Lining up for San Diego Comic Con 2012

Lining up for San Diego Comic Con 2012

My Third Year at San Diego Comic Con has officially bitten the dust. Bruised, battered, scarred… but definitely smiling. And just like everyone else I hauled quite a bit of stuff home with me. Toys, posters, shwag… check. But more importantly I left San Diego this year with new perspectives on the whole con experience and more than a few lessons learned that will help me enjoy next year all the more.

Here’s the top of that list:

Pack your own food. Since this year was my first year going for more than one day, it dawned on me that it might be a good idea to pack in my lunch and snacks every day. The Convention Center food may or may not be to your liking but it is undoubtedly spendy. And there are clearly many other things (like a Peter Mayhew autograph perhaps?) that you need to spend your ten bucks on.

Get with the App. I’m not entirely sure but I believe 2012 was the first year that San Diego Comic Con offered their entire convention schedule on  Accessing SDCC’s schedule through the site, one can easily bookmark their favorite events, thereby instantly creating a customized schedule that’s saved for later access. Access how you say? Instantly, at any time, using a free app for your smart phone.  When you’ve got 30 places to be in 6 hours, who needs to be flipping through a guide book loaded with way more information than you need?  Using the app saves your time, sanity and did I mention lots of trees? Sched for the win!

Don’t Overlook the $1 Comic Bins. The Exhibit Hall floor is a maze of dealers, some of them actually selling comics! Not sure what’s good? Well I’m not either. So I found a vendor that had about 30 boxes of $1 comics (mostly Marvel from the 1960s through 1980s), grabbed an armful of stuff that looked interesting, and -POW!- I can say already that I made many scores on the cheap. 1981 Micronauts? Emmmm… not my thing. 1972’s The Mighty Thor Starring In Marvel Spectacular? Oh hell yes and more please!

Hall H is Within Reach. In years past we figured that Hall H was only for the crowd that had been camping outside for 3 days straight. I was happy to learn this year that it can be done without camping. What time do you need to be there to have a shot at getting in? Ah… can’t tell you that.

Come to the Panels with Questions Prepared. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve never asked a question of any of my heroes at a convention panel. But after this year I wish I had. The only reason I can guess that I didn’t is that I didn’t think of it before hand.