In the last couple of years, I’ve attended more comics and sci-fi conventions than I ever have before!

This year, I’ll be attending my usual local SF cons (geek-speak shortening for “conventions”), including Farpoint and Shore Leave, both located north of Baltimore in Maryland. I’ve been going to those for years!

However, I ventured out into unfamiliar territory by going to cons in San Diego and New York City during 2011. I found they are much bigger events than I’m used to. I knew going into them that they would be learning experiences, and boy, were they!

SAN DIEGO AND NEW YORK CITY COMIC-CONS

sdcccrowdBefore the San Diego Comic-Con, my friend Gianluca Glazer talked about getting in shape for it. I was puzzled by that. I’ve been to many a con over the years, and I never had to worry about running out of steam at a con before.

I wish I had listened to him!

I spent more time walking than doing anything else in San Diego, really! Since it was my first time there, I also was learning the lay of the land, which added to my time walking about. And things are spread so far apart from the convention center that I had to rush to get from panel to party to whatever else was going on. I would get to where I was staying at night and collapse into the bed, exhausted! I was trying to catch up on transcribing interviews and the like for weeks afterwards! That put my Wayne’s Comics podcast off for several weeks.

NYCCThen I went to the New York City Comic-Con for the very first time. It isn’t as big as San Diego, but finding out where things were took a lot out of me.

I walked into the convention center and looked for the place to pick up my press pass. I got sent in the wrong direction, so when I realized this, I had to go back to where I had been. Then I asked someone working at the con where I needed to go. He wanted to know who had given me bad directions, so I showed him on the way. However, he stopped to chastise that person, so I continued on. I wished I had waited because when I found myself lost again, I went back to find that person only to discover he had vanished into the crowd, leaving me facing a volunteer who was not at all interested in speaking with me again.

So I journeyed to the other side of the convention center, which felt like a mile away, if not more. After asking several people where the press booth was, I finally got there. However, they had no record of me on the list to receive a press pass. Thankfully, I had printed out and brought with me the email that showed me as eligible, so I was given one! Then I had to walk all the way back to the other side of the convention center to find the people I wanted to talk with.

By the time I met up with my friend Gianluca, who was working with artists at a booth there, I was drenched in sweat! I hadn’t walked that much in two hours for a long, long time. I found a quiet corner near the entrance where I sat down and cooled off. After about an hour, I looked almost presentable again, so I ventured forth.

LEARNING FROM MY CON MISTAKES

What did I learn from all this?

First, always bring proof of the fact that you are supposed to get a badge of any kind! I don’t know what I would have done without it in NYC.

Second, I need to start exercising once more. I’m okay on a treadmill, but I like being outside much more. I’m going to get going on dropping a few pounds and strengthening up for this year!

I don’t think I’ll make it back to San Diego this year (hope to again sometime soon), but I am working on returning to NYC in October.

Why? It’s fun to put faces with names and to talk with people about being guests on my weekly podcast. I also get to tell comics creators how much I enjoy their work face to face, and many of them seemed genuinely appreciative of that!

A HIGHLIGHT OF THIS YEAR’S SCHEDULE

I’m particularly excited about going to the Pittsburgh Comic-Con because I’m a native of Pennsylvania, so it’ll be fun to be with “my people” in “my state.” I’m going as press again, so I’m anxious to talk with more creators I’ve never spoken with before.

I’ve heard a lot of great things about the Pittsburgh con, including the fact that there’s a wide variety of guests! I also understand that the con runs very smoothly and efficiently, something I am always glad to hear!

If you’re at any of the comic conventions and see me walking around, be sure to say hi! I’m also looking forward to the cool costumes and the diversity of fans that cons are becoming more and more famous for!

The Author

Wayne Hall

Wayne Hall

Wayne Hall creates the Wayne's Comics Podcast. He’s interviewed Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, John Layman, Kyle Higgins, Phil Hester, Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray, David Petersen, Christos Gage, Mike Grell, and Matt Kindt. Each episode also includes reviews, news and previews. On this site each week, he writes his "Comics Portal" column (general comics comments and previews) and reviews comics.

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