“Ready are you? What know you of ready? A Jedi must have the deepest commitment, the most serious mind”… to survive Comic-Con.
Navigating Comic-Con International in San Diego takes the training and discipline of a Jedi knight. In 2009, there were approximately 126,000 attendees, 400 events over four days and over 900 exhibitors present. You will need patience, discipline, the Force as your ally, and should heed these wise words from a galaxy far, far away:
“Alert my Star Destroyer to prepare for my arrival” and ensure that all your travel details, hotel accommodations and even restaurant reservations if you have a large group are booked and confirmed before you arrive in San Diego. Last minute accommodation is nearly impossible to find and rooms can go for hundreds of dollars a night. “Republic credits are no good out here.”
“A Jedi uses the Force for knowledge” by planning your itinerary in advance. Check out the official program* and decide what panels you’d like to see and when you plan to meet up with friends and colleagues. Allow extra time for getting to and from each destination. Ideally, explore and buy exclusive items in the Exhibit Hall on Preview Night or before the weekend crowds arrive and you are thrown “into the garbage chute, fly boy” with the walls closing in.
* A complete schedule of Star Wars- related events at Comic-Con is now available at StarWars.com.
“The Jundland Wastes are not to be traveled lightly” so don’t forget to pack essentials including your mobile device, charger, sunscreen, sunglasses and other protective gear for the long outdoor lines, as well as mints, hand sanitizer, band-aids for blisters, a notebook for autographs and business cards for networking.
“Only what you take with you” may help stave off hunger and dehydration. Bring snacks to keep your energy up while walking around the booths and waiting for panels as drinks and food can be very expensive inside the convention center. Once the hunger pains set in, even “Bantha fodder” will start to look good.
“Tell Jabba I’ve got his money” and have the cash you need before you arrive on the convention floor. Many smaller vendors deal in cash only and the ATMs are known to have long lines that can stretch to the second moon of Endor.
“Not unless you can alter time, speed up the harvest or teleport me off this rock” will you be able to avoid the long lines for popular panels and that infamous entrance to Hall H. Bring an iPod, PSP, books or any other form of portable entertainment that can help pass time.
“The possibility of successfully navigating an asteroid field is approximately 3,720 to 1.” If you need to move quickly within the Exhibit Hall, avoid cutting through the center of any aisle for “once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny” with bottle-necked crowds. Instead, move along the perimeters of the aisles and then head into your destination aisle for speed and ease.
“Boy, it’s lucky you have these compartments” to carry home your Comic-Con exclusive swag. Bring poster tubes and bags to carefully carry this year’s Imperial-class goodies. For Star Wars fans, that could include the 30th anniversary Empire Strikes Back Insider commemorative issue with Han Solo in carbonite cover, Hallmark exclusive keepsake ornaments of protocol droids K-3PO and R-3PO and limited edition Darth Vader mini-bust.
“You don’t look so bad to me. You look strong enough to pull the ears off a gundark.” Whether you want to dress up as a Stormtrooper, TIE fighter, a big walking carpet, Princess Leia in the slave bikini (counting the Slave Leias is a popular game at Comic-Con) or even a “stuck up, half-witted, scruffy-looking Nerf herder,” anything goes when it comes to what you wear. Embrace it and have fun! For inspiration, you can check out last year’s costumes at the official Star Wars blog. If you’re not dressing up, think layers for those outdoor and indoor lines and remember to wear comfortable shoes. How about a pair of Han Solo sneakers?
In the 80s, Click Communications publicist Jackie Cavanagh dressed up as Princess Leia-meets-Ballerina Fairy with her little brother Stewart as Yoda in tow.
“You came in here, didn’t you have a plan for getting out?” If you aren’t watching a panel at the end of the day and merely roaming the Exhibit Hall, don’t wait until closing time to leave the convention or you will need to “stabilize your rear deflectors” and “watch for enemy fighters” as thousands of people will try to cross Harbor Drive into the Gaslight district at the same time! Not even Obi-Wan Kenobi will be able to save you.
Man your ships for Comic-Con 2010 and may the Force be with you!