Monday, October 2, 2017

A Guide to the Comic Book Convention for the First Time Visitors

Ouran Host Club Cosplay
(10/02/2017) --- Hello everyone, it's been a week and half since I wrote an entry, I been slowly catching with school work as well working a lot, with the exception of the last three days that I went to my first full comic book convention.

Going a day it doesn't encompass the full experience of interacting with the cosplayers, artists, celebrities and vendors on the event; sure, you can still go for one day and it will be an amazing time; but when you go, there are some rules that you need to know and understand to have a good time.

If you have the economical resources the best bet is to buy the four/three day package almost at the beginning of the year, why? Because when the convention ends, a pre-registration time opens that usually last until the end of January and tickets are extremely cheap, which it can be the best deal but the packages for special events and celebrity meet-ups won't come up until the celebrity is booked but they can be subjected to changes in the fare and cancellation.

Steampunk cosplay
In my humble opinion, the stars of the convention are the cosplayers and there is a wide variety; there are individuals who cosplay with anime, others go within western comic books, video games and steam-punk. As an essential rule whenever you see someone dressed up as your favorite character or in a superb costume you must ask permission for the photo, and if there are kids involved you can't do anything unless the parents consent.

You as a guest, will see so many different interpretations of characters as well the persona style of different cosplayers towards fashion and interpretations of style.

One of my favorites costumes on the steampunk side was the one on the left graphic, as well the ones on the top photo from Ouran Host Club; the reason why both set of players got my attention is because they played with my interest on Steampunk and romance anime. Also if you want to take a photo with the players, don't touch and respect their personal space and always say thank you for their time.

Panel Q&A
One essential series of events are the panels, they usually involve guests from the event and they have question and answers from the visitors. It is important to know what are their proper time, because usually a lot of them take on the same set of time and you can't go and see every single one of them.

On the right image, is one of the ones I went with the illustrators and writers from the comics which are Bellman on the far right, and then Grummett, Marz and Dixon; at that same time three other events were being set, one of them with Attack on Titan voice actress Trina Nishimura. That's why it is important to know the schedule of the program, because that way you know where to go and what to do.

The panels aren't only question and answers, there are different set of events aimed to gather fans and other enthusiasts. There are maid cafe's, manga and comic book libraries for the event, trivia sessions, karaoke, movie showcase, previews of episodes, kid zones and family zones. Everything is well planned and carefully done, but you as the visitor you need to know what times are the events so you can enjoy it to the fullest.

Artist Alley on Friday
You are probably wondering what is the best day to get some autographs as well to meet one on one the illustrators, celebrities and writers? While there is no proper answer as some of them are set to a schedule, the best day is on the opening day which is usually on Thursday or Friday, there will be little no lines if you go on the opening day, there is also no major events and cosplayers won't go until the weekend.

At MegaCon Tampa 2017, which started on Friday, there was no major public until late in the evening, where the Stan Lee events started. The key date on getting autographs and saying hello to the guests of the event as it was said before it is on the opening day, lines for an autograph are nonexistent and you can spend a good amount of time talking with the artist you admire the most.

Talking about autograph, they cost money, they aren't exorbitant but if you go for a selfie as well a personal message, they prices can rise up to the hundred, but autographs themselves can go between US$25 up to US$100.  I had the chance to meet Stan Lee in person and get a selfie and an autograph, plus I could go to a panel with him in which there weren't many people.

Maurice LaMarche
One of my favorite moments, because there were no lines was that I met Maurice LaMarche, one of the most emblematic voice actors of the last 30 years. The voice of the Brain, I wish I had a chance to go and see him on the last day but the lines were insane; that I couldn't even get close and I missed his panel; that moment in which I could speak with the man who voiced one of the most emblematic characters of our generation.

He even told me an anecdote about his father nicknamed Gus after getting a tattoo that was misspelled in the army; I was trembling in happiness because I was there with one of the actors and person that gave me some happiness to my childhood and we spoke for around 15 minutes to half an hour.

Knowing whenever the crowds are going to be short, can mark a difference on the event if you want to meet actors and illustrators, also is important for you to set a budget besides the tickets you purchase.

There is another essential rule that you need to know as a guest, some items will have larger prices than they are sold outside the convention, also the best bet if you want to purchase any item is to compare between the different vendors, as they will have different prices for similar items. One item that I saw that is quite popular are the Funco's. I didn't found any expensive or rare ones, but between the vendors the prices ranges from US$9.50 to US$14.00 and they were everywhere.

Towards your budget, I wouldn't recommend investing on mystery boxes, they aren't simply worth it on some cases; some authors and some clothing vendors have it, but when you pay twice the amount for a box that has a less amount of what you pay for it, is not worth it. That's just my opinion on going budget friendly towards your visit as well to aim to maximize your time and money.

Whenever you go to the vendors, if you see something you like but can't afford it, ask for their business cards. Much of the time, conventions focus on networking with potential customers, knowing where to find them and how to sell the items on a later date is a goal on marketing, and a goal for the vendors on a long terms.

Kevin Smith and Stan Lee
One essential point, that not many people mention on the conventions are that you can connect also with local business, local artists and developers. It is important for every State and local economy to push local initiatives and spaces as the comic cons give them the platforms to connect with fans and patrons who are willing to invest on their products.

As a last note, always remember the parking spaces are going to be expensive and food inside is not the exception, knowing that Uber or Lyft are options is always a good alternative, checking restaurants on the areas will help you a lot to save more money.