10 Things I Learned from My First Comic Convention

10 Things              I Learned From My (2)

Last weekend, I went to Wizard World Cleveland. It was my first ever Comic Convention experience. In some ways, it was what I expected, and in other ways, not so much. For my future con-going self (and you all), I thought I’d write down some of the things I learned so that, next time, I’ll remember how to prepare and what to do while I’m at the convention itself.

10 Things I Learned from My First Comic Convention

1. Don’t Make Your 1st Convention Overly Stressful ~ I wanted to go to the Con the entire weekend. I wanted to cosplay. I wanted to do a meet-up. Thankfully, I didn’t go through with any of those things. I only went to the convention one day (the day my two must-see actors were there) and dressed in regular clothes. For me, that was nerve-wrecking enough so I was so glad that I didn’t try to do everything my first time out.


2. Doesn’t Hurt to be Over-Prepared ~ I packed everything I thought I could possible need and, in reality, I used most of it. I was glad to have a copy of the programming and pouch of kleenex for my unexpectedly snuffly nose.

3. Take a Good Camera (If You have One) ~ I have a crappy camera and none of my convention photos came out well. I definitely hope to have something better before my next con (even if it is just a phone with a decent camera) because it was so disappointing not to have any good pictures of the panels or my experience in general.

4. Dress Comfortably ~ I wore a tee, jeans, a cardigan, and boots. I wanted to wear my new Converses, but I was smart enough to know that a convention isn’t the place to break in a pair of shoes. Layers were also good because the temperature changed from room to hallway to convention floor. Also, Backpacks > Satchels because they don’t hurt your shoulders as much.

5. Get to the Panels Early ~ While my convention was nowhere near as packed as one of the big ones, it was still good to get to the panels as early as possible. Both times, I got a seat in the third row–which was amazing.

6. The Convention Floor is Not Your Friend (If You have Social Anxiety) ~ I did not like the packed floor at all. There were too many people for me to feel comfortable browsing the vendors tables and it just stressed me out with all the noise and people knocking into me.

7. The Panels are the Best Part ~ At least, they were for me. Since I had issues with the floor, it was very nice to escape into a room to listen to actors talk about their movies and shows. I absolutely loved both the panels I watched (Billy Boyd and Graham McTavish were on one and James Marsters was on the other). For next time, I now know it won’t be worth it to go to a convention unless there is ample amount of programming to watch since I plan on avoiding the floor like the plague in the future.

8. It’s Good to be Brave ~ I wasn’t brave as much as I would have liked, but I did ask a cosplayer or two for their picture (which is a biggie for this girl with social anxiety). It wasn’t nearly as daunting as I thought it would be, but in the future, I’d like to do it more. Also, I was hoping to talk to some fellow crafters on the floor, but there was not really a proper Artists Alley to be had so I didn’t get the opportunity.  Maybe at another con.


9. Don’t Buy Stuff Just to Buy Stuff ~ After wandering the floor, I realized I didn’t care about buying toys or shirts from vendors. Most of the stuff they were selling was super expensive and/or available at my Local Comic Shop. I’d much rather have supported artists or crafters but, like I said, those were few and far between. I ended up only buying a Doctor Who print and I’m happy I did because I can use the money I saved on comics and toys that I really want.

10. You’ll have Fun ~ I wasn’t sure if I was cut out for the convention scene, but in the end, I was glad I went. I loved seeing Billy Boyd and James Marsters in person and it was cool to see cosplayers too. I’d definitely go back again!

What was your first convention? 


15 thoughts on “10 Things I Learned from My First Comic Convention

  1. I’m glad you had fun at your first convention! That is the most important part! I’ve found there are different styles of con-goers. The ones you enjoy panels, the ones who cosplay, the ones who line up for hours for photo ops and autographs, the ones who buy all the things and the ones somewhere in between.

    My first con was Calgary Expo 2 years ago, which was amazing!

  2. I’ve never been to a convention; like you I have some social anxiety to work out, but I have been considering going to one this fall, if I can find the courage for it. These are great tips, so I’ll be sure to remember them, if I decide to go. And also, I’m really glad to hear that you enjoyed it; maybe that means I will, too 🙂

  3. I’m glad you had a good time. My first convention was actually San Diego Comic-Con. Which sounds insane for a first time Con but I managed to have a blast. I’ve learned a ton since then though!

  4. Having fun is the most important thing! My first convention was Fan Expo 2012 in Toronto and I had no idea what to expect! And I’ve got a little social anxiety myself too, so yeah it was a learning experience. But it prepared me for SDCC!

    1. I’ve heard that Ohio has really good anime conventions, but I don’t really know enough about all that yet to go. I imagine it would be very fun but very different from going to a more general pop culture focused con.

  5. Glad you had fun! I definitely learned the “get to the panels early” the HARD way. My first con was Denver Comic Con. I went to a Max Brooks panel, and right next door was a Stephen Amell/Caity Lotz panel. The Brooks panel ended 15 mins prior to the Arrow one, so I thought I was totally cool on time since they were literally next to one another. Nope. Definitely already packed by the time the Brooks panel ended. lol! Oh well, you’re absolutely right when you say you’ll have fun. Regardless of what panels you can or can’t make (agree–I think they’re the best part, too), it’s a TON of fun.

    1. Oh gosh, a Stephen Amell and Caity Lotz panel? I would have loved if they had come to this convention. I was surprised how much I enjoyed the panels (I really shouldn’t have been) because even though I wasn’t seeing people from my absolute favorite show/movie/whatnot I still found them interesting and funny.

  6. This is a great post! My first convention was last year – Wizard World Minneapolis and I’d say I actually had quite a different experience than you! I was completely stressed out because the weekend overlapped a girl’s weekend I had already planned to Minneapolis with my mom, aunt, & cousin. My husband & our friends rode up separately & went to the con the whole weekend, but i only got to go on Sunday. If you’re only going one day – don’t go Sunday. Everyone’s tired & starting to pack up early. The one thing it DID help with was that the floor wasn’t so packed, so THIS socially anxious girl didn’t have much trouble – and there was a huge artist’s alley, which made me more comfortable, so I spent a lot of time chatting with artists & buying artwork left and right. BUT I didn’t get to see a single panel 😦

    We’re going to WW Des Moines this June & I can’t wait to see how it compares to last year in Minneapolis 🙂 Hope you have lots of opportunity to go to more cons real soon!

    1. I hope you have fun at your next convention! I was shocked that there weren’t many artists or crafters at WW CLE. I think they might have announced the convention too last minute for many people to be able to get ready in time.

  7. Yes, yes and yes! Great tips from your first con, I couldn’t agree more with all of these. And the point at the end about buying things, oh man… It’s so true. I have a lot of weird toys I impulse bought a few years back at our local convention that I really don’t know what to do with. Now I save my money for unique art that I can have the artist sign right there. It’s working out far better for me, I must say.

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