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Top 10 Cool Things About Comic Book Conventions
Top 10 Best Reasons to Attend a Comic Con
Have you ever been to a comic book convention? If you are not an avid comic book fanboy or fangirl, chances are you have not. Hence this handy dandy reference list before you!
Comic cons are fun. They're enjoyable even if your only exposure to superheroes is the X-Men or Spiderman or Iron Man flicks. You don't have to wear a pocket protector and it's not a requirement that you still live in your mom's basement at age 30 plus. Although those guys will be there too.
As a quick aside, I feel compelled to state that I am a huge comic book fan. I've been reading comics since I was 8 years old. When I was little, I worked with my grandfather on the weekends delivering newspapers. He would stop occasionally at convenience stores (this was pre-cell phone days) to call in to newspaper HQ in order to get his additional delivery addresses. Out of boredom, I would wander inside the convenience stores looking for something to do and BAM--comic books. I was already hooked on the Superfriends cartoon from the 80s. This was the next evolutional step.
Fast forward to the present and nothing has changed. Except I have a cell phone. Grandpa is chillin' in heaven. But I still reads me some comics!
That having been said, understand that my joking around about the nerds is all in good fun and this comes from the perspective of a lifelong comic book fan. Nootch.
So read on, true believers, and prepare yourself for the awe-inspiring Top 10 Cool Things About Comic Conventions list!
Number 10 -- People Watching
Nerds, freaks and geeks. Oh, and let's not forget the dorks. And Klingons.
People watching for some may be the number one reason to attend comic book conventions. Man, is it entertaining. You will see sights that your virgin eyes have never before withheld and with good reason.
Oddest things I have observed over the years at comic cons:
* Superman and Supergirl sharing a cigarette
* An obese middle aged man with red bodypaint portraying Kool Aid Man (oh yeah!)
* Brian's (the dog from Family Guy) head falling off
* A 16 year old-ish boy cry because someone bought a comic he "had always wanted"
* A heavyset fanboy with giant poop stains down the back of his pants
Need I say more? Be sure you bring a camera. And Febreeze. Comic nerds do not wear deodorant. You'll thank me later.
Nerds make Ogre angry. And crosseyed.
Number 9 -- Quarter Bins
Comics for a quarter. That's, like, 4 for a dollar. Nice.
When I first started reading comic books in the 80s, I was paying .60 cents cover price. Today the average cover price on a comic ranges from $3.99 to $4.99. Oh snap!
Comic dealers will get rid of books that aren't moving by having box after box of comics for a quarter, aka "quarter bins." Often times you have to dig through a lot of junk to find a prize. It's sort of like panning for gold. Or changing the cat's litter box.
Keep in mind one man's perceived "junk" is another man's treasure. I've found some real steals in quarter boxes and some good stuff to fill the gaps in my collection. An enterprising collector could even make a profit selling some of these finds online.
Number 8 -- Celebrity appearances
Pics and autographs (and stalking opportunities)
Image from San Diego Comic Con 2009 -- Megan Fox and some chick that would have otherwise been hot had she not been standing next to Megan Fox.
In years past and still today in smaller venues, B (and sometimes C) grade celebrities make appearances at comic conventions. But as comic books become more mainstream with the advent of movies such as the upcoming Captain America, Thor, and Avengers flicks, mainstream celebrities have begun to show at comic cons. Hugh Jackman aka Wolverine promoted X-Men in 2008. Megan Fox promoted Transformers in 2009 and Jonah Hex in 2010. Lou Ferrigno, Adam West, Stan Lee, Olivia Munn (nummy), Kevin Smith, Jason Mewes, Margot Kidder, and Elvira all tend to be regulars. The list goes on and on and will likely continue to grow (that's what she said).
For the cost of a $15 weekend ticket for my local show, I had the opportunity to shake Lou Ferrigno's (massive) hand and spend 5 minutes talking to him. Plus I got an autographed picture of Lou as the Hulk which proudly hangs in my office. How cool is that? Way cool. That's how.
Try to avoid the bathroom at comic cons. - You could run into this guy. Boys don't sit to pee, if you know what I'm saying.
Number 7 -- Unique swag from local vendors
Things you won't find in stores.
Every con you attend will be provide a unique experience. One of the things I personally look forward to the most is the cool, innovative stuff that regular people come up with.
For example, my girlfriend bought a cute Wonder Woman apron (schwing!) at a recent con in KC from this very nice vendor:
The item is professionally crafted, looks cute yet sexy, and was a big homerun for the girlfriend. Score one for the comic book geeks!
Number 6 -- Con Exclusives
Alternate covers, exclusive action figures, statues, etc.
The Spidey comic pictured here (Amazing Spider-Man #623) was a Kansas City Planet Comicon 2010 alternate cover by fan favorite artist Joe Jusko. Comic conventions tend to feature alternate, variant, and exclusive versions of comics, toys, statues, busts, and so on.
Why does this matter, you may ask? (Even if you didn't, I'm still going to answer.) You can snag a rare item at an affordable price and suddenly you've got a collector's item on your hands. Bonus round!
For more reasons on why to collect comics, click here: Comic Book Collecting - Not Just For Geeks Anymore
Comic Books on Amazon - Give a kid a comic and encourage him to read.
Number 5 -- Freebies!
Who doesn't like free stuff? "Free" is one of my top 3 favorite words in the English language. True story.
As indicated in the accompanying picture, most cons have a big ol' table full of free goodies. Spicy niceys. Free = win.
For the most part you'll find promotional items such as pins, posters, comics, lanyards, keychains, pens, pencils and so forth representing new movies, video games, comics and the like.
Ain't nothin' wrong with that!
Number 4 -- Meeting the creators behind your favorite comics
Comic artists and writers
If you follow a book for any length of time, the characters become important to you. Granted we are discussing fictional characters, but a good writer causes you to buy into the reality of his stories. Comics are no different than television series or movies in this regard.
I have certain authors whose work I always find enjoyable (Kevin Smith, J. Michael Stranzynski, Garth Ennis) and certain artists that I hold in very high regard (Alex Ross, Steve Dillon, George Perez). It's exciting to be able to meet these creators that share the same interests and passions as you and have helped bring joy to so many through their imagination, creativity, hard work, and love for the medium.
Comic Book Videos on YouTube - Comics Not Just For Geeks Anymore
Number 3 -- Play new video game demos before they're available in stores
Try it before you buy it. That's cool to say 'cuz it rhymes.
Comic book geeks and gamers and sci-fi nerds tend to be one and the same. The chance to try out a new video game months before it hits the streets is not only fun but also gives you some powerful bragging rights.
Comic fanboy # 1: "Have you played Batman: Arkham Asylum 2?"
Comic fanboy # 2: "No. It's not out yet."
Comic fanboy # 1: "I know. But I have." *Farts and triumphantly walks away.*
You too can roll like that if you hit up a comic con.
For a flippin' sweet article on video games, click here: Are Video Games Bad For You?
Number 2 -- Watch new movie trailers before they're released
While number 2 is similar to number 3, it's still different. So there.
This is a very cool perk, especially when a convention premieres a new comic book-related movie trailer. Imagine being surrounded by thousands of like-minded fans when the first glimpse of a movie you've been waiting your entire life for is finally revealed.
That experience is like eating a bowlful of awesome sauce, let me tell you.
Number 1 -- Cosplay (Hot Chicks in Skimpy Superhero Costumes)
The only time "cosplay" is socially acceptable (and even then, only barely).
Wow. Just wow. This is something you'll have to experience for yourself to truly appreciate its beauty.
In all fairness, there is a bit of "hot girl by default" at play when you attend a comic con. Let me explain. Comic book fanboys tend to be primarily male. When you have a giant convention center filled with 95% male attendees that cannot get girlfriends and a female, regardless of her appearance, enters the room, she is the hottest girl by default. Consider it a National Geographic expedition and watch this rare sociological experiment play itself out at your local comic con.
Outside of that, let's all allow a moment of silence in recognition of the uber-hawt cosplay chicks that take so much time to put on so little. *Pause*
Thank you. By all that is holy, thank you.
Note--you may want to also check out this article about superheroes doin' the nasty.