The first big convention of the year has just passed: the Emerald City Comic Con. Located in Seattle, Washington, it’s decently close to me (I’m in Tucson, AZ), but still seems worlds away.
I love conventions, and I need to attend more, if my schedule allows. My work schedule isn’t fun. (It’s hard to plan to take vacation a year in advance when the convention schedules haven’t come out yet, y’know?) But being among people who love the same thing you do? That’s something pretty rare, especially considering there are so many of them across the nation (and several in other nations). I mean, there aren’t even that many large film festivals in the US as there are comic conventions. That’s saying something.
(Then again, comic conventions are also slowly becoming the new film festivals, due to the amount of film news that seem to come out of these nowadays.)
Large comic conventions are largely the same, though: some news coming out from the larger companies, some screenings of a film or three, panels where the same questions are asked (how do I break in/get a job/get noticed in whatever bailiwick I’m interested in), and maybe some portfolio reviews, and some after-parties. From a “what happens at a convention” standpoint, they’re really pretty much the same, with only some of the faces changing.
Even though it was the first large one of the year, anyone expecting lots and lots of news to come flying out of the place was sorely disappointed. Some news came out, sure, but there are a billion conventions to contend with between now and October, and there’s still the huge San Diego convention to get through. Publishers usually save the biggest news for SDCC, so that’s when you should expect the biggest news to come out. Not just the biggest news, a lot of news. News will be coming out and parsed for weeks afterward. That’s just the nature of the beast.
There will be many opportunities to go to a convention. I highly suggest you do. Like I said, there are many scattered throughout the nation. One or two of them should be relatively close to you. Just go with money to spend, go with water, a backpack to empty out every night, a camera (you REALLY want a camera, even if it’s your phone), and a laid-back attitude. You’re there to have fun, see some sights, maybe get some comics signed, and the pictures are for posterity.
Enjoying yourself is the ultimate goal. Just make sure you go in with a plan. Research the panels you wish to attend at the very least. Attend some panels, even if you think they’re going to be boring. Step outside of your comfort zone, if you have even the slightest interest in something they’re having a panel on. You’ll learn something, and probably have fun while doing it.
I’ll be talking about this more often as we get deeper in the year.