I realize that a lot of my readers are newer to the world of comic books and may never have been to a convention, so with the convention season afoot, I decided to try and help you all understand how to survive and even thrive at your first convention.
Comic Book Conventions can be intimidating and maybe even a little weird to newcomers. Rest assured your little one does not feel the same way. All they see are the shelves of comics that go on for days, tons of toys and people dressed as superheroes.
8 simple things you can do to enjoy your local Comic Book Convention
8. Swag is everywhere. Free stuff can be found, especially for kids, all over the place. You will most likely be given a bag of free stuff when you walk in. Posters, stickers, buttons and toys can be found everywhere and you will be the hero that drives your kid home with a bag full of goodies that you got for free. At Parker’s first convention, she was given a free lightsaber that could actually light up. I was one proud geek watching my little girl walk around with a lightsaber and a Wonder Woman action figure and when my wife asked me why I would buy a lightsaber for a 2 year old, I told her I didn’t, it was free.
7. Costumes are fun for kids. Some adults are confident enough to do the costume thing (I am not one of them), but kids should go for it for sure. Let your kid be Captain America for the day. It’s totally acceptable and even cool to dress up at a con. They will feel like a little celebrity and they might even win some award for best lil Superhero.
6. Artists and Creative people are everywhere. Creative people setup booths and show their self-published comic books or artwork or crafts and they sign autographs. Try to help your kid understand the creative process. I once took my friends son, Noah to a convention and as he looked in awe at a stack of Savage Dragon, comics and posters, Eric Larson was sitting there and said to Noah, “I made up that character up when I was your age.” “Really.” His mind was blown. Anything is possible.
5. Superhero and Cartoon Tee’s are in abundance. Another decision to make beforehand is, what T-shirt do you want? Because any kid or adult can spend hours deciding what superhero they want to promote. There are T’s for almost any hero you can think of and the bigger the convention, the more choices you will have. I always bring home shirts for the fam. That’s my thing. This year I may go for Fantastic Four T’s, but you can find anything from Superman to Mighty Mouse.
4. Toys for us all! I own a replica of Captain America’s shield. Full disclosure, I owned two shields at one point, but I sold one online when the movie was released. When I say there are toys at conventions, I mean toys and superhero statues and replicas of Captain America’s shield. It’s like a geeky toy store museum. There are so many toy-type things to see and you should really see it all. A little secret, prices go down on the last day of the convention. There is also less to choose from, but typically there are some pretty fantastic deals on the final day. It is the place to buy that Green Lantern action figure your son’s been begging for.
3. Commissioned art is the best thing ever. Plan this out. Ask your kid “What superhero do we want to get drawn this year?” Whether it’s Plastic-Man or Wonder Girl doesn’t matter. You get to walk through artist alley and look at super-talented people’s work. Many of the artist will have commission prices listed. Together you and your kid can pick out an artist you like and your kid can order a commission. It is so cool to take home a completely original piece of artwork that you can frame. One of my favorite things to do.
2. Quality time can’t be underestimated. My good friend Scott assures me that he does not understand fantasy or science fiction or anything superhero related, but I see him every year at Charlotte’s HeroesCon, walking around and being excited with his little Batman. This is what a future geek wants and it’s so cool to me when I see a hesitant parent diving in because they just love to see their kid enjoy the experience.
1. Books. Lets face it, your kid wants to go to a convention that is essentially a celebration of Books! How cool is that? Please don’t leave the comic book convention without any comic books. There are tons of places at the conventions where the books are extremely reduced in price. My favorite has always been the $0.25 boxes. That’s right, boxes and boxes of comics for $0.25. You can bring your kid to this area with $3 and walk away parent of the year.
So now go Google, Comic Book Convention 2012 (insert hometown). Plan a fun weekend and know that you are not just doing something fun, but you are promoting the arts and reading and at the same time, making an incredible memory.
Thanks for reading and remember sidekicks rule.
If you have any suggestions for future articles or comic questions you might want answered, let me know at email@example.com. You can also follow me on Twitter @mylilgeeks and/or @billystrick .