So the last two years, I’ve missed Denver Comic Con. I really wanted to go, but I’d always found some reason not to do so. This year they moved to dates to coincide with my birthday weekend (also Memorial Day weekend) and I was able to finagle three days off on the strength of that. Hubby and I were able to buy passes in March, I started looking at cosplay options, and kept track of announcements via social media. We planned on which vendors we wanted to visit, which panels we wanted to attend (he attended Star Wars and Comics, and writing panels for me), and which celebrities were worth standing in like for autographs. I even downloaded the app, and I felt very high-tech for doing so.
Saturday dawned gloomy and grey, and though we’d arrived about an hour before the doors opened, the line wrapped around the Colorado Convention Center. This is a very family-oriented con, with an emphasis on kid-friendly programming, so there was a fair amount of kids and teens. It was ADORABLE to see them play dress-up, and whole families in costumes. Unfortunately, I was hoarding cell battery power and didn’t get a lot of pictures over the weekend as a result. I did a lazy cosplay of Faye Whitaker of Questionable Content, though I’m sure no one knew who I was supposed to be.
I had wanted to go to a few celebrity-focused panels right off, but I let my husband talk me into going to the dealer’s room instead. I stumbled across a lovely charm shop called Optimystical Studios in the first half hour, and pointed out that I wanted the Harry Potter pen nib charm because I’m a writer, and why yes, there’s ways to make it compatible with my Pandora bracelet. They also had Seanan McGuire fan stuff, and I love her October Daye and Incryptid books. Not a lot of people were selling author-oriented stuff beyond Twilight and Harry Potter, so I grabbed their card for future reference.
I also bought a pair of funky dino-themed socks from a stand selling Sock It To Me socks. I turned around and right across the aisle was the Sock Dreams booth, whose wares I have lusted after for eons and never seemed to have the dough to justify shipping. “YES!” I crowed, and did a little fist pump. I promptly bought a pair of Gryffindor socks and striped knee socks in shades of blue. They were about 50% cheaper than online, so I was pleased.
“No more socks!” admonished my husband.
“Sure honey,” I said sweetly, my fingers crossed behind my back. He gave me A Look but didn’t press the issue further. I have an obsession with outfitting myself with funky socks, jewelry and handbags, and he knew the plea was likely in vain.
I went to a couple of writing panels while I let my husband wander with one of his buddies and go to a Star Wars panel. I got introduced to new authors and a local publishing company, who I will be submitting to if I manage to finish anything. I wanted to attend one late panel but Hubby was pooped. “Babe, I can take the light rail home,” I told him. “Go home, I’ll catch up when I’m done.” The last panel, a panel on post-apocalyptic lit in with a heavy emphasis on YA, was not something my husband would’ve enjoyed but gave me a hefty reading list for all my library ventures. Also, two of the panelists were dressed as characters from one of my favorite comic lines, so it was an added bonus.
Lessons learned from Day 1:
- Get one copy of the paper program per person. That many people on mobile devices means that internet and texting is slow as hell. The paper programs were also easier for us to understand in terms of visual formatting.
- Portable meals! We spent nearly an hour in line for food and at the end, we decided to break the rules and just bring PB&Js. Next year I’m going to experiment with more Paleo and portable meals that don’t require refrigeration.
- Encourage Hubs to make his own con schedule with panels. I think he would have been happier if he’d done more, but he needs to be prodded to plan those things in advance.
- Less unstructured time in the dealer’s room. I should have researched what booths seemed to pique my interest the most. I mean, it’s all there on the app! I probably missed a dozen small publishers and apparel shops because I wandered around aimlessly for three hours and was just drawn to the biggest, loudest displays.
- Someone told me I’d need to wait in line for an hour for panels. Unless it’s a celebrity panel, this is a lie and I found out I could get away showing up half an hour at most. Pack something to keep you entertained other than your phone, whether it’s a paperback or a tablet with non-online games.
- Make a list of people you want to shop for, and a couple of ideas in advance for each person. The sheer amount of people selling stuff in the dealer’s room was overwhelming and I know I neglected people on my list because I wasn’t thinking straight. Too many choices!
- Take the day off when they’re selling speed passes for next year and get them as early as possible. It will make navigating the lines on the first day worth the loss of potential income.
- There are quiet spaces in the convention center. I am going to plan to take my introverted husband to them and just let him recharge for an hour or so mid-day. I know being someplace that crowded with no respite, especially that first day, drained him fiercely.