June 21, 2012

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10 Tips for a Fun Time at Heroes

As you read this, I'll actually be making my way towards my second trip to Heroes, which is held in Charlotte, North Carolina from June 22nd to June 24th.  As I did for Baltimore last year, I wanted to offer a few tips based on my experience last year.  Feel free to take as many of these to heart as you wish!

  1. Wear comfortable shoes.  You are going to be on your feet most of the day and if you want the autograph of the most popular creators, you'll be standing for a lot of it, checking your phone.  Don't wear anything uncomfortable, or you'll regret it.
  2. Bring cash.  Most creators want you to pay in cash, so keep it on hand.  There is an ATM in the venue, but I doubt it will stay full long.  As a side note to this, you may want to use credit at any of the bigger dealers or publishers that will take a card.  Helps ration the cash.  However...
  3. Set a budget and more or less stick to it.  It is so easy to go nuts at a convention of ANY kind, especially if it's your first.  Don't be stuck with buyer's remorse or a need to eat ramen noodles until your next paycheck.  Pick a limit and hold to it as best you can.  Only you can know what that limit is.
  4. Eat/Drink something before you get there.  I tend to get excited and forget this one, and end up having a bit of con fatigue as a result.
  5. There are places to eat other than in the venue.  Nothing against the food inside the venue, which is actually quite reasonable upstairs, but the lines were really, really long.  You have Charlotte just outside the door, so I'd recommend getting something outside, eating, and walking back in.
  6. Try not not a jerk about cosplay picture-taking.  Always ask first, be okay with the answer of "no", and for the love of GOD, do not take pictures of female cosplayer's asses unless you ask first.  I'm sure you can find other things to post on your bedroom wall in your parents' basement, and you make everyone else at the convention look bad just by existing.
  7. Your cell phone won't last long.  Not sure why, but Heroes just killed my phone last year.  This time, I'm going to leave it off most of the day, much as I'd love to be tweeting about it as I go, and will save things up to say when I'm taking my breaks.  Speaking of which...
  8. Take breaks!  There is no rule that says you have to be active every minute of the show.  Think over a purchase. Ponder a panel.  Find a friend (or make a new one) and chat for a bit.  It's okay to pace yourself.  (This is another rule I have trouble following.)
  9. Go around the show once before buying, unless it's a "must have" or "can't beat it" item.  I don't know what those are for you, but after a few years of doing this--and sometimes exhausting my budget before I found something really awesome--I've found that the best way for me to get the items I really want is to see what all is available first.  Now if there's something I can't live without is there, like the newest mini from a creator I love or a trade I've been looking for on sale for $5, I grab it right away.  But for everything else, it's a chance to think it over, spend money wisely, and reduce the number of "I bought this?" questions when I go to read later.
  10. Take $20 and use it to get things you might not normally buy.  If you like superheroes, spend it on autobiographical comics that look interesting.  If you like manga-influenced work, try picking up an old trade by a Western master.  Only buy Marvel-DC-Image?  See what a smaller press like Action Lab might be up to.  Experiment!  Comics are a vast medium full of all kinds of works.  Move out of your comfort zone.  The results may surprise you!
See you all at Heroes on Friday!