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Sunday, January 6, 2013

Gearing Up For The Big Wow Comic Fest!

Big Wow Comic Fest Logo

I've been talking a lot about comics, but have neglected to talk about comic conventions. I know, shame on me, since comic conventions are a huge part of comic culture.

If you're a comic fan in the North Cal Bay Area, mark your calendar for May 18th thru the 19th! You don't want to miss the Big Wow Comic Fest show in San Jose.

Even though I'm specifically gearing up for this particular show, I thought I'd write up a post about the absolute must-haves to bring for any comic convention. 

1. CASH! 

Bring cash! Sure, some vendors can accept credit cards, but you can never be sure. Always bring cash just in case some vendors don't.

Also, another reason to bring cash is because most comic artists in the Artist's Alley section only accept cash if you wanna buy original comic art from them. 

2. List of Comics

Extremely important! Before any comic convention, I always make up a list of comics that I'm on the hunt for. On this list, I also put the guide values underneath each issue so I gauge which vendors may have the better deals for certain issues I'm tracking down.

3. Backpack
I always carry a backpack to hold stuff in, especially bottled water or comics that I buy at conventions. I also bring comics that I want signed by certain artists that will be attending the show.

It's important you look up the website to whatever comic convention you're attending and find out which comic artists, entertainment guests, etc who will be there.

For instance, Jane Wiedlin of the Go Gos will be at Big Wow this year, and I'm definitely getting a print and autograph! Oh, yes, and a picture too!

4. Blank Sketch Book

This is just in case you'd like to have some of your favorite comic artists at the show do sketches for you. Most charge to do sketches. A few will do it for free, but not many.

Sometimes, if you buy a few prints or an original comic art page, comic artists will give you complimentary free sketch of any character of your choosing. I advise to get a character that they are known well for drawing. For instance, I've gotten various sketches from Ron Lim of Silver Surfer or Thanos. I also got a sketch of Batman from Chris Marrinan.

If you're a fan of comic art, having a collection of various sketches from different comic artists in a sketch book is an absolute thrill. 

5. Camera

Well, you could use your phone or Ipad to take pics, but I always bring my digital camera. Bring something to take pictures with.

There's a lot of great folks who make our favorite comic, anime, SciFi, and movie characters come to life.  The Big Wow will have veteran cosplayers Kelly Mark Delcambre, Riddle, and Valerie Perez.

I have a lot of respect for those who cosplay it up and really make comic conventions that more enjoyable and special. Some put a lot of time and passion in making their costumes as well.

Please, please, please show them courtesy. Ask before you take a photo of them. Many are more than willing and happy to let you take pictures of them if you politely ask.

Also, if you're planning on posting pics of them to a blog or website, always tell them and get their permission. Some don't mind, but there are those who do mind. Respect their privacy.

6. Comics!

Daredevil comic cover
I know I mentioned this before, but there is another reason to bring comics to comic conventions instead of having them signed by the artists. Sometimes, there's a few comics you'll want to have CGC graded as well.

CGC usually has a booth at the larger shows, and you can submit your comics to be graded. Just fill out the form, pay, and your comics will be mailed to you once they're graded at their facility. 

Sometimes CGC will have a comic artist do signings at their booth, so you can have your comics graded under their Signature Series.

7.  Bottle Water and Snacks!

Food at the cons will be pricey! It's always good to bring your own bottled water and some snacks. You'll get hungry, trust me. And if you're bringing your kids, they'll probably get hungry as well. 

8. Cellphone!

This should be common sense, and I shouldn't even put this on the list as most people are attached to their cellphones as if it were an extra limb. However, if you're going with other people, there's a chance you guys could get lost in the crowd and separated. Having a cellphone is priceless if this happens. 

These are some of the essentials that I bring to every comic convention. If it's your first time, this list can help prepare you to have a more enjoyable experience at a comic con. 

Have fun, be safe, and enjoy! If you're in my neck of the woods, see at ya at the Big Wow Comic Fest in San Jose.         

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