Make no mistake: New York Comic Con is an endurance event. To get everything you want out of the biggest convention for sci-fi, fantasy, anime, comics and more, you must prepare, plan and stay focused all four days.
Get in the game with these tips from the con-going veterans at New York Sci-Fi & Fantasy. With their combined wisdom of years of Comic Con-going, you won’t just survive — you’ll make the most of it.
1. Don’t just walk in thinking you’ll figure things out on the fly. The online show planner and the Comic Con app will help you get organized (and print that schedule). This includes marking which booths have special events or swag.
2. Wear comfortable clothes. Ladies, that means a pair of flats or sneakers — the Javits Center is a 15-minute walk from the nearest subway stop (and that’s before the all-day walking, punctuated by standing in lines, you'll be doing). It may be cold outside, but inside it’s upward of 80 degrees, so dress lightly.
3. Pick the most important thing you want to do each day, and figure out what it will take to accomplish it. Limited-edition items often sell out fast; panel rooms are often not cleared between sessions; artists’ schedules may be fully booked on the first day. Prioritize.
4. Bring cash. Most vendors take cards but will offer a discount if you use cash, and autographs are cash-only. ATM lines always run long (but they’re usually shorter in Artist Alley — same for bathrooms).
5. Sign up for the Javits Center’sWi-Fi ($8 per day). There are no free hot spots nearby, and cellphone service is poor to nonexistent.
6. Get in line early for con exclusives and popular panels. Previously, you may have lined up at 5 a.m. for a 7 p.m. “Walking Dead” panel, but this year the Main Stage will be cleared after each panel.
7. Get a unique souvenir by bringing a blank sketchbook to the booths of artists you admire. Many will draw whatever you like; some will charge a fee depending on the size and colors of the piece.
8. Go with a friend. This means you have someone to take photos of you with the amazing cosplayers, switch off standing in line and generally enjoy the con more. Just keep in mind that you may not be interested in all of the same things — so be flexible.
9. Be prepared to meet the celebrities you want to see. Follow them on Twitter to get an idea of where they’ll be, and have a Sharpie with you for signatures. If you want a photo op or autograph, register online before the con.
10. Go retro. There are so many ways to lose track of people and time, between all the distracting swag, bathroom lines, signings, etc. Comic Con is like a nerd casino, so be prepared. Wear a watch in case your phone battery dies, print out a schedule with the events you’re interested in highlighted and pick a location to meet up with friends if you get separated.
Don’t leave home without
• Registering your badge
• Phone charger
• Refillable water bottle
• Pain medications