Line up, nerds! It's Comic-Con week.
If this is not your first time down at the 'Con, then you know that nobody actually calls it the "'Con." That was a test. You passed.
As for you first-timers, we have some rules for attending the big San Diego show. We're veterans of Comic-Con, so we know what we're talking about when it comes to the brouhaha that is this convention. Just read our little helpful hints below and you'll be set. You might be a newbie, but you'll act like a pro by following our 14 simple rules.
Rule #1: Decide what you want from your Comic-Con experience
Comic-Con is four days of panels, parties and demonstrations on the floor. Do you care only about the panels? Only about getting certain items on the floor? Just want to take it all in? The very first thing we suggest doing is deciding what you want to do while you are in San Diego, because you will have to make some difficult decisions when panels start to overlap. Then you're not running around like a chicken with its head cut off. Which reminds us…
Rule #2: You will run around like a chicken with its head cut off
Comic-Con is NOT a vacation. No matter what you're doing, there will be lots of stuff to see and lots of places to go. That's one thing that's great about Comic-Con; there is something for every fan, every kid and every human. But it does cause for lots of running around trying to get everything done. If you just assume you'll have to miss something to attend something else, you'll be fine. Don't be heartbroken if you can't go to everything; you'll still have an amazing experience.
Rule #3: Dress comfortably
Sorry, but you'll have to choose comfort over style if you want this experience to not murder your feet and/or soul. If you are dressing up, then you're probably expecting to be a bit uncomfortable while you're there. If you're just dressing normal, then we urge you to wear comfortable shoes as you'll be walking and standing for hours and hours and hours. Bring a sweater or something to throw on in case the ballrooms are chilly. Remember: the more comfortable you are, the longer you last.
If you are hoping to look professional and not sloppy, a tee and blazer combo with jeans and comfy yet stylish shoes are a good bet. If you have a nerdy tee to wear under the blazer, even better!
Rule #4: How long you think your line is? Add two hours
Comic-Con = lines. Lots and lots of loooong lines. Fans from all over the world are all trying to get into the same panel, which means you'll have to get up early to get in line for the big ones and you'll be waiting for a while. Do you think a line will be about two hours long? Add another two hours, just to be safe. Think you'll only wait 30 minutes for this obscure, small panel? Add two hours. It's about lowering your expectation for a short wait and being pleasantly surprised when you get in earlier than you thought. When in doubt: add 2!
Rule #5: You will live and die by your phone's battery
There is nothing worse than your phone dying in the middle of the day when you want to tweet about the Doctor Who panel or take photos of all the crazy costumes, and no one wants to try and find an outlet and then sit by that outlet while your phone charges. We suggest investing in a phone case that charges your phone, or if you're lucky, you'll have a long-lasting LG G4 device which allows you to charge as you go. It has a removable and replaceable battery which will be a total life-saver. If you're in a five-hour line for Mockingjay, you definitely need a phone that will last that whole time and then some to distract you. Or else you'll have to talk to other humans to entertain yourself. Gross. Just kidding because actually…
Rule #6: Everyone at Comic-Con is in this together
The lines are long, the food is expensive and someone forgot to wear deodorant (more on that later). That's bad. But what's good is that everyone else around you is going through the same damn thing, so commiserate together. Then you'll find someone who can hold your place in line while you go to the bathroom or someone to save you a seat if they get into a panel first. Your fellow Comic-Con attendees are your friends, not your foes. Unless you are dressed as Han Solo and you find a Stormtrooper in which case yeah, you're enemies. Fight!
Rule #7: Invest in a backpack and stock it
A backpack is the best thing to carry if you're going to Comic-Con. Pack it with water, food, your electronics, your guide book, your wallet and anything else you can think of. Ladies, do not carry a purse. It'll be too much to handle over your shoulder. Repeat after us: backpack. It's more secure and it's more comfortable. Make sure to check Comic-Con guidelines to see what you can and can't bring in.
Rule #8: Ask before touching, for crying out loud
Just because someone is dressed up as your favorite movie/TV character does not automatically give you the right to touch them or even take their photo. They are dressed up to show off, so almost everyone will stop for a photo and/or let you take a photo with them. But don't just walk up to a Baymax from Big Hero 6, squeeze him and take a selfie without consent. Don't be that guy. That guy sucks.
Rule #9: Want exclusives from the booths? God speed and good luck
Funko, Hasboro and tons of other toy companies and studios will have incredible items to buy that are exclusive to Comic-Con. That's awesome. What's not awesome is ever-y-one wants them, too. So you better be ready to get to the floor extremely early each day to attempt to get your toy. Hunting down exclusives can take up your entire time, so prioritize which ones you want and prepare to wait in line. And add 2 hours!
Rule #10: Casual fans, beware
If you're a casual fan attending Comic-Con and you don't really care about seeing the panels or getting exclusives, you'll want to avoid the convention center right as it opens each day as there will be a rush of people trying to get in the second the doors open. Wait a couple hours before heading over there to avoid the mass of exclusive toy-hunters and panel attendees. If you want to avoid crowds, well, that's almost impossible. But you can check the schedule and suss out the most popular TV and movie panels and just avoid those areas right before and after those times.
Rule #11: Make an itinerary
Make like Danny Tanner in the Disney World episode of Full House and schedule out your day with panel times, locations and maps. Print it out. Laminate if you want. Just have it on you so you make the most out of your visit by organizing the crap out of it!
Rule #12: Wear deodorant
For your sake and for the sake of everyone around you, give the armpits the ol' swipe of deodorant. Please. You'd be surprised how many people forget this.
Rule #13: Do not, we repeat, DO NOT record anything you're not supposed to record
Panels at Comic-Con are for fans, not for the Internet. You can take photos with your phones of The Walking Dead cast up onstage, of course. But the moment they show footage or trailers and they tell you to put your phones down, do NOT disobey. You think you can discreetly record that Star Wars: The Force Awakens sneak peek? Nope. They have people guarding those aisles and watching like hawks. Some people obviously get away with it, but do you really want to risk getting kicked out? They will boot your ass out of there if they catch you. If they say phones down, put your PHONE DOWN. Just watch the trailer that nobody else gets to see and enjoy the moment! Don't be that guy. That guy also sucks, just like the guy who touches the cosplay without asking.
Rule #14: Embrace the crowds
It'll be crowded. There will be tons of people. Just accept it. Or better yet, embrace it. You can't avoid it so just become a part of it!
That's it! Just follow those rules and your first time at Comic-Con will be a blast. Comic-Con is not gentle to first-timers, but it'll be fun. And make sure you follow the E! Online team as we take over San Diego! We'll be at all the big panels, attending all the big parties, covering all the big booths and interviewing all the big celebrities! If you want an all-access pass to Comic-Con from the comfort of your couch or if you're in San Diego this week and you want to stalk us, just follow us on Twitter.
See you there, nerds!