As I’ve been going to the NY Comic Con for nine years now, I’m often asked by friends who are braving the teeming masses for the first time about some suggestions and necessary items to bring along to make their day a whole lot easier. Instead of repeating myself ad nauseum, I decided to throw some thoughts down on the web in this little post. It’s my hope that these tips add to your enjoyment of this sensory overloading event. Here is a quick laundry list of things I’d recommend that you have along with you.
The In General Stuff:
1. Decent Sized Bag: Bring a knapsack or schoolbag or a sizable messenger bag. You never know what you might purchase or be given depending on your discussions along the way. A schoolbag might be a little clunkier but I tend to prefer to have more room than less myself.
2. Empty Clear Sandwich Bags: Lots of the big booths do giveaways of buttons or stickets and assorted thingies. I’ve secured them for ease of finding once its all over by tossing them all into one of the clear baggies.
3. Sustenance Part 1: It doesn’t hurt to bring along a couple of energy bars or perhaps a peanut butter sandwich if you can eat peanuts. The Javits Center gets expensive and you might prefer your money go to vendors instead of concessions. I also have taken small baggies of honey nut cheerios, unsalted Saltines or peanuts along with me. Just to give a quick energy boost. Sure a candy bar might be fine but we don’t always need the empty sugar in our systems.
4. Sustenance Part 2: A single bottle of water will suffice because you can fill it up at assorted points during the convention. Maybe just bring one of the empty water bottles that you might use in the gym or on excursions during your normal day.
5. Hand Cleanser: Purell or something similar. It never hurts to be clean. Sometimes I’ve seen friends carrying a small packet of wipes. Those work too.
6. Aspirin: Just in case you get headaches easily or that the convention becomes too much for you.
7. Body Spray: Sometimes the heat of a place like Javits can find people feeling a little ripe. I mean no insult to say if this is you on a regular basis that you should bring along a spray of some kind to use just in case.
8. Technology Part 1: A fully charged mobile device. It doesn’t hurt to update it before you head into the convention either in terms of the apps you use all day. This same logic applies to your tablet or if you are bringing along a laptop.
9. Technology Part 2: The cords to charge said mobile device at one of the numerous spaces around the convention you can use should the juice run low. I also bring along an external battery which is wonderful since it let’s me also charge up my camera on the fly.
10. Camera: You don’t have to bring a big ole rig out with you but sometimes a small point and shoot will do the trick during the convention should you want to get more images and not have everything on your mobile device. Be sure to have this charged and with a clean SD card. Double check that you have the SD card in the device since the closest Best Buy is not too close at all in comparison.
11. Money. Need I say more? Most vendors accept credit cards so if you are points crazy like me just use that.
12. Umbrella: Hey if you have a schoolbag with you this is a non-issue and I always tend to carry one nowadays.
13. Comfortable shoes: Last convention it was tallied that I walked a sum total of 20 miles across the four days. It actually might have been slightly higher but I cannot locate my reference to this at the time of this posting. So with that said you are going to want to be good to your feet.
14. Reading Material: A comic book, a magazine or a novel will all suffice. You might want to take a break from the madness and sit down somewhere.
*** If You Are Working The Show ***
If you’re one of the folks that might be working the show as a member of the media/press or as a photographer, these next few points are rather paramount and a few relevant ones to this status have been copied from the general area.
1. Business Cards: As many as you can muster up. I only give these to reps and talent at this point because the general populace can find the outlet on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter if they seek us out. Sometimes if its a notable cosplayer that I might wish to work with the cards come out too.
2. Empty Sandwich Bags: You’ll need this to secure any of the business cards that you might get at the convention and believe me the chance to get a few dozen can happen at any time. You sure don’t want to lose anything from the people you engaged with during the convention. I know I wouldn’t.
3. Pad and paper. Yes some of us still write stuff down. Believe it or not and this is a good thing to have in your bag.
4. Technology Part 1: A fully charged mobile device. It doesn’t hurt to update it before you head into the convention either.
5. Technology Part 2: The cords to charge said mobile device at one of the numerous spaces around the convention you can use should the juice run low. I also bring along an external battery which is wonderful since it let’s me also charge up my camera on the fly.
6. Camera: You don’t have to bring a big ole rig out with you but sometimes a small point and shoot will do the trick during the convention should you want to get more images and not have everything on your mobile device. Be sure to have this charged and with a clean SD card. Double check that you have the SD card in the device since the closest Best Buy is not too close at all in comparison.
For The Diehard Collectors:
1. Comic Protective Sleeves (aka “bags”)/Backing Boards: As you never know the availability of such things around the convention, or when you get a signed freebie at a booth, it doesn’t hurt to bring along a dozen or so of the comic bags and boards that are ready to house your new possessions.
2. Several Rubber Bands. I don’t know about you but the posters do not fit cozy in my pack and some I want to keep in good order. Having a few rubber bands to tighten them up for the journey ahead is a good idea.
3. Plastic Sandwich Bags: These will be perfect for your collection of buttons and pins that you might secure along the way.
4. Funko Pop collectors would be wise to find the folks selling the protective cases for these thing and especially if they get one signed.
5. Empty Cereal Box: One year I noticed that a comic book collector was keeping his new acquisitions secured in a cereal box.
I’ve saved the most important thing to bring along with you for the last point. Your ACTIVATED NY Comic Con badge. Whether you be attending fan, industry or working press. You need your badge to get in and it must be activated since you have to scan it when you come in and when you exit the Javits Center. So that’s all I have to say about this one and I hope that you all enjoy the convention should you be heading there with us over the coming four days. As it stands I am going all four days but let’s see how I feel as this gets underway. See you next time.
Editor’s Note: You can apply almost all of these notes to any large event since you will need similar things at each of them.