Among the panels I'm hoping to catch are a tribute to Ray Bradbury, a Firefly reunion, a Game of Thrones panel, the new Quentin Tarantino movie Django Unchained, and more.
It will be my friend Karen's first time, and for any of you other first-timers out there, I have some tips.
- Remember that Comic-Con is big. Really big. The vendor floor alone is huge, and there are so many panels and signings and other things that there is no way you can do everything. Relax, focus on the things you absolutely MUST do, and try to maintain Zen.
- Keep your tank fueled. The food at the con is expensive and nasty (your best option in the convention center is the Starbucks, which has not-bad caprese sandwiches). If time allows, explore some of the eating options in the Gaslamp area, and be sure to bring snacks with you. This is an imperative if you're camping out for a panel and won't be able to get lunch. Maintaining proper blood sugar levels will keep you from getting headachy and grouchy, and also from losing all control and screaming, "BUT I'M NOT LIKE ALL THESE OTHERS I LOVE YOU!!!" at your favorite celebrity crush.
- Bring a book. You will have downtime, most often if you're waiting in line or camping out in a room waiting for your panel. Bring a book, preferably one that can do double duty and you can get it signed at the con. I'm bringing the Heat Rises book.
- Shower. I shouldn't have to mention this, but...
- Be considerate. Don't push and shove. Don't attack people in your zeal to get some free goodie. If you see a famous person on the vendor floor and they look like they're trying to just shop like any other person or get to where they need to be, don't hound them.
- Take a moment to look and listen. People-watching and eavesdropping are half the fun of the con. Observe all the like-minded nerds and marvel that you are among your own kind. Listen to what people are saying. I still smile thinking of the woman I overheard a couple years ago, who said: "You know why I love Comic-Con? Mark Hamill hugged me! I will never wash my body again!" And who knows, maybe you'll make a friend.
- Have fun. And do the dance of joy!