Whether you are a experienced or novice collector, "The Convention" is the time to shop and mingle with other collectors, talk with comic book dealers about the hottest news, or meet comic and entertainment guests. Its enough to make your eyes and brain explode!
When I first attending my first convention my mind went every where, along with my eyes, there was so much I wanted to buy, talk about, and do that my brain was swimming, by the time I left the convention I was broke and exhausted from all the information I received.
While I had a great time it was just overwhelming, so here is a small Survival Guide To Comic Book Conventions that can be helpful to the new comic collector.
Conventions And Comic Book Budget - Remember to factor your spending at a convention with your regular comic book buying during the month, remember you want to have money to buy your regular purchases from your comic book store, or have enough to buy your subscriptions at the end of the month.
Its a good idea to start saving at least a month or at least two weeks before the convention to ensure that you can pay for both convention books and your store books.
Spending - Before going to a convention determine how much money you want to spend, check the price guides for prices and also check with the convention website to see if their is an admission fee, also factor in food and drinks, many conventions and/or convention centers will offer food, these are usually not cheap so put that in your convention budget as well
if possible leave your bank debit card behind, this could be a temptation to use and it could put you over budget, if you can not leave it at home give it to a friend or family member to keep it safe.
Be sure to make a couple of rounds of the convention room first, checkout what dealers are there and look at the prices of the books you are looking for, never buy the first book you see on your list, take your time and get a feel for the convention, if this is your first convention look at the $1.00 and 1/2 boxes you could find some bargains there.
Before going to the convention find out if the convention has admission, if there is a fee be sure to factor that into your convention budget, look for online coupons located on the convention website.
Guest Attendance - If you are going to a convention to meet media and comic book guests be sure to check the convention website first, make sure there are guests you want to meet, and also check and see if guests have canceled their appearance
Dealer Attendance - Also see how many dealers will be attending you do not want to arrive with a low dealer turn out, this could not only be a waste of your time but also money.
As always look for those FREE admission conventions!
The Art Of Haggling
Don't be afraid to haggle or bargain with comic book dealers, they understand that customers are working on a budget and are willing to work with customers on making deals.
Preparing To Haggle - Before leaving for a convention make a list of books that you are searching for, next to the title write a price, this will help kin keep track of cost but it will also give you a reference of what books are going for, and also helps the comic book dealer know what you are willing to spend.
Make A Offer - Don't be afraid to make a offer especially if you have more than one issue, the worst a dealer can say is "No" most times he will work with you, however don't walk away right away if the dealer does reject your offer, see if he will work worth you or ask "What is the best price he can offer?"
Take Time And Think - If you need time to think about a book, you can ask a dealer to put the book behind the table, but you should always return to the comic book dealer even if you purchased the book elsewhere, remember that the dealer did this as a courtesy for you.
if you do not return to inform the dealer you do not want the issue, the dealer stands a good chance of losing money. If you do not return it could strain the relationship between you and the dealer in the future and they may be unwilling to haggle or hold books for you in the future.
If you do ask for a dealer to hold the book, its best to return with in 15 to 20 minutes, this is plenty of time too look around and compare prices and think about the purchase.
Some conventions have comic book and media guests, these lines can get long and boring, to avoid this make time to get in line early, I would give yourself at least 10 to 15 minutes to get to the signing area or booth, also be sure to check the schedule.
Guest Tickets - Sometimes tickets are provided for a guest line, so be sure to get those early or conventions will provide a "Speed or Express" pass, these allow you to be first in line.
Signings - If you have materials to be signed be sure to have them prepared, this helps the guest sign the materials quicker, and keeps the line moving, and be sure to speak to the guest during and/or after all they want to talk to you and hear what you think about the subject.
Artwork And Sketches - Want a artist to draw something? Always ask in advance if they are doing artwork, and ask about cost, however some artists will do a quick sketch for free or very little money depending on the line.
Bring Your Books - If you want comics signed be sure to bring copies with you, while most dealers will have hot books to get signed, the books on many occasions will be over priced, again get updates from the convention website to see who will be there and start shopping for the books you want to have signed.
Guest Cancellations - Guests can cancel or leave early, if this occurs without your knowledge or you are not notified by the convention staff, then you may ask for your money back if you came for the sole purpose to see that guest, in a few instances I have seen refunds but do not expect a refund often.
When visiting with comic dealers like myself, always talk to the dealer pick their brains and get their insight on books and what to be to watch for in the future, also even if you do not buy anything from the dealer get their business card, this way if you need anything you will have a recourse to dealers to contact, and when you need that hard to find book you will have the advantage.
Comic Book Conventions And People With Disabilities
If you are a person with disabilities and attending a comic book convention, this can be a little more nerve racking for you, because of the crowds and chaos going on, being a person with disabilities I thought these tips could help.
If you are attending a convention in town always call the location to make sure they have handicapped parking, ramps and bathroom facilities, while thing have changed over the years its still a good idea to inquire about disability access.
Conventions are crowded and lines around a table or booth can quickly grow, be sure to have your money ready and if you can invest in a nice fanny pouch or something to carry your cash and other things.
If you can, bring a friend or relative with you if you need help carrying your purchases, or if you can get a nice and sturdy tote bag to put your stuff in.
Convention Staff Help - Conventions may provide you with an attendant to help you, you may want to contact the convention promoter prior to going or ask the head of convention security or convention staff, this is still a new concept in conventions so do not be disappointed if it does not exist at the convention you are attending.
Communicating With Dealers
Ask For Help From Dealers - Comic Book Dealers are some of the most attentive people in the world, comic book dealers will assist you and aide you the best that they can, in many cases you can hand them your list and they will go through boxes for you or let you know immediately if they have the issue.
However you will need to ask for assistance on occasion, so be sure to speak up, the dealer will be happy to assist you in your searches.
Conventions can become very busy, if a table or booth looks crowded make a few rounds around the dealer room and come back to the dealer.
If you want materials signed again be sure to be in line early and have your materials ready to be signed, but if you speak with the convention staff or someone affiliated with the artist in most cases they will allow you to come to the front, this helps you and keeps the line moving smoothly.
If you have more than one guest on your list be sure to inform the convention staff of all the guests so that they can help you schedule your visits.
Always thank the the guest and the staff for their help, and be sure to talk with both parties, this will help them to remember you in the future.
Asking For Help
This is a touchy subject for some people, but we all need help, if you find yourself in a situation like needing a bottle, can or bag opened ask for help, there is no need to go thirsty or hungry at a convention, so grab a friendly face and just ask you will be pleasantly surprised.
Patience is the key
Because of the crowds, the noise and lets face it you may encounter a little bit of bumping and their are always those few rude people, just take a deep breath and be patient, if you feel that its a bit too crowded go out of the convention room and get some air, if you use a walking device ask the staff for a chair or a place to sit, if your in a wheelchair device go park, and then go back in.
Just be as patient with yourself and the crowds as you can, and remember to have fun.
These are just a few tips for convention goers, if you are new you will get the feel for it in no time, but until then listen and learn and watch your budget.