What to Expect at a Comic Con

When I started going to comic con-type events, there were only a handful. Most people know the big one – San Diego Comic Con. And if you are in the Southeast, DragonCon is the big destination. Over the last 10 years more and more comic cons have popped up. So much that you can’t go a weekend now without several events happening, big and small. And the word “cosplay” is no longer an obscure reference, but I think the general public still might not be sure exactly what it is cosplayers and other attendees actually do at these events.

What to Expect at a Comic Con

    1. Cosplayers – Cosplayers are the people that attend conventions dressed as their favorite characters. Yes, it’s OK to ask them for photos. No, it’s not OK to grope them. Cosplayers spend a lot of time putting together their outfits and many love to get photos taken.

      Cosplayers at MegaCon
      Cosplayers at MegaCon, Me on far left as Harley Quinn
    2. Fanboys/girls – These are the people that show up to see their favorite celebrities and buy collectibles.
    3. Celebrities – The bigger conventions get the bigger celebrities. SDCC gets the biggest of them all! But almost every convention boasts some sort of celeb guests, from movie stars to voice actors, that will sign photos or take photos with people.

      kit harrington at san diego comic con
      Me and Kit Harington (John Snow) being photobombed at SDCC
    4. Cosplay Guests – These are well-known cosplayers that usually wear more elaborate costumes and sign posters/prints of them in costume. This is actually what I used to do a lot!
    5. Panels – There are panels on every topic! A panel is like a mini presentation or Q&A with a person or small group of people. There are fan panels on TV shows, movies and comics, cosplay and costuming topics, celebrity panels and more. Every convention will have a panel schedule so be sure to look through that and plan accordingly. Most panels last about an hour.

      cosplay panel at supercon
      Cosplay panel at Supercon
    6. Workshops – Many conventions have workshops where you get to make things, like painting miniatures or working with Worbla. (a thermoplastic molding material popular with cosplayers)
    7. Gaming – Most conventions have a gaming room where you can play the latest games on the latest consoles.
    8. Tabletop Gaming – There is also usually a tabletop gaming area for fans who still like games like Dungeons & Dragons
    9. Partying – A lot conventions do sell alcohol and many people come to dress up, drink and hang with friends.
    10. Vendors – Some conventions have massive vendor halls with every kind of geek-related paraphernalia you can find, but even small cons will have a vendor area. Comics, toys, vintage items, clothing, costumes, corsets, swords, jewelry…you name it, you can find it in the vendor hall.

      My booth set-up from when I had my shop
      My booth set-up from when I had my shop
    11. Artist’s Alley – Usually located near the vendors, Artist’s Alley is where you can find original art pieces of your favorite characters and geek related artwork.
    12. Activities – At a big con like SDCC they have actual rides and interactive experiences, but even smaller cons have activities like foam sword fighting, LARPing or blow-up suit sumo wrestling.
    13. Costume Contests – Every convention has a costume contest, some even have several with different themes.
    14. After Hours – Most cons have an evening program as well, featuring more adult options like after-parties or burlesque shows.


There’s even more than what’s on this list (like maid cafes and speed dating) but this will give you a good idea of many of the things you will see and experience at any type of fan/geek based convention. And if you have any questions, feel free to ask!

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12 thoughts on “What to Expect at a Comic Con

    1. Star Wars is a definite yes! That’s actually what got me into going to conventions. There’s one called Star Wars Celebration that’s awesome 🙂 And yes, Miami has a lot of conventions. A big one there is SuperCon, held in the summer. And cons are all ages. My son went to his first one at just a few months old, lol.

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