A Primer for Convention First-Timers

OCC 101Do

Print Friendly Version: O Comic Con Primer

Maybe you have a buddy who’s into “all that nerd stuff,” or you have kids who are gaga over superheroes. Maybe you loved Guardians of the Galaxy or Star Wars: Rogue One, but you have no idea if you’re “hardcore” enough to mingle with the mega-fans. Comic cons are large community events that are filled to the brim with fun things to look at and do. Why not go to your local comic con and see what all the fuss is about?

What is a comic con, anyway?

Short for “comic convention,” today’s comic cons are events where fans can celebrate their favorite pop culture by meeting actors, artists, and writers. There’s a lot of art and merchandise for sale, panels to attend on interesting topics, and crowds full of people dressed like their favorite characters or wearing their favorite superhero tees.

When is O Comic Con?

O Comic Con takes place July 7th, 8th, and 9th at the Mid-America Center.  If you can attend all three days, fantastic! There are lots of comic con attendees who enjoy taking their time and being around all weekend. Many attendees even plan to wear a different costume each day, as it gives them more opportunity to take great pictures and interact with crowds. An advantage to purchasing a weekend pass is that you can really pace yourself. Need to leave the event for a dinner break? Go right ahead! Want to head back to the hotel and take a power nap? You’ve got plenty of time. O Comic Con attendees will be given a wristband to wear when they enter. Keep it on, and you are free to enter and exit the event as many times as you’d like. A $45 weekend pass (advance price) grants you admission on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

However, a lot of people’s work schedules simply won’t allow them to take three whole days off in a row, and a three-day event is just not in the cards. The great news is that you can enjoy everything a comic con has to offer in two days, or even in a single day.

2016 Cosplay Contest participants. Photo by BPI Multimedia

2016 Cosplay Contest participants in the Green Room before the big show. Photo by BPI Multimedia

What Day Should I Attend?

Friday, July 7th: Event Hours are 12 PM – 8 PM. Pre-sale ticket price: $20. Friday is, in many ways, an ideal day to attend. There’s anticipation in the air; everyone is excited to see what the weekend will hold. We aim to provide high-calibur programming on Friday evening that will really kick off the weekend right. If you like a bustling event that isn’t overly crowded, Friday is a good choice of day to attend. Plus, you’ll have first pick of all the merch and art on sale!

Saturday, July 8th: Event hours are 9 AM to 8 PM. Pre-sale ticket price: $25. Saturday is the biggest and busiest day of the event. If you crave the hustle and bustle of a crowd, Saturday is definitely the day for you. It’s a great day to show off your cosplay, and it’s a great day to SEE cosplay: our cosplay contest will be held Saturday evening.

Sunday, July 10th: Event hours are 9 AM to 5 PM. Pre-sale ticket price: $20. Sunday is a laid-back and low-key day. If you’d like to take your time shopping and talking to folks on the expo floor, Sunday is a great day to do so. Sunday is also the day where we strive to put a lot of kid-friendly programming on the schedule. The smaller crowds on a Sunday can be easier for little ones to handle than a Saturday afternoon crowd might be. Remember, kids 12 and under are admitted free with a ticketed adult. Sunday is a great day to stop by!

View our tickets page

What’s this “cosplay” I keep hearing about? That just means dressing in costume, right?

Basically, yes. Many attendees find it fun to dress as their favorite superheroes. (This is true for both kids and kids at heart!) You will be amazed at the elaborate and interesting costumes that people will bring to the show. Read our cosplay page to learn more.

Click the photo to open a full-size version in a new tab. Downloadable maps will be available in June with the event schedule.

Click the photo to open a full-size version in a new tab. Downloadable maps will be available in June with the event schedule.

 

What are some things to do at O Comic Con?

The Arena

Take a look at our map. When you enter the show, you will be near the Arena. The Arena floor will be jam-packed with vendors and artists selling fun and pop culture-themed stuff. It’s fun to browse around the Arena floor and see what strikes your fancy.

You can also check out the Autograph Tables and see if any of our Guests are signing or taking photographs. Media guests will be available to sign autographs and take photos with attendees. Yes, these items do cost money, but they also make great souvenirs! View a list of our guests

We also host lots of Creator Guests in the Arena. Many of the artists will do custom commissioned sketches just for you for a small fee– and sometimes free small sketch cards. Want to get into comics but have no idea where to start? Well, you can find out from the comics creators themselves. They’ll be happy to turn you onto some new reading material!

The Ex Hall

There’s another huge space full of things to do just past the Arena, in the Ex Hall. Look for an interactive exhibit by the Star Wars costuming clubs, and even a full-sized wrestling ring hosting matches by PWP Live Pro Wrestling. (There is no charge for these matches, but there will be merch for sale!) The Ex Hall will also host collections and exhibits for you to peruse. Costume clubs with costumed characters, our cosplay guests, and even exhibits of items like film props and special effects will be there.

Programming Rooms (Gordon, Danvers, Richards, Kent, Jupiter)

If you’re ready to sit down for a break, why not attend a panel or two? Every attendee should seek out a few pieces of programming to see during a convention. Almost all panels clock in at an hour. Take a load off for an hour and see what you can learn!

Media guest Naomi Grossman is hauled off to jail by a Mandalorian Merc for a charity bounty at OCC 2015. Photo by BPI Multimedia

Media guest Naomi Grossman is hauled off to “jail” by a Mandalorian Merc bounty hunter for charity at OCC 2015. Photo by BPI Multimedia

What kinds of programming will there be at O Comic Con?

At O Comic Con, we have 4 basic types of programming.

Media Guest programming consists of Q&A panels with our media guests. Anyone may attend and ask questions, or just sit back and learn about the careers and crafts of the media guests.

Creator Guest programming consists of panels comprised of our comics guests or panels about comics in general. They talk about creating comics, about their careers, and about comic art and writing. These panels are great to attend if you’re a comics fan, or if you’re an aspiring comics creator.

Industry and How-To programming consists of panels designed to help you write better, do art better, or craft better. These panels cover topics ranging from podcasting to self-publishing to costume crafting.

Finally, we offer Fan programming, in which groups of fans discuss their favorite shows and films. Fan panels are a great place to meet people who share the same hobby you do.

We also offer a number of kid-friendly panels throughout the weekend. These panels may have story time or activities for kids in quieter rooms away from the din of the convention. We try to make sure parents have low-key options for their kids when the crowds get a bit large for little ones.

Why attend panels?

Our goal as an event is to inspire attendees to live their best creative lives. Our lives are enriched by art and pop culture. What better way to nurture your creative spark than to listen to and learn from people who have made creativity their careers or successful side hustles? Or to simply get lost in a satisfying hobby? Let’s catch that spark!

Where can I learn about panels?

We will publish our programming schedule in June. On the website, each piece of programming will have a description attached to it and will link to the guests or featured artists who are participating. As the event nears, we encourage attendees to explore the schedule and see what kinds of panels appeal to them.

Will I be able to sit down and rest at the convention?

The convention will be crowded at times, but we have a large venue that allows for several seating areas near concession stands. Make sure you pace yourself! Many of us like to be able to take breaks and recharge in the midst of a lot of activity. Trying to cram a full day of shopping, panels, photos, and cosplay in might be tiring if you don’t plan for breaks.

The Mid-America Center will have concessions available. You’ll be able to get a variety of snacks and drinks there. If you decide that you need a meal break off-site, our wristband system will accommodate your needs. Simply leave your Tyvek wristband on when you leave O Comic Con, and you can come right back into the event after you have returned to the Mid-America Center.
Finally, make sure to stay hydrated. If you don’t want to buy a drink at the concession stand, there are water fountains located throughout the Mid-America Center. Stop and take a drink every hour or so. It’s the easiest way to keep your stamina up for an all-day event!