Comic Con. It's almost here. Can you feel it? Are you ready?

No, of course not. You're not going. While all of your friends are packing bags and taking out second mortgages for the Nerd Prom, you're looking forward to a "What Not to Wear" marathon, nine bags of eviscerated pork rinds, and a desperate struggle to stave off the tears that well behind the glassy veneer of your bloodshot, disappointed eyes. Just like last year, the year before it, Valentine's Day, New Year's Eve, and your birthday.

Now it's time to take the pride back. With the immediacy of information coming from the con, some creative thinking, and a little initiative, one can successfully simulate the Comic-Con experience without entering bankruptcy or getting elbowed in the throat.

So drop the pork rinds, pick up whatever remains of your self-esteem, follow these simple steps, and let the magic of imagination whisk you away to a con of your own.

The San Diego Convention Center covers over half a million square feet of area; taking in the entirety of the experience would involve walking for hours and hours, weaving through a never-ending bottleneck of intricate costumes and questionable hygiene. Operating as one does on half a liver (more on that later) and ninety minutes' sleep, the whole shebang quickly devolves into a pantomime fugue state, complete with startling revelations about the nature of the universe and the nervous buzz of one's Id dissolving. The safest way to recreate this experience is to enter an ecstatic state through sleep deprivation, fill an iPod with Syd Barrett and 13th Floor Elevators, and walk around the mall. Forever.


The amount of alcohol consumed at SDCC is enough to take down a herd of elephants jacked up on Angel Dust. This is the convention at which old friends get reacquainted, online relationships become tactile, and wave after wave of needy fan is allowed intimate contact with idols who are more than happy to trade some conversation for a free drink. While ComicsAlliance certainly doesn't suggest that you hole up in your attic with a case of Old Crow and a lifetime of bitter memories, a little fun never hurt anybody. So get out! Find a nice bar or pub, buy a round for everybody, and make new, lasting relationships with interesting and potentially damaged people. Chalk up resulting scars, physical or emotional, to life experience.

Underage readers: Don't even think about it. Do what we say, not what we do.


Oh, G4. Your taste in music is horrible and you air four hours of "Cops" and "Cheaters" every day, but when it comes to San Diego, you're the CNN of the nerdiverse. For the third year in a row, the network offers five hours of coverage a day straight from the bizarre heart of Comic Con, complete with walk-arounds, breaking news, product showcases, and interviews with movie stars, comic creators, and sweaty cosplayers alike. Watching TV for five hours is admittedly lazy and sadly vicarious, but when geek goddesses Blair Butler and Olivia Munn smile and mutter "Shazam," time disappears. Besides, what else are you going to do? Work out?


First of all, keep your browser square on ComicsAlliance for multiple updates from lead blogger Laura Hudson and company. If you can't surf at work, steal a few looks at your futurephone from time to time, and sign up for as many twitter feeds as you can. Before your friends step on the plane to Geektown, make sure to threaten them with injury and embarrassment if they don't send a constant stream of 140-character updates informing you exactly what that hot chick was wearing and who Darwyn Cooke punched in the face this year. Several pros will probably be tweeting, so be sure to check out the twitter pages for Geoff Johns, Matt Fraction, Jason Aaron, G. Willow Wilson and others. Don't bother checking Brian Bendis' feed, though. Like you, he isn't going.


As Comic-Con has become less about the comics and more about the movies over the years, con-goers have been treated to a barrage of teaser footage and exclusive premieres, and it is about this that they are the most smug. Time to take 'em down a peg or two. This Saturday, July 25th, SPIKE TV will be airing the network premiere of the feature version of Ed Brubaker's "Angel of Death," three days before its debut on DVD. Those at SDCC get a Q&A with Brubaker and star Zoe Bell before they see it Friday, so they still get to hold that over your head, and eventually your friendship will crumble because of it. So you'd better enjoy it.


Why not? Get in touch with the folks at the comic store, post on forums, start a chain e-mail, and just get together with other comics people. Use the Comments Section if you feel like it. This happened several years ago in Kansas City and resulted in 24-Hour Comics parties, a four-gallery exhibition of sequential art, and two anthologies. Even if one isn't interested in making comics, one always has a chance to meet interesting people, have a few laughs, or glom on to that potential next big star. After they make it, you'll be there to feast on the scraps of their comic book lifestyle, and will be so coked-up and partied-out that Comic-Con just sounds like a drag. "Oh, Comic Con," you'll say flippantly. "That old thing?" and like an Ouroboros biting its tail, your journey will be complete.

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