(originally published August 13, 2013)
Disclaimer: The following comments do not necessarily reflect the official position or opinions of Comic-Con International or its staff. (But that doesn’t make them any less true.)
Myth: Comic-Con staff & volunteers have unlimited free passes to get in their family & friends
Reality: Nope. We don’t get free passes. We get a very small number of Priority Registration Codes, which let our friends & loved ones pay for a pass after the show is officially sold out – and we only get those after we’ve volunteered many, many hours and earned them. Chances are every one of those codes for a pass is spoken for long before Con approaches, so it’s a long shot to ask. If you want to go to Comic-Con, find your own way in by getting a pass, or being a contributor to the Con (volunteer!)
Myth: Comic-Con staff & volunteers have the ability to bump me up the list to get a spot as a vendor/exhibitor at Con.
Reality: No. There’s a waiting list, and every vendor must wait their turn. There is no preferential treatment shown, and none of us can “put in a good word to grease the wheels.” Don’t ask, the answer is no – if you’re asking anyone other than the head of the Exhibits Department!
Myth: If I tell all my friends when the Comic-Con passes go on sale and post it on Facebook and Twitter, that is a good idea
Reality: Come on, really? My question to you is: do you even want to go to Comic-Con this next year? Because if you’re making it your business to throw the info all over the web, when in fact only the people who do have Member ID’s can even buy passes, you’re just ensuring that the servers will be overloaded by people who have no hope of getting a pass in the first place, and you’ll have a less likely chance of getting a pass because the servers aren’t able to serve you.
Myth: Comic-Con staff & volunteers can sell me a pass, or ask to have more printed just for their friends.
Reality: Nope. There are a limited number of passes, and when they’re gone, they’re gone. None of the staff can sell you a pass. If a staffer sells a pass that they were given to give away as a complimentary priority reg code, they can be removed from the staff and lose the ability to participate again as a staff member. PRC codes are complimentary, not for sale.
Myth: It’s super hard to get parking for Comic-Con.
Reality: Ace parking has a bunch of HUGE lots down there, and really the farthest you’d have to park is Petco park, if you didn’t get parking at the Convention Center or Hilton or Horton Plaza. However, if you don’t register for their parking sale on their website, you’re not getting anything. Even then – park at Hazard Center or Qualcomm Stadium and take the trolley in. Not a bad deal!
Myth: Con is full of smelly nerds who never bathe
Reality: This one is pretty dead on accurate, but it shouldn’t be. We need each geek to make an effort. Personal hygiene should not be ignored while at Con, people. Seriously. You reek. Do something about it. For the love of all that is holy, please. Shower daily. Wear deodorant daily. Bring some mints. Brush your teeth. Gargle. Seriously.
Myth: It’s a good idea to buy a pass from a scalper on Craigslist or eBay.
Reality: Most of those passes are fake, and you’ll lose your money with nothing to show for it after being turned away when your RFID doesn’t scan at the door. And... if you are a scalper, fyi: we have some people who dedicate their lives to finding you... Liam Neeson style.
Myth: Press get head of line privileges.
Reality: Press get last in line privileges. We prioritize the people who show up first, first. Then paying members who stand in line, then special guests, then professionals, then exhibitors, then staff, then volunteers, then lastly press. They don’t get to cut the line. They often don’t even get into the room at all... without specific invitation from the panelists. Unless they wait in line like everybody else.
Myth: CCI Staff all have all-access privileges
Reality: There is a very short list of people who do have all-access privileges. They’re called Fire Marshalls. Everyone else – EVERY ONE ELSE – can be prevented from entering any area of Con. If a Fire Marshall deems a room to be full, no one else is getting in. Period.
Myth: If a program room is full, I can just stand against the wall
Reality: “Standing room only” is not allowed per Fire Marshall regulations. Aisles must be kept clear of people and their belongings, to allow for an exit in case of emergency requiring evacuation (or for emergency personnel to have clear access to the room in case of a medical emergency).
Myth: If I have a camera tripod, I can set up anywhere I please
Reality: Unless you are an official CCI Photographer or Videographer, you are welcome to film (when allowed) from your seat, but you may not set up shop with your gear in a walkway anywhere in the convention. Again, Fire Marshall rules. Safety hazard.
Myth: CCI Staff do not have to wait in lines
Reality: Unless they’re working, and getting into a room or area is part of their duty, they do have to wait in lines like everyone else. No head of the line privileges for con exclusives, lines on the main floor, etc. For many years, program room access was a perk of staff level volunteers, but that has changed recently. No more.
Myth: CCI Staff can escort anyone past a line into a programming room
Reality: More often than not, when you do see this taking place, this involves bringing a professional into a room where they are supporting a panel in an official capacity. Don’t go flagging down CCI Staffers trying to get them to usher you into a room. If you’re not actually on the panel, it’s not going to happen.
Myth: Exhibitors, Professionals, and Staff get all the exclusives ahead of everybody
Reality: Most vendors selling exclusives want the convention Attendees to get first crack at the exclusives, and they’ll refuse to sell them to Exhibitors, Pros, and Staff until after Preview Night, and sometimes not until Day 3. They are officially forbidden from conducting business before the show floor opens, though if you’re lucky enough to have early access, you may be able to convince them to show you some love.
Myth: If you’re just hanging out on the main floor at Con, Will Smith may give you a high five.
Reality: This is within the realm of possibility.
Myth: I can wear body paint and nothing else, and call it a costume.
Reality: “No costume is no costume,” according to the Powers That Be at Comic-Con.
Nudity isn’t allowed. We try to keep the Con family friendly. Yes, there are some racy cosplays. However, pasties don’t count as a costume, and your clever Mystique cosplay may get you booted out if you didn’t properly conceal all your private bits. Especially if you’re a guy.
Myth: There is always a line at the Starbucks in the convention center.
Reality: I visited the popular Sbux at Hall E at 10am on Thursday, and there was NO LINE. True story. Guess it has to happen once in a while. Made that venti white chocolate mocha that much sweeter! Mmmmmmmm.
Myth: There’s a secret tennis court on the roof of the Convention Center.
Reality: This too is true. Go find it and take a selfie to prove you made it there... there might even be a Pokemon there! Just be careful to leave someone holding the door open, as it locks from the inside, and no one hardly ever checks to see if someone is stuck out there. In 2014 we discovered the remains of a Twilight fan from 2008 up there, sparkling in the sun...
Myth: Cosplayers love to take pictures with you when they’re sitting down to eat.
Reality: NO. Please leave them alone while they’re sitting down, resting, eating, in the bathroom...
Some costumes are physically demanding to wear for extended periods of time and that can be exhausting. Leave them alone while they refresh, and they’ll be happy to pose with/for you when they’re back on the floor! Much of the Mezz Level is a safe zone for cosplayers, where they can eat, answer nature’s call, remove costume bits for a rest... keep it safe for them.
Myth: Comic-Con is only for nerds and geeks
Reality: Everyone is a geek about at least one thing. Since the scope of this convention happens to encompass most of pop culture and all of the visual arts, which applies to just about everyone, you’d be challenged to attend Comic-Con and not find something that is near and dear to your heart. And admit that when it comes to that one thing, you’re as much of a geek as any of the rest of us.