A Guide to Montreal Comiccon

So you're considering going to Montreal Comiccon… If you're a seasoned Comic-con adventurer you've probably been to the Montreal one, as well as Fan Expo in Toronto, or the NYC convention in the fall—maybe even San Diego Comic-Con, considered the BIG SHOW to most geeks. One thing that stands true through all these conventions is that they're always crowded. This is a guide on how to explore, shop and get the the best out of your Montreal Comiccon experience.

Scheduling: The first thing you should do is to find out which guests are attending and what day. Most conventions have their biggest guests come on the Saturday, giving them the chance to try and draw in as many attendees as possible (within safety limits) with their biggest names. Check the schedule, look up panels, check out the vendor list and make your own personalized schedule. You might have some conflicts once things get moved around, but that’s half the fun of Comiccon; you can only plan so much, sometimes you have to let the con guide you. For example, Sir Patrick Stewart of Star Trek TNG and the X-Men movie franchise was scheduled for Sunday this year, but due to his work schedule, he will now be on Saturday. If you bought tickets for Sunday once he was announced, you have to buy a ticket for Saturday to see him. Don’t let that discourage you though, it just means you get to experience two days instead of one.

Know the layout: Possibly one of the most thing to note. Knowing the layout of the convention isn’t only important for your safety, it can make getting around a breeze. Take advantage of the Montreal Comiccon site and all the links, because if you explore the site, you can find the layout for the convention before they release the official one in the swag bags (hint: it’s in the exhibitor section under Floor Plan). Once you find it, you can use the Exhibition Hall list and start marking off your main points of interest. Use landmarks like K.I.T.T. from Knight Rider or the Impala from Supernatural (both of which will be on display this year) to center yourself and explore from there. Once on the convention floor, it is easy to get turned around.

Shopping: If you’ve ever been to a Comiccon you may have noticed that the prices for some items can be… inflated. It happens partially because the vendors are trying to make back the money they spent on their tables. Tables at Cons can get pretty expensive, so the vendors work hard to at least breaking even. Your job as an attendee is to be informed: if you have a specific comic you want to pick up, maybe a figure from your favorite game or even a shield, know your prices going in. With a couple thousand fans walking around the convention hall, service can sometimes be slow. If you’re negotiating a price on a limited edition Star Wars figure, for instance, you want to know 1) how much it should cost and 2) how much you’re willing to spend to add it to your collection. The game has changed with the internet, so take advantage and get informed before someone takes advantage of your wallet.  Plus, there is always the Sunday Fire Sale. When the convention is coming to an end on the last day, many vendors would rather not have to lug everything back to their stores or storage lockers. This can really work in your favour, especially on TPBs (trade paperbacks), mystery boxes, and clothing.

Food & Water: This one is short and to the point: pack some snacks! If you are going to be moving around a lot, whether it be from panel to panel or game room to convention floor, you will need to recharge those batteries, so have some food. There are usually food counters at the con, but again, those prices can be inflated and if you’re like me, you want to save your money for autographs and action figures, and packing a bottle of water, and a couple granola bars can mean the difference between two Marvel Legends figures or one.

Health: This may seem like a weird one, but “Con-Cold” or “ComiCough” are real things. With that many people touching and checking out all this cool and interesting stuff at the convention, not everyone is cleaning their hands before they touch the merch. You don’t have to wear gloves, but you should do your best to clean your hands often and sneeze or cough into your elbow. Vampire routine still works folks, it isn’t just for kids.

All this to say, Comiccon can be an amazing time, especially if you go in with a plan. More info on the programming of the weekend-long convention can be found here, and more info on the early badge pick-up (happening TODAY) can be found here. Happy planning, and have a merry Comiccon!