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Bonus advice from our US columnist Bonnie Burton about heading off to the big comic conventions

“Wear good shoes”, “stay hydrated” and “eat before you arrive” – all good advice for those heading to a sci-fi convention this summer. SFX magazine’s US columnist and authority on all things geek, Bonnie Burton , knows from personal experience that this advice rings true, for she’s been to more events than you’ve had Hobnobs. In this month’s SFX (opens in new tab) , on sale Wednesday 26 June, she kindly dispenses more guidance like this for those preparing to travel to the likes of San Diego Comic-Con. And here on we have a couple of bonus tips from Bonnie:

“By nature, Goths hate the sun and large crowds of loud people. When you want to take a break from the wall-to-wall convention goers and don’t want to sit in the blazing sun to do it, find a tired-looking Goth and you will eventually be led to their secret getaway. Usually, it’s near the group of cosplay fans that wear head to toe armour such as Stormtroopers or Knight Arthur wannabes. The last time I followed a Goth outside a convention center I felt like I accidentally stumbled upon a Merlin / Star Wars movie crossover. Knights (both Jedi and traditional), Stormtroopers and Goths were enjoying the shade, the solitude, the quiet and the occasional clove cigarette. If I didn’t have panels to attend, I mostly likely would spend my leisure time in this surreal, tranquil oasis.”

“I’ve never loathed anything more at a convention than a marketing intern ill-equipped with a t-shirt cannon. It’s exactly how it sounds, though it looks more like an Uzi that shoots rolled up t-shirts (usually with the movie/TV/comic/game logo printed across it). It’s a tactic used by a booth to get more fans whipped up into a frenzy over their product. Not only does the gimmick work in attracting a crowd quickly, it attracts the kind of crowd that hungers for anything free no matter what the shirt says. Fans will often stand around in droves at the Marvel and DC Comics booths in hopes of a free shirt emblazoned with their favorite characters. But I’ve also seen smaller or brand-new companies wave around their t-shirt cannons as though they’re magical wands distributing much-needed fashion to the unwashed masses. Trust me when I say getting smacked in the head with a rolled up t-shirt that says TACO TYRANT by a high-powered Mega Bleacher Reacher feels like a cotton-blend assault that leaves one disorientated and annoyed.”

Five more examples of the kind of thing you need to be prepared for at a con lurk withing the pages of SFX 237. And look out for SFX crew at San Diego Comic-Con in July, including Bonnie herself.

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