There’s no doubt that the biggest event of the geek calendar is San Diego Comic-Con. Mecca for the pop culture inclined. Nerdvana.
Every year, 130,000 fans descend on San Diego for five days of panels, screeners, parties and event—if they were lucky enough to get a ticket. It’s so huge, so stupendously, mind-numbingly popular, that (according to this unofficial SDCC Blog) there’s only around a 6% chance of getting in. Around a million hopefuls attempted to snag a badge this year, and that’s just the ones who could have actually gone. Who knows how many more fans will be sitting at home come July 8th, mournfully gazing at their computer screens, wishing that they could be one of the privileged few rubbing shoulders with the glitterati of geekdom.
If you’re one of those suffering from a severe case of SDCC FOMO, fear not! Here are some tips on how to deal:
1. Put. The Phone. Down.
And the laptop, and the iPad. Yes, it’s hard, especially if you have friends who were able to attend, leaving you behind (ouch), but sifting through the millions of tweets, posts, pictures and videos all weekend will just leave you miserable. Obviously there are some serious advantages to watching the action from the comfort of your computer, but be reasonable. Getting dragged down a hashtagged rabbit hole is never a good idea, even when that tag is #SDCC. Discovering that Carla from Ohio just ate an overpriced convention center hotdog is a waste of your time. (Even if you know Carla. Even if Carla is your best friend.)
2. Catch The Scoops (From The Sofa)
There are times when it’s ok to pick that phone back up, of course. Check out the schedule for each day, and when there is a big Hall H panel that you were dying to see, type in some related hashtags and skim through all of the attendee’s initial reactions. You’re pretty much guaranteed to get the big headlines within minutes, and without lining up overnight to sit a hundred feet away from the stage. Like dessert without finishing your veggies, you get only the best bits.
3. Throw an SDCC party
If you wanted to go for the camaraderie, the fun, and the parties, then stop sulking and throw your OWN party. Invite friends over for a comic book swap night, play closet-cosplay games, watch all the latest trailers on YouTube and then settle in for comic book movie marathon. Maybe no one from the cast of Batman v. Superman will show up, but then again, neither will that know-it all demanding you prove your worth by listing the Justice League’s favorite colors.
4. Hit your local nerd haunts
Misery loves company, and if you want to geek out over the latest news and bemoan the fact that you aren’t there with an actual human being (not just your cat), it’s time to leave the comfort of your home and head for nerdy gathering places. You could try geeky-themed bars, many of which have SDCC-themed events or movie nights, but that relies on having one nearby. A better bet may be the comic book store itself, where the counter staff will undoubtedly know exactly how you feel, and where you can pick up some new issues to help ease the pain.
5. More Bang (Thwack! Pow!) For Your Buck
While you’re commiserating with the employees about being stuck anywhere but San Diego, take a second to gaze around the store. Look at all those books. Now, take a moment to gaze into your wallet and think about all the money you’ve saved by not spending hundreds on tickets and accommodation, not to mention autographs and merchandise that you were sure was a good buy on the fourth day after twelve cups of coffee. Now glory in the idea that while you may not have that SDCC exclusive copy of a book that you probably don’t even read, you can comfortably justify buying everything you’ve had your eye on for the past few months.
6. Check Out Other Cons
SDCC may be the big Kahuna of comics, but there are plenty other opportunities to hang out with other fans, browse comic books, get autographs and photo ops with stars, and attend insightful panels. Look for the next local comic-con, and scoop up tickets that didn’t sell out in an hour. Keep an eye out for those where your favorite artists and writers will be appearing, and feel safe in the knowledge that you will only have to wait a couple of hours (if that) to see them.
7. Plan For Next Time
If it’s SDCC or nothing, then start planning next year. Why not? It beats sitting around sulking. If you haven’t already got a member ID with the official SDCC website – create one. You need it to even attempt to get tickets, and it only takes a minute to sign up. Pull together a group of fellow FOMO sufferers and make a pact to get together when trying to buy tickets; it’s possible to buy up to three badges at once, so having three people trying together ups your chances of getting in. Drift into daydreams about how you’ll get there, where you’ll be staying, all the people you’ll meet, and how it will be so much better than this year is.
Finally, if none of this is working, how about just…reading a comic book? Maybe one of the ones you managed to pick up with all that money you didn’t have to spend on heading to San Diego? After all, SDCC has its pros and cons (like seeing the artist you’ve looked up to for years…and then seeing the line-up for Hall H), but settling in with the latest issue of your favorite comic or to marathon your favorite show? There’s no downside to that!