The most intimidating side of Comic-Con isn't the extremely long lines or the "which costume to wear" dilemma.
The most daunting part of the upcoming convention is hands down, all of those clued-up Comic-Con veterans. They know just where to go, what to see and what to avoid before the full lineup is even released.
For a first-timer, here is some key advice to adhere to.
1. What to "geek out" about
It seems like everyone has to have their "must-see" moment of the weekend. Admittedly, I'd fail any comic book quiz, but there are a few buzz-worthy announcements that could have me lining up before sunrise. Topping my movie panel list is "The Hunger Games: Mocking Jay Part 2" in Hall H on Thursday with the all-star cast and of course, the big Comic-Con buzz this year, "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" in Hall H on Friday.
In the television world, I'll be eager to stake out a spot for the "Game of Thrones" and "The Walking Dead" panels taking place in Hall H on Friday.
I've also got my sights set on attending the Comedy Central's new show, "Another Period" panel in Indigo Ballroom on Thursday, as well as Seth Meyers and Mike Shoemaker's show "The Awesomes" at Hilton Bayfront on Saturday.
2. Tips, overheard
Everyone who's even been in the Gaslamp vicinity during Comic-Con seems to have a word of advice. Let's review the most stressed suggestions: Bring your own food, sunscreen and comfortable walking shoes. Public transportation is a must; take the San Diego Trolley or use the free Comic-Con shuttle that runs continuously to select hotels. Leave your costume weapons at home, otherwise they'll be checked at the Weapons Check Desk and tied on tightly to your garb. For the ultra-committed: No tents, canopies or cots are permitted to camp in. And finally, your phone is your friend. The official Comic-Con app can help you navigate the scene in a flash.
3. Outside of the convention
Downtown will be swirling with excitement. Conan O'Brien is taping his talk show episodes from Spreckels Theatre every night of the Con, July 8-11. The MTV Fandom Awards is back at Petco Park on Thursday night, hosted by Tyler Posey and Bella Thorne, will air Sunday.
By Saturday, we can find solace at the Heroes Craft Brew Beer Festival taking place at The Loma Club (2960 Truxton Road, Point Loma). This superhero-themed craft brew fest will save the day with local beer, a costume contest and more live jams on a solar-powered stage from 3-6 p.m. ($49 general admission, $64 VIP).