The most intimidating side of Comic-Con isn't the way-long lines or the "which costume to wear" dilemma.
The most daunting part of the upcoming convention for me is 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.
This year, I'm embarking on my first Comic-Con experience, and have a few thoughts about it.
1. What I'm "geeking 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 celebrity-sighting list is Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis, both speaking on Saturday at their panel for "Jupiter Ascending" in Hall H. In the television world, I'll be eager to stake out a spot for the "True Blood" panel happening Saturday in Ballroom 20 and "Game of Thrones" on Friday in Hall H.
I've also got my sights set on attending "The Giver" panel featuring star Jeff Bridges (Thursday, Hall H), giggling with
at a TV Land panel (Thursday, Indigo Ballroom) and getting enlightened on upcoming Comedy Central projects with Rob Lowe (Thursday, Indigo Ballroom).
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 selected 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. Concerts outside the convention
Aside from comic book chaos, celebrity chasing and the occasional after-party, I'll be found following the music. This year, MGMT is scheduled to perform a live set and Grimes will DJ aboard the USS Midway on Friday night of the Con. Grammy-award winning rock band Linkin Park will headline the MTV Fan Fest on Thursday at Petco Park.
By Saturday, I'm planning on finding solace at the Heroes Craft Brew Beer Festival taking place at the Embarcadero Park North behind the Convention Center. 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 to 7 p.m. ($45 general admission, $55 VIP).