Monday, October 4, 2010

Comic Con Faux Pas

I love me some nerds-but Our People tend to have some basic social issues that need to be addressed. Before all you people poop yourselves over how much you totally don't do these things- I'd like to remind you that while YOU don't do these things... you can't say that all members of the comic-making tribe are equally as smooth. Bad behavior both exists and can be changed.

I did a pet-peeve list for art students back in March, and but older nerds need a little pep-talk, too. The hardest part is knowing you are doin' wrong.

Don't be a douche at the Con
1. Don't yell at passers-by from your booth. I can't believe I need to say this- but seriously- you look an asshole and you're only selling books to people too timid to say no. That is a shitty target audience.

2. If you don't know someone personally- don't just drop by to awkwardly say hello and stand there for 15 agonizing minutes. You want to meet someone? Awesome- decide what you are going to say before you get up there, and make it short and to the point. Do it and get the fuck out.

3. Editors are goddamned busy. If there is a particular one you want to talk to about a particular thing- check their website for instructions and availability BEFORE the show and before you email/tweet/call them.

4. Everyone is busier thann you- at least you need to assume that. Plan ahead if you need to talk to someone and always always always thank people for their time.

4. Dress appropriately. I know this is insulting- but if it wasn't such a fucking problem we could all never talk about it again, amirite? Quick rule of thumb- stains, smells and skin- we shouldn't be seeing much of any of those things. And good god don't wear sweatpants.

5. Keep your hands clean- make sure your nails are trimmed and you've got as much of the ink off of them as you can. And wash them throughout the day. You'll be asking a gazillion people to touch your hands- don't abuse their trust with a germfest.

6. Don't bitch about the show while AT the show. Somebody worked really hard to put it together. It's like saying a party is lame while you drink the host's beer.

After Party etiquette:

1. Respect the civilians. All you need to do is acknowledge the Significant Other (that hates all things comic related) and make a little small talk. Don't worry- muggles know how and will guide you through if you get stuck. It's common courtesy... AND the happier the muggle girlfriend- the longer you can dissect the inferno crossover with the nerd boyfriend.

2. Check your hygiene before you head out. You've been in a convention hall all day, do you really think you should fore go a quick sniff test here?

3. Remember it's still business. Don't get shitfaced. People talk about who-puked-where for years and no one wants to be the puker in the story.

4. Remember it's still business, part two: Keep the trash talk and offensive speech to yourself. It doesn't matter if you are speaking the truth- it makes you look like an asshole.

5. Don't bring your portfolio to the party to show it to people. I've said this before- but really:

It's like showing up naked to a party, people might like what they see but you're such an asshole that they just don't give a shit.

6. Bring your business cards along. you don't want to have to scribble your contact info somewhere stupid.

I think the general rule is pretty much be polite, but feel free to pipe in and add some more bad convention behavior to this.


  1. Nice list. Hope some people take it to heart. Most won't.

    One thing: Number one on the first list, "Don't yell at passers-by from your booth," could be countered with the inverse, "Don't hide behind your sketchbook in your booth." Far too many creators -- especially those with wares to hawk in artist alley -- fail to engage potential new fans/customers/influencers.

  2. Engaging someone is good, i.e. greeting them and paying attention to them. Nikki's point is something else entirely. When the people manning their booths are uncomfortably aggressive in their attempt to sell, I am likely to not stop by, because it's usually followed by attempting to guilt me into buying something. ;)

  3. You should have called this 'Basic Social Etiquette For People Who Never Leave The House'

  4. thank you thank you for this list. . .you made me think of something.=)

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  5. There should also be an advisory for fans, partly derived from Larry Niven's essay on the matter, as well as something that Julia Wertz wrote a while back on her FB:

    1) don't hit on the creator, esp. if she's spoken for;

    2) don't interrupt them outside the prescribed con space esp. if they're eating a meal