This coming weekend, all eyes will be on the mother of all Comic-Conventions: The San Diego Comic Con 2022. SDCC 22 will be the first in-person convention since 2019 and it will be held at the San Diego Convention Center July 21 to 24. It is the biggest and most important comic convention in the world, where major publishers like Marvel, DC, and Image hold panel events and signing sessions. SDCC is also the convention where top Hollywood studios showcase their new movies and TV shows like Star Wars, Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, The Matrix, and more.
For San Diego Comic Con 2022, confirmed celebrity guests include: Keanu Reeves, who will promote his latest project “BRZRKR: The Immortal Saga Continues,” and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who will grace Hall H to talk about his latest film “Black Adam.”
We spoke to three SDCC convention veterans, Paul Zurita (who attended in 2014), Jim Banks (who attended in 2018 and 2019), and Gina Lee (who went in 2017), and asked them for tips on what to bring to ensure a successful and enjoyable convention.
So, what are their “must-haves” for San Diego Comic-Con 2022? These three vets are unanimous on what to pack:
- Box of Sharpies for autographs
- Poster tubes
- Laptop and smartphones
- Food and drink
- Change of clothes/shirt
- A great backpack
San Diego Comic-Con 2022 will be an autograph signing mecca for three straight days. Be prepared and come ready with your box of Sharpies. Experts prefer permanent ink (in black or blue) since you don't want it to smudge and ruin your collectible.
Gina recalled how she paid the price in 2017 for not bringing her Sharpies.
"I was in line for the Bob Gale signing for Back to the Future. I brought a movie poster my dad had in his den and was so excited to have it signed. But I realized I didn't bring a Sharpie," Gina said. "The organizers have Sharpies, but they don't really care if it's out of ink or has a weird color. Bob signed the poster but used a silver sharpie which isn't the best because it’s hard to see."
Next time, stay sharp and bring your Sharpie.
Signed movie, TV, and comic book posters are musts for collectors. So, if you plan to have a poster signed during San Diego Comic-Con, bring a tube to protect your collectible.
Jim used to have a poster tube sling bag in addition to his backpack, but since his Medium Series 1 Knack Pack can expand to fit more items and is 19” talll, he doesn't need the sling anymore. "The Knack Pack is all I need," Jim said.
For Gina, a poster tube is critical. "A slight wrinkle on your poster will ruin its collectibility," Gina said. "Don't go without a tube."
San Diego Comic-Con 2022 is where celebrities show up, so it would be a huge miss to show up without a camera. Paul has some amazing photos with fans in cosplay, which is as important as a selfie with Chris Hemsworth. He also snapped photos with Sophie Turner, the actress who played Sansa Stark in Game of Thrones and the cast of The Walking Dead.
"I have a small digital point and shoot, and I always have it ready with me in case of a celeb sighting," Gina said. "I also put it on a tripod to record panel events. It's a must-have."
Jim agreed. "Smartphone cameras can only go as far. A real camera is important for a big event like this."
Jim is active in the Pop flipping game (he sells hard-to-find San Diego Comic-Con exclusive bobble head figures with 300% markup). so a laptop is essential to his business.
"I sell all exclusive pops on Ebay right after I buy them at the convention. And they sell within seconds," Jim said. "It's crazy."
San Diego Comic-Con food can be expensive, so many attendees bring their own. Paul prefers snacks more than full meals. But Jim doesn't hold back. "I smuggled a full rack of ribs in 2018 and enjoyed it in a dark corner of the convention hall," Jim said, laughing. "Everyone smelled it."
For a collector like Jim, it's critical to have a bag that has multiple compartments to keep everything separated. This is one of the most important features of the Knack Pack.
"I'll put my food in the Knack Pack's front compartment and keep my toys in the expanded suitcase section. It's an awesome innovation."
Gina also brings her own food to avoid more queues. “You spend 70% of your time at a convention lining up for something. Don’t add more by lining up for food,” Gina said. “Bring your own food. It’s cheaper and probably healthier.”
Most convention food options revolve around pizza, burgers, chicken fingers, and sweet things.
“It’s mostly movie theater food.” Gina added. “I like salad and poke bowls. “
Being the first in-person convention in 2 years, San Diego Comic-Con 2022 is definitely going to be packed to the brim. It will be hot and humid so an extra shirt is imperative. While most attendees have hotels around the area, going back to change is not an option because every day is full of events that they don’t want to miss. So, most of them change in the convention center restrooms.
For Gina, however, an extra shirt isn't enough. "I bring products that freshen me up like perfume, face mist, makeup, toothbrush, toothpaste, and more."
Paul prefers bringing extra shirts that show off his fandom, which is the whole point of the three-day spectacle.
For these San Diego Comic-Con veterans, the most important thing on their must-have list is a solid backpack because it holds all the essentials they need for the day plus all the items they acquire at the convention. Yes, we're talking about all the comics, books, posters, and toys they buy and have autographed, plus the hundreds of giveaways from exhibitors, studios, and publishers. You could fill a large duffle with all this loot, but who wants to lug that around a convention?
"Yes, having a backpack was a great help," said Paul. "I packed essentials like charger/battery, small snack, water, change of shirt, preferably nerd shirts signaling your fandom."
Jim considers his backpack his most prized possession. An avid collector of Funko Pops (cute bobble head dolls based on pop culture characters), he stores his newly acquired Pops in his backpack.
"A bag that can hold six Pops and protects them simultaneously is critical," Jim said.
Jim is one of the lucky ones to snag tickets to next week's event and is planning to bring the medium Series 1 Knack Pack to the convention.
"I discovered the Knack Pack on a random Instagram post, and I was intrigued by the expandability," Jim said. "That means I could stuff more Pops."
Gina also considers her backpack the most crucial piece of con gear.
"A backpack is worth investing in because it holds everything important," Gina said. ‘It must be top of the line. Don't get cheap knockoffs. I had one I bought for $29, which I took to NY Comic Con in 2016. The zipper broke and left my backpack half open the entire time.”
So there you have it—everything you need to make the most of San Diego Comic-Con 2022. If you are thinking about attending SDCC this year, or any other convention, be sure to check out the Medium Series 1 Knack Pack. With its great everyday organization, padded laptop pocket, and expandable travel compartment, you may find it makes your daily commute almost as much fun as Comic-Con.
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