Friday 12 November 2021

Comic Con Etiquette

When you attend a comic convention or any other type of convention (anime, gaming, fandom-based event etc.) you attend primarily to be safe and have fun. You have paid good money for your ticket and all the additional expense that comes with attending the event such as accommodation, travel, cosplays, food, and spending money. You will want to ensure that because you have spent money and given your time for this event that you have the best experience possible.

Its everyone’s responsibility to ensure they are considering others ad doing their bit to have the best experience they can.

I recently took part in a podcast with Eddie from Food and Cosplay and Jeanie Jean Photos about this very subject so to follow on from this I wanted to share my own thoughts on rules for comic con etiquette which are applicable to all and hopefully cover all types of attendees. I know some of this is covered in previous posts but with more comic cons around the corner this is relevant.

To check out the Podcast #74 ...Comic Con Etiquette

Ed talks about Comic-Con Etiquette. My guests talk about things to be aware such as asking for permission to take photos, personal space, what to do after you've received your photos and more.

Here are my key rules of good comic con etiquette:

1.     Personal Hygiene

Yes, I am going to start with this point! Having poor personal hygiene when attending an indoor event with a large amount of people isn’t a pleasant experience for everyone around you. Please be mindful of your own personal hygiene. It’s your responsibility and its something that will directly ruin others experience if you aren’t taking appropriate actions. Very simply, take a shower, put on some deodorant and keep deodorant/perfume on you.

2.     Respect Queues

At a comic con it’s guaranteed with all the thousands of other people attending you will hit a queue at some stage whether it be entry, exit, panels, signings, photographs, at stalls etc. In Britain we are brought up knowing how to respect ‘the queue’. No pushing in, no complaining about how long the line is, keep the queue moving for everyone.

3.     Be Mindful of Walkways

No stopping in front of others in gangways. Just being observant of what’s going on around you can make a difference to everyone. If you want a picture with a cosplayer, ensure to take it in an appropriate place. Cosplayers, if your asked for a picture, think is this a good place to stop for it. If not, then move to a more appropriate place.

4.     Be Respectful to Cosplayers

Cosplayers are there for the same reason the con goers are there, to have fun. They have these amazing costumes and props, and they are giving up their convention time to take photographs and make people smile. Please be respectful and kind.

5.     Ask Before You Photograph

If you want to photograph a cosplayer, please ask them before taking the picture. Its courteous to ask first. Most of the time costumers will say yes and will expect it however on occasion for whatever reason they may not wish to be photographed at that time. If they say no, please respect that.

6.     No Sniping!

Don’t be that person sniping pictures. By this I mean jumping in when someone else is taking a photo of a cosplayer and taking the same shot at the same time without asking. Photographers set up their pictures the way they want them, and the cosplayer and photographer are both at work during this time creating their shots. Having the rude distraction of someone jumping in on their shoot is unwelcome and very poor etiquette. Ask before you photograph, do your own shoot/images, and give time to do so, there’s no need to snipe!

7.     Give Personal Space

It is even more prevalent now than ever with the spread of Covid 19 and the pandemic to ensure you are giving people their own personal space. This applies when looking at stalls, there is no need to have lots of people all huddled around a table. Sensibly wait your turn or go back later. If you would like a picture with a cosplayer, be mindful of stepping too close into their personal space. Are you wearing a mask? Have you asked if they are comfortable with that? The same goes for touching the cosplayer, their costume and their props. Touching is an absolute no unless they have said otherwise.

8.     Be Considerate About Peoples Time

Everyone attending has a different agenda. We all have things we want to do during our time at comic con. We don’t want our time wasted and therefore we should waste other people’s time. At stalls be mindful of how much of the stall holders time you are taking up. Look around, is there a queue, are lots of people gathered at the table, does the stall holder have the free time to speak with you? Use your best judgement. Photographers and Cosplayers both want good pictures as a result. Communicate effectively to ensure you are both happy with how long this process will be.  

9.     Do Your Homework

Be knowledgeable about the rules of the event and what’s on offer to get the best out of the event. The rules are in place to make it better for everyone, make sure you know them and are following them. There is plenty of information available about the event and what’s on. Knowledge is power! Use this knowledge to help you get the best out of your time there and have the best experience possible.

10.  Watch Your Drinking

There’s always at least one group of people per large comic con that feel the need to get drunk and cause problems. It’s a comic con not a bar crawl. There are families with children around trying to enjoy the event. Save your drinking for after the event!

11.  Cosplay Is NOT Consent

Just because someone is dressed up in cosplay doesn’t mean they are a piece of meant to handle as you wish. Do Not invade their personal space. Do not touch them. Show respect and kindness.

12.  Be Inclusive

In this day and age, it shouldn’t even need saying but for the people in the back, please be inclusive. This event will bring in folks from all walks of life. Please do not make anyone feel uncomfortable. Please consider things such as invisible disability, social anxieties, autism, and other learning and special needs people may have. This is an all-inclusive space for no hate for any community.

13.  Be Patient

The golden rule of the event. This is a comic con, not a race. Whether in the halls, with photographers, with other cosplayers, please show some patience.

14.  Be Mindful of Children

Please remember you are at a family friendly event. Please consider children when choosing your outfit. Think is this child friendly. Think if your outfit is too scary (its not a fright night). Think if your outfit is too revealing (this isn’t a burlesque show). Please also consider your language and topics of conversation in public spaces.

15.  Compliments Go a Long Way

As a nation we are very quick to tell the world when something bad has happened, particularly if we have had a negative experience. It’s not often praise/acknowledgement is given for a positive experience. If you like what a stall is selling or doing then say so. Tell them! They would love to hear it! Better yet, share it on social media! That helps support a small business by putting them in front of an audience helping for build their social media presence and status. If you walk past someone and you like their hair, t shirt, shoes….stop and say so. It might just make their day. If you see another cosplayer and you like their costume, tell them! You may not realize the blood, sweat and tears that’s gone into producing that cosplay and they would welcome the appreciation. If you like the pics and the experience you have had a with a photographer, then tell them so! The same goes for the cosplayer…. if you are a photographer and you enjoyed working with a cosplayer then say so.

16.  Do Not Edit Other Photographers Images

If you have received a picture back from a photographer, then please do not edit it in any way. Do not use filters of any kind or any editing software on the image. If you are wanting any changes then please be clear with your photographer. Whilst these may be images of you the rights to those images lies with the photographer.

17.  Tag Your Tog

Do not forget to tag your tog in the pictures you post on social media. Its important for them to be credited accordingly for their work.

18.  Be Responsible

If you see someone in distress, do the responsible thing and alert security/staff. If you see someone upset, go see if they are ok or need any help. If you see someone struggling with their bag, see what you can do. If you see someone dropping litter, call them out on it and ask them to pick it up. We are all responsible for our own actions and to ensure we all have the best time possible.

19.  Be Kind

Very simply… kind. You never know what someone is going through and how another person feels. Being kind goes a long way, isn’t forgotten and makes a big difference overall. Be kind to yourself and to each other.

20.  After Comic Con
After the event has happened be sure to follow up on the stalls you liked seeing. Be sure to let people you interacted with if you had a positive experience. Cosplayers and Photographers be sure to get in touch with each other, let each other know if you enjoyed your time working together and keep that open communication going. Share it on the social. If you saw/met an awesome cosplayer the share it on your social media. Its all about making the connections and building your fan base so share away. Do not chase photographers for images immediately. Have an open dialogue with them so you have an expectation on when you can expect to see some images from the event. Photographers, remember that the cosplayer gave you their time and they are eager to share their most recent costumes, don’t leave it too late for it to be of interest.

Well, there you have it, my list/guide to comic con etiquette. If you haven’t attended comic con before or if you have learnt something new, then consider yourself schooled! For everyone else I hope this refresher stays in the forefront this comic con season!

Be safe, enjoy and have fun everyone!

Skye Fawkes

Editor In Chief and Head Writer


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