With the hotel rooms for Comic-Con opening up for bookings this week, you may find yourself feeling rather bitter about how the set-up to buy Comic-Con badges feels about as high-tech as buying Backstreet Boys tickets (don’t judge) 15 years ago. But I’m here to tell you there are still plenty of options for Comic-Con week and it might just be in your best interest to shell out for a totally different kind of way to experience Con life in San Diego this year.
It’s a little late to sign up for 2013’s events as the link is no longer active, but Comic-Con always needs volunteers to help run this crazy circus. You may not have as much say in what you get to attend, but this might actually be a great way to rub elbows with some of the people who make the events great. Who knows, maybe you’ll be herding Joss Whedon from one event to the other or maybe you’ll get an opportunity to tell Neil Gaiman his special July scarf – we all know he has one – looks just smashing. If you’re already plotting your 2014 July plans, I suggest you keep an eye on the Comic-Con webpage.
Zachary Levi’s haven Nerd Machine‘s Nerd HQ has become known as Comic-Con’s nerd home away from home for the last couple years and they’re gearing up for a third. Last year, Nathan Fillion hosted mini panels with some of the biggest Comic-Con icons – including everyone’s favorite Doctor Who Trio – called “conversations for a cause” with all the proceeds going to the organization Operation Smile. But Nerd HQ isn’t just a mini comic-con; It’s a chilled-out space in all the madness with food, drinks, and tons of video games and technology available to demo. Tickets for the Conversations won’t go on sale until a few weeks before Comic-Con but even if you happen to miss out, Nerd HQ seems like a great way to experience the atmosphere of Comic-Con with less stress.
So you didn’t get into Comic-con, but you follow plenty of the stars on twitter? Well, you may be in luck as a lot of the bigger players will let you in on all the secret spots they’ll be stealing away to later in the evening. There are also plenty of studio run parties (including Warner Bros, Fox, etc) taking place away from the main Comic-Con venues where you can rub elbows with a few of your favorite famous faces or just enjoy the company of other geeks with a pangalactic gargleblaster or two (or three, or four – be careful kids).
Let’s face it, San Diego is a beautiful town with plenty to do and while Comic-Con is in town there’s even more to see. Between the people watching and the beach, you won’t be bored. Learn to surf, go shopping, visit the amazing zoo. Then just sit back, relax, and see if you can’t spot Spock in your hotel coffee shop.
It’s about the experience, right? Or at least I’ll keep telling myself that until next year’s badges go on sale. If you’ve got any other amazing alternatives to Comic-Con in San Diego, let us know!