Comics/Graphic Novels

Dos and Don’ts for the Convention Season

Chris M. Arnone

Senior Contributor

The son of a librarian, Chris M. Arnone's love of books was as inevitable as gravity. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Missouri - Kansas City. His novel, The Hermes Protocol, was published by Castle Bridge Media in 2023 and the next book in that series is due out in winter 2024. His work can also be found in Adelaide Literary Magazine and FEED Lit Mag. You can find him writing more books, poetry, and acting in Kansas City. You can also follow him on social media (Facebook, Goodreads, Instagram, Twitter, website).

Do take pictures.

Comics, costumes, panels, celebrities, oh my! There’s a lot to see!

No evil shall escape our sight.

No evil shall escape our sight.

Don’t take pictures of people without their consent.

Even if they’re wearing a costume, that is not implied consent. Nobody wants their picture taken in the bathroom or while they’re shoving a taco in their face. Get verbal permission and give them a chance to pose.

Do pay artists for one-off sketches.

Where else can you commission your favorite artist to draw your favorite character?


Don’t just set your portfolio down in front of an artist.

Again, it comes down to consent. Many artists may be willing to give you feedback on your portfolio, but get permission first.

Do compliment artists and writers, even if you can’t afford to buy anything.

Chances are, that artist you love has been a starving one at some point. They know not everybody can afford to buy stuff, but that doesn’t mean you can’t tell them how much you appreciate their work.

Don’t ask a creator what it’s like to work with another creator.

Asking a writer what it’s like to work with Jim Lee diminishes that writer. Asking an artist what it’s like to work with Alan Moore diminishes that artist. Ask them about their own work and really listen.

Don’t touch people without their consent.

Ever. No costume gives anyone else consent to touch them.

Do bathe.

Before the con. Between each day of the con. Feeling particularly sweaty? Go take a shower and come back. We’ll all thank you.

Don’t pitch your story ideas to artists or writers.

Unless there’s a booth specifically asking for story pitches, don’t even try. There are accepted channels for such things and a convention floor isn’t one of them.

Do buy cool, handmade stuff.

You’ll find lots of cool vendors at any convention. Save your pennies before the con in anticipation of seeing some unique thing that you just have to add to your collection.

Scale Male Wonder Woman

Don’t tell the people who make the cool, handmade stuff that you could just do that at home or have a friend do it.

Because that’s just what an artist wants to hear: how their art isn’t original or difficult.

Do buy comics and prints in artist’s alley.

You’d be amazed at what you’ll find in artist’s alley, and you can get it signed right there!

Don’t tell creators in artist’s alley how much cheaper the books are on Amazon.

They might make a bit of scratch if you buy the book on Amazon, but the money you spend at their table is a lot more beneficial. If you like an artist or writer, you want them to be able to eat.

Do get your comics, toys, prints, and posters autographed.

Not only do autographs increase collectibility and value, but they make for great stories later.

My Kryptonite Bendis

Don’t ask for someone to autograph more than 10 items at once.

Especially if there’s a line, be courteous of the artist’s time and the people who also want their stuff signed. Some conventions and signings more specific restrictions too, so pay attention to and abide by them.

Do attend panel discussions that interest you.

Why hear about a cool topic second hand? Panel discussions are a great way to rest your legs and get a break from the hectic show floor. You can also ask questions and hear all sorts of tidbits about your favorite comics, shows, or movies.

Don’t sit through panel discussions that don’t interest you just to get a better seat at ones that do.

Seriously. If you don’t care about Adventure Time, don’t sit in the panel discussion for it so you have a good seat for a discussion about Bitch Planet that comes right after. Wait in line like everyone else so the actual Adventure Time fans can take part in their panel discussion.

Wheatons Law

When in doubt, remember Wheaton’s Law: Don’t be a dick.

If we all use a little courtesy and respect each other, the convention will be better for everyone.


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