The Non-Nerd’s Guide to Comic Con

51cwj7rjrvlWe are thrilled to welcome today’s guest (and previous contributor) Kathryn Purdie and congratulate her on the release of her second book Crystal Blade. 

So you’ve never attended a comic con, but suddenly this year’s event sounds intriguing because the ridiculously attractive star of your favorite CW show will be there. So you crack. You buy yourself tickets to three days of . . . otherness . . . and now you’re getting cold feet. You’ll be entering the unknown Land of the Nerds, but you’re a cool kid. How will you fit in? And what exactly will you do at said comic con other than stand in a long line waiting for a picture and autograph with your too-gorgeous-to-be-living TV idol? Don’t sweat it. With my help, we’ll have you donning fairy wings and superhero tights in no time. (Kidding, not kidding.) So take a deep breath and read up. Here are your basic comic con survival skills:


  • Accept you’re a nerd. If you define a nerd as a person willing to spend good money on celebrity sightings and dress-up, then guess what? You’ve already done that by buying tickets to this madness. Own your inner nerd! Be the nerd! Embrace the nerd! A secret truth: nerds have more fun. Moving on . . .


  • Dress up. Comic Con is basically Halloween on steroids. Who doesn’t want to see that? Now you can either spend your time gawking at all the grown-ups walking around in questionably form-fitted pleather and rolling your eyes at them, but secretly wishing you’d also spent the last year bedazzling your own costumes, or you can just swallow your pride and commit to the experience. When in Rome, right? Having said that, don’t feel pressured to have the best costume in Hall A. Chances are you haven’t planned well in advance, so keep it simple. Be another Star War’s Rey, among a sea of Reys, or throw on a Superman t-shirt. In the very least, you’ll get some nods for effort from your better-dressed cosplaying clones. But if you put a little more effort into it, you’ll likely become a celebrity yourself! Everyone will want to chat about your costume and take pictures with you. Case in point: a year ago, my author friend, Ilima Todd, went as the wall from Stranger Things. She wore a 70s patterned blouse with a painted-on alphabet and a string of Christmas lights woven throughout—a simple, but super creative costume! 14225593_661261700716344_6988909043799797441_nThat was the first year she dressed up, and it ended up being her favorite comic con…all because she dared to cosplay!
  • Talk to strangers. Fans work for months on their costumes. They love compliments and being asked to pose for a picture. But please be respectful! Comic cons are filled with signs saying “cosplay is not consent” for a reason.
  • Make a plan. Comic cons are held in HUGE venues sardine-packed with Klingons, vampires, and gorgons, waiting in long lines to meet the same celebrities you are. But there is so much more to do! You can attend panels and hear special guests nerd out over their love of all things Tolkien, Marvel, or Doctor Who. Additionally, celebrities are often interviewed or on panels themselves, where you can listen to them speak for more than the ten seconds you’ll get with them one-on-one in the cattle call of the autograph lines. But if you don’t plan ahead, you might be too distracted by Captain America’s real shield or a fan’s stunning replica of R2-D2 and miss out on some of the best con events. Bonus: attending a panel is a nice escape from the crowds and a chance to rest your aching feet.


  • Good shoes are a cosplayer’s best friend. Okay, so your Nikes aren’t period accurate to the 1920s mobster getup you’re wearing. Let it go. Your feet will thank you later. Remember those huge venues I mentioned above? That means you’ll be doing a lot of walking and queuing up for autographs and events over these three days. Happy feet make happy con-goers!
  • Bring a friend. Your first comic con will be an unforgettable experience. You’ll be sure to tell people all about it later, but sharing it with someone during the con is even better! So find the Luke to your Leia, the Thing 1 to your Thing 2, and remember two nerds are better than one.IMG_1757.jpg

I hope you’ve gone from tentative to pumped up, all by the workings of this magical article. 😉 If you happen to be at this year’s Salt Lake Comic Con, be sure to come and say hi! You can look me up on the panel schedule at I may be wearing my Imperial Russian ball gown.

Maybe people will think I’m Anastasia.

Works for me!


dfc83-webedit-11editedKathryn Purdie is the author of the YA fantasy, BURNING GLASS and CRYSTAL BLADE (Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins). She lives near Salt Lake City, Utah, with her husband and three children. Kathryn is a trained classical actress who studied at the Oxford School of Drama and was inspired to write her debut trilogy while recovering from donating a kidney to her older brother. Find her online at