Convention Etiquette

I spent a fabulous weekend at Denver Comic and arrived home Sunday night a weary-to-the-bone but happy fan girl.

This was the convention’s second year and it seemed twice as large with twice as many in attendance. Initially, I was a little disappointed because I really enjoyed last year’s small, homey con. However, bigger did mean better, with great guests like George Takei, Wil Wheaton, Felicia Day and The Shat. The dealers’ room/artist alley space was huge and took hours to get through. There were some great panels on geek culture. I especially enjoyed the one on geek girls, which included a lively discussion on whether or not the label is still relevant.

I also enjoyed seeing lots of children. This was a kid friendly event and whole families turned out, some dressed in costume. One of my favorites was dad dressed as the fourth Doctor, mom dressed as his Time Lord companion, Romana, and their daughter costumed as a Dalek. Adorable!

Unfortunately, bigger also meant lengthy line for just about everything, particularly registration, where the lines were hours long.  Inside the convention center, lines to see the guests of honor and even some of the panels wound around the hallways. The dealers’ room/artist alley aisles were usually packed with people.

It was a saving grace that most people were polite. Since this is convention season, I thought this would be a good opportunity to go over a few basics of con etiquette.

Do Not Cut in Line
Yes, the line is very long and you really want to get in, and you really shouldn’t have to wait for two-three hours. Suck it up. It’s first come, first served, and the people at the front of the line probably arrived at 5 a.m. and deserve their spot. Holding a place in line for up to five people is acceptable. More than that should go to the back of the line.

Ask Permission Before Taking a Photo
It may be assumed that all cosplayers are exhibitionists who want their pictures taken at any time. False! For example, if cosplayers are sitting down at a table and eating lunch, they don’t want to be bothered by every fool with a camera. Those who want their pictures taken usually make themselves available in some way. Catch them when they’re strolling around the concourse, not otherwise engaged, and always ask permission. This gives the cosplayer(s) time to stop and pose, and give you an awesome shot.

I asked the zombie’s permission before entering his cage. He rewarded me by trying to eat my brains!

I asked the zombie’s permission before entering his cage. He rewarded me by trying to eat my brains!

If you like a popular fandom, such as “Game of Thrones” and “Doctor Who,” chances are there will be a group photo shoot. In this case, you don’t need to ask permission, but you should wait until the cosplayers are posed before you start photographing.

It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway, you should ALWAYS ask a parent’s permission before photographing a young child. The one exception is a group photo shoot, when permission is implied.

Save a Reasonable Number of Seats
It is reasonable to save up to two seats on either side of you. Trying to save a whole row makes you a jackass and no one will respect that.

Respect the Artists and Dealers
You might not like all the art you see on Artist Alley. Keep those remarks to yourself until you are out of earshot of the artist. You might think a dealer booth is overpriced. Fair enough, but don’t haggle unless the vendor seems open to it. For example, you show an interest in a $20 item and the dealer offers to give you two for $30. Don’t place your stuff on their merchandise. Anything that damages their merchandise is their monetary loss and they are at the con to make money.

Last but Not Least: Hygiene!
You are going to be at close quarters with lots of people. It is a much more pleasant experience if everyone in the room bathed or showered and brushed their teeth that morning. Deodorant is a must, but lay off on the heavy scented colognes and perfumes.

In the end, at cons as well as regular life, it is always best to follow Wheaton’s Law: Don’t be a dick.

The Big Bang Theory of Comic Books

Free Comic Books!

I am a big “Big Bang Theory” fan. I love the characters and how the show sometimes gets geek culture right. However, BBT can also get geek culture wrong. Case in point, last night’s episode, “The Bakersfield Expedition.”

What it got right: the men heading for Bakersfield Comic-Con, all too eager to cosplay their “Star Trek: The Next Generation” characters.

What it got wrong: the women staying behind to puzzle over why the men read comic books.

Back in the day, I was an avid comic book collector. While I particularly liked the X-Men universe, I also enjoyed the more subversive stuff, like “Watchmen” and “Love and Rockets.” On Friday nights, my friends and I, all women, would go to the local comic book store, pick up our weekly supply of titles, then go grab a pizza and head home to make an evening of it. Good times.

The stereotype didn’t hold then and it doesn’t hold now. Women of all ages read, write and draw comics, manga, graphic novels, whatever you want to call them.

Whatever your gender, whether you love comics or are interested in becoming acquainted  with them again, you can find an abundance of free resources online. I’m focusing on what’s available in the Kindle Store and iTunes. Note, many of these books can only be viewed on a computer or a tablet, but not on a conventional eReader like the Kindle Touch.

Both the Kindle Store and iTunes have a nice selection free comics and graphic novels. Some are complete books while others are previews, meaning only a portion of the story is available. For example, Vertigo’s “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” is available as a preview. I have both the print and digital copies and think it’s really nicely done. The Amazon version has low ratings because, for some reason, some people thought they should be getting the actual full, written novel. For free. Even though the blurb clearly states this is a graphic novel preview. Don’t be that person.

Getting to the freebies on iTunes can be a little tricky. On your computer, go to iTunes. Go to the store. Go to the search box in the upper right corner and type in “free comics.” This should take you to a screen with different options. The top option should be “books.” Click “See All.” These comics can be downloaded to a computer or to an iPad through the iBooks app.

You can find the Amazon freebies through the Kindle Best Sellers in Comics & Graphic Novels. These can be downloaded to a computer or a tablet with the Kindle app.

I’ve listed a few of the free titles available from the Kindle store. As always, I cannot guarantee these are forever free, so grab them now. Then join me, Sheldon, Leonard, Raj, Howard, and hopefully, Penny, Amy and Bernadette as we enjoy the wonderful world of graphic novels.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Special Edition Preview  The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Special Edition Preview
Get an advance look at the Vertigo graphic novel adaptation of the international best-selling thriller, scheduled to hit shelves November 2012, and featuring the work of acclaimed author Denise Mina! Delve into the dark mystery of the Vanger family, as disgraced journalist Mikael Blomkvist is hired to uncover the truth behind a teenage girl’s disappearance over forty years ago.

Spy6teen #1  Spy6teen #1
The debut issue from Sandbox Comics, Spy6teen– which originally appeared on Zuda, bursts into an on-going series! CallyCalhoon wants to be a model student, but that’s not easy when herafter school job is with a secret government unit called THE QUAD! Hi-Spy espionage before the first bell rings!

Gen #1  Gen #1
Four previously unpublished stories straight from the Tokyo underground.

John Woo's Seven Brothers - Free Preview  John Woo’s Seven Brothers – Free Preview
A free first issue preview of the comic book series created by acclaimed filmmaker John Woo, (Mission Impossible 2; Face-Off; Red Cliff) and written by acclaimed comic book writer Garth Ennis (Punisher, The Boys, Preacher) with striking artwork from Jeevan J. Kang (Nowhere Man, Ramayan 3392AD, H20).

Descriptions provided by Amazon

Disclaimers and Disclosures

I found these books via Amazon’s Kindle eBooks store. Resources for free Kindle and other format eBooks are listed in my sidebar.

These freebies are limited time offers, so there is no guarantee any of these books will still be free when you click on the links. Grab them sooner rather than later.

Books that I have previously listed will occasionally come up free again. I add those to my current posts for people who didn’t see them the first time.

Kindle Freebies – June 15, 2012

Today I Loaded My Kindle With…

I’ll be getting my geek on this weekend and attending Denver Comic Con. This got me interested in checking out what kind of graphic novels are available for the Kindle, particularly freebies, of course. It seemed to me that E ink display technology is perfect for a gray scale medium like comics, particularly manga.

My limited research led me to discover that E ink Kindles such as my Touch are great for manga. I downloaded a $0.99 cheapie, BUT I’M A MAID! Episode 1, and a freebie, Chapter 9: SIN. Both look good on the screen, though the fonts are a little small and can’t be re-sized.

That’s the good news. The not-so-good news is that there aren’t many freebies available for E inkers like me. There are a number of free graphic novels, but these can only be viewed on the Fire, or through an iPad or Android app. They can also be viewed through Amazon’s cloud reader, but to me, that defeats the purpose of having an eReader.

If you’re interested in looking into graphic novels for the Kindle and apps, free or paid, you can find the Amazon bestsellers here.

I also picked up some fiction, travel guides, a graphic design magazine, and a guide to getting free software. I’m a bit dubious about this last one, so let the freebie buyer beware. By free, the author means alternatives to Microsoft and Adobe. Don’t know about that. It’s hard to believe there’s free software compatible and comparable with Photoshop, but I’ll take a look.

Whether you plan to geek out, get out or just relax with your Kindle and a cold drink, enjoy your weekend!

Fiction

Verita by Tracy Rozzlynn
Brett Bradbury’s parents are dead, her boyfriend’s a cheater, and her best friend essentially dumped her. Truly alone in the world, Brett agrees to help colonize the newly discovered planet, Verita. Now Brett’s on a strange new world. She quickly makes friends and starts her assigned job. Verita begins to feel like home, but it’s far from perfect. Brett has an overwhelming attraction to Brody, despite the fact that he’s entirely not her type. Her colleague, Ryan, utterly hates her for reasons out of her control. And there are creatures in the forest that would like nothing more than to devour everyone for dinner.

Cathedral of Dreams by Terry Persun
In Newcity, everyone is content. Bad feelings are not allowed, because your monitoring chip will alert the police to bring you in for treatment. Getting better is mandatory. Unchecked emotions made the world outside Newcity dangerous, unruly, and violent. At least that’s the official story in Newcity. Keith knows something is wrong. Strange visions lead him to become one of the few who escapes Newcity. He finds freedom and companionship outside, but pressure building to revolt against the city’s insidious regime of social control. Leadership is thrust upon him, with only his visions for guidance, only a small band of friends for support—and the fates of both Newcity and the outside world at stake.

Artifacts: A Faye Longchamp Mystery by Mary Anna Evans
Faye Longchamp has lost nearly everything except for her quick mind and a grim determination to hang onto her ancestral home, Joyeuse, a moldering plantation hidden along the Florida coast. No one knows how Faye’s great-great-grandmother Cally, a newly freed slave barely out of her teens, came to own Joyeuse in the aftermath of the Civil War. No one knows how her descendants hung onto it through Reconstruction, world wars, the Depression, and Jim Crow, but Faye has inherited the island plantation—and the family tenacity. When the property taxes rise beyond her means, she sets out to save Joyeuse by digging for artifacts on her property and the surrounding National Wildlife Refuge and selling them on the black market. A tiny bit of that dead glory would pay a year’s taxes. A big valuable chunk of the past would save her home forever. But instead of potsherds and arrowheads, she uncovers a woman’s shattered skull, a Jackie Kennedy-style earring nestled against its bony cheek.

Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood
The London season is in full fling at the end of the 1920s, but the Honorable Phryne Fisher—she of the gray-green eyes and diamant garters—is tiring of polite conversations with retired colonels and dances with weak-chinned men. When the opportunity presents itself, Phryne decides it might be amusing to try her hand at becoming a lady detective in Australia. Immediately upon settling into Melbourne’s Hotel Windsor, Phryne finds herself embroiled in mystery. From poisoned wives and cocaine smuggling, to police corruption and rampant communism—not to mention erotic encounters with the beautiful Russian dancer, Sasha de Lisse—Cocaine Blues charts a crescendo of steamy intrigue, culminating in the Turkish baths of Little Lonsdale Street.

Nonfiction

Best of Smashing Magazine
This eBook is Smashing Magazine’s humble gift to all of your for your support, criticism and encouragement over all these years. It contains best — most useful, most interesting or most inspiring — articles that have been published on Smashing Magazine over the last five years. They have been carefully edited, proofread and updated for your convenience and a pleasing reading experience.

Free Software: How to Save $5000 on the Most Popular Software Titles by Bob Rankin
Most computer users need a variety of software to handle tasks such as word processing, crunching numbers in a spreadsheet, handling their email, or managing personal finances. Other common activities include creating presenations, editing digital photos, updating a website, or installing security software. In this ebook, 30 of the most popular commercial software packages are listed, along with the retail price of each. If you were to purchase all of them, it would cost over $5200. But most people don’t know the valuable secret you’re about to learn… there are excellent, FREE alternatives to ALL of these popular programs! If you’re still paying big bucks for your software, you absolutely need this information.

Travel

Bargain Travel Tips For Your Summer Vacation by Evelyn Trimborn and Carolyn Stone
Everyone looks forward to their summer vacation, but with the economy still in such a poor state, a lot of people may be asking if they can even afford one. The secret is to start planning early in order to get great bargains on summer travel destinations, package vacations and holidays.

Rome Top Ten by Mario Degu
Top ten itinerary in Rome. 10 sites not to miss.

The Most Vital Chinese by James McGlasson
This booklet gives you everything you need to get by for a short trip to China. It gives you all of the following: the 10 Most Useful Phrases for a Newcomer; In a Hotel – the language you will need to book and stay in a hotel; Days & Dates – absolutely everything necessary for booking (days, months, dates, numbers & counting).

Descriptions provided by Amazon

I found these books via Amazon’s Kindle eBooks store. Resources for free Kindle and other format eBooks are listed in my sidebar.

These freebies are limited time offers, so there is no guarantee any of these books will still be free when you click on the links. Grab them sooner rather than later.