Buy your tickets and get to work on your cosplay because on September 18, Comic Con arrives in Honolulu for the first time with amazing artists, celebrities, and more.

For the uninitiated, Comic Con is a social event in which thousands of people gather to celebrate comic books and pop culture. Comic Con is definitely a surreal experience, so first-timers are usually both excited for and intimidated by the huge convention. If you’re interested in going but not sure what you’re in for, here are some things you can expect and need to know.

When and where is Comic Con?

Hawaii Comic Con is on September 18, 19 and 20 at the Hawaii Convention Center. You can buy admission tickets for one day or all three days at the event website.

What is there to do?

Similar to all comic conventions, Comic Con will have an abundance of panels you can attend, featuring celebrities, upcoming movies, and more. With the amount of panels they have, there’s bound to be something that peaks your interest.

There is an event that is in almost every comic convention and is personally my favorite exhibit: The Artist’s Alley. Here you can find both amateur and professional artists selling their crafts. You can buy artwork, replicas, clothing, comics, and toys that are too good to pass up. This is where you have to budget your money, because before you know it, you’re wallet will be empty.

When you’re nearby any Comic Con, the first thing that you’ll see are hundreds of people in colorful and artfully crafted costumes. No, it’s not Halloween; these people are cosplaying. This is when people dress up as their favorite characters from their favorite book, movie, TV show, or comic. You can dress up and play along, or you can just take pictures of others in costume. There is an etiquette to follow while cosplaying or just observing that I’ll get into later.

If you consider yourself a gamer, then the video game arena will probably be the highlight of the event for you. You can compete against other gamers—including some professional gamers—in various video games. Some of the competitions are even featured in a live stream available to anyone online.

I’m still not convinced, tell me more about those celebrities!

Rob Liefeld, the creator of the fan-favorite Deadpool, is a guest as Comic Con, so we’re sure to get some insight on the highly anticipated Deadpool movie. Also appearing at Comic Con is George Perez, the creator of the Teen Titans, and Kevin Eastman, the creator of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Don’t know any of those people or don’t care? Here’s a name that’ll definitely peak your interest: comic book legend Stan Lee is going to be at Hawaii Comic Con! Stan Lee is the creator of many of the Marvel comic book characters you know and love including Spider-Man, the X-Men, Iron Man, the Fantastic Four, and the world famous Avengers. He’s also had a cameo in almost every Marvel movie to date. He’s appearing at the convention for all three days, so don’t miss him!

I’m definitely going now! Have any advice?

With thousands of people attending Comic Con, there is a common etiquette that you should follow. One of the phrases you’ll see on signs all around Comic Con is “cosplay isn’t consent”. Some costumes may be more revealing than normal clothes, so don’t do anything that will make a cosplayer uncomfortable. Ask permission before taking a picture of or touching someone’s costume. If you see your favorite character, don’t run up to him or her and tackle them. These cosplayers put a lot of hard work into their costume, and any rough-housing could ruin it.

Whenever you’re taking a photo of a cosplayer, have the courtesy to step to the side so that you don’t block other attendees from walking by.

Pack food and water. You’ll be walking around all day at Comic Con, so keep some granola bars and a water bottle with you to keep your energy up. There will be food you can buy, but it’s always more convenient to have a snack on hand. Speaking of food, several restaurants in the area usually offer discounts if you show your Comic Con badge, so you’re not limited to convention center food.

Study the schedule and determine when certain panels are. Plan to get in line early, because each panel only allows as many people as there are seats. While the lines definitely won’t be as long as those at San Diego Comic Con, the popular ones will fill up quickly.

I mentioned this before and I’m saying it again: budget your money! If you buy everything you want, you will go broke.

The most important thing you should do is to have fun. You didn’t buy a badge to just sit around, so go out and have a good time. There’s a good chance that your friends will be there, so hang out with them. It’s always more fun in a group.

Photographs by Gavin Arucan (’16).