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Originally published Thursday, February 3, 2005 at 12:00 AM

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Some tips if you plan on going

Whether or not you show up in a costume is a matter between you and your god. But since the Emerald City ComiCon is Seattle's biggest comic...

Whether or not you show up in a costume is a matter between you and your god. But since the Emerald City ComiCon is Seattle's biggest comic book event in some time, maybe you could use some other tips.

First, if you bring money to burn on back issues from the numerous dealers on hand, it's smart to invest in a price guide so you'll know what kind of deal you're getting. There are others, but we recommend the bulky old-faithful, "Overstreet Comic Price Guide" (Gemstone, $25 softcover).

For other tips on how to get the most out of the two days, we consulted some of the event's celebrity guests:

Tip: "The cool thing is — and it's really the only medium that does this — you can go and meet the people that make your favorite books. If you're an aspiring writer or artist it is mandatory that you appear at these shows and say hello and show your work to as many people as you can. I've had my life changed at these shows. I've had heroes of mine, showed them my portfolio, and gotten sage advice that rolls around in my head to this day."

— Brian Michael Bendis, writer, "Avengers"

Tip: "The best thing to do is bring 20 bucks that you're willing to part with, walk around, talk to people, thumb through stuff and be willing to experiment. People think it's all just guys in tights punching each other."

Also, bring a sketchbook. Some artists may draw you a picture for free or a reasonable price, depending on the complexity you want, the line waiting for them — and whether you've bought any of their books to sign.

— John Layman, writer, "Gambit"

Tip: Meeting the guests: "The worst thing that you can do is ask the same question as everyone else asks. There was a guy who for the longest time would always ask me the same question: There was this artist who loved drawing Robin, and he would always ask me if I knew when that artist was coming."

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— Ed Brubaker, writer, "Sleeper"

Tip: Book-signing etiquette: "Don't ask them for an autograph on the way to the bathroom."

— John Layman

Tip: Be considerate of others if you want a guest to sign more than a couple of things — especially if you make it obvious they're for you to sell, by asking not to have your name written. "I'll sign the whole stack if there's not a big line."

But it's annoying if you hand over books still sheathed in plastic and sealed with tape. "I'm not going to sit here like a dork and pull all these things out."

— Peter Bagge, writer/artist, "Hate."

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