Today marks the long-awaited return of one of my favorite weeks of the year.
Today is Day One (more accurately, Preview night) of the Mecca for everyone who takes pride in their love of comic books, Star Wars, superhero films, Marvel, sci-fi streaming shows, DC, cosplay, and, of course, Funko POP!s. Today is the first day of San Diego Comic-Con.
Known on social media simply as SDCC, SDCC2022 will be the first time we’ve been able to attend the convention live and in person since the summer of 2019. There have been many other conventions since then, including WonderCon in Anaheim this spring and Los Angeles Comic Con late last year, but this is the big one.
Officially known as San Diego Comic-Con, I have been attending the Big One since I was a law student many, many years ago in Sa Diego and my wife and I wandered into the old San Diego Convention Center because we’d seen something about a comic book convention taking place downtown.
As described by Wikipedia,
Along with panels, seminars, and workshops with comic book professionals, there are previews of upcoming feature films and portfolio review sessions with top comic book and video game companies. The evenings include events such as awards ceremonies, the annual Masquerade costume contest, and the Comic-Con International Independent Film Festival, which showcases shorts and feature-length movies that do not have distribution or distribution deals.
Traditional events include an eclectic film program, screening rooms devoted to Japanese animation, gaming, programs such as cartoonist Scott Shaw!'s "Oddball Comics" slide show, Quick Draw! hosted by Mark Evanier with Shaw!, Sergio Aragones and a guest cartoonist responding to improvisational prompts and games (a la Whose Line Is It Anyway?) and animation expert Jerry Beck's program featuring TV's "worst cartoons ever", as well as over 350 hours of other programming on all aspects of comic books and pop culture.
Like most comic book conventions, Comic-Con features a large floorspace for exhibitors. These include media companies such as movie studios and TV networks, as well as comic-book dealers and collectibles merchants. And like most comics conventions, Comic-Con includes an autograph area, as well as the Artists' Alley where comics artists can sign autographs and sell or do free sketches. Despite the name, artists' alleys can include writers and even models.
Academics and comic industry professionals annually hold the Comics Arts Conference at Comic-Con, presenting scholarly studies on comics as a medium.
In recent years, the number of television shows that are promoted far outnumber films. During the 2011 convention, at least 80 TV shows were represented, compared to about 35 films. The shows not only promote in the exhibit halls, but also use screenings and panels of various actors, writers, producers, and others from their shows.
In 2013, there were 1075 total panels held during the convention, the plurality of which were anime-focused (29%), followed by comic-focused panels (26%). 1036 vendors participated in the convention in 2013.
There are at least 17 separate rooms in the convention center used for panels and screenings, ranging in size from 280 seats to 6,100 seats. The two biggest are Ballroom 20, which seats approximately 4,900; and Hall H, which seats just over 6,100.
The neighboring Hilton Bayfront is also used, with its main ballroom (Indigo) seating up to 2,600. The other neighboring hotel, the Marriott Marquis & Marina, also hosts a lot of Comic-Con activity. Among other things, the hotel serves as the anime headquarters and is where the nighttime films are shown.
What makes this year special, aside from being live and in person, is that many of the biggest names in entertainment have confirmed they will be in attendance at the show, along with others released in the SDCC program lineup.
Perhaps most exciting is the news that Marvel will be returning to San Diego Comic-Con for the first in-person SDCC since 2019. Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige revealed the news during a press conference for Thor: Love and Thunder in June, but gave no hints as to what fans can expect to see at the show.
In 2019, Marvel Studios revealed its initial plans for Phase 4 at San Diego Comic-Con and some of the projects featured were Eternals, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’s premiere date, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, WandaVision, Loki, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and many more. If that show is any indication, Marvel fans should have a lot to look forward to.
We do know a decent bit about the future of Marvel, so we very well may learn more about She-Hulk, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and/or the Holiday Special, Fantastic Four, and, who knows, maybe X-Men! Hey, we can dream!
Warner Bros. Discovery revealed that the Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon, Sandman, and Harley Quinn will all be present at San Diego Comic-Con alongside Gotham Knights and MultiVersus on the games side of things.
Fans of Middle-earth will be treated to an “exclusive early look” at The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, and Apple has shared it will be hosting panels for Severance, For All Mankind, Mythic Quest, and more.
It promises to be a really, really big deal.
As David Caballero, writing for digitaltrends.com, summed it up in an article on Sunday, July 17, 2022
2022 will mark the return of the San Diego Comic-Con, but the world is completely different from when the event last happened two years ago. However, studios came to play; after all, a lot is riding on the success of Comic-Con 2022, and Hollywood is not one to go down without a fight.
Marvel elicited cheers when it announced it would return to Hall H, bringing along a slate of projects waiting for their chance to take the stage and shock audiences once more. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will most likely be the studio’s centerpiece — it’s supposedly three months away, and we still have nothing, not even a measly poster. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, and the multitude of upcoming Disney+ shows might also receive their fair share of attention. We know Kevin Feige is a showman at heart, and he won’t waste the chance to be the star of the first post-pandemic Comic-Con. The event is where some of the best superhero movies first saw the light, and Marvel will make sure to keep that tradition alive.
Shockingly, DC kept things simple by only inviting two major properties to the party, Black Adam and Shazam: Fury of the Gods. Netflix, HBO, Disney, Paramount, and Amazon will also bring out their biggest guns, hoping to leave their mark on the event. Even Adult Swim, bless their hearts, is coming to play. They all know what’s at stake here and what will happen if this Comic-Con fails. Because Hollywood can’t let Comic-Con fail, the last two years proved that it is crucial for the blockbuster business’ existence. Hollywood isn’t Hollywood unless it has something to promote, and a good sales pitch involves the right stage and paraphernalia. From a business perspective, that’s what San Diego Comic-Con is.
But what about us, the fans who love Comic-Con because of its sense of community? That’s the marvelous thing about the convention; we give it meaning; we turn it into a celebration of pop culture; we make it the place where we can be geeks and proud of it. We will wear the costumes and attend the panels, but mostly, we will celebrate the chance to be there again, surrounded by people who feel the same as us; we might not know them, but they are not strangers. We are all part of the same community, and going back will feel like the first day after a long, George R. R. Martin-type of summer.
So, San Diego, I hope you’re up cause we are all coming over. Comic-Con is back, and we’ll make it better than ever.
For the rest of David’s article, check it out here.
Badges for San Diego Comic-Con have been hard to come by for at least the last decade, but the one thing the Pandemic did that was good for geekdom was make it readily apparent how easily folks not in San Diego still could participate in the Con. If you’re one of those unable to be in San Diego, all you have to do is tune in to IGN’s live broadcast on July 22 and July 23.
Be sure to watch. And, if you should see me, wave. I’ll be the one dressed as a comic book geek.