Comic-Con International returned to San Diego from July 19 – 22, 2018 with preview night on July 18. As our very own writers Michelle Alexandria and Sheldon Wiebe continued to update us with what was going on during Comic-Con, I made the trek from Los Angeles to San Diego to be in the thick of the action. Welcome to my annual recap of my favorite conference!
Comic Con has grown from its roots years ago. From a one day convention in March 21, 1970 focused on comics to a 4 day pop culture phenomenon where Hollywood has gotten in the action, Comic-Con is not going away any time soon. If you love your TV shows, you just might get to see your fave TV characters in real life and see previews of trailers or episodes before anybody else!
Over the years, I have talked with people who wondered how to get into the convention. It’s kind of like getting Willy Wonka’s golden ticket. It’s not easy to get in! So this year, I’m going to give you the scoop on that process. First, you can’t just drive up to the convention center on a Saturday morning and buy a ticket for the day. That’s way too easy. You need to sign up for a Comic-Con member ID first. If you have attended Comic-Con in the past, lucky you, you’re eligible to do preregistration! Pay attention to online preregistration which occurs around the fall, and be ready to jump online waiting in a virtual waiting room. If you are randomly selected to register, welcome to Comic Con! Otherwise, there is open registration which includes people who have not attended yet. Once again there is a virtual waiting room. If chosen, up to three people can be registered under that ticket. In addition, a child 12 years old and under can attend for free with one paying adult.
Let’s fast forward to “the day”. Yay, you got a ticket into Comic-Con! Bags are packed. You scored a hotel. You find parking. You impatiently wait in line for your badge (get used to it, there will be a lot of lines all week), grab your backpack and souvenir book with schedule and run to the previews.
Preview night was kicked off with an exclusive pilot screening of new series Manifest, upcoming episode of Gotham and The 100 (“The Dark Year” ). New episodes from season 2 of Freedom Fights: The Ray also was screened.
Over the next few days, there were exclusive panels, sneak peaks, and screenings. New shows and old shows returned to the glee of excited TV and movie goers. New shows included WB’s Manifest on NBC, Hulu’s Castle Rock, The History Channel’s The Project Blue Book, Syfy’s Nightflyers, FX’s Mayans MC, Universal Pictures’ Glass, Disney’s Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph and Mary Poppins Returns and The Predator.
Current shows included shows from WB – DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, The Flash, Supergirl, Supernatural, Riverdale, Arrow, Krypton (on Syfy), The Big Bang Theory, Black Lightning, UniKitty!; NBC – The Good Place, Midnight Texas, Brooklyn Nine-Nine; CBS – Star Trek: Discovery; AMC – The Walking Dead, Better Call Saul, Preacher; BBC’s America Doctor Who, AMC – The Walking Dead, Fear the Walking Dead; Fox – The Orville; FX – Legion, Syfy – The Magicians, Netflix – Lucifer, Adult Swim – Robot Chicken, Bob’s Burgers; Universal Pictures – Halloween; Marvel – The Gifted.
HBO’s Westworld and Game Of Thrones did not make an appearance this year, nor did Marvel’s Avengers, but I’ll still continue to love these shows…
Of course, Comic Con was not just about big budget films and network TV. Comic Con hosts an independent film festival every year. Winners and films that were a part of this festival can be found here. Winners of the festival included the following: Best action/adventure film – Day Of Reckoning, Best Animated Film – First Bloom, Best Comic-Oriented Film – The Old-Men, Best documentary – Chesley Bonestell: A Brush with the Future, Best Horror/Suspense film – The Dollmaker, Best humor film – Agent 555: Operation S.A.D.O., Best science fiction/fantasy film – Bullies, Judges’ Choice Award – Bullies.
For the beginner or seasoned filmmaker, there were panels on pre-production, screenwriting, and making independent films locally and internationally. Many independent films had screenings and panels in select locations around the San Diego area. For example, independent sic fi series Space Command directed by Marc (Star Trek: The Next Generation) & Elaine Zicree returned with a panel and autograph signing with actor Doug Jones (The Shape Of Water, Star Trek: Discovery). In addition, there were multiple anime film screenings. To see the large selection of anime that screened this year, go to here. And if you just wanted to relive your fave movies such as Deadpool , Frankenstein, or Rocky Horror Picture Show (can never get enough of that!) , yep, those were there too. So many movies, how could a Comic con attendee see them all!?
Several venues returned to Comic Con. The annual blood drive was back. The annual Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, the “Oscars of the comic book industry”, took place last Friday, with Marjorie Liu (who became the first woman to win best writer award) and Sana Takeda’s Monstress and Emil Ferris’ My Favorite Thing is Monsters leading with the most wins. The 44th annual Comic-Con Masquerade costume competition occurred on Saturday. Click here for a list of Eisner winners and here for a list of Masquerade winners.
Did you bring an extra bag? You’ll need it once you embark and the enormous convention center full of comic books, costumes, anime products, collector’s item toys, and autographed posters. The vast magnitude of things you can buy and see will make your head spin!
Although HBO, Marvel Comics, and Star Wars were not present this year, this did not stop the other TV networks and online streaming channels from bringing autograph signings, booths, and unique experiences of your favorite show.
Costumes are always a mainstay of Comic Con. Aside from the usual Marvel and DC Comics superheros, Star Wars, and Star Trek regulars, one can see the hottest shows and political statements pop up. Handmaids from Hulu’s award winning The Handmaid’s Tale made their way across the convention center along with those who made their political thoughts known. There are also those unique costumes where clearly a lot of thought was put into wowing people.
There were lots of parties. Everywhere! Get ready to put on your dancing shoes and grab a Super hero or Super villain specialty drink!
Final tips on attending Comic Con next year.
-Get a Comic-Con ID so you can register in the spring, or fall.
-Book a hotel early. There are plenty of people who camp in lines outside the convention center to be the first one in the convention, but if you want to be comfortable and close, then book a place way ahead of time. Yes, places start booking a year out. I know, because I booked a place a year ago. Even hole in the wall motels will go for over $100, because they can.