Did you go to San Diego Comic-Con International this year? My initial guess is most people reading this didn’t, although not for the same reasons. I’ve heard complaints from many Comic-Con veterans that the convention just isn’t what it used to be. Big-name movie stars and press events seem to have become the main focus rather than actual comics, not to mention the near impossibility of obtaining tickets and fighting the crowds. Having been an attendee of Comic-Con since 2002 (a time when you could still go the day of to buy tickets, and maybe see some obscure celebrity if you were lucky), I love to see events such as this weekend’s San Diego Comic Fest come about.
Sure, there’s still plenty of comic stuff at Comic-Con, but it’s not as intimate as it used to be. For die- hard comic fans, Comic Fest is the place to attend panels, meet fellow comic fans, and talk with people working in all levels of the industry. The scale is much smaller than its summertime counterpart, so if you’re looking to get a few questions in or have a great conversation, your voice is guaranteed to be heard.
The event is being organized by some of the original founders of Comic-Con including Mike Towry, who served as Chairman of the first- ever Comic-Con at the El Cortez Hotel in 1972. San Diego State’s Love Library is also partnering with Towry and other early Comic- Con organizers to work on an oral history of Comic-Con. The SDSU Production Club is also documenting the first-ever Comic Fest.
Although Comic-Con has grown to encompass a decent portion of downtown San Diego, Comic Fest takes place at the nicely sized Town and Country Resort and Convention Center in Mission Valley. This smaller venue is perfect for guests to get up close to their favorite artists and writers at a number of panels occurring all weekend. Panels range from a discussion about the ethics of reviving the beloved “Watchmen” in
DCComics’new“BeforeWatchmen” series, to Q-and-A sessions with artists and writers influenced by Comic Con No. 1 Chairman Ken Krueger to spotlights on some of San Diego’s comic publishers, IDW and Pacific Comics. Also, like other similar conventions, there’s an artist’s alley, a dealer room and an art show.
The festivities begin at 9 a.m. on Friday and end at 5 p.m. Sunday. With weekend tickets only $25 for students, there’s no reason not to go. For more information, check out sdcomicfest.org and attend this weekend’s events to be part of both San Diego’s comic history and future.