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So It Begins: Comic-Con Opens This Week

Preview Night Is Wednesday

David Glanzer, a spokesman for Comic-Con, and KPBS movie reporter Beth Accomando talk about this weekend's Comic-Con.

David Glanzer, spokesperson, San Diego Comic-Con International
Beth Accomando, KPBS arts reporter and author of the blog Cinema Junkie

Comic-Con starts this Wednesday with preview night and then runs through Sunday at the San Diego Convention Center. The pop culture convention has grown rapidly in the past ten years and now must cap attendance at around 125,000.

Comic-Con had to cap attendance a few years ago because they had maxed out space at the San Diego Convention Center. That's when the scramble for ticket really took off and the event sold out in days and this year in just hours. Comic-Con has agreed to stay in San Diego through 2015. But if the Convention Center does not expand, then it's up in the air about where the pop culture might move to. This past March, Comic-Con's sister convention WonderCon tested out the facilities at the Anaheim Convention Center while its usual home of Moscone Center in San Francisco went through a remodel, so Anaheim is definitely one of the places on the list of possible new venues.

Comic-Con is a non-profit organization whose mission statement is: "Comic-Con International is a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to creating awareness of, and appreciation for, comics and related popular art forms, primarily through the presentation of conventions and events that celebrate the historic and ongoing contribution of comics to art and culture."

While Hall H and its A-list Hollywood celebrities may garner the most press in recent years, Comic-Con serves up more than 500 hours of programming including panels about how to break into comics, seminars on drawing and animation, and portfolio reviews where artists can get their work looked at by major comics and gaming companies.

According to a press release from the San Diego Convention Center, Comic-Con has the following economic impact on San Diego:

Economic Impact: $180 million

Direct Attendee Spending: $75 million

Tax Revenues: $2.6 million

Room Nights: 126,000

Some panel recommendations from Beth Accomando for outside of Hall H include: Quick Draw on Saturday; Starship Smackdown on Sunday; anything with Max Brooks; and the Comic-Con International Film Festival, especially a short, vividly shot vampire film called "Sanguijuelas," from Tijuana.

Here's a video postcard from last year's Comic-Con.

KPBS arts reporter Beth Accomando spoke with fans and exhibitors at last year's Comic-Con to get an insider's view.

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