Crowds ready for Comic-Con Special Edition to kick off Friday after two-year wait
Speaker 1: (00:00)
Comic-Con has canceled two in-person shows because of the pandemic, but today it returns to in-person events with what it is calling Comecon special edition here to discuss what to expect from this version of the pop culture. Convention is KPBS arts and culture reporter Breathtec Armando. Hey Beth.
Speaker 2: (00:18)
Hey, how's it going? Good.
Speaker 1: (00:20)
So what can people expect from this Comic-Con special edition? Well,
Speaker 2: (00:25)
For one thing, we're not exactly sure, but the things we do know is that there's not going to be a hall H except to register people for their badges. The size of the convention is going to be about half in terms of about 60,000 attendees. And there's not going to be any big Hollywood studios or big comics publishers on hand to hold panels or have booths on the main floor.
Speaker 1: (00:49)
And are you excited about this special edition show?
Speaker 2: (00:53)
I am because I'm looking forward to what may hopefully be a little bit more like the convention of 15 years ago, where the exhibit floor was easier to maneuver around where you could get, um, get to more panels. I'm hoping that it might be a little more relaxing atmosphere and more time to really walk the exhibit floor and see everything. Also, I'm excited about the fact that the comic con museum will be reopening. Now they're very clear about saying this is a soft open and the museum is not completely remodeled or fully ready to go, but it will be open for people to go in and look around and see a couple of exhibits. So
Speaker 1: (01:32)
What familiar things will be there?
Speaker 2: (01:34)
Well, there are going to be quite a few familiar things. You'll have guests that you've seen almost every year. People like Scott Shaw and Kevin Eastman and William Stout, they'll still be a masquerade of sorts. There's still going to be the dealer's room with artist's alley and the small press well-represented, they're still going to be panels, but just not with the same kind of celebrity draw or big brands represented. And as usual, there will be a focus on pop culture and its impact, including panels on the significance of the recent Marvel film, Sean Chichi, and another one called cultural appreciation, not appropriation.
Speaker 1: (02:09)
Uh, very interesting. And you will be on a couple of panels this year. What are they?
Speaker 2: (02:14)
Yeah, I'm going to be joining one panel called star wars samurai universe on Saturday morning where the panelists will discuss the influence of Japanese and samurai culture on star wars, beginning with the influence of Akira Kurosawa, his hidden fortress on George Lucas. And I'm moderating a panel on Saturday afternoon about a new video game coming from Mexico called Mitch land. And it's an open world video game showcasing the untold mythical tales of ancient Mexico. And I spoke with environment, concept artists, Jose [inaudible] about the game and what to expect from the panel.
Speaker 3: (02:48)
So one of the things that we want to, we want to share with people and what we will be showing at a panel is, is the process because a lot of people that play video games might not be aware of what the process is. When, when a video games gets created, you basically just get the final product. Maybe you get a trailer and some gameplay while the game is being produced, but that's about it. You only see all the backstory after it's released in this case, we're doing it differently. We're showing you the processes. You're, you're riding along with us. So you're seeing how we're developing things, why we're creating things. And that's what we want to showcase on the panel as well. Like show a little bit of the process, what we do, uh, you'll get, uh, the first, the first look I think for the, uh, for the gameplay and we're releasing a trailer these weeks. So it should be super exciting.
Speaker 1: (03:37)
And the panel sounds so fascinating. Are there any other interesting panels you'd suggest listeners attend?
Speaker 2: (03:43)
I have to say, I am curious about one called the science of fast and the furious, since that film series completely throws physics out the window, and I'm looking forward to comic con special guest John Jennings. Who's been a guest on my cinema junkie podcast, and I'm also eager to hear the behind the scenes Eisner award panel, which will reveal what the very lively process of picking Eisner winners is all about. Plus for anyone who might've missed the screening of lumpia at the San Diego Asian film festival, there is going to be a screening of lumpia with a vengeance. And I talked to its director, Patricia Jenessa.
Speaker 4: (04:21)
I'm a big comic con goer for so many years and the organizers love the film. And it, it just really speaks to really the core of our audience, right? It's not, even though it's a Filipino American action comedy, it really speaks to two nerds and geeks because it has that comic book and B we've talked about all these different comic book tropes. So, um, in a way we're expanding our audience. It's I think, I think comic con is literally the audience that we've always wanted to attract. And, uh, this is our big opportunity. I haven't really literally haven't wrapped my head around what's happening this this week.
Speaker 1: (04:57)
And, you know, as we mentioned, the last two shows were canceled because of the pandemic, but there were online Comicon events each year. Will there be any online elements this year?
Speaker 2: (05:08)
As far as I know, there's not going to be any kind of virtual or online Comic-Con panels or events. I think everybody is just so excited to be back in person that the real focus of this show is on the in-person event. I do know that the virtual comic con Comicon at home was very successful. And I think as Comicon moves forward with its regular full summer convention, they might have online elements to that show and, you know, allow people an opportunity to kind of get access to comic con from anywhere in the world. But for this one, I think the focus is on we're back in person, and it's going to be great to actually see people.
Speaker 1: (05:51)
Indeed. I'm sure it will be. And Beth, is there any way people can follow you through your Comicon?
Speaker 2: (05:57)
Yeah, I will be covering it on social media. I'm at cinema Beth on Instagram and Twitter. And you can also check out my preview of comic con special edition at kpbs.org/cinema junkie.
Speaker 1: (06:13)
I've been speaking with KPBS arts and culture reporter Beth Armando, Beth. Thanks so
Speaker 2: (06:18)
Much. Thank you.
Speaker 5: (06:20)
After being canceled in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, San Diego Comic-Con is back this Friday through Sunday with a smaller show.
On Wednesday, attendees got their COVID-19 wristbands and entry badges just outside of the San Diego Convention Center.
For folks such as Travis Beaty and his partner, who traveled from St. Louis to experience Comic-Con for the first time, the wait is finally over after years of unsuccessful attempts at getting tickets.
“Being a lifelong nerd and all the fandoms come together in San Diego to spread the love, it was our chance to come" he said. "So it was like: forgo Thanksgiving with the family, move Thanksgiving up a week, and get on a plane. And here we are in sunny San Diego instead of Missouri where it's cold."
Beaty and his partner didn't seem to be bothered that this year's event is not the standard Comic-Con affair.
“I think it is a perfect toe-in-the-water for a first-time visitor," he said. "And then when we come back in ‘23, hopefully, things can be full scale and it can be chaos and we’ll know what to expect."
For restaurant owner Jerry Levy, he hopes that Comic-Con tourism brings back much-needed business to his Tin Fish eatery near the convention center. Fo far he isn’t seeing the standard crowd sizes.
“With the Convention Center for Comic-Con, it's an influx usually of about three times the amount of people I’m seeing or more," he said. "Because the downtown area is not active, it's not lively, there's not a lot of displays, it's really a toned-down version this year."
Comic-Con is also taking extra safety precautions for the 2021 show including mandatory face masks and either proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test.