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Comic-Con back in full swing, despite downsized Hollywood presence

 July 20, 2023 at 5:40 AM PDT

S1: It's time for Midday Edition on Kpbs. Comic-Con gets back to its roots this year amid a Hollywood strike. We'll talk about what's different this year. I'm Jade Hindman. Here's to conversations that keep you informed , inspired and make you think. She's been attending Comic-Con since the 70s. We sat down with our film critic Beth Accomando on Preview Night.

S2: I mean , this is a place where I don't feel weird. I don't feel strange. I can walk down an aisle and say , no matter where you go and some total stranger will say , there you are , because they love Buckaroo Banzai like I do , and you don't generally find that elsewhere.

S1: Plus , we'll talk about how books influenced the convention and tell you about events you can attend without a badge. That's ahead on Midday Edition. Comic-Con week has officially begun. The Pop Culture Convention started in 1970 as a modest gathering of comics , movies and science fiction fans and has really just since exploded into a global phenomenon. We went on site at the San Diego Convention Center yesterday for preview night , and like the name suggests , it's all about giving attendees a look into what the convention will have to offer before it actually opens to the general public. But before the crowds poured into the exhibit hall , we caught up with Kpbs arts producer and film critic Beth Accomando about all things Comic-Con. I asked her what's changed since she first started going in the late 1970s and what keeps her coming back ? Here's that conversation. I'm here with Beth Accomando for Preview Night here at Comic-Con. We're in the exhibit hall.

S2: I'm finally here.

S1: I mean , you've been coming to Comic-Con just about since it started , right ? Almost.

S2: I've been coming since the late 70s , so I'm getting inch and closer to 50 years.


S2: And I used to come mainly because I loved movies and I came looking for posters. And I remember distinctly walking into Golden Hall. And when you came to the top of the steps , you could see the entire exhibit hall , like all the dealers in one purview , you know , And now it's I think it's a quarter mile long , and I think there's over 900 or 1000 exhibitors and artists and small press. And , you know , it's grown from being a convention that attracted a few hundred people to over 135,000 , I think , now. And it took up part of the convention center and now it's expanded to everything here , plus all the neighboring hotels. And it's gotten huge.

S1: It's amazing. And you yourself are actually an exhibitor.

S2: Yes , I am. I work with a volunteer group called Film Geek San Diego , and we're under the fiscal sponsorship of Media Arts Center. So we raise money here for a student scholarship in honor of a young critic , Greg Moskowitz , who died when he was 23 of cancer. So part of the money goes to the scholarship fund and part of it goes to our programming at digital cinema because with 56 seats , you can't always pay for the films you want to screen.

S1: Oh , nice , nice. Well , so you've got your booth here , but there are lots of booths here in this exhibit hall that I'm looking at. Yes.

S2: But I will say I always go by a place called Anime Link because I collect Godzilla toys. So that's key for me to go there. There's Viz Graphics this year they're bringing this horror manga writer and I'm not sure if they have anything special reflecting his work that's there , but I'm going to go scope that out as well. And I always love going to artists Alley because you are supporting independent artists and you never know what you're going to find. There's so much I always say there's treasures waiting to be discovered. Yes.

S1: Yes. Well , and you've been coming for a long time.

S2: And now she's got webcomics , she's got books , she's got a career out of it. And back then I think all she had was a couple of t shirts or something , and a web cartoon.

S1: Are very nice. So in the exhibit.

S3: Do not line up for merchandise before we open to the attendees.

S1: And that was just a message. They're really about to open the doors. And I feel I feel the excitement. I saw quite a few people lined up outside on my way in. But Beth , this year it's just a fraction of what's here at Comic-Con.

S2: But tomorrow night I have six panels at 7:00 I want to go to and I'm trying to figure out what to do because I love the legal geeks and I'm probably going there. But there's also , like I said , a quarter mile of this floor. So there's Artists Alley , there's small press , there's still people selling old comics , vintage comic books. There are people selling toys. There's gaming sections here on the floor now , which is not new. But when Comic-Con started , that wasn't as big a deal. So now you have huge booths for some of the gaming companies. Yeah , there's also some outside activations. One thing I'm desperately trying to go to is the eat overs , which I mentioned. Junji Ito , who's a manga artist and creator , and they've got some of his horror work , which I love.

S1: That would be my cup of tea as well. So tell me about this.

S2: So Marvel and DC have not always been on the exhibit floor , so this year they are not in Hall H , but both of them do have dealers booths here on the floor. And , you know , one thing that's interesting about that , too , is people complain that Comic-Con has gone to Hollywood , but I would like to point out that Marvel and DC , two of the biggest comic distributors and creators , used to be DC Comics and Marvel Comics , and now they've branched out. They are , I think , DC Entertainment and Marvel Entertainment. They do more than just comic books , and comic Con reflects that. They reflect that. It's a changing landscape. Comics are not exactly what they used to be. I know some people mourn the fact that there aren't as many physical comic books out on the floor , but especially this year , there is a lot to celebrate about comic books and creators.

S1: And you know why ? I guess while people say that , you know , Comic-Con has really gotten Hollywood , there's not a lot of Hollywood here now because of all of the strikes. You've got the writers strike , you got the Sag-aftra strike.

S2: And usually because of the big lines , I didn't want to devote that much time to waiting for something like that. And I would go to smaller panels. So I don't see it as a big impact. I'm kind of excited about the fact that we have foreign creators coming out here like Junji Ito is coming from Japan. This is a big deal , viz Graphics has brought over manga artists from Japan before. They always seem to underestimate how popular that's going to be and without a big Hollywood presence , I think he may get more attention. And there's also a panel on Indian films and it's the Tollywood movies. This is RR was a Hollywood movie. That means it was in the Telugu language , not in Hindi , which are the Bollywood films. Indian films are wildly popular , and I'm really curious to see if that popularity might transfer over. And without the media having mainstream Hollywood to cover , maybe those films will get a little more attention this year and it might be interesting.

S1: Might get a little more shine. I can see that. Yeah. Okay.

S2: I know that some of the studio executives might think with AI , we can get around a real writer , but I don't think that's going to be the case. I mean , I can probably write a mediocre movie just as well as a mediocre writer can , but I don't think you're going to get boldly original films from that. And I think there is going to be one panel this year on AI , and the SAG president , I believe , is going to make an appearance and hopefully we'll answer some questions about what the union's standing for. The last time both these unions went on strike was in 1960 , and it resulted in getting residual checks. And that was because that was a huge change in the entertainment landscape. There was television , and that was changing the way people saw movies and how long these films had a lifespan and how long you could make money off of them. And we have to acknowledge that streaming channels are changing the landscape again. So hopefully those higher ups are going to wake up and realize that there needs to be an adjustment.

S1: Yeah , but and speaking of AI , do you see that in the future being used for comics , illustrations , things like that ? How do you do you see , I actually having a place in this industry.

S2: I mean , I think there is a place for it. I think there's a way to use it. I don't think it should be used as a replacement for human beings , but I mean , maybe having an AI go over your script and look for plot holes or maybe just give you some feedback. You know , maybe that's a way to go. But I mean , I always feel like when there's new technology and new things , people are afraid. But I think there's good and bad in it and we'll have to wait and see how it pans out. And we need to be alert to the fact that maybe there are some things we need to be cautious about or some things that we need to make sure our accounted for in terms of. Actors and writers and what their careers are about.

S1: Well , absolutely. I mean , like I you know , lately I've been on social media on my Facebook , and I've noticed there are like there are illustrations from I , you know , And so when you see that , you've got to think about , you know , how that could impact any visual element , whether it's in a comic book or on the television. I mean , all of these images could just be created with I and and , you know , I wonder if that's something that people are looking at potentially. Exhibitors.

S3: Exhibitors. The hall will open momentarily. Please make sure that all merchandise and trash are out of the aisles and return to your exhibits. Attendees will be entering the hall shortly.

S1: And the countdown begins. The countdown begins. All right.

S2: IDW is a local San Diego based comic publisher , so they have a booth and a presence here. And , you know , there are a lot of people here who write comics that might be in the small press or web comics. And , you know , that's another reason why I always say go out to small press and artist Alley , talk to those people , Find out who's a local artist that you might want to support , look at the panels , see who locally is appearing that you might want to go out and support or just discover. And you know , beyond comics , I have a friend who's got a panel on gaming that's a game called McLean that's made by a company that's , I think , south of the border in Mexico and engages artists from around the world. So there's like so much here. And , you know , anybody who says Hollywood's absence means this is not as good , you're not looking hard enough.

S1: And you this is something that you are are so excited about every year. Beth. Yes.

S2: Well , that's what it feels like coming to Comic-Con. I mean , this is a place where I don't feel weird. I don't feel strange. I can walk down an aisle and say , no matter where you go and some total stranger will say , There you are , because they love Buckaroo Banzai like I do. And you don't generally find that elsewhere. I don't find it at the workplace. But , you know , I feel like I have kindred spirits here. People who are passionate about pop culture , people that I can go up to and engage in in a discussion about something , you know , whether it's Star Wars related or Godzilla or questions about gaming , because I don't know that much and I want to find out. I find that people are really open to talk and they're like , they share passions. And even if I don't understand their passion , like , you know , when the Twilight Moms were here , I don't know why they love that movie so much , but I appreciate fandom. I appreciate when people love something so much that they are willing to camp out overnight or spend a lot of money or , you know , whatever dress , spend thousands of dollars on a costume. Like I love that. I love that passion for for things and sharing that.

S1: And that was my conversation with Kpbs arts reporter Beth Accomando about her journey through Comic-Con and what she's excited to see this year. Check out Beth's Comic-Con coverage on slash Comic-Con. Now , once the countdown you heard over the loudspeakers in that segment was over and the exhibit hall finally opened for preview night , long lines of fans poured in , some traveling 19 hours just to get here. This is what they all had to say.

S4: I'm from Dallas , Texas. We drove here today. We drove 19 hours starting yesterday at like 7 p.m.. Uh huh.

S1: That's dedication. I respect that.

S4: It was a long drive , but like , oh , it was so worth it to be here , especially opening day. I'm definitely looking forward to crying in about 15 minutes when it when it hits. It's going to hit me at some point that I'm at San Diego Comic-Con that it's this whole big deal. I've wanted this for a decade , and I just I'm going to cry and it's going to be worth it.

S1: Every tear.



S5: The credit card is brand new , and it'll so the friction won't burn through it this time. It's kind of a problem when you come to these , they just start to kind of melt after come. So I'm ready for that. But also , you know , getting some good interviews and. Talking to people and just the general air of San Diego Comic-Con. There's no show like this on the planet. No.

S1: No.

S5: Absolutely.

S4: Absolutely. Absolutely. Every day for as many hours as we possibly can every day.


S1: I'm just making sure you guys are really , you know , into this. Like you say , I have.

S5: Scheduled a four day coma after this , so I'll be good to go.

S4: The best thing that I think I'm going to do for myself , I'm going to drink water. I am a I assume I'm going to eat some food at some point during this exchange. But sleep no , sleep is not a thing.

S6: For the con in general , just being able to.

S3: Get what we're after. Yeah.

S7: Yeah.

S8: So not the new the any , any updated I suppose items or lines or just anything in regards to the departments that we like we tend to enjoy. I mean we're big superhero fans , we tend to have the same tastes. And so I just , I just like the , the vibe and the setting that that usually Comic Con has. So if I have the opportunity to come , it just it just overall makes me feel great. You know , it's a little a little break from work. So.

S1: So. So for you guys then this the the lack of Hollywood presence because of the strikes you know , for for you guys that really is not going to impact your Comic-Con experience because you're kind of you're with The Roots.

S6: Yeah , yeah , exactly. And for myself , it's cool to see that type of celebrity type of stuff here , but it's not for me personally. I mean , I like to go there for the original comic con , you know , it's all the superhero stuff of product wise , comic book wise and just collectibles and all that. Yeah , merchandise. Swag.

S8: Swag. I don't know what I mean , but no , no , it doesn't necessarily impede our experience. No , not at all. Not at all. I mean , it's like , what's going on ? Absolutely. It's. It's terrible. I wish I hope that they can find some form of resolution. But overall , I mean , it is what it is , but I'm still going to come and we still come and just enjoy overall our time because it's not like you said , what Comic-Con is all about originally was just , you know , books and entertainment and whatnot. So yeah , there's a big department in regards to the movie industry , Hollywood , but that's , that's like about what , ten , 15% of what we're really here for.

S9: It's really up and down because as much as I kind of want to see a lot of the big stuff , a lot of the big stuff normally happens in Hall H and I have all the times I have not been to Hall H So it's kind of like , well , I have put in the effort to be in line for three hours as f for it. So it's sucks because you kind of want more stuff to kind of happen and stuff , but they're doing it for the right thing , so I'm not going to fault them for doing it. So they'd have to do what they have to do and I'll just have to experience everything else.

S1: I mean , since this Comic-Con is different than the ones in the past , what are you looking forward to most.

S10: Going back to the old school Ways , where it's primarily focused on the artists and the comics. So here we're standing at the Udon Entertainment where there , you know , our old old cartoons where we've grown up with and started with a comic book , but it's grown so big but now bringing it back. So.


S10: I think it's going to be a bit of a different vibe because , you know , there's not going to be any big name actors coming around. But I think it's good that the actors are striking because , you know , Hollywood needs to actually pay the writers and the actors to live in Los Angeles. It's really expensive to live there , you know. So I really hope the deal goes through and. For Comic-Con. I think it'll be fine because there's already a lot of people that paid for tickets and most people are just here to enjoy the convention , you know ? Yeah.

S1: Anything else do you want to say or add ? Um.

S11: Happy Comic-Con.

S12: You know all that ? Yeah.

S1: What do you look forward to most when it comes to Comic-Con ? Give us a call at (619) 452-0228. Leave a message or you can email us at midday at Coming up , we'll talk about the literary presence at this year's convention.

S13: Just the way we see superfans of Star Wars or Marvel. We have superfans that are curious Brown fans or Martha Welles fans or any other kind of authors , and everybody gets to hang out at Comic-Con.

S1: You're listening to Kpbs Midday Edition. Welcome back. You're listening to Kpbs Midday Edition. I'm Jade Hindman. We're talking about things to see at Comic-Con. Think about some of your favorite shows or movies. Chances are they were adapted from a book first. Here are some of our favorite page to screen adaptations , all of which have made an appearance at Comic-Con in the past few years.

S14: I offer for your journalistic pleasures my life story.



UU: A darkling has.

S16: Created an unkillable army made of shadow.

S17: That is cavernous. And indeed.

S18: The power inside you. All over the world. There are different names for it. Men would soon put the realm to the torch. And see a woman ascend the iron throne.

S1: Beyond their adaptations , books continue to make a lasting impact on pop culture , and they have a space. In Comic-Con , Over 500 exhibitors will be at the convention , among them booksellers , publishers , authors and artists. We wanted to hear from one local bookstore about what it's like to work at the Pop Culture convention and connect with the writer reader community here. Joining us is Jenny Marchetto. She is co-owner of Mysterious Galaxy , an independent bookstore in San Diego. Jenny , welcome.

S13: Hi , Thanks for having me.

S1: So glad to have you here. A lot of people might think of movies , TV shows or comics when it comes to Comic-Con , but it also has a strong literary presence. Could you give us more insight into that side of the convention ? Yeah.

S13: So Comic-Con , in addition to all of you know , the exciting sort of movies and everything you just noted , has a lot of book oriented panels and panels geared towards sci fi and fantasy authors , as well as graphic novels and comics , obviously. Yeah , even a little bit of romance we're seeing , and Mysterious Galaxy is a part of that. And so on the main floor of Comic-Con , we have a booth , we sell books there. There's also plenty of publishers selling books on the main floor. And then we do a bunch of author signings upstairs as well. Nice.

S1: Nice.

S13: It is great to see the community of Comic-Con and the book community that is related to Comic-Con. There's a lot of excitement at Comic-Con over these authors and these really prominent names , but also discovering new authors and hearing from new people and finding other book lovers in the way that any fan community has. So just the way we see super fans of Star Wars or Marvel , we have superfans that are Pierce Brown fans or Martha Wells fans or any other kind of authors , and everybody gets to hang out at Comic-Con and have that sort of community space.

S1: And you mentioned author panels and signings. What does Mysterious Galaxy have in store for the Con this year ? Yeah.

S13: So this year , Mysterious Galaxy helped organize eight panels. The panels we organize pull authors from all different publishers as well as some of the Comic-Con special guests. So they're there to really create more conversation across different publishing audiences. And so this year we have quite a few there geared towards science fiction worldbuilding in fantasy literature. There's one for kind of authors writing for younger generations in terms of middle grade picture book and year novels. I will be moderating a panel on romance and fantasy literature. Really , there's a lot of sort of diversity thematically across the different panels.

S1: And what's that process of preparing for Comic-Con been like ? I mean , I imagine it takes quite a lot of planning.

S13: It really does. So we've been working on this for several months now. We work very closely with the Comic-Con programming team and they are really incredibly helpful and incredibly supportive and we talk with them and then we also reach out to publishers and ask publishers , you know , who what authors would they be able to send , who would they love to include ? And gathering that information , we then kind of craft these different panels and sort of curate the different intersections of authors , and then we go back and submit those for approval and see what comes from that. And then any of these panels also will be accompanied by author signings. So any of the authors on these panels , attendees will also get a chance to sort of meet and get their book signed and perhaps take a picture and all of those things.

S1: Mm hmm.

S13: And it's not sort of just asking questions , but when the authors are able to get excited and talk to one another and not just whoever's moderating. There are a few that I'm excited about. I'm obviously very excited about the one I'm moderating and co moderating with one of my very good friends and we are doing a panel with a range of , I think , five romance and fantasy authors. I love romance. I'm a big fan. And of romance and fantasy. So when they come together , that's really the best. We also have some of my other favorite authors that'll be there for who is an African futurist author is going to be on a science fiction panel. And I really , really adore Nettie's work , so I'm excited to hear her speak as well.

S1: Mysterious Galaxy has actually been exhibiting at Comic-Con for years before you took over the bookstore.

S13: Last year was our first sort of full sized Comic-Con as owners , and it was , you know , in many ways exhausting , but in many more ways invigorating and really exciting to see what an event like this , which is such a big part of the store's history. And you know what ? We at Mysterious Galaxy really focus on in terms of events and community. And so to see it sort of really getting back towards a full swing was incredibly nice and exciting. And this year I feel like it's only going to continue to grow again. And it's such a big part of what the store is that it was so nice to finally see it firsthand.

S1: You're listening to Kpbs Midday Edition. I'm Jade Hindman. I'm speaking with Jennie Marcus Soto , co-owner of Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore. And Jennie , I'm curious about Mysterious Galaxies journey. You bought the bookstore with your husband in 2020 after the original owner lost its lease. Then shortly after reopening , you closed for two and a half years because of the pandemic. Tell us about that.

S13: So , you know , as with any sort of small business , we were very , very dramatically affected by Covid and we closed very quickly. We throughout Covid were very , very cautious of reopening. And we really wanted to keep health and safety of our customers as well as the staff and ourselves sort of at the forefront. And so that had to we had to very quickly change how we were doing business and what we were focusing on. Most of our customers became online customers just by virtue of the store being closed. So we expanded sort of our online presence , our social media presence , and really tried to grow the community in ways that , you know , we hadn't necessarily had a chance to do beforehand or the store hadn't had a chance to do beforehand. And it was it was rough. We , you know , really were doing everything we could. And when I say we , I mean , you know , not just my husband and I , but the our wonderful , wonderful staff are wonderful customers. We found tremendous support from all of those audiences. And that really helped , you know , us get through this , which was exciting. We're now open. We've been open again for about a year. And honestly , we're still sort of seeing the aftereffects of it because those two years were quite difficult. But we're also seeing a lot of growth and a lot of continued growth in terms of events like Comic-Con or , you know , we also have the San Diego Festival of Books coming up in August and we are really hoping that those things continue to grow.

S1: Yeah , I mean , those two years , I'm sure , cast a lot of uncertainty , but it's good to see you while still afloat. You touched on this earlier. Mysterious Galaxy started out as a genre bookstore and specialized in fantasy science fiction , horror , mystery. But you've also expanded your offerings in romance graphic novels. Could you tell us more about that ? Yeah.

S13: So when we moved , when we purchased a store and we moved to the new space , we had more room , honestly. And that allowed us to sort of grow other genres that were always sort of present in the store , but maybe not as present as sort of the main designers that we focused on. I personally have always been a fan of romance for many , many long years , and so that was an exciting thing for me to see grow. It also , we saw a lot of growth and demand for romance during the pandemic. I think everyone really wanted their happily ever after. And right now we're also seeing a boom in horror and we've always had a strong horror presence. One of our booksellers is a incredible fan of the genre and knows it very intimately , and they're not the only one. I've started reading more horror and we have more people , and so now we're sort of seeing a rise in horror and we're very excited about that as well. So we've been able to sort of increase what previously were very , very niche areas because we've always been a store that focuses on specific genres like as opposed to sort of a general audience. And even now the more niche areas of those genres are getting more attention and we're able to expand and give even more sort of like extensive recommendations and offer that to customers.

S1: You also hold a lot of in-store events like author signings , book clubs and even a Dungeons and Dragons meetup.

S13: These are the reasons like why independent bookstores are so important to us. It's creating a community space. It is something that is different than what , you know , Amazon can offer or , you know , shopping online can give you. It is having a space where you can have a conversation with an author and ask them questions and be close to and see the other readers that are also excited and also engaged in just having that connection is the joy of what a bookstore can do. And it's the bookstore at its best , is just sort of like bringing people together in that way in support of a community space , in support of the authors and and just finding new things to love.


S13: To provide a space that is inclusive and welcoming and celebratory of all things genre and the community that that represents and invites. And so that that's really all we have ever wanted and that's what we want to continue. We were parts of this community beforehand. We were avid customers. My husband has been a customer essentially his whole life. His family has frequented the store or much of his life at least. And that's all we want. We want to be able to have a space that is really celebrating and welcoming and helping to share books and new books and different books and all of these sort of elements of literature and of reading communities that bring so much joy. And we just want to keep supporting that.



S13: So it always depends on what people are looking for. One of my favorite books of this year , I will say , though , is The Adventures of Amina al Saraf by Shannon Chakraborty. It is a sort of high fantasy adventure , a lot of action. I when I try to sell it to people , I tell them it has everything. It's a story of a retired female pirate captain who has to come out of retirement for one last job and get the gang back together. And it's the beginning of a trilogy. However , it does not have a cliffhanger , so you can go through that , but it's just a really exciting to me , fast paced adventure with excellent characters , fantastic banter that made me laugh and chuckle throughout , but also intense , intensely detailed and eloquent sort of worldbuilding through the lenses of these characters and their history. And I love it. I've been recommending it as much as possible.

S1: All right. All right. I have to check that out. I've been speaking with Ginny , Marcia Soto , co-owner of Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore. And , Ginny , it was so great talking with you today.

S13: Thank you. It's been great talking to you as well.

S1: Coming up , we'll tell you the off site Comic-Con events you can attend without a badge.

S10: Anybody who's into nostalgia will love these experiences provided at the Park nightclub. One of them is the Malibu Daydream Experience , which is Barbie girl themed.

S1: You're listening to Kpbs Midday Edition. Welcome back. You're listening to Kpbs Midday Edition. I'm Jade Hindman. We've been talking about all things Comic-Con. We know how hard it is to get a Comic-Con badge with hundreds of thousands of potential attendees hoping to land one each year. But even if you don't have a badge , don't fret. There will still be plenty of pop culture offerings across San Diego throughout this weekend. That includes the big off site activations in downtown , which usually don't require a badge to more low key events like special movie screenings and art shows. Here to talk more about these pop culture events and more is Leslie Gonzalez. She's a Web producer with Kpbs. And Leslie , welcome.

S20: Thank you , Jade. I'm happy to be here.

S1: Glad to have you.

S20: Well , surprisingly , ah , not surprisingly , there's a lot of great stuff happening that are not happening , particularly in the convention center if you have or don't have a badge. One of them being the Hulu and Mayhem , which is Hulu's new subbrand for adult animation and anime series. So if you're a fan of shows like Bob's Burgers , Family Guy or Futurama , then they're going to have this immersive off site activation at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront parking lot , and it's going to be Thursday through Sunday , and that's July 20th through the 30th. And it's free. There's also an adult swim festival on the green. And now that's going to happen where attendees will find a program block with music , comedy panels and signings. And to top that off , I know that it's going to be in a different location , aside from the Hilton San Diego Bayfront , that's actually going to be over at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront at near that location where self Embarcadero is.

S1: All right. And Comic-Con is also huge for gamers and fans of anime.

S20: Not only will fans learn how to play the Dragon Ball super card game , but they also get a chance to get their hands on the new Dragon Ball Xeno verse two that was launched back in in May. So it's free to attend. And there'll also be an immersive experience with large statues and other games that you can possibly get your hands on.

S1: Sounds like a lot of fun there.

S20: I get to meet all sorts of artists and creators there , and if you're in the area , it'll be between July 20th and 23rd at the Manchester Grand Hyatt. There , anyone can find original works of art , jewelry and other unusual items. So come with a full pocket and get ready to spend a lot of money on some artwork and panels.

S1: They're not just limited to the convention either. There's also going to be a panel at the downtown library , right ? Yes.

S20: The downtown library will hold panels where Comic Con and San Diego Public Library teamed up for the Comic-Con conference for Educators and Librarians , and it's for a five day event. The panels vary on topics such as roles and comics play in promoting education and literacy. Those in the library field are invited to learn creative and exciting ways to incorporate comics and other pop culture art into their work.

S1: You're listening to Kpbs Midday Edition. I'm Jade Hindman speaking with Kpbs Web producer Lesley Gonzales about the top things to do this Comic-Con weekend if you don't have a badge. Lesley , how about movies ? The Rooftop Cinema Club will host some special Comic-Con screenings.

S20: The list of films are for all ages with parents permission , of course. And I have to give you a word of caution is that the showtimes can vary and are quickly selling out. So hop on to the Rooftop Cinema Club's website and check out to see what tickets are available ASAP. The event is held at the Manchester Grand Hyatt and admission can vary starting at $19.50 and up.

S1: All right. Snoopy is also huge nowadays , and they're actually celebrating the 50th anniversary with a Camp Snoopy. Pop up.

S20: It's a scavenger hunt. You can also have navigation lessons with peanuts themed compasses and writing letters from home like a true camper. You can also watch for limited stock of featured merch like Adorable Woodstock's YouTube , plus Pinterest pins of Snoopy and the Beagle Scouts. And you can attend these events with a price range of 10 to $25 around 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday through Sunday at 200 J Street downtown.


S20: But the hours vary on the date. The truck will not only sell just yummy Hello Kitty themed. Into baked goods like the Macrons and the Madeleines , but you can also get feelgood merch like mugs and t shirts , Plushes pins and more.

S1: Oh , sounds adorable. And I can't wait for that.

S20: You can join the San Isidro Library , Superhero Shield family craft activity where kids can make a superhero shield inspired by their favorite character and take it home for free with a free comic book while supplies last. Of course , walk-ins are always welcome , and that's 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday , July 22nd , at the San Isidro Library.

S1: And for music , the Park nightclub in downtown is hosting four bashes , all themed around something nostalgic. Tell us more about those.

S20: Okay , so anybody who's into nostalgia will love these experiences provided at the Park nightclub. One of them is the Malibu Daydream Experience , which is Barbie Girl themed. The entire venue will be decked out in this immersive doll court , ecstatic. And they encourage attendees to choose their own adventures when they walk in , whether it's rating the club's Barbie themed closet or lounging in a ball filled bubble bath. You can also just hang out by their pool. This is the kind of place where you can live. Life in plastic is fantastic , of course , and if you know that , you know , and that is going to be at the 615 Broadway in downtown.

S1: All right.

S20: I'm more of a nightlife person myself , so one in particular I'm looking forward to is the Nick at Nightclub , which is also at the Park nightclub. And these are for anybody who stayed up late watching like Double Dare 2000 or Nick at night and anybody who wished to get slimed on stage. This is a place for you to hang out where you can just dress up , meet your favorite characters and cosplay and just have a good time. And that's going to be on Thursday , July 30th , and it's going to last till 2 a.m. the next day. So yeah.

S1: All right. Sounds like a lot of fun happening this weekend. I've been speaking with Leslie Gonzalez , web producer at Kpbs , to check out more of these events and the rest of our Comic-Con coverage , go to , slash Comic-Con. And Leslie , thank you so much for joining us and have a blast this weekend. Thanks.

S20: Thanks. I appreciate it. Thank you for letting me be here and talking to you.

S1: What does Comic-Con mean to you ? What do you look forward to most ? Give us a call at (619) 452-0228. You can leave a message or email us at midday at We'd love to share your thoughts here on the show. Don't forget to watch Evening Edition tonight at five for in-depth reporting on San Diego issues. The roundtable is here tomorrow at noon. Midday returns Monday. Before we go , I'd like to thank our team. Giuliana Domingo , Andrew Bracken and Harrison Patino are the producers with the assistance of Arianna Clay. Technical directors are Adrian Villalobos and Rebecca Chacon. Art segment producers are Julia Dixon Evans and Beth Accomando. The music you're hearing is from San Diego's own surefire soul ensemble. As always , you can find the Midday Edition podcast on all platforms. I'm your host , Jade Hindman. Thanks for listening and have a great weekend , everyone.

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People walk outside of the San Diego Convention Center, which has signs advertising Comic-Con International, July 19, 2023.
Jacob Aere
People walk outside of the San Diego Convention Center, which has signs advertising Comic-Con International. July 19, 2023.

Comic-Con is in full swing. Though Hollywood’s presence is diminished this year because of the screenwriters' and actors' strikes, crowds continue to descend on the San Diego Convention Center and the downtown area to get their pop culture fix.

KPBS Midday Edition visited the convention floor on preview night to ask attendees what they are most looking forward to and what keeps them coming back.

KPBS Midday Edition host Jade Hindmon interviews arts reporter Beth Accomando in the Exhibit Hall at San Diego Comic-Con on Wednesday, July 19.
Julianna Domingo
KPBS Midday Edition host Jade Hindmon interviews arts reporter Beth Accomando in the Exhibit Hall at San Diego Comic-Con on Wednesday, July 19.

Plus, one local independent bookstore’s perspective on working in the exhibit hall and connecting with the larger book community. And finally, a look at the top off-site events to go to this weekend if you don’t have a badge.


Beth Accomando, KPBS arts reporter

Jenni Marchisotto, co-owner of Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore

Leslie Gonzalez, KPBS web producer