San Diego Comic-Con is ready to roll

The 48th annual gathering in San Diego has something for everyone – especially if you’re a TV fan

San Diego may have lost the Chargers, but they’re keeping the Con.

The city is preparing for the four-day festival known as San Diego Comic-Con, which starts tonight and runs for five days. The gathering began in a hotel basement in 1970 and grown to a huge event attracting people from around the world to see their favorite TV and movie stars, comic book writers, and getting a chance to dress up as their favorite character, known as “cosplaying”. As the San Diego Chargers bolted back to Los Angeles for next season due to a lack of a stadium deal (no pun intended),  the city signed an agreement to keep Comic-Con in town until at least 2021. 

In recent years, television has invaded the Con, and the studios and the major broadcast and cable networks are making it even more of a destination this year, with over 200 television shows holding panels, ranging from longtime favorites such as The Simpsons and Family Guy to newer programs such as Legion and Rick and Morty, and new fall entries, such as Inhumans and Star Trek: Discovery. Many of these shows plans to break news, show new footage, and take questions from the audience.

The most anticipated panels are of course, the most-talked about shows: Game Of Thrones, The Walking Dead, Stranger Things, and Marvel/Netflix’s new The Defenders. (even though it’s San Diego week on Wheel Of Fortune… sorry, no Comic-Con appearances are planned.)

The large number of course, is the reflection of the vast number of TV shows on the air, standing at over 400-plus.

Many of the major players in the comics space – Marvel, DC Comics, Fox, and others are expected to reveal movie trailers and hold panels featuring major movie stars. This marks a reversal from years past when studios (notably Marvel) were skipping Comic-Con entirely.

And the panels at Comic-Con aren’t just for TV and movies – other subjects are being showcased, too. There is a “Fashionably Nerdy” panel being held; one sponsored by Nerd For A Living featuring how one can break into the animation business; and numerous workshops on drawing, writing, and creating. Many of these non-TV/movie panels however, are being held in other venues around town and away from the convention floor. And even a few of the TV ones – such as Mystery Science Theater 3000’s panel, is being held at the off-site Horton Grand Theater.

There are other amenities for people at Comic-Con too – Microsoft is providing a “hololens” experience for Legion; Blade Runner plans to have a virtual reality experience, and numerous autograph sessions are being held.

Plus, you can buy a lot of merchandise at Comic-Con, ranging from your favorite comic books to Snoopy mugs. Think of it as the world’s biggest “nerd flea market” (or purveyor of junk, depending on your point of view.) However, one major comics reseller (Mile High Comics) has decided to skip the convention after 44 years. 

Television/Streaming coverage 

If you can’t make it to San Diego, television and streaming coverage is being planned for the first few days of the gathering. As reported here in May, NBCUniversal-owned SyFy is bringback back Live at Comic-Con for a second year with new host Zachary Levi (Chuck) for three nights, beginning at 7 p.m. Central Time. The format is staying the same from the previous year, with interviews, trailers, Comcast/Xfinity product placement and of course, a lot of Sharknado plugs, with the latest Sharknado movie premiering August 5 on SyFy with Sharknado 5: Global Swarming.

If you can’t stand that, then there’s live streaming coverage being provided by Marvel Live, which plans to be on the air from 1 p.m.-7 p.m. Central Time each day, with Sunday’s edition ending at 5 p.m. Meanwhile, Twitter is teaming with IGN to stream Comic-Con coverage. 

Comic-Con HQ, which inaugurated live streaming coverage for last year’s Comic-Con, hadn’t announced any live streaming plans for this year’s event at press time.

And, though they won’t likely cover the content at Comic-Con, San Diego’s news stations plans to cover the impact of the convention on the city, including traffic – both foot and vehicle. (keep in mind ex-CW affiliate XETV closed its news operation last spring and became an affiliate of Mexico’s Canal 5 network.)

As for Comic-Con coverage on this blog, there will be at least one or two daily recaps on the festivities and a review of SyFy’s Live At Comic-Con show. But the best way is to follow the blog on Twitter @tdogmedia for pictures, links, and of course, yours truly’s world-famous commentary.