Comic Con International is coming to San Diego July 21-24. Badges for admission sold out in just over an hour when they went on sale. The best you can do at this stage is find a contest online that might award you a badge and a now wait-list only hotel room. But, all is not lost (yet). There are countless off-site events all over the San Diego area. We give you all you need to know on that score. Or you might think of attending another Comic Con. Read on for more about hot Comic Cons all over the globe.
And what buzz is there about the SDCC? Well, there’s plenty. From what’s hot in movies and television to cosplay contests, Comic Con exclusives, panels and autograph opportunities. Comic Con San Diego (also known as Comic Con International) is a massive event held at the San Diego Conference Center. It started as a convention of comic book geeks way back in 1970. It now embraces pop culture from anime to video games and fantasy novels. Alongside its seminars and star-studded panels, it presents previews of upcoming films; a film festival of comic-inspired action, fantasy and horror movies. There are exhibitors, from movie studios, to TV networks, comic book publishers and collectors, together with related collectible vendors. Along its aisles wander cosplay hopefuls, adult film stars, and Hollywood mega-stars. Some say it is over-crowded, but Forbes calls it ‘The Largest Show Of Its Kind’ in the world. It’s the place to see and be seen.
Here’s what’s hot and what’s not at SDCC and beyond.
12. Suicide Squad to Make Mega Splash at San Diego Comic Con
DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. pictures are gearing up for a major presence at SDCC. Last year, they released a teaser trailer at SDCC. And with a release date of August 5th, DC and Warners are going all out at SDCC 2016. The cast is going to attend a special taping of Conan (see below for off-site events), as well as making appearances at the DC exhibitor’s booth. Expect autographs galore. Plus, they launched a “Squad Up” contest on the DC website that invites fans to create cosplay based on the 11 member squad, with the 11 winners being given an all expenses free pass to Comic Con in July. Photos of costumes must be submitted by June 29th, 2016. And there’s more, including an off-site reconstruction of the penitentiary that housed the Squad.
11. Not Hot? Marvel Upstaged by DC Comics Before Dr. Strange Saves the Day?
Let’s face it. Most of the hot buzz focuses on DC comics and the likes of its Suicide Squad movie, and rumors were all over the web. Would Marvel bow out of SDCC 2016 for fear of being out-gunned by DC Comics? Last year, they bailed on SDCC, choosing instead to attend D23, the Disney Expo. But with a November 2016 release date for Dr. Strange, the current scoop is that its star Benedict Cumberbatch, and its director Scott Derrickson, will favor Comic Con with an appearance, if not a panel. Plus, the teaser trailer for Dr. Strange got great reviews and nearly 20 million views on YouTube. And with Guardians of the Galaxy 2 currently filming (according to IMDb), can we expect to see Gamora (Zoe Saldana)? Or Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper)? Check the SDCC site for updates.
10. Star Trek Beyond – World Premiere IMAX Screening and Concert for Thousands of Fans
The open air, ocean-front IMAX screening of the film will kick off the convention on Wednesday, July 20th. That’s the night of all kinds of previews. Plus, the screening will feature a live concert in which the San Diego Symphony Orchestra will play Michael Giacchino’s film score. The film will be released just two days after the July 20th screening. Justin Lin, the director, will put in a SDCC appearance, as almost certainly will stars such as Idris Elba (Krall) and Zoe Saldana (Uhuru). Plus, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Star Trek, Comic Con will host an art exhibit of posters and memorabilia, including a piece by the original Spock, the late Leonard Nimoy. With all the hype, we still expect Suicide Squad to rule the roost.
9. Conan Conquers San Diego – TV Style
There’s a lot going on outside the San Diego Convention Center that hosts the main event. There’s the Star Trek Beyond screening. Plus, everybody’s favorite redhead, Conan, will be there and filming special episodes. He’s been doing SDCC for a while. Last year, it was one of the hottest off-site tickets. This year, look for special appearances on the show by Suicide Squad stars such as Jared Leto (Joker), Margot Robbie (Harley Quinn) and Will Smith (Deadshot). Superhero Conan takes on the good and bad guys. It makes for great TV all around.
8. Belle Reve Penitentiary and Harley’s Tattoo Parlor at the Hard Rock Hotel
Another rocking off-site event: the Hard Rock Hotel will host a reconstruction of Belle Reve Penitentiary of Suicide Squad fame, as well as “Harley Quinn’s Tattoo Parlor”, where fans can get the hot “SKWAD” tattoo. As part of the publicity for the film, pictures of cast members inking one another appeared all over the place. Some cast members said Will Smith was pretty bad at inking. So, it’s probably safe to assume he won’t be inking at the Hard Rock. Other rocking off-site events include: The World’s First Pop-Up Resort, a cruise complete with cosplay, music and parties, that sails from Long Beach on July 17th. As one report said, think of Booze Cruise meets nerd convention. Plus, look for Star Trek makeup at MAC and the ever popular Nerd HQ. Want more? Just Google “SDCC 2016 off site” and get ready to be overwhelmed.
7. Masquerade – Cosplay At Its Very Best and Cutting Edge
If you haven’t got you place for “Masquerade”, the ultimate cosplay contest, it’s too late. You could join the waiting list, but don’t hold your breath. It’s like a moving tableau where cosplay meets theater. Performers aim to give a sense of the characters and the action. Can’t get tickets? Large projection venues all over San Diego offer live feeds of the Masquerade. And you usually don’t need tickets to attend the live feeds. Awards include “Best in Show” and “Most Humorous”. DC Comics and Lucasfilm sponsor other awards and prizes. Sometimes the costumes in the audience are just about as good as those on stage.
6. TV Shows to Look Out For
Actually, more TV shows than movies exhibit and display at SDCC. The lists of superhero, comic-inspired shows goes back to The Adventures of Superman in the 1950s. This year, The Walking Dead and new spin-off Fear of the Walking Dead, will strut their stuff, as will BBC’s Dr. Who, FX’s Archer, and Netflix’s Jessica Jones. SyFy will roll up with a live show, panels, and its sci-fi Western drama Defiance, with take over Hard Rock’s Mary Jane Cafe. While their plans are not certain, many expect the Showtime’s hot reboot of Twin Peaks and SyFy’s quirky Wyonna Earp, to make a big splash. We also expect to see NBC’s Powerless in San Diego. Set for airing in the fall, it’s a quirky thing and the first DC Universe comedy. Also look for Netflix’s upcoming Iron Fist. Finn Jones (Iron Fist himself) will also appear as Iron Fist in a hotly anticipated New York based superhero TV show, The Defenders. What’s not hot? Don’t expect to see TNT’s Legends and TNT’s Falling Skies, as the cable shows have ridden off into the sunset.
5. Independent Film Festival and Awards SDCC Style
A kind of homage to action, adventure, sci-fi, fantasy and superhero flicks, SDCC shows classic and fairly new films and shorts. This year features more than 50 great films from all over the world. Judges this year include Rotten Tomatoes’ Matt Atchity and Eric Jacobus, who was a 2015 winner with his Action/Adventure film Rope a Dope 2. There is something for everybody. There’s Earth versus Mars in 2013’s The Crystal Crypt, based on a 1954 Philip K. Dick short story. You can watch Genghis Khan transported to the moon in 2015’s Genghis Khan Conquers the Moon. Documentaries include Chris Claremont’s X-Men. In between all the screenings, there are discussion panels.
4. Warcraft: The Beginning. Hot Game into Movie. Not Hot at SDCC 2016
Game addicts everywhere loved World of Warcraft. But now we have the movie. In the YouTube universe, the official trailer has 25 million views. In 2014 and 2015, a movie trailer was released at SDCC and the conference hosted the usual exhibits and panels. The movie has recently been released worldwide. But, you probably won’t see much about it at SDCC this year. Why? It’s done okay in the United States (around $26 million since its release on June 10th), but it has absolutely smashed box office records in China and the UK. The international box office is already nearing the $300 million mark. So, who needs the U.S. market and SDCC 2016? The movie’s not hot in the U.S.
3. Special Guests Rolled Out for SDCC 2016
This is a real nerd’s nerd paradise. A geek’s paradise. The Special Guests are the talent and the brains behind the comics, the stories, and movies/TV shows. Artists, writers and creative types abound. They are rolling out artist Allen Bellman, who first started his Captain America comic drawing career in 1942. Mad Magazine’s cartoonist Sergio Aragones, will talk about his career. The creator of cosmic avenger Nexus, none other than Mike Baron, will roll up to enlighten fans and probably sign autographs. Emily Carroll, whose eerie Internet comics and iconic short horror stories Through the Woods, have scared us all silly, will be there, as will Star Trek novel writer Peter David. The list is long and stretches to 50 plus names.
2. Exclusives at SDCC: The World of Memorabilia and Action Figures
Companies like Mattel, Funko, Comicave and Factory Entertainment, roll up to SDCC every year with products exclusively designed for the event. Want a George R.R. Martin (Game of Thrones) talking plush doll? Maybe a Ghostbusters light and sound toy is your thing. Or maybe you want to get your hands on Mattel’s “Leonardo vs. Bebop” Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Special Edition Set. Then there’s the Barbie Star Trek 50th Anniversary Doll. We couldn’t make that one up if we tried. Ditto for the Barbie Amazon Princess Wonder Woman Doll that retails at around $80. Amaze your friends and get your Christmas shopping done really early.
1. Beyond San Diego – A World of Comic Cons
Comic Con is a worldwide phenomena. According to Wikipedia, there are over 50 conferences held outside the U.S., from India to Egypt to England. In the U.S. some 40 conferences are held from coast to coast. The biggies are held in California and New York, but you would be hard pressed not to find one coming to a location near you. As you might expect, the season is busiest March to October, but Comic Cons can be found almost any time of the year in places you would never suspect, from Mississippi to Oregon. So, get your Google fingers typing, dust off those cosplay outfits, and be prepared to be beamed up into another universe.