Superheroes will not be the only ones wearing masks in downtown San Diego this weekend.
After a two-year absence, Comic-Con International returns to San Diego on Friday to entertain, inform and tempt pop culture fans worldwide.
But this will not be the Comic-Con you remember. This is the Comic-Con Special Edition, a stripped-down three-day event held over a holiday weekend to curb crowds during an ongoing pandemic that has forced online versions of the last two conventions.
The Comic-Con organizers said they wanted to hold a personal event, but make it safe. So it meant fewer days, less scope and a return to the intimate gathering that longtime participants happily remember.
And that means participants will be asked to show evidence of vaccination or recent negative COVID-19 tests. They must also wear masks or face clothing regardless of vaccination status.
So far, the mission has been completed. Tickets were still available on Comic-Con’s website Thursday, just hours before the first day of the Special Edition event.
What will fans find?
There will still be exhibitors on site, anime shows, an autograph area, movie screenings, board, card and role-playing games and the popular masquerade costume contest.
And of course, there will be the many panels where artists, creators and fans can discuss their favorite movies, TV shows and graphic novels.
Here is a look at some of the highlights:
The first day of the Comic-Con Special Edition starts in the early afternoon, giving people time to wake up from their turkey-induced coma.
Must-see sessions include panels on the future of Dr. The Who sci-fi series, the new interest in UFOs in the light of government surveys of flying objects, Latina superheroes, a discussion of the work carried out by Comics @ SDSU’s Comics and Social Justice Initiative, and a screening celebrating it 20th the anniversary of Studio Ghibli’s beloved “Spirited Away” animated film.
“The changing face of pop culture” highlights the new opportunities for cultural diversity and the barriers that still exist. Other panels will focus on the interconnection of samurai mystery and the “Star Wars” universe, NBC’s new “La Brea” TV show, the bronze era of Mexican comics and a fantasy draft of superheroes to compete in missions.
The Con concludes Sunday with a how-to panel on breaking into the comic book industry, a look at the Teenager Mutant Ninja Turtle franchise and a discussion of how the Christmas holidays have been celebrated and shaped by pop culture over the years.
It has yet to be announced whether Comic-Con will return to its next year in its full size and to its usual summer schedule.
But to satisfy your pop culture until then, this weekend also marks the public opening of the new Comic-Con Museum in Balboa Park. The museum will be open Friday and all weekend and will then operate on a fixed schedule. For more information, visit https://www.comic-con.org/museum.