ComicCon International in San Diego is making an extra large splash this year, and why wouldn’t it? After the pandemic forced the event to move online the past couple years due to COVID-19 (and the reviews for that format were dismal), it was obvious that in-person elements are what make it special. Chat rooms and streaming don’t hold a candle to fandom in the flesh. They tried, but the hot tickets –panels, promo parties, “activations” and photo opps– are really only engaging in person. And there is plenty of each this year, from immersive amusements (experiences based on Apple TV+’s Severance and CBS’s Ghosts) to high buzz booth events (Ozzy Osbourne/Todd McFarlane signing their new comic) to bashes (Entertainment Weekly’s Lord of the Rings-themed soiree looks killer) to merch drops (we always look forward to new Funko figures) to vendors and displays representing pop culture faves (Troma, Zestworld) and representation from pretty much every broadcast and streaming network and movie company out there (Netflix, HBO, Hulu, and of course, its sisters powerhouses Marvel and Disney). Comic-Con International is the con of all cons promises a head-spinning weekend, but if you decide to make the trek from L.A. to S.D., try to take it easy, load up on vitamins and wear a mask (thanks to cosplay that shouldn’t be too difficult). You have to anyway: SDCC’s safety protocols require face coverings for all attendees indoors as well as proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours– there’ll be COVID verification stations to check, too.
Comic-Con International in San Diego, at the San Diego Convention Center, 111 W Harbor Dr, San Diego; July 21-24. More info at comic-con.org.
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