Two days before it kicks off, Comic-Con Special Edition already has a very different vibe to the usual convention that – in a non-pandemic life – takes place every summer at the San Diego Convention Center.
After offering a virtual “Comic-Con @ Home” in July 2020 and 2021, the annual pop culture extravaganza in downtown San Diego is back for a special, smaller edition on Thanksgiving weekend, which has its obvious advantages and disadvantages.
At his website, Comic-Con International explains that the event is “intentionally smaller” due to current COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines. Spokesperson David Glanzer, standing in Hall H where the larger panel room has been replaced with a staging area for attendee check-in, called it a âscaled-down versionâ of the event.
“The big difference is the size of the show, both in terms of the number of days – it’s a 3-day show as opposed to a 4.5-day or 5-day show – and the scale of the show is more. also small in terms of exhibition space, âsaid Glanzer.
The difference is also apparent in the streets around the San Diego Convention Center, which typically explode with activity leading up to and during Comic-Con. Where the surrounding skyscrapers typically display giant ads for upcoming TV shows and movies, there are only a few small ads on Wednesdays. Where shops and restaurants in the Gaslamp Quarter are normally decorated with vibrant window paint and signs promoting superhero-inspired food and drink specials, there are holiday decorations and much of it. business continued as usual.
Even the goodie bags, which convention attendees receive when they receive their official Comic-Con badges, included a bottle of hand sanitizer to help keep germs away.
Fans and Comic-Con exhibitors collecting their badges on Wednesday knew the “special edition” would have its own flavor, but most were still happy to be there.
“It’s just nice to get it back,” said San Diegan Vivian Paredes, who is competing for the fifth time. “I think it will be interesting because normally it’s just packed and so maybe this year it’s obviously on a smaller scale, so it can be cool in itself to make it more intimate.”
Paredes also noted how much cooler November weather was much more appealing than the hot July days.
Before the pandemic, usual expectations for attending Comic-Con were estimated at 135,000 people. This weekend, Glanzer said that around 40,000 to 50,000 people were expected, but also that the participation badges, which are usually difficult to obtain, would be on sale on site for anyone wishing to attend at the last minute.
Fullerton-based artist Alexis CaÃ±edo, who has just started a business called Infinity Rise 1, said the smaller version of Comic-Con feels like a much-needed big break to break into the business. CaÃ±edo will be displaying original artwork, stickers and other merchandise at booth LL-34 in Artists’ Alley.
“It’s a big deal for me,” said the National City native. âIt’s a great moment in my life. I’m only 22, so it’s an amazing time. I didn’t think I had the opportunity just because it’s Comic-Con. I thought it would take me years to get started.
For the other attendees who collected their badges on Wednesday, the timing of the special edition of Comic-Con was perfect. A guest said he had tried and failed for 9 years to get a badge and was thrilled to finally attend. Another said she usually travels during the summer, so the fall event was better for her schedule.
Parents Anna Zelenak and Alex Watson brought their three children to get their badges and said the only downside they could see was that in the summer they had more time to plan a family cosplay and this year with the school year and the holidays, they do not dress you. They were still stunned with excitement.
âWe come to Comic-Con every time that happens, as long as they get us,â Zelenak said.