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It’s a different Comic-Con, but it’s got its perks

How to follow Comic-Con@Home, this year’s virtual replacement for the annual in-person San Diego Comic-Con. The convention runs from July 22-26.

Courtesy of San Diego Comic Convention

Virtual programming kicks into a new gear this week with Comic-Con@Home, a free-from-home version of San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) that’s scaled back but can be enjoyed from the comfort of your sofa.

With the 2020 in-person SDCC scrapped due to the COVID-19 pandemic, no expensive hotel rooms in downtown San Diego are needed, badges won’t be checked and you won’t have to wrestle through the same convention space as 125,000+ other attendees. Sure, you’ll miss out on all the cosplayers, some of the shopping, and cramped spaces this summer, but at least pets and private concessions are allowed by going virtual with Comic-Con@Home.

Like a normal SDCC, an exhibitor hall will open Wednesday for a preview night and the rest of the convention’s festivities will take place Thursday through Sunday. But instead of attending events in person, there will be prerecorded panels and presentations unlocked for home viewing via YouTube at designated times. In total, about 350 panels and presentations will be available over the five-day period.

Programming includes Image Comics presenting a spotlight panel on Thursday night and there will be a look at cartoon series “Bob’s Burgers” with cast and crew participating on Friday. Like other Comic-Cons, the annual Eisner Awards will be held Friday evening. Early on Saturday, science gets a spotlight with “Cosmos: Possible Worlds,” a panel with renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, and William Shatner will host a panel talking with NASA astronauts about the United States’ plans for returning to the Moon by 2024 the next hour. To see the full schedule of panels and events that will be available for free on YouTube, click here.

Comic-Con’s 2020 souvenir book will even be downloadable beginning Wednesday, according to the event website. This year’s souvenir book commemorates Ray Bradbury, the late science-fiction writer who was born 100 years ago, and the 50th anniversary of Conan the Barbarian’s first comic book appearance. The SDCC website states six writers — Virginia Hubbell Bloch, Nick Cuti, Leo Dorfman, Gaylord DuBois, Joe Gill and France "Eddie" Herron — will be honored with the Bill Finger Award for Excellence in Comic Book Writing.

The exhibit hall will also be virtual this year, but there will still be shopping opportunities.

San Diego Comic Convention, the organizing body behind SDCC, released the following statement in April, when it was determined an in-person convention couldn’t safely take place this year:

"For the first time in its 50-year history, San Diego Comic Convention, the organizers behind the annual pop culture celebration, announced today with deep regret, that there will be no Comic-Con in 2020. The event will instead return to the San Diego Convention Center from July 22-25, 2021. Recognizing that countless attendees save and plan for its conventions each year, and how many exhibitors and stakeholders rely upon its events for a major portion of their livelihood, they had hoped to delay this decision in anticipation that COVID-19 concerns might lessen by summer. Continuous monitoring of health advisories and recent statements by the Governor of California have made it clear that it would not be safe to move forward with plans for this year."

Check this site for convention news and analysis throughout the back half of the week. You can also follow along on Twitter @InterstellarPOP and on Facebook, where even more information will be posted. Another source for information is Toucan, the official blog of Comic-Con and WonderCon, which is usually held annually in Anaheim. Like SDCC, WonderCon was shelved this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.



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