San Diego Comic-Con Goes Virtual to Beat Covid
San Diego, CA: For the first (and hopefully last) time ever, the venerable San Diego Comic-Con will be completely virtual for 2020, due to the continuing Covid pandemic. An event that has drawn hundreds of thousands to San Diego over more than 50 years to celebrate the world of pop culture does not simply raise its collective hands and surrender to a world-threatening virus any more than The Avengers or Justice League would. And so on Wednesday, July 22, [email protected] hits the internet with a full complement of panels, exhibits, and an at-home experience to keep even the most rabid Con-fans satisfied.
Running from Wednesday, July 22, through Sunday, July 26, [email protected] will feature more than 350 panels. These will range from panels focused on art, pop culture and creativity to panels focused on special topics such as Indigenous People, mental health, and LGBTQI Identity. Diversity will feature in several panels over the five days. There will also be the usual big name panels such as the [email protected] panels (Friday and Saturday), several Cartoon Network and Disney+ panels, and panels with some of your favorite stars (find out what makes Charlize Theron a “badass” on Friday).
In order for Con-fans to experience [email protected] to the fullest extent, all panels and presentations will be posted on YouTube and the Comic-Con International Channel (www.youtube.com/user/ComicCon). Panels will go live at their scheduled times, and many will remain available beyond July 26. Full daily schedules can be accessed through the [email protected] webpage at www.comic-con.org/cci/2020/athome. Fans can also create a personalized schedule of panels using links on the page. Plus, for those who make a point in collecting new badges every year, you can create your own participant badge - no registration fee or frustrating online waiting room required!
Here are some of the highlights of the week:
Wednesday: This day should almost be renamed Teachers’ Day because of all the panels focused on the educational uses of comics and pop culture. The fun kicks off at 3:00 pm PDT with panels such as “Comics in the Classroom,” “Teaching and Learning with Comics,” and “GeekED: Restoried.” Other education-related panels include “Comics as a Conduit,” “Comics on Campus,” and “Teaching Graphic Novels Online” (perfect as schools return online for the fall).
Thursday: Families and Fandoms feature on the second day of panels. From the Star Trek Universe to X-Men, from Batgirls (yes, plural) to The Lost Cities, this is a day for fandom devotees. Other panels look at how pop culture deals with the current pandemic with “Comics During Clampdown: Creativity in the Time of COVID” and “Building a Geek Brand: Surviving a Pandemic” among other offerings. You can also reach out beyond your inner circle through “Causeplay - In Service to Others” or “Virtual Fandom: Superhero Fandom Adapts to the Pandemic.”
Friday: As usual, Friday is a day for the big “Hall H” level panels. This year the virtual panels include talks on DC Comics, Marvel, Star Wars, Fear the Walking Dead and Vikings. A number of panels will look at the interplay of pop culture and LGBTQI, Indigenous Cultures, mental health and female representation. One panel that is sure to generate a good deal of interest and possibly controversy is “Decoding the Kirby/Lee Dynamic,” which looks at the 50+ year relationship between Jack Kirby and Stan Lee.
Saturday: If you’re not sure what you are interested in, this might be the day for you. Panels run the gamut from scientific to creative to who-knows-what. “Back to the Moon and Beyond with NASA” will feature astronauts, technology and engineering experts, with Captain James T. Kirk himself (William Shatner) as the host. Several panels will look at the creative and business sides of pop culture, while others will visit properties as The Simpsons and Constantine.
Sunday: [email protected] wraps up with another day devoted to, well, everything. Fans can learn how to cosplay as adults, create a life-size cardboard superhero, or learn more about tabletop gaming. There are also panels on YA Fantasy, a celebration of TMNT (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) 30th Anniversary, and new series coming to Netflix and FOX.
Author: Stephen Prendergast is a contributing writer for Presidio Sentinel and a member of Geek Round Table.
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