San Diego Comic-Con 2018 featured work from legendary artist Bill Sienkiewicz. His style of abstract expressionism caught my eye way back in 1986, and in fact, the unique aesthetic is what drew me into reading my first comic book. If that’s any indication of the talent that’ll be at the San Diego Comic-Con 2019, count me in.

I didn’t know then that the eight-part series was a genre-breaker, all I knew is that on some level I related to this wild ninja woman, Elektra Assassin. Of course, Frank Miller is no slouch either, his mind-bending stories call for art from an expressionist’s soul to do his words justice. The Dark Knight series and Daredevil are also among his list of impressive credits. Miller is probably best known for his comic book writing, but he’s a novelist and a filmmaker too. With his felt hat, crooked nose, and piercing eyes, he bears an uncanny resemblance to Freddy Krueger, only with facial hair and better skin.

In other Comic-Con 2018 news, the world of comics and movies merged when Warner Brothers debuted their trailers for Aquaman, Shazam, and Godzilla: King of Monsters. Not to mention CW television network’s announcement that they’d cast Nicole Maines as Supergirl, making her the first-ever onscreen trans superhero. Yes, comic nerds are ahead of the curve when it comes to inclusivity. Let’s hope the trend continues with diverse casting throughout LaLa land.

Supergirl isn’t the only woman who was part of the action at Comic-Con 2018 San Diego. Marvel announced their venture into digital comics, starting with Jessica Jones. They’ll release three 40-page issues every three months. To top it all off, DC chimed in with the disclosure that they’d be serving up their own streaming channel. Guess what? The DC station is here!

What’s in a Name?

Before we get into the nitty gritty good stuff that is the essence of Comic-Con, let’s go over the many ways you might have seen its name. Maybe you’ve seen it with a hyphen shoved in the middle, like comic-con. Perhaps you’ve seen the comic con before the San Diego, after it, or no San Diego at all. Was it capitalized as Comic Con or all lower case? How about everybody’s favorite, comicon? Or comiccon, because why drop the other c? It didn’t do anything.

No matter how you see comic con spelled, spoken or referenced, more than likely when people are talking Comic-con, they’re talking about the big one: the San Diego Comic Convention or the San Diego Comic-Con, for short.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way let’s talk about all the things we know so far about San Diego Comic-Con 2019.

San Diego Comic-Con 2019

There is so much to see and do at the San Diego Comic-Con; it pays to have a plan. Make sure to bookmark their website for updates, as well as their blog, Toucan for registration information and more. The majority of the San Diego Comic-Con 2019 programming takes place at the San Diego convention center; however, there are plenty of comic con panels, movie trailers, and other happenings around town that run later into the evening. You probably want to spend at least some time downtown people watching because the costumes are outrageous! And why not rock yours out in public while you have the chance?

Dates

Keep in mind that San Diego Comic-Con happens during the summer, between June and August, usually around mid-July so it stays light late and there’s plenty of nightlife.

Preview night is Wednesday, July 17 from 6:00 p.m. through 9:00 p.m. for San Diego Comic-Con 2019. The convention continues on Thursday, July 18 through Saturday, July 20, with events at the convention center running from 9:30 a.m. through 7:00 p.m. It all wraps up with a full day of programming on Sunday from 9:30 a.m. through 5:00 p.m.

San Diego Comic-Con 2019 Badges and Open Registration

Every attendee must have a badge to get through the doors at San Diego Comic-Con 2019. Security requires a photo ID so they can match your information to the registration. They take this stuff seriously and work hard to prevent scalping. San Diego Comic-Con tickets are a hot commodity and badges are most definitely not for resale.

The folks at San Diego Comic-Con 2019 and every year know it can be a challenge to get your badge. They said, “obtaining a comic con badge can require the persistence of Superman, the patience of a Watcher, the ingenuity of Tony Stark, and the readiness of Batman.” They’re not kidding. It’s all about planning.

You’re required to sign up for a member ID before you can purchase badges for the San Diego Comic-Con 2019. If you don’t have an ID, you don’t get tickets. Period. You can’t buy tickets for people who aren’t registered either. This practice is as much for safety reasons as it is to streamline online ticket sales. Membership is free, and once you sign up, you’ll be able to receive up‑to‑date information on registration and Comic-Con events.

If you’ve never been before, eligibility for San Diego Comic-Con 2019 tickets requires that you sign up for a membership ID before October 31, 2018. Once San Diego Comic-Con 2019 announces that tickets are on sale the buying frenzy is on. Consequently, November 5, 2019, was open registration, and badges are now sold out. So if you’re still asking when the San Diego Comic-Con 2019 is, what’s Comic-Con 2019, or where’s the San Diego Comic-Con, I’m sorry, my friend, there’s always next year. Now you have time to plan.

How much does it cost?

Prices are reasonable considering the amount of programming available. The cost does increase each year slightly. Currently, we’re seeing prices ranging from $21 to $31 for juniors ages 13 through 17, seniors ages 60 and over, and military personnel. Standard adult prices will run between $42 and $63. You can also purchase a combo badge so you can attend all nights for a slight discount. Children 12 and under are free with a paying adult. They are the only ones who don’t need a membership ID; however, an adult must register them at the badge pick-up desk onsite.

Parking

You may be better off ditching your car and taking another mode of transportation to the San Diego convention center. There were so many people at the event in 2018 that the hosts ran a lottery and only the lucky chosen were able to park their car in the event parking lot. Never fear, there are plenty of choices for San Diego Comic-Con 2019. A favorite of fans staying downtown is the Metropolitan Transit System’s green line trolly that has a stop right across the street from the convention center. San Diego Comic-Con 2019 also offers a shuttle service with over 55 stops including hotels near the airport. They run 24 hours a day during the convention, although it may take longer, late night.

General Information

There’s a reason why San Diego Comic-Con 2019 tickets will sell out immediately. It’s a comic nerd paradise with artist booths, autograph signing, discussion panels, comic-inspired movie trailers, cosplay, and much more. Comic-Con international crowds are massive, reaching up to 130,000 fans! It’s no wonder though, the convention started in 1970, and the crowds grow every year with fans from all walks of life. That growth is what sparked the interest of television and film producers, according to Ani Bundel, at Think, who says that the massive programming outgrew the convention center long ago and now events spill over to the library, hotels, and theaters.

From its start though, the international San Diego Comic-Con was about more than comics. In fact, the con’s first logo included not only a comic book, but also an icon to represent fantasy fiction, and a movie projector to indicate comic’s film interests. Ultimately, Comic-Con is an event about pop culture. No wonder it’s wildly popular. All the fantasies come together in one place.

San Diego Comic-Con 2019 recently added an FAQ page to their website, and it gets regular updates, so make sure to check in when you have questions.

What to Expect

The con doesn’t reveal details until we’re much closer to the event, but we know what kinds of panels to expect from previous years. You’ll find Anime, film festivals for children and adults, games, a masquerade ball, an artist’s portfolio review, and celebrity appearances. Who those celebrities are, remains is a mystery at the moment, but if it’s anything like past cons you won’t be disappointed.

The exhibition space is nearly half a million square feet and loaded with booths from all corners of the pop culture universe. There are typically over 700 exhibitors. Everyone from Hollywood producers and film companies all the way down to small vendors attends. You’ll find exclusive merchandise, get free swag, and have an opportunity to meet your favorite writers and artists during autograph sessions.

Cosplay

Playing the part of a favorite character is one of the things that makes Comic-Cons so much fun and memorable. Sharing pictures from the con is one of the most anticipated events for fandoms. The 2018 convention saw an ever increasing number of players. Who wouldn’t want to live out their fantasy as their favorite superhero, or villain no matter what their gender?

According to the San Diego reader, reverse gender cosplay is increasing in popularity, and it showed in 2018. The beautiful thing about cosplay is that you can be whomever, or whatever you choose.

If this year is like the cons in the past, and we think it will be, the cosplays at the San Diego Comic-Con 2019 are sure to impress. Who would you be?

Main Events

The bulk of the main events take place in the exhibition hall, but a lot is going on, and you may wonder how you’ll keep up with everything. Well, the bright hosts at San Diego Comic-Con 2019 came up with a nifty app that lists all of the panels, artist meet and greets, autograph sessions and all things Comic-Con, along with their times and location. That’s not all; you can personalize your schedule so you won’t miss out on any of the fan-tastic happenings.

Special guests

Though we can’t say for sure who’ll be at the San Diego Comic-Con 2019, they won’t let the fans down. Artists, writers, television and movie stars all show up at the con.

There were approximately a dozen special guests at the San Diego 2018 Comic-Con. Among them was, Yoshitaka Amano, one of the most recognized Japanese artists in the last fifty years. He started his career at the tender age of 15 when he illustrated one of my favorite childhood cartoons, Speed Racer. Amano is a prolific anime artist, and his work includes illustrations for Hideyuki Kikuchi’s “Vampire Hunter D,” as well as Neil Gaiman’s “Sandman: The Dream Hunters.” He gained international fame with his work on the Final Fantasy video game series.

Fans also had an opportunity to meet the multi-talented writer and artist behind “My Favorite Things Is Monsters,” Emil Ferris. She received two Ignatz awards for the first volume of her debut graphic novel. Rafael Albuquerque, who is best known for his work on All-Star Batman, Animal Man, and Batgirl also attended that year.

Who knows what talent 2019 will bring? Stay tuned.

Eisner awards

Of the events happening outside of the convention center, the San Diego Comic-Con hosts the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards every year. In 2018, the Hilton San Diego Bayfront hosted the prestigious awards ceremony on July 20. The debut graphic novel “My Favorite Thing Is Monsters,” by Emil Ferris raked in many awards including best continuing series and best publication for teens. Lui won the award for best writer. Her partner, Japanese illustrator and comic book artist, Sana Takeda swept the best painter and best cover artist categories. Add the awards ceremony into your San Diego Comic-Con 2019 plans because you don’t want to miss it.

Masquerade

As you might imagine, the masquerade is one of the highlights at Comic-Con. There’s no reason to believe the San Deigo Comic-Con 2019 will be any different. The art of costuming is intrinsic to everything that is Comic-Con. Comic books, movies, television shows, and video games that draw us in also inspire us and make us want to be part of those character’s worlds.

Comic-Con typically holds the masquerade on Saturday night in the convention center’s ballroom stage to shine the spotlight on fans so they can show off their creativity and craftsmanship. There are always a wide variety of characters, and they do more than walk the runway. They enact dramas, create comedy, and mock battles or whatever else they can think of to show off their handy work. Masquerade contestants get to select their own music and lighting too. The best thing about it is you never know who’s going to show up, or what’s going to happen next.

The competition lasts for three hours, including an intermission and the awards ceremony. The judges are industry professionals, and the winners receive cash and merchandise. They capture the whole show on multiple video cameras, so no one misses a thing. Each year they announce a master and mistress of ceremonies; Phil and Kaja Foglio, the publishers of Girl Genius, did the honors at the 2018 masquerade.

Con Safety

Unfortunately, there has traditionally been a lot of harassment at past San Diego Comic-Cons, perhaps because of the revealing costumes. But as protesters from Geeks for CONsent pointed out in 2014, “Cosplay does not equal consent.” Fast forward to 2018, with the #MeToo movement and TimesUp, and festivals are making changes on how they handle conduct issues. Mostly, they’re increasing security at the convention center, and ramping up San Diego police presence in the Gaslamp Quarter. That’s where most of the cosplayers hang out later in the evening.

Conduct

San Diego Comic-Con works with police and other local authorities to keep fans safe at the convention center. They have a code of conduct in place that clearly states their zero-tolerance policy on harassing or offensive behavior. Can’t play by the rules and San Diego Comic-Con 2019 will give you the boot. Period. Plus, the badges double as a way to keep track of visitors. If you do get harassed or feel in danger, do not hesitate to find a staff member or security guard and report the incident.

Costumes and security

Some of the best costumes include a weapon. What is Elecktra without her Okinawan sai, Wonder woman without her golden lasso, or Batman without his utility belt arsenal? Of course, all the cosplayers want their costume to be authentic, but there are rules for mere mortals.

As per policy, there are no functional props or weapons allowed at the San Diego Comic-Con 2019. You can wear simulated or costume weapons. But, prepare for a cosplay inspection. Also, oversized costumes may be hazardous in extreme crowds. There is a chance you’ll be asked to leave the exhibition hall if your costume takes up too much space. Peak times get jam-packed, and big costumes may only add more bulk to the crowd. Keep that in mind when you plan your cosplay for 2019.

Alternative Comic-Cons

If you can’t make it to the San Diego Comic-Con 2019 International in July, no worries, there are comic book conventions scattered throughout the United States all year long. In January there’s the Pasadena Comic-Con and the California Comic Convention; you’ll find the Hero Trader Comic-Con across the country in Punta Gorda, Florida, in February. Or if you prefer to stay on the west coast, you can always hit up the East Bay Comic-Con in Concord, California. Then in March, there’s the Big Apple Comic-Con in, you guessed it, New York City, NY. In April, May, and June you’ll find cons in New York, Boston, Washington D.C., Oregon, and New Jersey.

Then the big one, San Diego Comic-Con 2019 in July! You get the picture. You could spend the entire year being a comic book nerd and traveling all over the country. And who wouldn’t love that?

 

Featured Image: CC by 2.0, by Gage Skidmore, via Flickr