On July 18-21, Comic-Con International is coming to San Diego and the event is shaping up to be among the best yet. If you’re not familiar with Comic-Con, it’s an annual convention that began in 1970 after a group of comic, movie, and science fiction enthusiasts came together to create the first-ever comic book convention. What began as a one-day “minicon” has evolved into a four-day extravaganza with hundreds of thousands of attendees—last year, around 130,000 people attended the convention.
The convention features everything a comic lover could want, including speaking panels comprised of prominent comics creators; science fiction authors; and film and TV directors, actors, writers, and producers. There are also a ton of different exhibitions, parties, and games, as well as plenty of kid-friendly opportunities for your little ones to take advantage of.
Among the exhibitions offered include the Art Show, which showcases everything from drawings to jewelry to sculptures from amateur and professional artists. Many of the works are for sale by silent or voice auction, and you can obtain bidder numbers and other information from the administration table inside of the Art Show. In addition to the main Art Show, there are hundreds of artists of various types showcasing their works in Artists’ Alley for your enjoyment.
When it comes to special guests sharing their talent and wisdom, Comic-Con has them in high supply. For instance, you can check out talks by Neal Adams, an artist behind legendary films like Batman, X-Men, and Green Lantern. You can also hear from one of MAD Magazine’s longest-running cartoonists, Sergio Aragones, who is also the creator of Groo the Wanderer. Meanwhile, author of Shadow and Bone and The Language of Thorns, Leigh Bardugo, will drop some fantasy novel knowledge along with a gang of other noteworthy speakers.
Panels are perhaps the biggest draw of the annual convention, and given how robust and talented they are, it’s easy to see why. You can join the cast of Netflix’s “The Order” at their first Comic-Con appearance or bring the littles to “SpongeBob’s Big Birthday Blowout” panel that’s celebrating 20 years of “SpongeBob SquarePants”. Get your nostalgia fix from To Shell and Back, a panel featuring three generations of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” creators or check out the “Veronica Mars” world premiere screening and Q&A panel. And these are just a few of the extensive panel offerings happening each day of the event.
Regardless of its exhibition and panel offerings, no Comic-Con is complete without the annual costume competition. The 2019 Masquerade invites you to don your favorite fantastical character’s garb while viewing the three-hour competition. Approximately 100 people donning handmade costumes will walk the stage as a panel of judges assesses their creativity. The tickets for the show are free, and you can get them just outside of Ballroom 20 starting at noon on Saturday.
In addition to seemingly endless offerings at the convention, there are also abundant parties you can attend, including soirees for Amazon’s “The Expanse” and “Carnival Row,” and unofficial parties for “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Stranger Things.” Many parties tend to stay hush-hush until right before they happen, but The Wrap is offering a continuously updated list of must-attend bashes here.
Badges for the event are sold out on Comic-Con’s website, but various online channels are offering them at a premium, such as Vivid Seats, if you weren’t lucky enough snag ‘em when they were first released. You can find out everything else you need to know, including tips for attending, from Comic-Con’s official website.