So this year, there’s this global pandemic that has cancelled all large gatherings of people. Clearly, there is a lot that has changed in all our lives this year.  And many well-known large events have tried to change to accommodate this, including Comic-Con International: San Diego.

Overall, Comic-Con at Home is not the ideal situation, but neither is a global pandemic.

The surprises and BIG announcements are likely to be minimal if not completely absent. Most large studios are participating (which is understandable given the shutdown for most of the film/television industry). It’s hard to show footage when no one has been able to collect any and people aren’t sure when anything will be released to the public.

DC Comics is holding its own online “convention” in August and the absence in the programming, minus a couple token panels, is very noticeable. Amazon Prime has some intriguing panels schedule and may be the big winner from Comic-Con at Home. As a major sponsor of the convention this year, there is also a distinct virtual presence (maybe consider it like an off-site experience?).

That said, there are of lot of scheduled panels that are yearly staples at the convention. Ones that are fantastic but often get overlooked with all the other things occurring simultaneously. There’s also a lot that directly or indirectly relates to the pandemic. And I’m not sure how I feel about that – the at home convention is already a big reminder about the outside world and I’m not sure I need more reminders. One of the beautiful things about a “normal” San Diego Comic-Con is the complete removal from the normal world. When you are there and immersed in the madness, your world becomes limited to your local surroundings and outside news doesn’t infiltrate much.

Personally, I’m not sure how it’s all going to play out. There are a lot of pros, but also a lot of cons. Online streaming panels are just too easy to blow off. And how many people are working instead of on vacation like they’d originally planned?

The Clothes

San Diego Comic-Con is well known for truly incredible cosplay, even on days when it’s really to hot and humid to be wearing all that plastic, foam, fabric, and what not. Just walking from one place to another is a pure treat to see what everyone is wearing. And even if it isn’t cosplay, the geek representation is strong. Homemade clothing and geek t-shirts abound. And while it will certainly be sad not to see everyone in their geek finest, it will also be nice to not worry about dressing to impress or dealing with uncomfortable shoes (and even the most comfortable, perfect shoes become painful after a long day walking all over downtown San Diego at Comic-Con).

That being said, SDCC is still hosting the annual Masquerade Competition this weekend, so if you want to check out some amazing cosplay, you can!

The Crowds

San Diego Comic-Con typically packs upwards of 100,000 people into the convention hall. And then there are the uncounted numbers that just experience everything else in downtown San Diego. That’s a lot of people and it gets overwhelming very quickly. Clearly, one benefit of Comic-Con at Home is not having to fight those crowds. You don’t have to wait in line for bathrooms. Or get sunburned standing in a long line for hours at time to maybe get into something you want to see. With your internet, from your couch, you can experience parts of Comic-Con. That seems like a plus.

But, with the crowds comes…

The Camaraderie

One of the best things (but also occasionally one of the worst things) about San Diego Comic-Con is the people. The convention is one of the largest gatherings of like-minded individuals coming together to celebrate pop culture. This is the place where you find your people. You may spend all year getting strange looks from your friends and family at home who don’t quite understand your obsessions. But Comic-Con allows you to spout off on all that obscure knowledge with other people who get it. It’s a great chance to meet new people. You strike up conversations with the people you spend hours in line with. You make a friend who saves your seat when you are by yourself in a panel room and desperately need a quick bathroom break. And sometimes (a lot of times) there’s flirting too.

Takeaways as we jump into Comic-Con at Home

Comic-Con at Home is a chance for everyone who’s ever wanted to go and has not been able to go to get a sample of what it’s like at the ultimate pop culture convention. It also provides a possibility for more people to score those convention exclusives. That online exhibit hall may be a bit clunky, but there’s some cool stuff throughout there. And it’s a chance to support your favorite creators who have been hit particularly hard with cancellation of convention season this year.

And if you’re looking for a slightly easier way to browse, the SDCC Unofficial Blog has put together a very handy overview of the convention!

I can’t wait to hear what you experience and how you feel about it for San Diego Comic-Con at Home 2020.