First Look: San Diego Comic-Con International 2014

San Diego Comic Con International Logo

Two months from today, Comic-Con International will return to San Diego and celebrate its 45th anniversary.
 
The Preview Night for this year’s San Diego Comic-Con International will kick off on Wednesday, July 23 before officially starting the convention on Thursday, July 24. As the biggest comics and pop culture show in the country, Comic-Con International will essentially take over the entire San Diego Convention Center and its surrounding areas through the end of the con on Sunday, July 27.
 
Because there is still a significant amount of time between now and the convention, it’s difficult to make too many declarations about what to expect from this year’s Comic-Con International. However, we do have a brief list of predictions for this year’s Comic-Con that you may find useful.  
 

Comics

 
In the last few years, smaller comic companies have realized that they can dominate the comic news cycle by making announcements in the few days before Comic-Con while the bigger companies save their announcements for the show. Dynamite Comics pulled off that trick by revealing several new projects last year. Expect other companies to follow their lead.
 
As for Marvel and DC, both companies are very event focused. For Comic-Con, expect a lot of panels about AXIS, Original Sin and whatever DC is going to call their next Crisis crossover. The Hollywood properties may get more attention, but Comic-Con is still one of the biggest showcases for the comic industry. Very few comic companies have panels at the con without sharing an exclusive announcement or preview.

The Incredible Shrinking Artist’s Alley

 
If you go to Comic-Con looking to meet your favorite comic book artists then you may be out of luck. For years, Comic-Con International has gradually taken away floor space from Artist’s Alley and several of the bigger comic book artists have resorted to getting booths on the show floor. There are even some comic artists who have simply stopped coming back to the con because they feel marginalized by the show. 
 
DeviantArt has sponsored the last two years of Artist’s Alley at Comic-Con International and that may help slow down the shrinkage. But Artist’s Alley is an endangered species at Comic-Con. Artist’s Alley is also the one area in which Comic-Con International hasn’t been able to match the impressive artist turnout of New York Comic-Con or Chicago’s C2E2. Those conventions are still very artist friendly. San Diego seems less so. 

TV

 
DC hit the jackpot this year with series pickups for “Gotham,” “The Flash,” “iZombie” and “Constantine.’ You should expect panel presentations and possible pilot screenings for all of those shows. For the infamous Hell Hall H, “Game of Thrones,” “Supernatural” and “Doctor Who” will probably fill Comic-Con’s biggest stage, as other returning favorites are likely to include “The Walking Dead,” “Arrow,” “True Blood,” “Falling Skies,” “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” “The Simpsons,” “Sleepy Hollow” and more.
 
If you love genre TV, you won’t be bored. But it will be extremely difficult to get into some of these panels if you aren’t camped out the night before. 

Film

 
There is no shortage of geek-centric films that may be presented at this year’s Comic-Con International. It may be too early to tease any footage from Star Wars: Episode VII, but I would bet that Disney/Marvel will give Guardians of the Galaxy one last big push ahead of its release the following month. I’d say that there’s also a very good chance that Marvel may bring some teasers from The Avengers: Age of Ultron. 
 
As for Warner Bros. it seems like a good idea to bring out the stars of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Warner Bros. has been hinting for months that announcements about its plans for more DC superhero movies would be made soon. Can you think of a bigger stage to make those announcements than Comic-Con?

Crowds 

 
In theory, the San Diego Convention Center has already reached its capacity for growth and the number of people in attendance should be capped off at about 125,000. But it seems like the con finds a way to squeeze more people into the Convention Center every year and it can sometimes be an unpleasant experience when you can barely walk through the sea of convention-goers. 
 
Until the Convention Center is finally expanded this won’t be changing. The best advice I can give is to allow yourself 30 to 40 minutes to get anywhere within the Convention Center itself. Always show up a few hours early for any TV or film panel and give up on Hall H if you’re not willing to camp out overnight. But the biggest thing you should remember is that the end of the day crowd is a nightmare to get through. Either leave early or give the crowd some time to disperse. But if you try to leave Comic-Con at the exact moment that it closes each day then you won’t be getting very far anytime soon.