Though conditions weren’t quite right for attending San Diego Comic-Con International in person this year, you can still attend Comic-Con@Home online this weekend, and enjoy all of its events and vendors for free. With no lines. And free parking.
Comic-Con@Home has been running since Wednesday, but there’s still plenty worth checking out as it continues through Sunday. Just like a traditional Con, this one boasts a packed schedule of panels, exhibits, games, and tons of other fun activities except it’s all held online. Sure, it’s not quite the same as wading through hundreds of Harley Quinns and Psychos from Borderlands, but this time you don’t have to worry about waiting in lines for hours (or obliterating your budget with impulsive fan art purchases).
If you want to keep your Con experience as close to the real thing as possible, San Diego Comic-Con International does have a page on their website with printable Comic-Con badges and signs. It even has audio files of classic SDCCI announcements (such as those welcoming you to the Con or pointing out where food is located), as well as video clips of interactions with volunteers asking you to have your badge ready. It’s the perfect ambiance for your Con away from Con. You can also follow along in real time by following #ComicConatHome and #ComicConAtHomeExperience on Twitter.
You can find the complete Comic-Con@Home schedule on SDCCI’s site, and you can build your own custom event schedule by signing up for a free account and logging in. Schedules are also broken down by day so you can view events for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. You can also go back and watch events that already aired just by clicking on a particular day and time on the schedule. Individual events show names, descriptions, start and end times, and links for joining the event when it starts. As is to be expected, there are panels spanning a wide variety of interests, from creating cosplay and writing video game narratives to a celebration of queer comics and discussing popular sci-fi shows like Disney’s The Mandalorian.
Exhibit Hall & Artists’ Alley
One of the most exciting parts of a Con is spending hours walking through the exhibit hall exploring vendor booths. From nerdy t-shirts and plushies to signed comic books and fan art, sorting through everything typically takes multiple days. This year, however, you can hop onto the Comic-Con@Home Tumblr page and check out their digital Art Show, which is the next best thing! The page is full of original art prints, indie comic books, jewelry, and anime enamel pins. You can also view a virtual mockup of the Con’s online exhibit hall and click on vendors there to see their offerings and links to their site where you can purchase goods.
Although it’s always entertaining to see a gaggle of Deadpools or Pyramid Heads running amok, it’s the original cosplay costumes that make Cons so fun. Thankfully, you’ll still be able to see cosplays this year in the Masquerade costume competition, which will be held on Friday, July 24. You can see pics, videos, and GIFs of over 50 costumes on the Con’s Tumblr page. Winners will be announced on Saturday, and tons of cool prizes are at stake.
You can check out free games, demos, interviews, and related events this weekend, too. There will be games and events from companies like Wyvern, Board Game Geek, Greenlit E-Sports, CMON, Frogwares, and more. There will also be over 40 games to explore, including Gudetama: The Tricky Egg Card Game, Fortnite, Valorant, Pokemon, Munchkin Dungeon, Marvel United, Joe Manganiello Death Saves, Legendary New Mutants, Dungeon Draft, and more. Gaming events will be coordinated through the Con’s Discord server through Sunday from 10 AM-6 PM PDT.
Scheduled later on Friday are the prestigious 2020 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards. These are pretty much the Oscars of the comic book industry, and they honor creators in their respective categories. This year’s virtual award ceremony will be hosted by actor, comedian, and voice actor Phil LaMarr, with announcements and presentations from Sergio Aragonés and Ruth Clampett. You can check out nominations here, and the judges panel and comments here.
Following the social distancing lead Hulu took earlier this year, SDCC is hosting a variety of watch parties via Scener! You can watch movies and anime online simultaneously with other attendees and even join in the chat. The only caveat is that you’ll need to have an active subscription to the corresponding video streaming service, like Amazon Prime, to enjoy titles like Clue, Star Wars Ep. IV, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Thor: Ragnarok, and Avengers: End Game. Be sure to download the free Scener Chrome extension before the movie starts, though.
Shop Comic-Con Merch
Exclusive Comic-Con@Home merch is available now in the Con’s online shop. You can also download and print the free 260-page Comic-Con Souvenir book and hope it tides you over until next year’s Con.
Hopefully you enjoy some good panels and watch parties, and perhaps even find a way to still spend a small fortune on Funko Pops and Pokémon plushies. Even though Comic-Con@Home can’t compare with experiencing the Con in person, it’s still a lovely gesture and a fantastic way to unite geeks and nerds of all varieties while keeping everyone safe at home.