Marvel to Meltdowns: San Diego Comic-Con’s top 10 trends to watch

(Nelvin C. Cepeda / San Diego Union-Tribune)

Is Comic-Con International too big? It is if you plan on summing it up or pinning it down. So we won’t. In honor of the four-day entertainment marathon monopolizing the San Diego Convention Center and beyond through the weekend, here are 10 trends to explore. May the line gods be with you.

Must-see Meltdowns

Forget all the hand-wringing over who isn’t coming to the Con this year. Despite the absence of “Game of Thrones,” “Westworld” and the usual massive Marvel Studios blowout, there are still plenty of big-ticket panels to get your FOMO senses tingling.

Thursday: “The Predator” (10:30 a.m., Hall H); “Doctor Who” (11:45 a.m., Hall H); “Breaking Bad” (4:30 p.m. Hall H). Friday: “The Walking Dead” (12:15 p.m., Hall H); “Star Trek: Discovery” (1:30 p.m., Hall H); Sony Pictures panel (6:15 p.m., Hall H). Saturday: Warner Bros. Studios (10:30 a.m., Hall H); “Black Lightning (11 a.m., Ballroom 20); Kevin Smith (6:45 p.m., Hall H).

Future Crush Alert

If you can’t find your next pop-culture obsession at Comic-Con, it might not exist. Or it’s trapped in the Upside Down. The fanatical fun starts here:

Thursday: “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” (5:45 p.m., Room 6A). Friday: Hulu’s “Castle Rock” (12:45 p.m., Ballroom 20); “Trailer Park” trailers collection (2:45 p.m., Hall H); Amazon Prime Video Showcase (3:30 p.m., Ballroom 20). Saturday: “The Good Place” (11 a.m., Indigo Ballroom, Hilton Bayfront Hotel); “The Purge: From Film to Television (5:15 p.m., Room 6BCF),

Wonder Women

There can’t be too many heroines in this #MeToo era, so praise the goddesses that Comic-Con 2018 is bursting with panels celebrating strong women on screen and behind the scenes. Power up!

Thursday: Badass Female Scientists (1 p.m., Room 25ABC). Friday: Comic-Book Women: Unsung Heroes (2 p.m., Room 29AB); SyFy Wire Fangrrls: Women Change the Game (5:30 p.m., Room 6DE). Saturday: Women Rocking Hollywood 2018 (1 p.m., Room 23ABC); EW’s Women Who Kick Ass (4 p.m., Hall H); Women Below the Line (8 p.m., Room 28DE). Sunday: Powerful Young Women in Disney Comics (12:30 p.m., Room 23ABC).

Super Diversity

Whether you’re wearing a cape, catsuit or going full zombie, the true dress code for Comic-Con is Come as You Really Are. Celebrate you!:

Thursday: Border Narratives: Voices from Beyond the Wall (10 am., San Diego Central Library); Diversity and Comics (11 a.m., Room 9). Friday: The Black Panel (10 a.m., Room 5AB). Saturday: Comics Are for Everyone … Aren’t They? (10 a.m., Room 4); Comics and Geek Items for the Blind and Visually Impaired (1 p.m., Room 2); Out in Comics 31 (6 p.m., Room 29AB). Sunday: Diversity in Tech and Gaming (2 p.m., Room 24ABC); Super Asian America (2:45 p.m., 5AB).

Dockless Apocalypse

With many thousands of Con attendees converging on the Convention Center on foot/boot/stiletto, San Diego’s dockless bike and scooter population could reach critical — and street-clogging — mass before Preview Night is over. Watch where you’re walking, driving and lurching, everybody. And if you’re wearing a helmet, giant foam head or steampunk goggles, you might want to hail a pedicab.

Con Spreading

You don’t need a Comic-Con pass to have a Comic-Con experience, but before you hit the non-badge immersive experiences happening outside the convention center, you will definitely want a chill pill. It’s a nerd jungle out there, too. Here’s a sampling:

Thursday through Sunday: “Ready Player One” Challenge (628 L St.); Amazon Jack Ryan Experience (450 2nd Ave.); “The Experience” at Petco Park” (“Ghostbusters’ World,” Hello Kitty Cafe Truck, etc.); Hulu’s “Castle Rock” Offsite (490 Front St.); FXHibition (Hilton Bayfront lawn).

Marvel vs DC

Smackdown? What smackdown? Thanks to the zillion or so panels and events, you can spend quality time with both comic-book giants and still have time to scare up a churro.

Thursday: DC Meet the Publishers (11:30 a.m., Room 6DE); Marvel Animation Presents: Marvel Rising (3:15 p.m., Room 6DE). Friday: DC Super Hero Girls (12:30 p.m., Room 6DE); DC Justice League (4:15 p.m., Room 6DE); Marvel’s “Cloak & Dagger” (5:45 p.m., Ballroom 20). Saturday: DC’s “Legends of Tomorrow” (5 p.m., Ballroom 20).Sunday: Marvel’s “Legion” (2:15 p.m., Hall H). Thursday through Sunday: “Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger” Fan Activation (Petco Park); DC Universe (Hilton San Diego Gaslamp Quarter)

Raging Hormones

On Sunday, the faithful will once again worship the hunky stars of CW’s “Supernatural,” who will be sharing the steamy confines of Hall H with the insanely lovely cast of “Riverdale.” There will be screaming and heart-felt testimonials. (Sunday: “Supernatural,” 10: 30 a.m.; “Riverdale,” 11:45 a.m., both in Hall H.)

Happy Returns and Reboots

From a new “Charmed” to a 90-year-old mouse, Comic-Con’s anniversary and reboot panels will take you back to your pop-culture future. No DeLorean required.

Thursday: “Charmed” reboot (11:15 a.m., Ballroom 20); “Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” (1:45 p.m., Room 6A). Friday: It Was 50 Years Ago Today: Celebrating “Planet of the Apes,” “2001: A Space Oddysey” and “Rosemary’s Baby” (4:30 p.m., Room 5AB); 90 Years of Mickey Mouse (4:45 p.m., Room 6A). Saturday: Happy Birthday Frankenstein (10 a.m., Room 7AB); 25 Years of “The Nightmare Before Christmas” (7:45 p.m., Room 6BCF).


Who do you love? Comic-Con can help you spend some quality time with your pop-culture faves and the other people who make your fandom a family.

Thursday: Harry Potter Fandom Panel (8:15 p.m., Room 6DE). Friday: Nerdist News Live (11:30 a.m., Room 5AB); Causeplay: A Hobby in Service of Others (2 p.m., Marriott Marquis); Super Geeked Up: Geek Improv Live (9 p.m., Room 25ABC). Saturday: IGN Heroes of Fandom (10:30 a.m., Room 6BCF); TV Guide’s Fan Faves (5 p.m., Indigo Ballroom). Sunday: Geek Ed: Caring for the Nerd Mind (11 a.m., San Diego Central Library); “Buffy” Musical: Once More with Feeling (3:45 p.m., Room 6BCF)

Twitter: @karla_peterson