What we’re most looking forward to at Comic-Con Special Edition

More photos of cosplayers at Comic-Con International on Friday, July 19, 2019.
(Jared Gase/ )

It’s beginning to feel a lot like … Comic-Con? The venerable movie and pop culture fest normally takes place in July in San Diego, but this year, due to pandemic postponements, the scaled-down show will go on in November — over this Thanksgiving weekend, to be exact.

Dubbed a “Special Edition” of Comic-Con , the convention takes place Friday through Sunday at the San Diego Convention Center. But if you’re expecting the usual star-studded parties, huge crowds and big studio activations, you’ll have to wait until the Con comes back in normal times. For now, we’ll have to settle for this smaller version.

Comic-Con International hasn’t been held in-person in San Diego since summer of 2019. The 2020 version was, of course, held virtually to due to the COVID-19 pandemic. So was the 2021 summer version.

But organizers decided to proceed with a scaled-down, in-person event in the fall because, according to the website, “this convention is meant to be a more intimate gathering while still evoking the fun community feeling our conventions are known for, including great exhibits, programs, cosplay, gaming, and other events, but also addressing the desire from fans to have an in-person show.”

This Special Edition Comic-Con will have reduced attendance numbers and a shorter number of days, but old-school fans of the Con might appreciate this version, which will be reminiscent of earlier conventions. The days will be filled with panels, film screenings, games, autograph sessions and shopping.

Another big difference? No more major Hollywood news breaking in Hall H. Halls G and H will be used as staging areas this time.

Even though it might lack the glitz of a normal San Diego Comic-Con, there are still so many things for badge-holders to enjoy. Here are a few things we’re most looking forward to this year:

Masquerade Costume Competition

It’s not Comic-Con without cosplayers showing off their best creations. That’s why the Masquerade Costume Competition is the place to be on Saturday night, where contestants will gather in Ballroom 20 to compete in categories like Best In Show, Judges’ Choice, Best Re-Creation, Best Original Design, Best Workmanship, Most Humorous, Most Beautiful and Best Young Fan.

Panels/Special Guests

Of course, a big part of Comic-Con are the programs and panels from industry professionals offered to attendees. Spanning all three days, panels run from 2 to 8 p.m. Friday , 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday .

Standout panels include “The Future of Dr. Who” (2:30 p.m. Friday), “The Science of Fast & Furious” (6:30 p.m. Friday), “Mythology of Final Fantasy” (7:30 p.m. Saturday) and “Video Games and Comics: A conversation with the writers of Call of Duty: Vanguard” (5:15 p.m. Saturday).

Special guests who are confirmed to appear this year include “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” co-creator Kevin Eastman, “Luann” cartoonist Greg Evans, author Henry Barajas “La Voz De M.A.Y.O. Tata Rambo”), artist Ryan Benjamin (“X-Men,” “Iron Man”), writer/artist Sina Grace (“Wonder Woman,” “The Haunted Mansion”), author Cindy Pon (“Silver Phoenix,” “Serpentine”), writer Minh Lê (writer, “Lift,” “Drawn Together”) and more. Note that some panels will feature talent and speakers in-person, while some will be virtual.


Shopping for collectibles is a huge part of the convention. Comic fans know that this is the place to get those one-of-a-kind and exclusive items that you just can’t get anywhere else. This scaled-down Comic-Con will still offer their signature Exhibit Hall and Artists’ Alley for all of your shopping needs. Black Friday shopping, anyone?

Because Covid-19 continues to be a threat, organizers are taking precautions to keep attendees safe. Proof of vaccination or a negative test taken on or after Nov. 23 are required. Everyone, regardless of vaccination status, will be required to wear a face covering — which, come to think of it, might not be too hard for all of the cosplayers. Time to get creative!

San Diego Comic-Con Special Edition

When: Friday through Sunday
Where: San Diego Convention Center, 111 West Harbor Drive, downtown.
Price: Badges are $150 for all three days