Fans Celebrate 50 Years of the San Diego Comic-Con

19 July, 2019

It is time once again for one of the biggest gatherings worldwide of people who love superheroes and other characters from comic books, films and television.

San Diego Comic-Con is back for a 50th straight year.

Established in 1970, the four-and-a-half day event in San Diego, California, started with the show room opening Wednesday. Thousands of fans arrived looking to buy items linked to their favorite stories and characters that they cannot get elsewhere, including clothing and art.

Many moviemakers come to San Diego Comic-Con to present the films they are working on. The production company Warner Bros. held an event called ScareDiego in which it showed a small part of its frightening new film, It: Chapter Two.

British fan Cheryl Dolbel told the Associated Press, "This is my favorite. I'm a huge Stephen King fan." Stephen King wrote the book on which the films are based.

Ana Niebla, of San Diego, models her own
Ana Niebla, of San Diego, models her own "Princess Pennywise" outfit before Preview Night of the 2019 Comic-Con International: San Diego, Wednesday, July 17, 2019, in San Diego, Calif.

A common activity among visitors to comic-cons is to copy a favorite character in clothing and makeup. This is called cosplaying. Many people arrived in San Diego in full costume, including a man dressed as a police officer character on the Netflix web series Stranger Things. A couple from Australia dressed as Marty McFly and Doc Brown, from Back to the Future, a beloved series of films about time travel.

Many in full cosplay were thankful for the cooler-than-usual temperatures.

"I would be melting," said Ana Niebla of San Diego. She was dressed as a female version of Pennywise, the evil clown from It. A popular form of cosplay is called gender-bending. This means to dress as a character of the opposite sex, or to present the character as opposite sex.

Niebla likes to get to the convention early to buy comic books and meet artists and others who make them. "This is the one time a year I get to see them in person," she said.

On Thursday, movie fans got a look at Paramount's latest in the killer-robot action series Terminator: Dark Fate. And there is still more to come.

Saturday, fans will enjoy a presentation by Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios. Marvel has produced such widely popular superhero movies such as the Avengers series. Details for the Marvel show at Comic-Con are a secret. But many expect Feige and his "special guests" will tell of plans for the next group of film releases from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This could include announcements about Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, Black Widow, and more.

However, fewer movies than usual are being advertised at San Diego Comic-Con this year. Some production companies chose not to attend including Sony. It is already making lots of money on its current release Spider-Man: Far From Home.

Universal Pictures does not have any superheroes films to release in the near future. And Warner Bros. is presenting only It: Chapter Two. The company did not plan any Comic-Con activities around its superhero series. There is not an official presence representing the Star Wars series either.

Perri Nemiroff is a producer for the entertainment news website and leads a YouTube series called Movie Talk. She says that a smaller movie industry presence at Comic-Con has made more room for television programs.

"TV is just the best of the best right now," said Nemiroff.

Television fans have a lot to choose from. This includes discussions with actors from the fantasy series Game of Thrones. It completed its final season earlier this year. On Tuesday, it received a record 32 nominations for America's leading television awards, the Emmys.

Comic-Con also features some new creative properties, like Netflix's fantasy series The Witcher, which is based on a video game.

And there are people new to the Comic-Con. The production company HBO has brought musical theater star Lin-Manuel Miranda to his first comic culture convention. He will take part in a group discussion of the media company's fantasy series, His Dark Materials, in which Miranda performs. The series is based on books by Philip Pullman. The HBO version is expected to begin broadcast later this year.

Last month, Miranda wrote a request for fans on the social media website Twitter: "Be gentle, it's my first Comic-Con."

I'm Pete Musto.
And I'm Caty Weaver.

Lindsey Bahr reported this story for the Associated Press. Pete Musto adapted it for VOA Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor. We want to hear from you. What kinds of events like this take place in your country? Write to us in the Comments Section or on 51VOA.COM.


Words in This Story

character(s) – n. a person who appears in a story, book, play, movie, or television show

comic book(s) – n. a magazine that is made up of a series of comic strips

makeupn. materials such as wigs, lipstick or powder that are used to change the appearance of a person

costumen. the clothes that are worn by someone who is trying to look like a different person or thing

versionn. a form of something, such as a product, that is different in some way from other forms

clownn. someone who performs in a circus, who wears funny clothes and makeup, and who tries to make people laugh

fantasyn. a book or movie that tells a story about things that happen in an imaginary world

video gamen. an electronic game in which players control images on a television or computer screen