San Diego Comic Fest: New Guests, Mass Media, and Other Updates

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Left to right: Pam Jackson (Pop Culture Librarian at SDSU), Alonso Nunez (Founder of Little Fish Comic Book Studio), Mike Towry, and Matt Dunford

With two months left until this year’s San Diego Comic Fest, there is still a world of work ahead for the convention’s organizers. Despite certain groans of having a volunteer meeting on Super Bowl Sunday, Mike Towry, organizer for Comic Fest and one of the original founders of San Diego Comic-Con, and Comic Fest chairman Matt Dunford held the informational gathering, again at the Pacific Beach Public Library.

To recap, this year’s Comic Fest theme will be Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, as the now novel is celebrating its 200th birthday. Instead of being held again at the Four Points Sheraton on Aero Drive, this year’s venue will make a return to the Town and Country Resort & Convention Center on Hotel Circle which has hosted Comic Fest in previous years. This change is reportedly due to a drastic increase in price made by the Four Points’ new management, as well as a proposed limiting of usable space compared to last year. Also, the convention’s typical February dates have moved to instead April the 20th to the 22nd. This was done as to avoid competing with other conventions around that February time and to avoid any chances of rain, of which last year’s Comic Fest suffered through.

After sharing what he felt was a funny story of his breakfast “steamed-hams,” chairman Matt announced that the guest attendees for Comic Fest were ever growing. Mark Evanier and Jamie Newbold are some of the notable additions for this year so far. Jamie Newbold is this year’s Comics Dealer Guest of Honor, owner of local Southern California Comics. It was even mentioned that Phil Jimenez was in talks to make an appearance.

Every year, Comic Fest organizers put a great emphasis on the area dubbed “the café.” This is an area where convention goers can take a few moments to relax with food and some creative cocktails. As last year’s convention celebrated comic book legend Jack Kirby, the café was thus dubbed “The Kirby Café.” Alonso Nunez, comics artist and founder of local Little Fish Comics Studio, creates the cocktail recipes that are featured at the café. In their own way, they are unique works of intoxicating art that are also made with that year’s theme in mind. The café’s artistic design will be headed by local inker and comic creator Mario Torres Jr., who is also the illustration instructor at Little Fish. “He is the best fit for the job,” said chairman Matt. “Look, he’s dressed in all black. He knows horror.” Robert Maya, known for doing the large-art installations every year for Comic Fest, will also be assisting with the café, creating for it an entryway that resembles a creepy dungeon scene, almost straight out of the 1931 Frankenstein movie.

Before the meeting’s end, Mike Towry took a few moments to mention some happenings that are taking place apart from the convention. At this year’s Wondercon in Anaheim, California, Comic Fest will have booth representation. Comic Fest hadn’t held a booth at Wondercon in recent years, but as that this year’s Wondercon will be almost a month before that of Comic Fest, this will be very opportunistic for the smaller convention. On February the 17th, the San Diego Malcolm X Library will host Black Comix Day, which ties into February being Black History Month.

Amid the remaining two months of planning and hard work, chairman Matt Dunford is also preparing to make a “mass-media assault,” as he put it. He plans on being interviewed by as many local podcasts as he can, a repeat of what he did last year. If Comic Fest continues with this same momentum for the next two months, I believe it will result in another great year for the intimate convention.

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