Although I’ve long hated traveling over the Thanksgiving Weekend, here I am following a crack of dawn flight to San Diego yesterday. I’ve arrived for Comic-Con Special Edition – and so have what is expected to be a crowd of anywhere from 30,000 to 50,000.

I spent Thanksgiving doing things I never get to do during the hectic days of regular Comic-Con – like going to the pool and taking naps. In the past I’ve been to downtown San Diego when it isn’t Comic-Con and it’s very quiet, but Gaslamp Thanksgiving was eerie, zombie apocalypse quiet…too quiet. It was strange to be wandering down these familiar streets and not run into an old friend every five minutes. It gave the city a whole new context.

But then, everything is a new context in the post pandemic world. Comic-Con is evolving into a new thing, and the scope and shape of that new thing we’ll begin to see over the next few days.

It’s not all new. Hollywood snuck in for a few little reminders that it used to be king of this particular castle. There’s a La Brea activation by the Tin Fish, the site of the original activations.

And Peacemaker, the HBOMax show starring John Cena as the character from James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad, showed up at the last moment with a site in the much loved lot by the Hilton Gaslamp…and a single, defiant building wrap.

Although Thanksgiving is a tradition for many fan cons, it’s not a tradition for huge pop culture events where people have to travel. After a lovely Friendsgiving dinner with a few others who were here early, we sat in the hotel bar for a little bit…once again a few people came by, but it was eerily peaceful.

Today, the crowds are beginning to show up – I waited 10 minutes for my vaccination wristband, and since I came back to my room to write this, the line seems to be growing. But the walk into a Hall H now repurposed for badge pick-up was inspiring in its own way…now we’re the stars of the show, with no celebrity distraction.

A new context for old favorites.

To be continued.

Miss any of The Beat’s earlier SDCC ‘21 Special Edition coverage? Find it all here!


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