San Diego Comic Fest, or SDCF, actually share some of its history with another well-known comic convention that occurs in the very same city.
Back in 1969, teenage comic dealer Mike Towry helped found what would become known as San Diego Comic Con. Serving as chairman in the 1972 con, held at the El Cortez Hotel, Towry would come to think on the idea of forming a comic convention again. In the Autumn of 2011 the idea for the San Diego Comic Fest was born, to take place the following year on the 40th anniversary of that first Comic-Con at the El Cortez Hotel.
This year, the fifth annual SDCF takes place on February 17-20, Presidents' Day Weekend, at the Sheraton Four Points Hotel on Aero Drive in San Diego.
Considering itself 'Comic-Con Unplugged', SDCF offers a more accessible show with a greater emphasis on comics, sci-fi and movies. One unique feature is the Comic Fest Cafe, which this year will be themed in tribute to Jack Kirby.
You can join guest of honour, Jim Valentino and all the other guests at this wonderful con in beautiful San Diego this February, giving you plenty of time to flex those convention muscles in time for that other little show in town later in the year.
I asked Chairman of San Diego Comic Fest, Matt Dunford, for a little more about what there is to look forward to with the event and what makes it different from San Diego Comic Con.
MD: I really don't think that at all. It's not like there isn't a focus on comics at Comic-Con International. In fact, there has always been a focus encompassing comics, film and science fiction since the first Comic-Con. The convention has grown and it has come to include more aspects of pop culture. I think some people simply feel overwhelmed by that growth because there are too many things to do. Honestly, that's a pretty good problem to have. I would rather a convention have too much good stuff to do than too little. If you want to attend a comic event at SDCC there are plenty of them, just plan accordingly and avoid the Hollywood stuff.
San Diego Comic Fest is very focused towards comics. We are also very focused towards the creators and the fans who enjoy their work. First and foremost we celebrate comics and want to share our love of them. I just love the environment San Diego has established where you can go up to creators, talk with them, grab a drink or just hang out by the pool with such talented people. At larger cons when you see them on panels in front of 1,000 people it's easy to freeze up when you ask a question at the microphone. (I have been guilty of this in the past) But at San Diego Comic Fest it is so relaxed and easy going.
MD: Geez, what am I not excited about this year? First and foremost we are celebrating the centennial of Jack Kirby. It's not every day that the King of Comics turns 100-year-old, so we are going to honor him in style. We have many professionals who worked with Kirby over the years, including inker Mike Royer (he always ends up being the life of the party). And if you like to party, we're also having a bar with Jack Kirby-themed cocktails. I'm really excited to hang out with Liam Sharp again, he's such a nice guy and the work he has been doing on Wonder Woman is the best work of his career. And of course, Jim Valentino is going to be the Guest of Honor celebrating 25 years of Image Comics.
On the animation side of things, I can't tell you how giddy with joy I am that San Diego Comic Fest is going a 25th Anniversary Salute to the X-Men Animated Series. If you were a kid like me growing up in the early 90s, you know just how important that show is to your Saturday mornings. Even more important for me is the appearance of John Semper Jr., the writer who behind the Spider-Man: Animated series, my all time favorite series.