San Diego Comic Fest Coming Presidents Day Weekend!

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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Tickets are available here!

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.

Chairman of San Diego Comic Fest, Matt Dunford
Chairman of San Diego Comic Fest, Matt Dunford
Joe Glass: Can you tell us what makes SDCF different from Comic-Con?
Matt Dunford: Although these conventions were started by the same people, they are quite different from each other. After 45 years San Diego Comic-Con has evolved into this colossal entertainment experience offering something for everyone. I have been attending San Diego Comic-Con every year since 1994 and I love it, but sometimes con attendees want something that doesn't feel so overwhelming and that's where San Diego Comic Fest comes into play.
San Diego Comic Fest was started to bring back the feel of when Comic Con was just starting off in the 1970s. You had a small environment with these legendary comic creators and you could just hang out with them. San Diego Comic Fest does provide a strong focus on comics, science fiction, and film but we also aim to create a welcoming environment. You can embrace what you love and not feel so overwhelming by the sheer size of the convention.
JG: Comic-Con is known for a global attendance. Does SDCF enjoy the same kind of people coming from far and wide?
MD: Oddly enough, in the past four years of San Diego Comic Fest, the convention has had a strong global presence. We have had creators from the UK such as Bryan and Mary Talbot, creators from Mexico, comic legend Neal Adams even graced us with his presence a few years ago as our guest of honor.
Aside from creators, we do have a number of fans coming from far and wide to our convention. They like to get away to San Diego for a couple of days and enjoy the warm weather. Comic Fest is a little easier on the wallet than SDCC and a little more accessible. So if you're in a mood to visit San Diego for a convention, Comic Fest can offer you a great, relaxing alternative.
JG: There's a vocal criticism that SDCC has become less and less about comics, and more and more about the multimedia aspect of pop culture. Does SDCF address this at all?

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.

JG: What are you most excited about SDCF this year?

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.

Bust most of all, I'm just happy that I get to be part of such a great convention and that I've helped it grow into the convention it is today. It's hard not to fanboy out over things, but I'm really looking forward to this show.

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Joe GlassAbout Joe Glass

Joe Glass has been contributing to Bleeding Cool for about four years. He's been a roaming reporter at shows like SDCC and NYCC, and also has a keen LGBTQ focus, with his occasional LGBTQ focus articles, Tales from the Four Color Closet. He is also now Bleeding Cool's Senior Mutant Correspondent thanks to his obsession with Marvel's merry mutants. Joe is also a comics creator, writer of LGBTQ superhero team series, The Pride, the first issue of which was one of the Top 25 ComiXology Submit Titles of 2014. He is also a co-writer on Stiffs, a horror comedy series set in South Wales about call centre workers who hunt the undead by night. One happens to be a monkey. Just because.
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