If you are heading out to San Diego Comic-Con, you can read all the magazine articles you like, you can watch as many YouTube videos as you can and you can attempt to get your head around the sheer scale of the Con on your own – but it’s always good to have an online resource that has your back. The good news is, when it comes to Comic-Con, there’s shedloads of it.
From websites, to social media, to blogs, to ongoing video series (including the one produced by yours truly), to forums, to Twitter feeds… the sheer number of people discussing and analysing San Diego Comic-Con online has just erupted over the last five years, mostly stemming from the frustrating lack of information that flowed from Comic-Con International itself.
Thankfully, this also has improved, with CCI itself getting more involved with the online community, supporting both its main website (www.comic-con.org) – redesigned and relaunched in 2013 – and the blogs and updates that are posted there, mostly in the form of their Toucan Blogs: an entertaining and often practical guide to fandoms, the industry of comic art and publishing, creative arts and, of course, the three CCI Conventions themselves (APE, WonderWon and San Diego Comic-Con). (While CCI also has a Twitter feed which is useful for monitoring the website posts they upload, CCI have also got themselves a Google+ page but it’s not very active. A shame. If that changes, we’ll let you know.)
However, this hasn’t stopped a plethora of fan sites and pop culture internet hounds from exploding on to the scene and growing at a phenomenal rate – and jolly useful they can be, too. Let’s look at the ‘usual suspects’: the ideal bookmarks for any SDCC attendee to have in their browsers…
We’ll do what we can to be the ideal companion during your Con in July and we hope that you’ll enjoy the info we give – keep in touch and let us know how we’re doing! But here’s an idea of some other people you’d best to check in on from time to time…
WEBSITES / BLOGS
The San Diego Comic-Con Unofficial Blog:
www.sdccblog.com / www.twitter.com/SD_Comic_Con / www.google.com/+SDCCBlog
Billing itself as the definitive one-stop shop for everything SDCC, The San Diego Comic-Con Unofficial Blog has been running now since 2009. Originally set up by the now rather enigmatic Zack Young, the site currently has a public face in the team that contributes to it today: Jeremy Rutz (@spotanime), Kerry Dixon (@kerrydixon), James Riley (@danregal), Sarah Mertan aka ConSharkNews (@consharknews), amongst others. With a strong history in monitoring for breaking SDCC news, as well as a solid line in collectibles/exclusives news – courtesy of contributor Shawn Marshall (@The_Con_Fluence) – the site has become the premier blog catering to San Diego Comic-Con out there. They also do a cracking podcast, the SDConCast, that usually runs from late May through to the Con, available on iTunes, featuring special guests, lively banter and some very dodgy jokes from Jeremy! Their Google+ page isn’t staggeringly prolific, as they don’t share to Communities too much so you kind of have to know it’s there, but it is where you will get site post updates, as well as the links to the live Hangout recordings for the Podcast – well worth checking out.
Easily the most comprehensive information resource for San Diego Comic-Con, purely because it’s populated and posted to by pretty much every dedicated Con fan out there – the Wikipedia of SDCC. Administrated by Alyssa Franks (@AlyssaFranks), with lots of help from her moderating team including Zero, Chris Chen, Chris Hagish, Khahn Thai and others, the forum was started by a dedicated collective of SDCC fans that found themselves communicating regularly on the Comic-Con International Facebook page, utilising the Discussion Page feature to answer questions and help newcomers the best they could. When Facebook, in their infinite wisdom, decided to discontinue that feature [idiots!], Alyssa archived all the information that had been curated at that point – and lo, the Friends Of CCI Forum was born.
Off-site events, collectibles, panel schedules, con guests, TV and movie discussion, helpful hints and tips, even other related cons… the thing is a monster! And yet, for its sheer size, the people that take part and interact on the forum are (to the most part) polite, gracious, passionate and informed. It is ‘hive mind’ mentality at its very best and I cannot recommend becoming a member of this Forum highly enough. ESSENTIAL.
When Nerds Attack:
The site might look a little bit on the basic side but, as you look through and realise, Barb is somebody who loves Comic-Con – and loves to let people know about it, too. She posts when she can but her main supply of information is a cracking Twitter feed which she fills with sharp commentary, plenty of updates and a lot of attitude. Barb really gets into her exclusives, her TV shows.. and, most of all, her Winter Soldier. I’d hate to think how much Bucky Barnes merch she owns but it’s bound to be a lot. She’s the glue that binds the SDCC online community together, I don’t know anyone who’ll say a bad word about her – and you won’t get any from me, either. I’m a fan.
There are places you head to get the best and most upfront information – and then there are sites you go to wrap yourself up in the sheer enthusiasm of attending an event like San Diego Comic-Con. The Nerdy Girlie, aka Megan Gotch, set up her site to embrace her passions of the Con experience: cosplay, community and the sight and sounds of Comic-Con. She’s helped out with posts from J.D. (@The_Gamer_Geek), someone who knows his way around games (obviously!) and that there YouTube, and Tillie Elvrum (@tillieelvrum) who primarily geeks out about her music, posting selections from her and Megan’s favourite bands, providing one demon soundtrack for anybody’s Con. The sense of exuberance and fun that Megan gets from going to something like Comic-Con is ingrained throughout the entire site, both in the posts she writes and the design of the website. I’m a fan and, I guarantee, one visit, you’ll be a fan too.
Possibly the original SDCC uber-fan, Tony is known far and wide as the ultimate Con Geek – often showing up in elaborate garb to wander the Exhibition Floor, including such get-ups as THAT ‘WB Bag Jacket’!. Tips Of The Day, posts of attendees First Time, updates of what is happening in fandom rather than railing on the day-to-day updates of Con News, Tony has always has the attendee in mind – especially the first-timer – and set up ‘Crazy 4 Comic Con’ to help newcomers the best he could and to help them get the absolute most out of their Con.
To be fair, the site has taken a little bit of a back burner as Tony gets pulled in more directions, becoming more of a featured face on actual Con panels, such as moderating the Matt Smith / Doctor Who panel at Wizard World in New Orleans this year. He has always fought for the recognition of diversity in both comics and pop culture, as well as the fandoms themselves, and has recently championed the cause of protecting attendees from harassment, supporting the ‘Cosplay Is Not Consent’ movement. Tony is our own Tony Stark: a guy with a big heart who always has our back and you can’t say fairer than that.
I don’t know much about Nick Lenihan, to be fair (I really should try and get him on the Cup O’ Tea show at some point), but what I do know is, alongside The Con Fluence, he knows more about what’s going on in the world of toys, action figures and collectibles than anyone I’ve come across – the clue’s in the site title, I guess! A cracking place to start if you want to know the very latest news and headlines.
A many-headed beast – where do I start? Kimberly, Natasha, Llana, Antonio, Jimmy, Eleanor, Michelle… The list goes on an on! This Fellowship Of The Nerds are very big into their genre TV shows and movies, which means they very much keep up-to-date with the latest episodes and updates. This can mean that, on occasion, their feeds can be a bit spoiler-heavy but at least it only happens when the show is actually live so, so long as you don’t check out their Twitters while Game Of Thrones, Hannibal, Penny Dreadful or Orphan Black is actually airing, you’ll be fine! Likewise, they also keep an eye on what the stars of the big shows of the moment are up to – and whether they’ll be appearing at Con.
This bunch are relative newcomers to the pack – started by Jason Nieves on that there Facebook and recently evolving into a full-blown website and a cracking series of vlogs and podcasts – but I know these guys personally and they are as dedicated as they come. Catch them while they’re young and un-jaded!
There’s just no getting round just how awesome I think this site is – a husband and wife team that review and assess conventions, movies and TV shows from both ends of the couch. The team are made up of Josh and Violet, typing up their articles in a two column format, sometimes agreeing, sometimes not. This is another site that isn’t so hot on preparation posts on the run-up to the Con but, as the both of them are attending all of the Con and usually head off to cover it seperatly, it means you get twice the content. And they tweet good stuff, too. We love you, J & V!
TWITTER: Practical Feeds
There’s a list of practical Twitter feeds that I’d recommend, especially during the actual duration of the Con – keeps you on your toes for getting to know the living, breathing pulse of the city. Create a List and add these to it:
- @AceParking: they’ve had their issues in recent weeks, but they try and keep everyone up-to-date via their Twitter, especially when it comes to the sites being run during Con. Essential if you are using Ace Parking throughout the week.
- @UTsandiego: U:T San Diego, a newspaper/website that has, in the past, been very critical of the Con and the way it simply dominates the city. But they’ll let you know if anything interesting is happening in San Diego during Con (even if they will then blame it entirely on CCI – and, of course, us filthy, disgusting nerds. Think of them as the Dursleys from Harry Potter.)
- @NWSSanDiego: National Weather Service, based in San Diego. SD is a coastal town and it’s a good idea to keep your eyes open for any changes in climate, especially if you’re intending to either go full cosplay in the blistering San Diego climes, or camping overnight and you need to know if it’s going to turn chilly.
- @SanDiegoPD: the San Diego Police Department. Look, when the riots for the latest Pop Funko figures gets out of hand, it’s going to be best you know where the hotspots are.
GUESTS of An Englishman Of An Englishman In San Diego
In setting up this website, and organising the weekly ‘Cup O’ Tea with…’ Hangouts, I’ve made some good friends with some amazing bloggers and Tweeters who have subsequently joined us online. I hope I get to meet them in person in San Diego this July as they really are an amazing bunch of people – and I can’t wait to get them back on the show soon!
SUPPORTERS of An Englishman In San Diego
We are a new site, barely eight months old. We’re doing what we can to get established… And the way we can do that is with the love that we get – the retweets, the shares, the comments – that we get from our loyal supporters. They may not be a resource, per se, but we couldn’t put together a post like this without listing a small slice of the online family that we’ve gathered in such a short space of time. We love you right back, guys!
There’s obviously a whole raft of people and organisations that you should follow for live updates, regarding panel scheduling, talent appearances and exhibitors – Marvel, DC Comics, Funko, Mattel and the like – but I’ll post about them in a future update, a little closer to the Con date. These are the infrastructure, the nuts-and-bolts, if you will, of any online Comic-Con Community… Have I missed anybody? Drop me a line at www.twitter.com/EnglishmanSDCC – or, indeed, in the comments below – and let me know who you’d include in your RSS feeds!