San Diego Comic Fest is back, heading into its seventh year with a theme revolving around the 50th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing.
This year’s San Diego Comic Fest will take place March 7-10, 2019, at the Four Points by Sheraton on Aero Drive in San Diego. The intimate local convention is kicking into high gear as the the con approaches, with new guests being announced on their website and Twitter page as they get announced. We had a chance to talk to organizer Matt Dunford about what attendees can look forward to at this year’s event.
Thanks for speaking with us again this year. We loved chatting with you last year about your convention. Besides the theme, what’s new this year with SD Comic Fest?
So what’s new? Not us, as we hit our seventh year we’re getting pretty old. But that’s alright because it’s a growing experience and we learn to evolve. The experience offered by San Diego Comic Fest needs to get better with every passing year, we can’t get lazy and do the same thing over and over.
You had a lot of science-focused panels last year and this year your theme is very science-focused. Can we expect an increase on this sort of programming? What types of science-based programming can we expect this year?
You can definitely expect an increased presence of science-focused programming. We keep a balance between science and science fiction. But it’s so fun to do panels where science fiction meets science fact. Our theme for this year’s show will be the 50th Anniversary of the Moon Landing, so we get to play around with that. So you can expect a great bunch of physicists, astronomers, and aerospace engineers to be chatting it up with icons of comics and science fiction.
Right now it doesn’t appear your programming is up yet for this year, but I appreciated the diversity of your programming last year. Can we expect similarly diverse content creators presenting at SD Comic Fest 2019?
You can always expect a diverse offering of programming at San Diego Comic Fest. Over the years we have had everything from the Legal Geeks staging mock trials, to legends of animations talking about how toy sales structured their work. This event has so many great guests and putting them together on panels is like putting together a puzzle. I won’t stop until everything is perfect.
I know some conventions offer fan favorite programs but I want San Diego Comic Fest to bring new discussions to life. For me, the best panels are the ones where I learn something new and I just can’t turn away from them. There is no reason why all of your programs shouldn’t be informative and entertaining. Otherwise, why go to a panel?
As a fan, what are you looking forward to most this year?
First and foremost, I am a fan. And I wouldn’t be doing this stuff if I wasn’t a fan. But now that I’m in a leadership position, over the years I have had to step back from my personal fanboy stuff and do what is right for the fans. If I were to do the stuff that I wanted, this event would be Dunfordcon and everyone would get bored.
However, my all-time favorite cartoon, Spider-Man: The Animated Series, is celebrating its 25th year. That was the show that launched my fandom into overdrive because I watched every episode, had every toy, trading card, and video game. I lived and breathed Spider-Man as a kid, just like I do as an adult.
I want to share my personal passion for the Spider-Man cartoon along with series creator John Semper. Together we can talk about how this show influenced animation, the toy industry and even laid the foundation for the Marvel Cinematic Universe we know together. I love this cartoon and I want everyone to know just how important it is.
Your convention has been going for seven years at this point. A lot of new, independently-run fan conventions struggle to keep going for so long. What’s special about San Diego Comic Fest that’s kept it going strong all these years?
Seven years? It seems like only yesterday that this event started. I attend many conventions over the course of the year and then I’ll attend them the following year. New conventions have a rough time finding their footing and it seems like year three is always the make or break year for a con. Those first few years, you may not get the guests you want or the number of attendees you want, but stay strong.
But here are the key ways to see a convention thrive. Do it for passion, always make sure you love what you do and to share that love with your audience. Don’t do the same thing over and over again. Get new special guests, new things to do. San Diego Comic Fest benefits from a different theme each year, which we can structure programming around.
In the end, it’s not about staying strong, it’s about getting stronger. You need your convention to grow, you can’t do the same thing over and over or attendees get bored. The experience of every fan, special guest, artist, vendor, and attendee matters. One person having a bad time is too much for me.
Author: Angel Wilson
Angel is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. She earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. She’s contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. She’s written for Friends of Comic Con and is a 2019 Hugo Award winner for contributing fanfic on AO3. She identifies as queer.
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