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Due to COVID-19, organizers canceled the San Diego Comic Convention for the first time in its 50 year history. Courtesy photo
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Virtual Comic-Con@Home begins free today for pop culture fans

REGION — Comic-Con@Home will begin today, allowing comic book and pop culture fans to celebrate the first-ever virtual event for one of San Diego’s largest conventions.

Due to COVID-19, organizers canceled the San Diego Comic Convention for the first time in its 50-year history. Comic-Con, an annual celebration of comics and pop culture, is one of San Diego’s largest and most noteworthy events and has been held in the city since 1970.

The virtual event will set another precedent by making the whole thing — panels, workshops, exhibits and the masquerade ball — free. The event runs through Sunday.

“We’re very excited about bringing Comic-Con online,” said David Glanzer, spokesperson for the Comic-Con International. “And it couldn’t have been achieved without the help and support of so many of our usual friends, and some new ones too.”

The virtual event will exist on the website, which will transform to Comic-Con@Home.

The redesigned home page will be the means by which participants can access programming, the online exhibit hall, and various events and interactive elements, as each will be supported by a variety of different platforms. While programming for each day will be available on the website, Comic-Con is working again with for those who would like to create their own daily schedule.

The Comic-Con Museum began offering activities through Comic-Con Museum@Home earlier this summer, which will continue through the Comic-Con@Home weekend and beyond.

YouTube will host over 350 panels and programs as well as the 2020 Eisner Awards.

The exhibit hall will feature approximately 700 exhibitors and DC Comics, longtime supporters of Comic-Con will again provide artwork for the official event T-shirt.

Amazon Prime Video is the official sponsor of the Comic-Con 2020 print-at-home badge, which will allow participants to print and wear the free badge and take part in yet to be announced interactive challenges.

The 46th annual Masquerade will open for viewing Friday, with winners announced Saturday.

A popular part of Comic-Con is the outside immersive experiences, which will be represented as FX.

“FX UNLOCKED” will have virtual experiences with American Horror Story, What We Do in The Shadows, Cake and DAVE.

FutureTechLive! returns for a fifth year to present the virtual “World Builders” activation, featuring content by a global community of creators. In this experience, participants can explore new worlds in mixed reality, and unleash their imagination to create some of their own.

Comic-Con will also be offering an online version of its Souvenir Book, which will be available as a free, downloadable PDF, starting Wednesday.

The 260-page book contains new art and articles celebrating various anniversaries, including the 100th birthdays of Ray Bradbury and Ray Harryhausen, plus celebrations of EC Comics, Moomin and Jack Kirby’s Fourth World comics. This year’s cover is by William Stout.

“This type of online event is a first for us,” Glanzer said. “And we are grateful for the support of all involved. Our hope is that Comic-Con can provide a small respite from the confines of various stay-at-home orders. While we can’t be together in person, we can be together online.”

In addition to its San Diego convention each summer, Comic-Con International organizes the Anaheim-based WonderCon each spring, the Storytelling Across Media symposium in the fall and is the parent organization of the Comic-Con Museum in San Diego’s Balboa Park.