2019 marks the 50th San Diego Comic Convention. Not quite the 50th anniversary, this is the 50th time one of the most exciting pop culture events has taken place. It has certainly come a long way since it was first held at the U.S. Grant Hotel on March 21, 1970 with approximately 145 attendees. The event has since attracted over 170,000 from around the world to flock to the San Diego Convention Center. Even if not everyone could actually get in, there was plenty going on in downtown San Diego, California throughout the week, such as a Hugh Jackman concert.

Of course, for those who manage to do get inside the Convention Center, it goes without saying that to get the most of the experience is to pre-plan one’s schedule to cover as much ground as possible. Take it from me, this helps in making sure that the event is not disappointing amid the heavy crowds and confusion. Surprisingly, this is one of those years where nearly all of my priorities were accomplished, resulting in a highly satisfying attendance this year. From fun panels to cool celebrity encounters, it continues to show why Comic Con is one of the finest events around.

Chris Sanders

It is a Comic Con tradition of mine to visit Chris Sanders, the creator/director of Lilo & Stitch and director of the first How to Train Your Dragon. Every year, Sanders sets up a booth and sells his own merchandise ranging from books to T-shirts to figurines. This year, he had a new sketchbook to sell along with stickers of some of his illustrations. I didn’t hear anything new regarding the Rescue Sirens series of novels he co-writes with his wife Jessica.

One other thing Sanders offered this year was commissioned sketches of Stitch. It’s rare for him to offer sketches, given how time consuming it would be for him to fill however many requests he would likely get due to his popularity. So a chance at getting a commissioned sketch of his beloved creation by him was definitely a must for me.

Popeye‘s 90th Birthday Party

Introduced in the Thimble Theatre comic strip on January 17, 1929, Popeye the Sailor Man became one of the most recognizable cartoon characters following his animated debut in 1933. The adventures of the spinach-eating strongman have thrilled audiences for generations both in theaters and later on television. In celebration of the character’s 90th anniversary, Warner Archives held a panel looking back at Popeye’s history while also exploring his possible future going forward.

Gary Miereanu, Director of Publicity for Warner Bros. Animation, moderated the panel that consisted of Warner Archive Podcast hosts DW Ferranti and Matthew Patterson, illustrator of the Popeye comic books published by IDW in Tom Neely, animation historian Jerry Beck, and President of King Features in CJ Kettler.

Beck would primarily relate the history of Popeye along with Ferranti and Patterson, the latter two only ever briefly discussing the restoration process of the cartoons before the DVD and blu-ray releases. Kettler would throw in additional perspectives on the character’s journey through the decades and then, along with Neely, talked about the challenges they face keeping the character relevant. In-between discussions were scenes from various generations of Popeye cartoons screened, including one from the Popeye for Kids series of shorts published on YouTube that had some hilariously noticeable departures to the designs.

As is common with Warner Archives panels, attendees who ask questions got a chance to receive prizes. I managed to snag the first volume blu-ray asking about whether or not Robert Altman’s live-action feature added to the Popeye lore. Beck felt it didn’t really, perhaps more so that Altman may not have been the right director in retrospect. Peterson did like that the sets were still up in Malta, now as an open-air museum, and wants to visit it some day. Most questions were definitely more about learning what King Features had planned for Popeye in the future with Kettler assuring that they’ve got projects in development that would be faithful.

The first two volumes of the Popeye cartoons on blu-ray, covering his move to color in the 1940s, are now available. The third volume is expected to be released within the next year.

Cartoon Legends Speak: Animators Celebrate Disney Anniversaries

2019 marked the 50th San Diego Comic Con, but there were numerous anniversaries taking place. In particular the number of Disney animated features. This year was the 60th anniversary of Sleeping Beauty, the 30th of The Little Mermaid, the 25th of The Lion King, the 20th of Tarzan, and the 10th of The Princess and the Frog, just to name a few. In honor of these classics, a few of the animators were brought together to talk about their experiences in making these films and their influence on audiences and the industry since.

Lesie Combemale of ASIFA-Hollywood served as moderator of a panel that included Disney legend Floyd Norman (Clean-up Artist on Sleeping Beauty), Jane Baer (Assistant Animator on Sleeping Beauty), Nik Ranieri (Character Animator on The Little Mermaid), Kathy Zielinski (Character Animator on The Little Mermaid), and Dave Bossert (Effects Animator on The Lion King).

Norman and Baer discussed their work on Sleeping Beauty, Norman on the fairies and Baer explaining just how detailed drawing Aurora had to be. Ranieri and Zielinski talked about their varying approach to animating Ursula for The Little Mermaid, with Ranieri struggling to adapt to the Disney-style at the time and Zielinski’s love for animating evil characters allowing her to draw dynamic moments. Bossert went over some of the work that went into the effects animation for The Lion King, in particular the wildebeest stampede.

The Q&A portion saw attendees ask questions that often deviated from the films that were celebrating anniversaries and were more towards celebrating the overall careers of the animators. In doing so, it actually made the panel a lot more fun. One particular factoid Zielinski revealed when audience members were asking questions about The Hunchback of Notre Dame was that a scene where Frollo sniffs Esmeralda’s hair was longer and would have apparently been enough to threaten the film with a PG-13 rating, which made Zielinski quite proud.

Home Movies 20th Anniversary Reunion

In desperate need of a hit by 1999, the television network UPN enlisted Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist producer Loren Bouchard to come up with an animated series for them. Along with comedian and star Brendon Small, they would create Home Movies, a slice-of-life series centered on the childhood surroundings of a fictionalized version of Small. The show was cut after one season, but would be resurrected on Cartoon Network’s adult swim block and developed a cult following.

For the first time, Home Movies had a panel at Comic Con in celebrating the show’s 20th anniversary. Dan Casey, Senior Editor of Nerdist, served as the moderator of a panel that included Bouchard and Small as well as cast members H. Jon Benjamin (Jason/Coach John) and Melissa Galsky (Melissa).

There was no audience Q&A at any point in the panel. This was largely the result of Casey merely asking a few questions and the answers resulting in everyone telling hilarious stories that seemed to build upon one another. An example of this was a simple question of how the show came to be seeing Bouchard and Small take about ten minutes to really answer and delightfully taking detours whenever Benjamin and Galsky added comments, such as Small deciding to explain how he convinced Galsky to join the show and how it was in the middle of a first broadcast party that they received word UPN was cancelling the show.

It was just fun to hear everyone talk fondly about Home Movies throughout the hour the panel ran for. Bouchard and Small expressed the joy they had at the creative freedom they were given in developing the show while Benjamin and Galsky talked about how much fun it was just being involved. There was also a sense that they were all content with the 52 episodes that were produced, feeling that the series had pretty much gone as far as they could go and were quite proud of what they made.

All four seasons of Home Movies is available on DVD from Shout! Factory in individual sets and in a complete series set that was released to commemorate the show’s then-10th anniversary.

DreamWorks She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, a Netflix Original Series

Since debuting on Netflix last November, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power from DreamWorks Animation has garnered widespread acclaim and has been building an ever passionate fanbase. The re-imagined series has been fueled by excellent writing headed by developer Noelle Stevenson and features a rich cast of wonderfully diverse characters. So it seemed fitting that the show’s panel would be held in one of the largest rooms in all of Comic Con.

Serving as moderator was Entertainment Weekly Senior Editor Patrick Gomez. The panel consisted of Stevenson and cast members Lauren Ash (Scorpia), Marcus Scribner (Bow), Karen Fukuhara (Glimmer), and Aimee Carrero (Adora/She-Ra).

Prior to the start of the panel, all attendees received She-Ra crowns and swords with many immediately putting on the crowns to join in with those who were already in costume. There was no traditional Q&A as Gomez would instead field questions that had earlier been posted through Twitter. In looking back at the previous two seasons, the cast felt fortunate to partake in a show that was a lot of fun to work on with writing that was endearing to them.

Stevenson remarked on the willingness she and her writing staff had in wanting to take the established characters and redefine them in ways that were interesting and organic. She noted examples with exploring Bow’s almost feral-like approach and the mysterious connections Shadow Weaver seemed to have with everyone. Discussion eventually came to the third season, which was a couple weeks away from when the panel took place, with clips showing how Adora would be tested spiritually and emotionally in the episodes to come.

Following the panel, there was a signing at the Mattel booth. Fans who were mindful and quick enough to get there when the Exhibit Floor opened that morning scored tickets into the event. Nevertheless, obtaining a ticket could be seen as being lucky overall given that the booth staff just didn’t have the ability to manage and organize these things. Be it giving misinformation on where the ticket distribution would take place to the actual lining up process that was so chaotic that fire marshals were constantly threatening to shut things down if they didn’t get their act together.

Upon managing to get into the signing, though, it was a delight. Of the panelists, only Fukuhara was not present. I believe she was needed elsewhere. Fortunately, there was another cast member who could take her place in Merit Leighton (Frosta). Given just how crowded the booth was, and how disorganized the staff seemed, it ended up roughly being sign and go as the panel would autograph an exclusive poster. I was able to chat briefly with Stevenson, who along with Carrero was the primary panelist I wanted to meet.

She-Ra and the Princesses of Power is currently streaming its third season on Netflix.

Zag Heroez Miraculous

For the past couple of years, the panel for Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir seemed to be on the verge of rivaling My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic for having some of the most passionate fans packing the room to capacity. It was quite amusing to be in a sea of fans literally screaming at every little thing talked about or shown that would be comparable to the likes of attending a boy band concert. Simply put, the Miraculous animated series has developed into quite the international phenomenon.

Serving as moderator this year was Director of Digital Strategy at ZAG in Kevin Marciano. The panel consisted of writer Martin Meunier and cast members Cristina Vee (Marinette/Ladybug), Andrew Russell (Luka), Keith Silverstein (Gabriel/Hawk Moth), Mela Lee (Tikki), and Selah Victor (Chloé). Vee appeared cosplaying as her character.

Admittedly, this was perhaps the most low-key showing of all the Miraculous panels I’ve attended to date. It was essentially built around the full screening of a third season episode that has yet to air. The episode, titled “Ikari Gozen”, revolves around Marinette’s participation in a Friendship Day game with an unexpected partner. Social media plays a part in the game’s activities, which was later used after the episode’s screening to announce the Instagram accounts of characters Marinette, Adrien, Alya, and Chloé fans can actually follow.

Aside from that, there really wasn’t much that happened. There wasn’t any major updates to the live-action film that The Greatest Showman director Michael Gracey was involved with and there was little regarding the development of a fourth season. They barely had a Q&A in which only one person was able to ask a question before they curiously wrapped up the panel rather early. Very much a disappointment considering how vibrant and enthusiastic the last couple of years had been.

There was usually a signing at the Action Lab Comics booth following the panel, but I typically avoided it in part because of how incredibly packed it would be. It was to my surprise that many hours later Vee was still there signing autographs. And the line was relatively light, so I decided to swing in and meet her. We had a quick moment to chat about the show as well as the incredible fanfare it had. All the while she was still in her Ladybug cosplay.

Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir has started to air its third season. In North America, it primarily streams on Netflix, but recently older episodes have begun to air on Disney Channel. The North American premiere date for “Ikari Gozen” has yet to be announced.

Marvel Animation Celebrates Marvel’s 80th Anniversary

Founded on January 12, 1939 as Timely Comics, Marvel has gone on to become a major multimedia giant whose name has become common place in entertainment. Shortly after Stan Lee began creating an entire universe of superheroes alongside the likes of Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, Marvel looked into other mediums to tell their stories. As part of this year marking the 80th anniversary of the company, a panel was put together to take a look at their history in animation since first venturing into the medium in 1966.

Serving as moderator was Senior Vice President of Animation and Family Entertainment in Cort Lane. The panel consisted of Director of Family Entertainment, Development and Partnerships in Kalia Ramirez, writers Mark Hoffmeier (Spider-Man: The Animated Series) and Marty Isenberg (X-Men: The Animated Series), and voice actors Jennifer Hale (Jean Grey in various Marvel projects) and Josh Keaton (Spider-Man in various Marvel projects).

To play up the historical aspect of the panel, Lane made a point to list all of the Marvel animated projects each panelist worked on, with Ramirez having arguably the second most credits after Stan Lee. This turned into a quick segue into a lovely montage of Lee’s appearances in Marvel animation. From there, much of the discussion was on the past Marvel animation projects and the joy they had in helping add to the superhero mythos through the medium. Much of the talk was based around the X-Men and Spider-Man shows from the 90s as they were seen as the most influential.

After running through previews of upcoming projects, including the “Maximum Venom” season of the current Spider-Man series, they opened to audience Q&A. I managed to ask about Wolverine and the X-Men, specifically what plans were in place had the show received a second season. Ramirez and Lane ended up answering that the plan was definitely to develop the show’s version of the “Age of Apocalypse” story arc, as teased in the last episode’s cliffhanger.

Marvel’s Spider-Man on Disney XD is the present remaining active series from Marvel Animation. In development are Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur and for Hulu The Offenders to consist of also in their own individual series Tigra & Dazzler, Howard the Duck, M.O.D.O.K., and Hit-Monkey.

Viz Media: Seis Manos

With two successful seasons of Castlevania under their belt, Netflix and Powerhouse Animation are teaming up to produce another original anime series. Partnering with Viz Media, they are putting together an action-packed hybrid series that will combine a great number of genres from martial arts to grindhouse exploitation to Mexican horror. And with some all-star talent voicing the characters, Seis Manos is set to be a show like no other.

Viz Media Marketing Associate Urian Brown served as moderator to a panel that included creators Brad Graeber and Álvaro Rodriguez, writer Daniel Dominguez, and cast members Mike Colter (Brister), Jonny Cruz (Jesus), Angélica Vale (Garcia), Vic Chao (Chiu), and Danny Trejo (El Balde).

The screening of the opening scene and intro credits makes it very clear that this would not be a typical kind of show, as did a couple other scenes that were showed afterward. It certainly was crazy, violent, and all kinds of fun. One of the major aspects to the show, aside from the mixing of various genres, was Graeber and Rodriguez really wanting to showcase diversity in its cast and in the culture of the world the show inhabits. This was something that was echoed by the cast, Vale in particular, who relished at the opportunity to play an action heroine.

They didn’t have an audience Q&A, but the panel would occasionally quiz the audience on what was presented in the panel with those getting answers correct garnering either a poster signed by the panel or a ticket into the autograph session later in the day. But the real highlight of the panel really was whenever Trejo talked, coming off quite laid back and amused in his gruff manner. The funny part was when the panel was asked what other projects they had going, his mention of Dora and the Lost City of Gold was enthusiastically received.

Seis Manos is set to premiere on Netflix sometime this Fall.

Quick Draw

There’s no Comic Con tradition quite like the Quick Draw. Every year, animation and comic book personality Mark Evanier gathers together Sergio Aragonés, Scott Shaw, and a rotating third person to show off how fast they can draw silly sketches on the spot. A sort of improv cartooning, the Quick Draw is one of the most hilarious panels as a result of just how imaginative the illustrators can be when told to sketch something within a minute.

The third person this year was a regular in Disney Legend Floyd Norman. Even before the panel started proper, Aragonés was making some funny doodles such as one of himself throwing a bomb at the sleeping audience in cartoon fashion. When Evanier finally got the show running, it was non-stop laughs with situations drawn such as what each of the cartoonists were doing when Comic Con first started and the Quick Draw regular of fan suggesting two characters having a baby.

As with every year, there were two rounds of the celebrity guessing game. Each celebrity would try to guess three secret words based on the illustrations the cartoonists come up with, usually leading to some stomach clenching comedy. This year’s celebrities were voice actors Fred Tatasciore and Laraine Newman, two faces who would actually end up in the Cartoon Voices panel that would follow. Part of the fun was watching the celebrities struggle to figure out the secret word while the cartoonists felt their illustrations were obvious.

Other fun moments that were illustrated included a humorous celebration of Mad Magazine, the negatives to being Aquaman, and how each turned off a date by showing off their cartooning. Part of the appeal to the panel would also be the banter between Evanier and Aragonés, such as when the latter feigned not understanding the subject of illustrating around the caption “If you don’t like it, you can go back where you came from”. The subject would also allow a brief moment for Norman to lightly compare working for Walt Disney to working for William Hanna.

Cartoon Voices I

Immediately after the Quick Draw every year, Mark Evanier would host another panel. It would be the first of two Cartoon Voices. At one point in his animation career serving as voice director, Evanier would often let the actors go to town with their performances and these panels allowed for him to show attendees what he would experience in the recording booth. All the while everyone had a good time in the stories and antics shared.

This year’s voice actors in the first panel consisted of Laraine Newman (Tales of Arcadia), Fred Tatasciore (Hulk in various Marvel projects), Adam McArthur (Star vs. the Forces of Evil), Marieve Herington (Big City Greens), Lex Lang (Star Wars Resistance), and Eric Lopez (Young Justice).

As was customary, Evanier would have the panel act out some of the voices they do as well as list something obscure few might know. He would also get them to relate a time when they were awe-struck performing with someone else, be it a well-known voice actor or celebrity. This year, he also ran them through a couple acting exercises in talking alien gibberish and performing as a walla group, a name used to describe background crowds talking.

The panel would close out with Evanier directing the panel into a reading of a generic script in whatever manner they chose to make it more interesting. For the last few years, he had apparently been using the same Rapunzel script and announced that after this year it would be retired. Evanier would interject with moments of directing, but otherwise left the actors to do as they pleased, much to the hilarious delight of attendees. It was always fun to watch what the voice actors would come up with to make a boring script more entertaining.

Sesame Street‘s 50th Anniversary Panel

On November 10, 1969, PBS stations across the country began to broadcast Sesame Street. Designed to utilize television as a more positive means to help young children prepare for school, it has since become a cultural mainstay in American society. One would think that Comic Con would be an unusual setting to celebrate the show’s 50th anniversary. But how fondly beloved the show and its wonderful cast of characters created by the Jim Henson Creature Shop have become is a testament of the impact it has on all kinds of people for generations.

Actress Yvette Nicole Brown got to serve as moderator with the panel consisting of human cast member Sonia Manzano (Maria), Senior Vice President of Sesame Workshop Content and Curriculum in Dr. Rosemarie Truglio, and puppeteers Eric Jacobson (Grover), Ryan Dillon (Elmo), and Matt Vogel (Big Bird/Count von Count).

Big Bird came out to welcome everyone and introduce the panel. When Vogel “didn’t show”, they suggested Big Bird go look for him. By the time Vogel appeared proper, the panel went into a lovely discussion about the history of the show and managing to make things fresh and still be the same, aided by a wonderful highlight video that is available to view online. The puppeteers would then bring out some of their characters in Grover, Elmo, and The Count to the delight of attendees, displaying how real they can be whenever and wherever they are.

Many of the audience questions related to the evolution of the show over its fifty year history, particularly when it came to addressing serious subjects such as divorce. I added to those type of questions by asking about the determination of when to create new characters and how they went about defining them. Dr. Truglio shared some fascinating insight to the process, particularly in the development of recent characters Abby Cadabby and Julia. It was great to hear about the thought and care they put into bringing a character to life.

Sesame Street airs regularly, with first run episodes broadcast on HBO and then second run airing on PBS.

Talks Machina with Cast of Critical Role

For the past few years, I have become obsessed with Critical Role. What started as simply a live stream of animation voice actors playing Dungeons & Dragons has transformed into a pop culture phenomenon the likes of which no one could have ever imagined. Coming into Comic Con this year, they’ve only gotten bigger following one of the most successful crowdfunding campaigns in Kickstarter history to adapt their stories into an animated series.

Every year, the Comic Con panel doubles as a taping of Talks Machina, the post-episode talk show with host Brian Foster servicing as moderator. All eight cast members Travis Willingham (Fjord), Marisha Ray (Beau), Taliesin Jaffe (Caduceus), Ashley Johnson (Yasha), Sam Riegel (Nott), Liam O’Brien (Caleb), Laura Bailey (Jester), and Matthew Mercer (Dungeon Master) were present this year.

The panel pretty much was just a nearly one-hour Q&A as all they were able to talk about beforehand was the launch of the second volume to the Critical Role: Vox Machina – Origins comic book series published by Dark Horse. After a live reading of the first three pages to the then-unreleased second issue, they jumped right over to the fans. I got to ask the first question, resulting in a hilarious response regarding the epilogue to the first campaign.

The majority of questions were considered spoilers to both gaming campaigns. One fan did get to ask a question regarding the animated series, specifically asking Mercer how it was going adapting hundreds of hours of gameplay into 22-minute episodes. Mercer noted how challenging it has been to condense the very intricate narrative to fit a different medium and having to best figure what can be cut over what is essential to the storytelling.

Critical Role streams live everything Thursday on their Twitch channel and then the episodes are posted in full on the following Monday on their YouTube channel. The Critical Role: The Legend of Vox Machina animated series is scheduled to be released sometime in Fall 2020.


As with any convention, about one in every three attendees could be found wandering the floors in costume. Cosplay is a tradition dating back to the beginnings of Comic Con and fans will go out of their way to dress up like their favorite characters and willingly pose for cameras while being admired by others. Even celebrities were willing to dress up, as noted with Cristina Vee during the Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir panel.

And yet I found that my two favorites this year were not actually costumes per se. Rather there were a couple of girls who beautifully crafted puppets of the Jim Henson variety and would play around with them when asked. The most outstanding of the two was Spider-Ham, but the other puppet I saw and liked was of Orko from Masters of the Universe. I really admired the design and craftsmanship that went into the creation of these two.

But while the puppets were my favorites this year, there were still some great costumes that I managed to capture on camera. There were obviously some great Critical Role cosplayers present prior to, during, and after the Talks Machina recording, with the ones I liked the most were those dressing up as first campaign characters Percy and Vex. I also like a couple that did Chloe and Max from the Life is Strange video game series.

A big stand out were a group of four dressed as characters from Gravity Falls with the one dressed as Grunkle Stan being the finest of the bunch. I got a kick out of a couple dressed as Dread Pirate Roberts and Princess Buttercup from The Princess Bride while also having their infant dressed up. There was a great pair dressed as Beetlejuice and Lydia as visualized in the Beetlejuice animated series. And perhaps one of the more unique was a samurai variant of Darth Vader. Not to be confused with a fun mash-up of Darth Vader and the Yellow M&M I also spotted.

Random Sightings

I managed to get into the Hasbro store booth this year, thanks to getting picked in the online lottery system introduced last year. Believe it or not, the main thing I wanted was the Disney Princess Comic Treasure Trove figures based on designs by Amy Mebberson. But since I got in on Preview Night, I managed to snag the first run Sith Trooper figure and the two pack of The Collector from Guardians of the Galaxy and The Grandmaster from Thor: Ragnarok. I even got the My Little Pony Through The Years Twilight Sparkle set.

Booth displays were always fun for attendees to check out, though sometimes this would lead to them being rather crowded. Probably the easiest display to admire was at the LucasFilm Pavilion, which had models showcasing the evolution of the Stormtrooper designs and classes leading up to the upcoming Sith Trooper in Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker. A really popular display was at the SquareEnix booth where fans got a chance to get their picture taken perched on Cloud Strife’s motorcycle from Final Fantasy VII via the bullet time technique.

My favorite panel this year turned out to be one for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Illusionists Jamie Harrison, Chris Fisher and Skylar Fox revealed as little as they allowed themselves about bringing to life J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World and making the magic effects as real as possible on stage. As they were showing off a few tricks, both live on stage and through filmed scenes of the play, they were joined by Nicholas Podany, who currently plays Albus Potter in the Broadway production, and Jon Steiger, who will play Scorpius Malfoy in the upcoming San Francisco production. It was a wonderful and fascinating presentation.

Other panels that I attended included an emotional tribute to Stan Lee that was comprised solely of people who got to meet Lee over the years and individually tell their stories and fond memories. It was not a typical panel as a result, but it was no less heartfelt. Other interesting panels included one with Michael Uslan going over his journey to bring Batman to the big screen in celebration of the film’s 30th anniversary and a spotlight on acclaimed comic book writer Jonathan Hickman ahead of his taking over the X-Men franchise.

This year, I accomplished meeting a couple folks I’ve been trying for years to meet. First was professional wrestler Becky Lynch when she and other World Wrestling Entertainment talent had a signing at the Mattel booth. What’s funny was that I became a fan of hers for a few years and it was when she become one of the top stars of WWE over the past year that I was finally able to meet her. She was appreciative of my efforts and greeted me warmly.

The other I’ve been trying to meet was filmmaker Kevin Smith. As an ambassador of Comic Con, Smith had continuously been one of the toughest to meet. It took Gallery Nucleus having an autograph session at their booth on the last day of the convention. Smith would be signing with Pernille Ørum, an Internet-discovered artist I liked who illustrated Smith’s four-issue run on the current Hit-Girl comic book series. Smith displayed great enthusiasm hearing that it took me years to finally meet him and made sure our brief encounter was worth it.

Below are exclusive pictures from the 2019 San Diego Comic Con.


Trolley cars all through San Diego getting wrapped up with content related to Comic Con.
Fans waiting to get into the Exhibit Hall on Preview Night.
The Hasbro store booth is so popular it requires being chosen through lottery to get in.
Chris Sanders selling his latest sketchbook to a fan.
Chloe and Max searching for Rachel. (Life is Strange)
An obvious Popeye fan asking a question during the Popeye 90th Anniversary panel.
“For like the first time ever I’m completely free!” (Rapunzel with Pascal, Tangled)
Is the Force strong enough to be around this much evil? (Star Wars)
Dan with Disney animator Kathy Zielinski.
Fans reminiscing emotionally and fondly about Stan Lee.
H. Jon Benjamin and Melissa Galsky thinking back on making Home Movies.
Seems like Ron is now the third wheel to Kim and Shego. (Kim Possible)
“Wingardium Leviosa!” Fans experiencing the magic of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child firsthand.
The evolution of the Stormtrooper on display at the LucasFilm Pavilion.
Visual Effects Society busts of Stan Lee, Jim Henson, and George Lucas on display at the Gentle Giant booth.
Gender-bending both Spider-Man and Mary Jane. (Spider-Man)
“A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes” (Prince Charming and Cinderella, Cinderella)
“You do swim, do you not?” (Kida, Atantis: The Lost Empire)
Dan chatting with Noelle Stevenson and Merit Leighton during the
She-Ra and the Princesses of Power signing at the Mattel booth.
Stylized versions of Gambit, Jubilee, Rogue, and Wolverine. (X-Men)
“It’s showtime!” (Lydia and Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice)
The Battle of the Century: Star Wars vs. Marvel!
“Who put the glad in gladiator?” (Hercules)
A very stylized samurai Darth Vader. (Star Wars)
Cristina Vee greeting fans after the Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir panel.
The post-panel group shot celebrating Marvel’s 80th Anniversary through animation.
“Hellooooooo, Nurse!” (Hello Nurse with Yakko and Wakko, Animaniacs)
The Dread Pirate Roberts, Princess Buttercup, and their baby. (The Princess Bride)
The post-panel group shot of the crew and cast of Seis Manos.
Floyd Norman illustrating a self-portrait as he’s getting yelled at by Walt Disney.
Sergio Aragonés illustrating the fan suggestion of Alfred E. Neuman and Morticia Addams having a baby.
Fred Tatasciore struggling to guess the secret words being illustrated during the Quick Draw.
Scott Shaw illustrating how cartooning might fail to pick up a date.
Mark Evanier moderating so many panels that he had numerous copies of his name tag.
Big Bird welcoming attendees to the panel celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Sesame Street.
Grover, Elo, and Count von Count joining the Sesame Street 50th Anniversary panel.
A fan cosplaying as second campaign character Jester asking the Critical Role cast a question.
Many fans cosplaying as first campaign characters Percy and Vex. (Critical Role: The Legend of Vox Machina)
Superman, Wonder Woman, and Supergirl standing together!
“This place has more twists than a pretzel factory.” (Orko, Masters of the Universe)
Executive Producer Michael Uslan talking about the Batman film in celebration of its 30th anniversary.
Former Spawn character turned current Marvel heroine Angela.
X-Men writer Jonathan Hickman receiving Comic Con’s Inkpot Award ahead of spotlight panel.
San (Princess Mononoke) and Starfire (Teen Titans) making quite the team up.
Dan meeting Kevin Smith during his and Pernille Ørum’s signing at the Gallery Nucleus booth.
“Do animals talk in this dimension? ‘Cause I don’t wanna freak him out.” (Spider-Ham)
An all-female Wendy Darling, Captain Hook, and Tinkerbell. (Peter Pan)
Comic Con exclusive She-Ra and the Princesses of Power poster signed by
Noelle Stevenson, Aimee Carrero, Marcus Scribner, Lauren Ash, and Merit Leighton.
The Disney Princess Comic Treasure Trove figures designed by Amy Mebberson.
Comic Con exclusive edition of the Star Wars Black Series: Sith Trooper figure.