SDCC 2023: maybe not the best year ever, but still pretty fun

 23 JULY 2023

So the most beleaguered Comic-Con in recent history has come and gone. (I'm not counting the virtual Con of 2020 for obvious reasons.) What did you think? Did you pine for the celebrities who weren't there? Did the empty chairs in Hall H give your heart a pang? Or did you adventure off in other directions that turned out to be kind of great?

My answer would be neither/both - I could feel the palpable absence of, well, several elements I wish were there, but I still enjoyed buzzing around the Con. If you were sad, my advice is to set your sights on next year. The dates: July 24-28. And we can probably look forward to panels on the next Alien film, Beetlejuice 2, Captain America: Brave New World, and Joker: Folie a Deux. Well, unless a new global pandemic, industry disaster, or AI uprising has destroyed life as we know it.

You can also look forward to the Comic-Con Cruise in 2025. More on that later.

Overall, this wasn't the most groundbreaking Con but I don't think it would have been even without the strikes. I apparently am in the minority in this line of thought, because so many people said to me with heartfelt conviction that if the strike hadn't happened, this would have been the all-time greatest Con ever with stupendous events and record-shattering trailers and big splashy promotional surprises around every corner. I'm not sure what this belief is based on but many people expressed it to me. Are you in this camp? If so, what were you expecting?

I'll post buzz winners and my report from first-timers in the next few days, along with some guidance on how to apply for your own SDCC panel. Until then - I hope you found something valuable and beautiful this past week, and that it keeps you inspired until our next bigger, richer, and more vibrant Comic-Con.


  1. This was our 8th SDCC, having attended since 2014. Other than the insane crowds in the exhibit hall (definitely the new Hall H, as you said), we really didn’t miss a beat! It would have been nice to get some Wednesday or Stranger Things…anything, but hey, we support the strikes and understand. Our highlights: The Her Universe Fashion Show (as always, and the swag was insane), all the author panels but especially Holly Black’s “The Making of Magic” panel, which was a masterclass in fantasy world-building, Quick Draw, the Marriott’s game rooms, the Guardians and Wakanda Forever Art Dept panels, the 35th Anniversary of Totoro panel, and all the ARC’s we scored hanging around the book aisles.

    The best part, in our current social climate, was just being there with so many happy people. It was my 14 yo’s 2nd SDCC, and she commented yesterday, “I really like the atmosphere here. Everyone is accepted.” Can’t wait til next year!

    1. I love that you had such a great time! You saw some amazing panels - and nice job on the ARCs. :) I also felt everyone seemed to be in a friendly mood and enjoying themselves. And it was great that everyone (as far as I could tell) supported the strikes and accepted a different flavor this SDCC.