This summer, one of the most entertaining activities families with teenagers can enjoy together is Comic-Con in San Diego, Ca., which is also celebrating its 40th Anniversary this year.  The yearly comic book convention had its humble beginnings with the comic book industry, but in recent years, this aspect of the convention has taken a back seat to the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />Hollywood movie industry’s take over of the exhibition halls at the San Diego Convention Center. Last year’s convention was completely sold out before the doors to the giant venue opened. This year, if you haven’t purchased your badges by now, I guess you’ll be joining the party outside of the modern building– the event is already completely sold out! This annual convention has been called “Geekfest USA”, and has a loyal throng of attendees who will sleep outside if they have to, in order to get a seat in a hall hosting one of the many movie discussion panels staffed by the film’s celebs themselves.

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To help celebrate Comic Con’s 40th anniversary, many of the original members of Comic-Con will be on hand: Richard Alf, Bill Lund, Barry Alfonso, and George Clayton-Johnson who wrote a number of the classic Twilight Zone episodes, co-authored the novels Ocean‘s 11 and Logan’s Run, and wrote the premiere episode of Star Trek. Bill Mummy is also scheduled to appear. Remember him? You would if you’re a forty or fifty-something. Mummy played Will Robinson in the television show Lost in Space!


In the last few years, Comic Con has become a prefered family attraction in Southern California. Families flock to this event partly due to the huge popularity of the exhibits mounted by Hollywood studios like Lionsgate, Disney, Sony, Nickelodeon, Summit, Universal and MGM, which were among last year’s movie companies. And it looks like they’ll be back in town again promoting their biggest upcoming films. Last year, San Diego’s Comic Con was the springboard for movie trailer premiers like Watchmen, UP, Bolt, and Terminator Salvation to name a few.


In 2008, Comic Con visitors also had the first look at Twilight’s cast and director, Catherine Hardwick. Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart were present at the panel discussions as hoards of teens jammed the hall to catch a glimpse of  author Stephanie Meyer’s main characters come to life before them.  Summit’s recent announcement that the cast from the Twilight saga’s sequel, New Moon, will be showing up at the convention center this year already has teens salivating for the second movie, scheduled to be released in November.


Living in San Diego during the month of July is one of those rare times it has its perks (besides the year-round great weather!). July 23rd through the 26th, I’ll be ensconced in downtown San Diego, press badge securely clipped to my lanyard, where our fine city will be teaming with an ever growing assortment of Storm Troopers, Trekies, Captain Jacks, gooks, geeks, and a variety of video game costume characters only diehard gamers know and love.

I’ll be posting helpful information through out the next few weeks to try to help you, and your family, plan for this year’s Comic Con. Make sure to check back often. If you’ve already started to map out your strategy for this year’s ‘Con’, share your tips! And, “may the force be with you” (and me!).

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