San Diego Comedian Fest, or because it calls itself, “The Pleasant, Intimate Comedian Conference Expertise,” is good across the nook. Comedian Fest Chairman Matt Dunford has been making the social media rounds and performing some last-minute preparations. As standard, we on the The Beat checked in with him and inquired concerning the upcoming conference.
So Matt, did you even take a break from the final Comedian Fest earlier than starting planning and doing the legwork for this yr’s occasion?
Nope. We simply jumped proper into it. There have been already issues in thoughts for the 2018 present if you first interviewed me two years in the past for 2017’s Comedian Fest. We knew that 2018 was going to be a Frankenstein theme. And earlier than we have been leaping into that, Comedian-Con founder and San Diego Comedian Fest founder Mike Towry instructed, “Subsequent yr, I need to do for our theme the 50 years [anniversary] of the moon touchdown.” So, I stated you understand what, let’s go proper into that. So actually, I’ve been planning for this even earlier than final yr’s San Diego Comedian Fest was even completed. In contrast to final yr’s present, I had fourteen months to plan for it as a result of we had gone from a February 2017 present to an April 2018 present. And now with this, we’ve gone from an April present to a March present, [leaving] lower than a yr to plan for this. Meaning we needed to simply leap proper in and get the ball rolling.
Speaking concerning the 50th anniversary of the Apollo Moon Touchdown, I’m wanting right here at a number of the science-fiction friends that you’ve listed right here, or as you could have put them your “Killer B’s,” and I need to say that is very spectacular; Greg Bear, Gregory Benford, who’s well-known for his and Larry Niven’s “Bowl of Heaven” and simply had a brand new title come out lately referred to as “Rewrite,” and David Brin who’s a Nebula and Hugo Award winner. How did you land these guys?
The factor concerning the Killer B’s is that they’ve been staples for San Diego Comedian Fest because the begin. They’ve simply been extremely supportive. And naturally I gained’t put up a entrance and say I’m probably the most well-versed science fiction man in the whole world. I’m extra of a comic book e-book man. Thankfully, Mike is that science fiction man, so he’s all the time on the hunt for nice friends for science fiction. The Killer B’s are all the time welcome they usually all the time present some nice entertaining content material. We’re additionally ecstatic to have William Nolan be our Science Fiction Visitor of Honor this yr. He co-wrote Logan’s Run again within the day and authored greater than 2,000 items of fiction. He’s just about gained nearly each science fiction award, even profitable the Bram Stoker Award, and seemingly each lifetime achievement award. Now that he’s in his nineties and a World Horror Society Grand Grasp, we’re actually lucky to have him.
So, as you see, we undoubtedly ensure to cater to the science fiction aspect of issues, for many who usually are not comedian e-book guys like me. We maintain issues targeted as if it have been the unique comedian conventions of the 1970’s, the place it was the main target of comics, science fiction, movie, and naturally animation, as a result of, you understand, all of us love cartoons.
Talking of comedian books, since that is in any case “Comedian Fest,” your visitor of honor this yr is Sergio Aragonés. Inform us about that.
I don’t assume there’s an individual alive who would debate the truth that Sergio Aragonés is the world’s biggest dwelling cartoonist. So many business giants look as much as this man for his cartooning expertise. The truth that he’s going to have fun his 60th yr at MAD Journal with us, I couldn’t be extra thrilled to have him. Everybody loves his work. He’s so extremely entertaining and humorous. It simply floored me when he truly stated sure to being the visitor of honor, as a result of on the coronary heart of it I’m nonetheless a fanboy and I have no idea anybody on this planet that isn’t a fan of his work. To have the ability to spotlight Sergio’s profession and all that he’s accomplished is immense and I can’t cease being enthusiastic about it.
Inform us extra concerning the different visitors that you’ve for the animation and comics aspect of issues.
In recent times, we’ve got introduced in animator Willie Ito, well-known for creating Hong Kong Phooey again within the 70’s, and in addition the person who animated the long-lasting spaghetti scene within the Disney film Woman and the Tramp. This yr, he has some pals that he’s bringing alongside; an animation author from again within the day referred to as Tony Benedict, author for The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Prime Cat, Huckelberry Hound, Yogi Bear, Magilla Gorilla, and just about every thing Hanna-Barbera, in addition to producer, animation storyboard artist, and just about guru of so many issues at Hanna-Barbera Jerry Eisenberg. He labored on Wacky Races, Tremendous Pals, The Jetsons, Jonny Quest, Area Ghost, and extra. For these guys to have the ability to come out to the present and speak about that golden age of Hanna-Barbera, working with Hanna and Barbera, and dealing behind the scenes on issues is simply a chance that no one must be lacking.
How about a few of your different visitors, like John Semper, who is certainly not a brand new face to the conference, and the likes of James Robinson?
John Semper is in fact no stranger to San Diego Comedian Fest. As Chairmen [of Comic Fest]I’ve to take a step again from my private fanboy and do issues that I feel would profit the whole group. Nevertheless, that is the yr that I do get to step in with my private fanboy and get to have fun with John the 25th anniversary of the Spider-Man cartoon, which is my all-time favourite cartoon. John has been such an exquisite visitor through the years, and he is aware of how essential the Spider-Man: The Animated Collection is to me and the way essential it’s to our tradition. The way it primarily laid the groundwork for the Marvel cinematic universe that we all know in the present day. John featured Blade the vampire hunter on the Spider-Man cartoon after the character fell into obscurity for 20 years. Two years later, he’s acquired his personal precise film popping out. With this in thoughts, you just about see a few of these items being taken out of Spider-Man: The Animated Collection and into different movies and different tales alongside the best way. We’re even going to be doing a panel this yr on the true origins of the Spider-verse. As a lot as I’m a fan of the film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, which was an outstanding film, the plot-points appear fairly acquainted. Actually, for those who’re a fan of the animated collection, you may acknowledge the plot is actually “Spider Warfare,” the ultimate two episodes of the Spider-Man: The Animated Collection. It’s actually fantastic that John is getting ready that speak and I’m actually wanting ahead to it.
One other particular visitor that we’re wanting ahead to having is James Robinson. He’s almost written for each main tremendous hero character over the course of I feel 30 years, however of these characters there’s truly one which’s going to be one very particular in celebrating this yr. That’s going to be the 25 years of Starman, which is arguably the most effective 90’s comedian round, and I say that arguably. I do know there’s going to be individuals who’ll need to battle me and say, “No! It’s Hellboy!” However that’s all the time open for debate and I really like this speak. Anybody whose learn James Robinson’s Starman is aware of its influence on comics for the time and the way fantastic and the way lovely that story was.
I do need to speak just a little bit concerning the venue for Comedian Fest. In earlier years, you’ve used the San Diego Towne and Nation and that’s the place the conference has actually shaped, or slightly, taken form. Couple of years in the past you moved over to the 4 Factors by Sheraton, which I felt was an excellent area. Final yr you moved again to the Towne and Nation, however once more this yr you’re going again to the 4 Factors. How has this modified the conference for this yr?
In fact it’s a shift-up. You develop up in a single area, then you definitely check out one other one, however you then return to a different one. I feel we’ve simply discovered a superb residence on the 4 Factors by Sheraton. That venue works higher for us, a lot simpler to orient for followers, and provides us a terrific format to current our conference. I simply acquired again from taking in a “lay-of-the-land” and taking to employees on issues and I’ve advised them our plans for a way issues could possibly be carried out for the occasion. We had a trial run at this venue two years in the past, however this time we get to strategy issues from a perfected stance. So, we could have a full-fledged vendor corridor within the again and cosplayers can come out and luxuriate in the remainder of the resort space and fountains and gazebos and open fields subsequent to the golf space. This supplies a whole-lot of room to maneuver. Issues might have felt just a little confined two years in the past, however we have been additionally coping with a number of rain. Additionally, we actually couldn’t use that venue final yr as a result of it had been going by means of some upkeep points. Since then, the roofs have been fastened, they’ve introduced a brand new bar space for the café that we all the time have. The format is now a lot prettier, rather more targeted, and far more secure and higher for Comedian Fest.
One other main difficulty two years in the past was the shortage of obtainable parking. How has that since been improved?
We labored out a pleasant cope with Nationwide College down the block so we will use their amenities for parking. I feel that may alleviate points from earlier than.
Considered one of my favourite features of the 4 Factors venue was that devoted theater that they had. Will you have the ability to use it once more this yr?
Completely. A few of the packages you’ll be able to sit up for there, which has about 200 seats, are some nice leisure from new efficiency arts. We’ve truly received a Hugo nominated performer who does a one-man Twilight Zone act and it is rather good. There will even be different associated programming since that is the 60th anniversary of the Twilight Zone. You possibly can anticipate to see Arlen Schumer, who was one of the crucial prolific voices of San Diego Comedian Fest, coming again for a four-series visible lecture on the 60th anniversary of the Twilight Zone, in addition to a visible lecture of the paintings of Jim Steranko and Captain America and 50 years of Neal Adams on Batman. I additionally plan to run a few of these all-night serials of previous Batman movies from the 40’s, as a result of they’re all the time extensively entertaining. They’re so dangerous that they’re good. You possibly can’t flip away.
Lastly, what are a few of your hopes for this yr’s Comedian Fest?
I hope that you simply’ll take the chance to return out and have a good time. I would like everybody to be told, entertained, and know that I’m actually devoted towards placing collectively some superb programming catered in the direction of the followers. Whether or not you’re followers of comics, animation, or movie, it’s simply one thing for everybody. Come say hello to Sergio and meet the world’s-greatest-living cartoonist. Come and hang around with Allen Bellman, our golden age comics particular visitor. Deliver the complete household round, as a result of we do have one thing for everybody. General, I simply need individuals to have enjoyable and luxuriate in issues in a relaxed and intimate surroundings. There’s no strain. It’s all about enjoyable right here.
San Diego Comedian Fest is March seventh to 10th on the 4 Factors by Sheraton. For these occupied with attending, go to their web site at SDCOMICFEST.ORG.
Nicholas Eskey is an avid reader and author. When not contributing to The Beat, he works on his private tasks, the newest being a fantasy novel referred to as “My Personable Demon.” He lives in San Diego, California, and is regularly bossed round by his cat.