Image credit: Christopher Brown used via CC By 2.0

‘Nerd HQ’ Will Be Absent At San Diego Comic-Con 2017

Why This Is A Huge Blow To Nerds & Geeks Everywhere

The Pop Culture Mecca

This year will mark the 48th anniversary of San Diego Comic-Con International, commonly known among geeks and nerds everywhere as simply “comic-con.”

For the uninitiated, comic-con grew from a modest comic book convention in 1970 to become the largest and most influential pop culture convention in the world.

Each summer in July, over 130,000 people invade sunny San Diego, California to attend the convention.

Attendees from all over the world come to comic-con to get a chance to celebrity sight-see, attend panels for exclusive sneak peeks at the latest Hollywood blockbuster movies and television series, acquire one-of-a-kind con swag and merchandise, meet up with friends, network, and party, party, party.

Oh yeah, comic books are at comic-con too.

If you love geek, nerd, and pop culture, comic-con is the event to attend.

Good luck getting tickets though.

Passes for comic-con are only available for purchase online, and sell out within minutes after becoming available. If you happen to be lucky enough to score coveted passes, you then need to find lodging if you are not a local.

You would have better luck surviving the hunger games.

The end result is comic-con has become inaccessible for the vast majority of us.

The Rise Of Nerd HQ

In 2011, actor and self-proclaimed nerd Zachary Levi (Chuck, Thor: The Dark World) launched “Nerd HQ,” a four day event to help promote his lifestyle website The Nerd Machine.

Nerd HQ ran concurrently with comic-con, and offered a wide-range of festive activities, including dance parties, video gaming, photo opportunities, treasure hunts, costume parties, and more.

However, what set the event apart from comic-con was admission was free of charge and anyone, regardless of whether you were a comic-con attendee or not, was welcome to participate.

Still, it was not the parties, and opportunities to play the latest video games that became the main attraction at Nerd HQ. The crown jewel of the event was without question the celebrity panels.

Unlike comic-con where fans are notoriously known for camping out days in advance for a chance to gain entrance to star-studded panels, the experience at Nerd HQ was far less intimidating and much more intimate.

Many factors can be attributed to Nerd HQ panels being highly regarded, namely:

  • Each panel cost twenty dollars, with all proceeds benefiting the event’s official charity Operation Smile
  • Only limited seating was available, making for a far more intimate experience with celebrity guests
  • Celebrities were asked questions taken directly from fans
  • All Nerd HQ panels were streamed online for free, and made available via the event’s YouTube channel

This far more relaxed and interactive environment attracted many notable celebrities and personalities to Nerd HQ each year, such as Felicia Day, Joss Whedon, Kevin Smith, Nathan Fillion, Aisha Tyler, Tom Hiddleston, William Shatner, and many more.

Zachary Levi as founder and master of ceremonies is a very warm, passionate, and energetic personality. Nerd HQ is his brainchild, and he seems to genuinely care about fans enjoying not just his event, but the entire comic-con experience.

If you watch any Nerd HQ video, that attitude is very palpable, and is also an indicator as to why the event enjoyed an explosion in popularity.

Since its inaugural in 2011, Nerd HQ grew and became a bona-fide hit, complete with celebrity guests, ballooning attendance, and major corporate sponsors such as Microsoft X-Box, Bud Light, Johnson & Johnson, and Alienware.

An Uncertain Future

Due to its increase in popularity and fan goodwill, it was a shock when Levi announced via video that Nerd HQ would not be at comic-con 2017.

A visibly subdued Levi was tight-lipped as to specifically why Nerd HQ will not convene this year, except to say he and his team “turned over every stone” in trying to bring the event back to San Diego.

For Levi, comic-con and Nerd HQ had one common purpose: to celebrate nerd and geek pop culture.

Nerd HQ’s absence from comic-con is a significant blow not only to those who wanted to personally experience the event, but also to fans who are unable to physically attend the festivities.

By hosting free activities in San Diego while streaming its panels and other special events, Nerd HQ made comic-con seem more accessible to the rest of us.

That was no small feat, and my hope is Levi and his team will be able to resurrect Nerd HQ next year and beyond.


Rod Faulkner is a huge sci-fi/fantasy fan — and the founder of The7thMatrix.com. He is also the author of the SF&F short film guide 200 Best Online Sci-Fi Short Films.