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Comic-Con 2011 San Diego

July 14, 2011

Superman and Comic-Con 2011 San Diego

Written by:  Alexandra Hart & Julie Gelfat


Comic-Con, the annual festival of animation and the popular arts begins with Preview Night on Wednesday, July 20th, continues with the full convention on Thursday, July 21st, and concludes on Sunday, July 24th, 2011.

During the four days of Comic-Con, an amazing influx of creative people come together to commune with each other. Thousands of people, many dressed as their favorite comic or video game characters, descend on downtown San Diego to interact with each other, to buy and trade collectibles, and to hear the latest news on their favorite forms of entertainment, whether in print, online, or in 3-D.

We have designed this guide to accommodate the needs of a variety of people, including people that will be attending the event, tourists that will be visiting Downtown San Diego during the event, as well as people that live in San Diego and are interested in learning more about it.

First Time Going to “The Con”?

If this is your first time at Comic-Con, let us give you a bit of advice. Despite the largesse of this international convention, attendees are remarkably polite and respectful. Many families attend the convention as part of their summer vacation and many more individuals attend because they are devoted fans of their favorite popular arts. This is prime people-watching and the looking is encouraged, not discouraged. Tolerance of long lines and tolerance of different kinds of costumes is a must. We recommend that you leave your judgement at home and just come to take in the experience.

Photo: Lisa Schmidt

Photo: Lisa Schmidt

The Comic-Con Experience

The Comic-Con experience extends beyond the San Diego Convention Center as it literally spills out onto the streets and sidewalks of the Gaslamp District. For example, two years ago, traffic was held up briefly so because an unofficial light saber duel took place.

The San Diego Convention Center is completely consumed by Comic-Con. A map of the various meeting rooms and halls can be found in the official printed catalog or online. Here is an Exhibit Hall Map that you can refer to during your Comic-Con experience.

KÀ by Cirque du Soleil Comes to Comic-Con for Opening Night! – The resident production of KÀ by Cirque du Soleil at MGM Grand in Las Vegas will make their first ever appearance at Comic-Con with a free public performance on the opening night of Comic-Con. Utilizing an unprecedented display of 3-D projection and live performance,  KÀ will transform a brick wall into the site of an epic battle between good and evil.

When: Thursday, July 21, 2011

8:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Final Countdown to performance begins on outside of PETCO Park. Please arrive no later than 9:00 p.m.
9:30 p.m. – Performance from KÀ by Cirque du Soleil (time is approximate)

Where: Performance will take place on the outside of PETCO Park on Tony Gwynn Drive.

What Has Changed in Downtown San Diego Since Comic-Con 2010

The Pedestrian Bridge to Nowhere Has Opened! – Remember the bridge construction across from the Hilton Bayfront? It is a pedestrian bridge that was supposed to have been completed in 2010. It wasn’t. After some project delays, the bridge finally opened. What does that mean? You can cross over Harbor Drive (the street in front of the Convention Center) without having to wait at the intersection of the trolleys, the cars, and all those people. It is located just north of the Hilton Bayfront and it lets you out right by Petco Park.

New Restaurants Have Opened in the GaslampBub’s is a casual place that offers fresh air, cheap beer, and an indoor basketball throwing area. Cafe Sevilla opened in what was once Bondi, the failed Aussie bar. Let’s see if Spanish cuisine and beverages make it in this locale. And last but not least, Hodad’s, Ocean Beach’s legendary burger joint, finally finished construction late last year and has been serving up their tasty burgers, fries, onion rings and frosty cold ones to the masses.

The Gaslamp Quarter Association Welcomes Comic-Con – Although Comic-Con takes place at the San Diego Convention Center, the area that it is located in is called the Gaslamp Quarter. This year, the folks at the Gaslamp Quarter Association have a dedicated a page to the fan boys and fans girls to help them figure out what to do when they are not waiting for panels to start and where to get more interesting grub than the Convention Center’s nachos.

Photo: David Schmidt

Photo: David Schmidt

East Village Has a Brewery – Appropriately housed in the old Wonder Bread building (yeast, people), Mission Brewery offers some good local craft beer in a spacious setting. Best of all, the ceiling is high enough to accommodate food trucks inside the building. Can’t beat that. Speaking of food trucks, expect to see more of them this year since the food truck phenomena finally reached San Diego in a big way.

TIP! Wear your Comic-Con badge and/or come in costume and the Mission Brewery will shave $1 off your frosty pint. This offer is good for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. They are located at 14th & L, on the other side of the pedestrian bridge over Harbor Drive.

History Buffs Can Take In a Comic-Con Museum Exhibition – The San Diego History Center in Balboa Park (a short ride away from Downtown) has mounted a display of Comic-Con memorabilia from the personal collection of the founder of Comic-Con himself, Shel Dorf. “Comic-Con: The Early Years, Memorabilia from the Shel Dorf Collection” showcases some of the earliest promotional material used for the Comic-Con convention as well as revealing some little-known facts about one of San Diego’s most treasured annual events.

Hello Kitty! Maneki Neko Beckon You to Balboa Park – The Mingei International Museum in Balboa Park specializes in unique folk art exhibitions representing many cultures around the world. Of particular interest to Comic-Con attendees is the 155 beckoning cat collection called Maneki Neko. It is a fun exhibition and it has proved to be a big draw. The cats are located on the 2nd floor and they are waiting for you to come and raise your paw.

The Food Trucks Are Coming – Yes, San Diego has finally embraced the concept of portable good eats and folks are very excited about these meals on wheels. The good people at San Diego Food Trucks told us that a gaggle of them will convene as a Food Truck Food Court, located at a parking lot near The Con at First Avenue/Island & Second Avenue & J. Here is a map.

Food Truck Schedule: Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., although most trucks will be gone by 8:00 p.m.

Please note that the entrance will be off First Avenue, right next to the Comedy Central Interactive Park. Warner Brothers, Disney, and Comedy Central/South Park will also be doing projects in the lot. Fun, fun!!

Photo: David Schmidt

Photo: David Schmidt

Celebrity Spotting at Comic-Con 2011

One of the most intriguing aspects of Comic-Con is that famous celebrities attend the convention in costume and sometimes even try out an act with the public. It has become a given that major movie studios and TV networks have come to Comic-Con to show previews and make presentations that showcase cult, favorite and brand new shows. In fact, so many appearances are made that we don’t even have the final list at press time. If you want the latest information, be sure to go to Comic-Con’s ever-changing special guest list.

Panels With Celebrities

Thursday, July 21st Highlights

  • 11:15 p.m. to 12:15 p.m. – The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1— Summit Entertainment presents a sneak peek at the highly anticipated next chapter of The Twilight Saga. Exclusive footage from The Twilight Saga Breaking Dawn Part 1; filmmaker and cast Q&A session providing details on the first half of the two-part finale. Location: Hall H
  • 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Napoleon Dynamite— Original cast members from the hit indie film including Jon Heder, Tina Majorino, Efren Ramirez, Jon Gries, Sandy Martin, Diedrich Bader and executive producer Mike Scully present a new animated series based on the main character. Location: Room 7AB
  • 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. – FilmDistrict Studio Panel— FilmDistrict introduces two upcoming features: Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, a Guillermo Del Toro production starring Katie Holmes and Guy Pearce, and Drive, directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, starring Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Ron Perlman, and Christina Hendricks. Exclusive footage will be presented and a Q&A will be held for both films. Location: Hall H
  • 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. – Game of Thrones Panel and Q&A Session— Based on the bestselling fantasy book series “A Song of Ice and Fire” by George R. R. Martin, HBO’s Game of Thrones concluded its 10-episode debut season on June 19. Some of the cast featured in the first season and appearing on this panel are (in alphabetical order) Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Ser Jaime Lannister, Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister, Kit Harington as Jon Snow, and Jason Momoa as Khal Drogo. Moderated by George R. R. Martin, who also serves as a co-executive producer and writer on the series. Location: Ballroom 20


Photo: Lisa Schmidt

Photo: Lisa Schmidt

Friday, July 22nd Highlights

  • 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. DC: Mad about MAD— Featuring short animated parodies, crazy commercials, pretend promos and classic gags inspired by the iconic magazine, join MAD magazine editor John Ficarra, art director Sam Viviano and Spy vs. Spy artist Peter Kuper, along with MAD series producers Kevin Shinick and Mark Marek, for a sizzle reel of laughs from season one, a sneak peek at Season 2, and a Q&A session. Location: Room 25ABC
  • 10:15 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. Epix Pictures: The Captains — William Shatner is joined by fellow Star Trek captain Avery Brooks to present a preview of the EPIX Pictures original documentary produced and directed by Shatner, in which he travels the world to interview all the actors who’ve played Starfleet captains. The discussion and Q&A session is moderated by Kevin Smith. Location: Room 6BCF.
  • 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. – The Big Bang Theory Screening and Q&A — The show’s producers and stars return to San Diego with a special screening and Q&A. Executive producers Chuck Lorre, Bill Prady, and Steve Molaro join stars Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg, Kunal Nayyar, Mayim Bialik, and Melissa Rauch for a fun and lively discussion.  Location: Ballroom 20
  • 2:45 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. – DreamWorks: Fright Night— Colin Farrell, Anton Yelchin, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Imogen Poots, Dave Franco, director Craig Gillespie, and screenwriter Marti Noxon take the dais to give fans a taste of the horrific fun to come in DreamWorks Pictures’ 3D reimagining of the classic horror film. Location: Hall H
  • 1:00 p.m. to 12:00 p.m. – Archie Comics: The Future of Riverdale and Beyond— Archie’s co-CEO Jon Goldwater, president Mike Pellerito, and editor-in-chief Victor Gorelick, iVerse’s Michael Murphey, creators Dan Parent (Kevin Keller) and Michael Uslan (Batman, Life with Archie), and Archie executive director of publicity and marketing Alex Segura (Archie & Friends) present a look into the future of Archie stories, major announcements, special guest stars, digital plans, and much more! Location: Room 23ABC

Saturday, July 23rd Highlights

  • 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. – TWIXT: Francis Ford Coppola and Dan Deacon— Legendary filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola and acclaimed musician Dan Deacon present sequences from Coppola’s latest film, TWIXT, and involve the audience in a dress rehearsal of the completely unique and innovative way they plan on performing it. Plus a Q&A session. Location: Hall H
  • 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. – Designing the SuperHero Costume: Costume Designers, Costume Illustrators and Superhero Costume Builders— Costume designers work with costume illustrators to translate graphic artists’ renderings into wearable, functioning, cinematic costumes. Hear the inside stories from the people who bring the superhero costume to life. Moderator Deborah Nadoolman Landis (member of Costume Designers Guild, Local 892, costume designer, Raiders of the Lost Ark, director of the David C. Copley Center for Costume Design at UCLA) is joined by costume designers Christine Bieslin-Clark (co-costume designer, Tron: Legacy) and Ellen Mirojnick (G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra), Christian Beckman of Quantum FX, Inc. (specialty costume fabricator, Tron: Legacy, Watchmen), costume manufacturers Mary Ellen Fields of Bill Hargate Costumes (Iron Man 2), and Marilyn Madsen (Star Trek TV series), and costume illustrators Constantine Sekeres (Thor, Green Lantern) and Christian Cordella (GI Joe 2: Cobra Strikes, Captain America: The Last Avenger). Location: Room 23ABC
  • 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. – Further over the Rainbow: A First Look at Dorothy of Oz— Join the author and creator, Roger Baum (great grandson of L. Frank Baum), songwriter, producers, and various cast members of Summertime Entertainment’s Dorothy of Oz, as they discuss the many angles of creating the anticipated new 2012 animated musical starring Lea Michele, Megan Hilty, Martin Short, and Patrick Stewart. Be the very first to see the footage, hear the music, and witness a surprise new casting announcement. Q&A to follow. Location: Hall H
  • 8:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. – HBO’s True Blood Presents the Comic-Con International Masquerade— Fabulous original and re-created costumes crafted by talented attendees appear on stage before an audience of thousands, with impressive awards and cash prizes bestowed to those judged most outstanding. Doors will open for audience seating at 7:45 pm, but the line will start much earlier! Tickets will be required for seating, and will be given out free to those lining up near Ballroom 20 beginning at 2:00 pm Saturday until all tickets are gone. The masters of ceremonies will once again be writer/artists Phil Foglio and Kaja Foglio of Studio Foglio. (Note: overflow seating is available in Rooms 5AB, 6A and in the Sails Pavilion; tickets not required for overflow areas). Location: Ballroom 20

Autographs – Like every year, Comic-Con 2011 will also be featuring a wide spectrum of guests that will be on hand to sign autographs. Located upstairs in the Sails Pavilion, the Autograph Area is the place to go for a special memento from a variety of artists, authors, and actors from every era of popular culture.

The Autograph Area is open from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday.


Daily Schedule

  • Wednesday, July 21st (Preview Night) – 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. (4-Day Memberships ONLY)
  • Thursday, July 22nd – 9:30 a.m. to 7:00p.m. *
  • Friday, July 23rd – 9:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. *
  • Saturday, July 24th – 9:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. *
  • Sunday, July 25th – 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

* Additional nighttime events and programming run until after midnight.

Comic-Con 2011 Parking InformationParking in downtown San Diego is limited but there are a number of paid parking lots that you can secure if you arrive early. Don’t bother trying to park at a meter because there aren’t enough long-term meters near the San Diego Convention Center, although you can always give it a try. You can purchase an official Comic-Con Parking Pass in advance and online through Comic-Con. There are various parking lots (both on-site and off-site) that are participating in this demonstration project.

Comic-Con Can Shuttle You for FreeIf you are one of the thousands that plan to travel to San Diego for Comic-Con, please take advantage of Comic-Con’s free shuttle service. Comic-Con knows just how impacted parking can get in the downtown area. In order to ease congestion and increase convenience, Comic-Con has chartered specially marked buses to shuttle between various convention hotels and the San Diego Convention Center.

The good folks at Comic-Con have also taken locals into account – even if you’re not staying at a downtown hotel, you can still utilize this service by parking your car at a structure away from the Convention Center and taking the shuttle.

Comic-Con and Public TransportationThe San Diego Metropolitan Transit Service (MTS) will be providing Red Line special event service from Qualcomm Stadium to the Convention Center every 15 minutes all four days of Comic Con. Parking is free and plentiful at Qualcomm Stadium (this is where the San Diego Chargers football team play) EXCEPT Wednesday night due to a special event at the stadium..

Insider’s Tip: Transit riders should purchase a day pass for $5. Better yet, buy a four-day pass for only $15.

Hotel AccommodationsIf you have not booked your hotel room yet, be sure to visit Comic-Con’s official hotel information page. Last minute discounts for hotel rooms may be available.

Disabled Services – Comic-Con’s Disabled Services Department’s goal is to make everyone feel welcome and comfortable as possible at Comic-Con. Special attention is paid to attendees who need assistance with mobility and language.

  • Wheelchairs are available for loan in 2-3-hour increments on a first-come, first-serve basis at the San Diego Convention Center with a picture ID and a $20 deposit.
  • A special rest area for the disabled, elderly, expectant moms, and parents with babies.
  • Cold storage of medications.
  • American Sign Language interpreters for the deaf during the large panels and the Masquerade.
  • Special limited seating for the disabled for large programming events and the Masquerade.

Child Care Services for Comic-Con – Comic-Con has a long-standing tradition of providing a childcare vendor (KiddieCorp) to service those conventioneers who wish to give their kids a break from all the action.

May the Force Be With You – Whew! That was a lot of information to digest (and to write). The Comic-Con experience is just that, an experience. If you have been curious, go. If you haven’t been curious, you shouldn’t even have gotten down this far. If you have been going for years, good for you!

If you have any comments that you would like to share with us and the rest of the universe, please feel free to provide relevant comments below.

Would you like our latest edition to land in your inbox? All you need to do is subscribe. To subscribe to the blog, look for the SUBSCRIBE button just below the photo on the upper right-hand corner. If you want to find out about things to do in San Diego, go to San Diego Travel We can be reached at: sdtips @ For even more information, follow us on Twitter!

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