By Luis Monteagudo Jr.
Shut out of Comic-Con this year? Don’t worry. As usual, there are plenty of free events open to the general public in the Gaslamp area near the Con and beyond. Here’s a look at some of the most intriguing offerings.
Balboa Park — The long-awaited Comic-Con museum is still a couple of years away from opening but there will be a pop-up museum at the location in the old Sports Hall of Champions in Balboa Park.
There will be an interactive Batman experience with comics, art, costumes, props and vehicles; an exhibit of original art celebrating Comic-Con’s 50th anniversary; four daily panels and more.
Downtown Library — Even the National Park Service is getting into the Con spirit.
In coordination with San Diego’s Little Fish Comic Book Studio, the Park Service will hold two events linked to Cabrillo National Monument. One is “Conversation + Comics,” a science education workshop that will connect people to conservation science through comic books.
The first workshop is 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, July 18 at the San Diego Central Library in the second-floor Union Bank Homework Center. The second is 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, July 19, in the same location. The workshops are free but people are encouraged to register online at the San Diego Public Library website.
The second even is a panel discussion, “Conservation + Comics: Understanding Science through Art.” It will be held 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday July 20, at the Shiley Special Events Suite in the central library. Registration is also urged through the library web site.
Gaslamp — “The Walking Dead” has become a Comic-Con staple and it’s back again this year outside the Convention Center with the return of a “DeadQuarters” fan zone. It will be located on the Martin Luther King Promenade in front of the Hilton Gaslamp Hotel (4th Avenue and L Street, across from the Convention Center) and open Thursday, July 18, through Saturday, July 20, from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, July 21, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Several other attractions will be held throughout the Gaslamp.
National Geographic will be parading “Deep Blue,” a replica of the largest great white shark ever filmed. It’s a promotion for an upcoming Nat Geo special. The shark’s route will take it from Market Street through Harbor Drive, with a more precise route to be announced later.
NBC is promoting a trio of its shows — “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” “The Good Place,” and “Superstore” — with large activations inside and near the Hard Rock Hotel (in front of the Tin Fish restaurant.) There will be a replica of the Brooklyn 99 precinct, the “Superstore” Cloud 9 department store and “The Good Place” diner, with plenty of opportunities for selfies and photos.
Luis Monteagudo Jr. is a freelance writer and pop culture fan who is attending his 29th consecutive Comic-Con.
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