It’s been 5 years since I was last at San Diego Comic Con and I think, for me, the biggest change was all of the offsite activities available. For most, if not all of the offsite locations, a badge was not required. Warner Brothers took over a grassy area between Hall H and the Hilton for “Lawn Con” and filled it with giant Teen Titans inflatable figures, a large Lord of the Rings/Hobbit LEGO set, life-sized LEGO Batman figures, and the Mystery Machine from Scooby-Doo. In back of the San Diego Convention Center, there was a Vikings ship for folks to check out (as part of a promotion for The History Channel’s show).
PETCO Park also held a number of activities. There was a family fun zone in the main parking lot featuring The Smurfs, Adult Swim Fun House, Mad Max Video Game, Falling Skies, Hello Kitty, and a variety of food trucks. PETCO itself hosted a MTV party/concert on Thursday night, Walking Dead Zombie Crawl (or something like that) on Friday or Saturday night, and during the day, was host to several Nerd HQ panels. The Nerd HQ panels were separate ticketed events with the money being donated to charity. Some of the Nerd HQ guests included Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles of Supernatural, Evangeline Lilly, and a Serenity screening with Alan Tudyk and Nathan Fillion in attendance.
In addition to all those events, there were also storefronts rented out by several companies throughout the Gaslamp District. Felicia Day’s Geek and Sundry took over a local bar/restaurant for a weekend of panels, gaming, and parties. Disney had a store Friday and Saturday nights where people could play and preview their upcoming Disney Infinity game. Legendary pictures took over an empty warehouse to create the Godzilla experience, NBC was on hand to promote Grimm and Dracula and you could walk though an Ender’s Game exhibit where many of the costumes and props were on display.
Perhaps the film with the biggest offsite presence was The World’s End. The film from Edgar Wright, Nick Frost Jr., and Simon Pegg won’t premiere in the States until August but there was a special screening at a local theater on Friday night. There were also 12 exclusive cards (slightly larger than traditional trading cards) given out to promote the film as well as mini-posters and coasters.
You could easily spend an entire day on all the outside activities so next year if you can’t get tickets to all 4 days of Comic Con don’t worry about it, there are still plenty of activities outside that you don’t need a comic-con badge to enjoy.
Be sure to catch my upcoming entry on what could be found inside the Convention Center here on the blog tomorrow.