It’s a little-known fact that Comic-Con began as a teeny tiny event in a hotel basement. It was a get-together for about 300 comic book fans during a long weekend in 1970. Initially called the Golden State Comic Book Convention, it’s grown from that tiny gathering to an annual multi-day event that brings together over 130,000 fans of comic books and science fiction/fantasy related film, television, and similar popular arts, along with those who enjoy pop culture and entertainment elements across virtually all genres, including horror, Western animation, anime, manga, toys, collectible card games, video games, webcomics, and fantasy novels.
Publishers Weekly has written that “Comic-Con International: San Diego is the largest show in North America,” while “Forbes has stated the convention is the “largest convention of its kind in the world.”
For the past 50 years, San Diego Comic-Con has created one of the biggest, most popular conventions of its kind in the world. But the organizers of Comic-Con wanted to do even more to recognize fans and spread the magic of Comic-Con.
They imagined a place where fans could come together to celebrate the things they love, not just for a few days each summer, but all year long. A place where the public could learn about areas of art and pop culture of which they may not even be aware. A space where everyone is included, where old fans and new could enjoy the passion, creativity, and imagination of Comic-Con, while learning about science, technology, art, storytelling and much more.
And now, 50-odd years after it started, Comic-Con is finally getting its own, permanent museum.
The Comic-Con Museum, which will celebrate the magic of Comic-Con year-round, has announced its soft opening. It will open its doors to the public on Friday, November 26. Located in San Diego’s iconic Balboa Park, the Museum will feature six diverse, entertaining, educational and interactive exhibits:
- Chas Addams…Family and Friends
Loved by millions worldwide, Charles “Chas” Addams is primarily known for his creation of a fictional, multi-generational household of characters who starred in cartoons, The Addams Family television series, and multiple films. But he also illustrated more than 1,300 cartoons over the course of his life and is remembered for his rare gift of creating ghoulish, bizarre, and weird cartoons that are simultaneously charming, humorous, and enchanting. This exhibit features more than 50 original Addams works of art.
- Eight Decades of Archie
This world-premiere exhibition celebrates both the vast cultural legacy of Archie Comics over its 80-year span and the enduring appeal and history of its ever-evolving cast of typical American teenagers. Attendees will be welcomed to Riverdale through vintage comic books and original art, unique props. and other memorabilia, all built to delight both the most ardent Archie fan and casual fans alike.
- PAC-MAN Arcade
With a worldwide brand recognition of more than 90 percent, PAC-MAN is one of the most recognizable images and brands on the planet. Introduced as a video game in arcades in 1980, PAC-MAN continues to entertain and delight audiences young and old today. The PAC-MAN Arcade is unique to the Comic-Con Museum. Guests are sure to enjoy this nostalgic showcase of the star of the 2020 addition to the Comic-Con Museum Character Hall of Fame.
- Cardboard Superheroes
Your favorite pop-culture characters come to life in exceptional and intricately designed cardboard figures. Come see Iron Man, C-3PO, Wonder Woman, Groot, Black Manta, Baby Yoda, and other characters brought to three-dimensional life. The Museum’s opening weekend will feature a special appearance by the Cardboard Superheroes makers, Connor Lee and Bauer Lee, a “makers lab” in the Museum’s educational center where guests can follow along in a demonstration video to construct and keep the life-sized iconic shields of Captain America or Wonder Woman, and a special effects action video workshop to become your favorite superheroes such as Captain America, Thor, and Wonder Woman by shooting lightning bolts, dodging lasers, and wielding the power of Mjölnir!
- Out of the Darkness: Comic Art in the Times of COVID
This exhibit is the result of a special collaboration conducted during the height of the pandemic between Comic-Con Museum and A Reason to Survive (ARTS), a creative youth development nonprofit serving young people across South San Diego County. Sponsored by Kaiser Permanente, the exhibit showcases how through comic illustration and visual storytelling, young people look inside themselves and within their communities to explore the experiences of the past eighteen months and their effects on individual mental health and collective well-being.
The Chas Addams…Family and Friends and Out of the Darkness: Comic Art in the Times of COVID exhibits are limited-engagement exhibits. They will run from the museum’s soft opening through February 28, 2022.
The other exhibits have no closing dates at this time, but the museum plans to offer regularly rotating exhibits, hands-on workshops, and interactive experiences.
Special programming, screenings and a variety of special nighttime activities will be offered leading up to the museum’s grand opening in the summer of 2022.
The soft opening on Black Friday coincides with the Comic-Con Special Edition convention that will run from November 26 through 28 – that will be the first time Comic-Con has held a conference since the summer of 2019. #thanksCOVID
Save for opening day (12p to 6p), the museum will be open Wednesdays through Saturdays from 10am to 6pm, and 11am to 7pm on Sundays. It will be closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Tickets are $19.95 for general admission, $14.95 for students, and $11.95 for children aged 4-12. Discounts are offered for members of the U.S. military and for seniors age 60+. Children 3 and under are free. Reservations are recommended.
Free parking is available near the museum and throughout Balboa Park.
For more information about the Comic-Con Museum, click here.
Feature Photo: Comic-Con Museum
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