02015a-20211123 San Diego Comic-Con Special Edition-First night to pick up credentials+downtown+La Brea activation setup-iPh12ProMax


Slowly but surely, life is getting back to normal. Events that I had covered every year for many years were all cancelled in 2020, and then again into the early part of 2021, but science saved us. Thanks to the vaccines and boosters, in combination with face masks, finally we can safely venture back out into the world.

I have already covered all sorts of events, large and small, far and wide, including the fantastic Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, the massive SEMA Show in Las Vegas, IMAX movies and new exhibits at the Fleet Science Center in San Diego, car shows including the Goodguys Del Mar Nationals, the opening of a massive expansion of San Diego’s public transportation system with the addition of the San Diego Trolley’s Blue Line, and more. I even returned to Disneyland — twice.

This past weekend I did something that I have been unable to do for 2-1/2 years. I went to San Diego Comic-Con (Special Edition) and had a wonderful time.

Picking up Comic-Con credentials at the San Diego Convention Center several days in advance
The first line led to where we had to show our COVID-19 vaccination status or recent negative test
Excited Comic-Con fans picking up credentials, Special Edition program books and bags
I was literally the first person to pick up my Press Credential
Hi to you, too, Karen! It was great to see you again.
After picking up my credential, I checked out the Historic Gaslamp Quarter of downtown San Diego.
Petco Park, where the San Diego Padres play baseball
Workers putting the final touches on the LA BREA T.V. show activation, across the street from the Convention Center
One last look at the San Diego Convention Center, before I returned at the end of the week
This evening I drove downtown, but it was much easier and less expensive to take the San Diego Trolley during Comic-Con.

As always, I travelled to and from downtown on the San Diego Trolley, but it was easier this year, thanks to the Blue Line expansion, which comes much closer to serving where I live.

These people are not dressed like the usual passengers on the San Diego Trolley!
One of the stops was near Petco Park
From there I crossed this footbridge on my way to the San Diego Convention Center
The San Diego Convention Center

This Comic-Con was much smaller than usual — more comparable to WonderCon in Anaheim, but it retained the marvelous variety of pop culture things to see and do that make Comic-Con truly special and unique. Despite its significantly smaller size, I still ran out of time and didn’t get to see everything that I wanted to see.

Keith Vargas, the proud builder of this STAR WARS droid
STAR WARS versus Star Trek. What are they discussing?

It was great seeing people walking around in costumes again, and watching the traditional Saturday night Comic-Con Masquerade, with Mistress of Ceremonies Sue Dawe.

The audience was thrilled when, at the start of the event, John Cena in his full Peacemaker costume, along with backup entertainers, made a surprise appearance.

After the Masquerade contestants had all left the stage, and while the judges were deliberating, we in the audience were entertained by the frenetic, ultra-high-energy dance moves of The Corps Dance Crew…

The Corps Dance Crew
The Corps Dance Crew

… followed by a Star Wars-themed light saber show by the Saber Guild.

The Saber Guild battling with light sabers

The exhibit halls were filled with all sorts of tempting merch, and works of art in Artists’ Alley. I tried to resist but I could not, adding to my small collection of Funko Pops (three Comic-Con toucans), some pins, a couple of comic books, some San Diego Comic-Con souvenirs and more.

Of course there were comic books galore!
Funko Pops. I stood in the long line to buy the Comic-Con toucan (no, not the big one).

Programming included a full slate of interesting panels.

Not everyone in this line would get in to see the panel with Brent Spiner, who portrayed Lieutenant Commander Data in the Star Trek T.V. series.
They let me in for a few minutes to take pictures, but that was it.
Brent Spiner panel

I had highlighted far more in my program book than I could possibly have seen, but two that I did see were excellent: “Fandom Has Saved SciFi Franchises”…

… and “The Origin of Comic-Con from the ‘Kids’ That Started It” — a panel that actually brought people to tears.

I would have loved to win that George Jetson sketch
This very lucky lady won these two books.

As always, some of the best things to see and do were outside of the San Diego Convention Center, many of which were free to the general public. One was for the NBC T.V. series “La Brea,” which I watch. Last night was the season one finale.

I headed outside into the Historic San Diego Gaslamp Quarter to see some TV show activations.
This activation was for LA BREA, where we got to pose for a photo as if we were falling into a gigantic sinkhole in Los Angeles.
This is Jan, posing in front of the LA BREA sign.
Jan about to ‘fall’ into the LA BREA sinkhole
The sinkhole led to the prehistoric location of modern-day Los Angeles
As is often the case at San Diego Comic-Con, great freebees were given out — this time from the back of the LA BREA ambulance.
NBC also promoted “Resident Alien” on SyFy — one of my favorite T.V. shows. The second season will begin soon.

Another activation was for the “Peacemaker” series, which will be streaming January 13 on HBO Max.

The PEACEMAKER activation
John Cena will star in PEACEMAKER, streaming soon to HBO Max.
These brave souls are about to experience the PEACEMAKER activation.
Who’s next? Step right up!
You’re about to receive your weapon
Are you ready?
Fire at will! I got caught in the crossfire.
Move out!
Unable to see in what became very heavy fog, and not wanting to trip while carrying my camera, I soon lost sight of my group.
They made it through the obstacle course
There was free food, themed to the T.V. series

Meanwhile, games and pinball were over at the Marriott Marquis hotel

As usual, I found some very cool things totally by accident, including a very physical battle among realistically costumed, armored knights reliving the chivalry of the Middle Ages, performed by members of the international Society for Creative Anachronism. The fighting was real, not choreographed. For safety, the combatants followed rules of engagement.

Armored knights in combat — behind the San Diego Convention Center, during Comic-Con Special Edition
Several of the 100,000+ members of the international Society for Creative Anachronism..

Comic-Con is scheduled to return to the San Diego Convention Center on July 21-24, 2022. WonderCon will return to the Anaheim Convention Center on April 1-3, 2022. I can hardly wait! Hopefully they will both be bigger and better than ever. For more information, visit www.comic-con.org

Here is Jan, tired but happy, on the San Diego Trolley
The Mormon Temple in San Diego, across the 5 freeway from the Nobel Trolley Station
The Nobel station of the San Diego Trolley, including a new MTS parking structure

Copyright © 2021 by Jan Wagner – AutoMatters & More #719

Jan Wagner


  1. Alberto on December 12, 2021 at 12:00 am

    Beautiful work as usual

    • Jan Wagner on December 12, 2021 at 12:15 am

      Thank you. I really enjoy covering San Diego Comic-Con.

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