SDCC 2017 Event


The Ultimate Pop Culture Interactive Experience

San Diego Comic-Con 2017 offered way more to see and do than could be accomplished thanks to multiple overlapping events, venues spread throughout the downtown area and hours-long lines for the most eagerly anticipated panels, experiences and shopping for limited edition collectables.

Wall to wall fans outside the San Diego Convention Center.
Shopping on the convention center floor.
Amazing level of detail in this replica of R2-D2.

Comic-Con demands stamina, careful planning and flexibility – for when you invariably see or hear about things that might be even better than what you had planned on attending.

Getting to Comic-Con was easy and affordable, with free parking at a number of San Diego Trolley stations and up to a 5-day commemorative Trolley pass available for only $20. Hop on, bypass the traffic and be on your way downtown.

Ride the Trolley to Comic-Con to avoid traffic and paying for parking.

While having a difficult-to-obtain Comic-Con badge was helpful, that was absolutely not necessary to enjoy Comic-Con. However, let’s begin with what you did require one of those coveted Comic-Con badges for: admission to the San Diego Convention Center and its myriad meeting rooms and ballrooms. On the ground floor, aisle after aisle were filled with vendors of every kind of pop culture memorabilia that you could imagine, movie studio and TV show exhibits, comic books, autograph signings, games, toys, demonstrations and much more, with all sorts of cool, free swag awaiting those who were in the right place at the right time (no easy feat, given the huge crowds that filled the aisles, and constant orders to “keep moving”).

Shop ’til you drop.
For fans of “Thunderbirds.”
Plenty of comic books at Comic-Con, of course!
Awesome makeup demonstrations by the Cinema Makeup School.

Concurrently running, overlapping panel discussions in rooms that ranged from reasonably intimate to absolutely massive (do a Google search for Hall H, which seats thousands) offered revealing looks at just about anything and everything to do with popular culture including comic books and literature; entertainment history; and breaking news about movies and TV shows, each with their stars, movers and shakers onstage to discuss them, show sneak previews and answer fans’ questions, along with explanations about almost any and every aspect of their production including writing, special effects, makeup, drawing, costuming, prop-making, animation and more, along with associated collectables and toys.

Melissa O’Neil & Anthony Lemke on panel for SyFy’s “Dark Matter.”

A must-see event for fans of cosplay was the Saturday night “Masquerade.”

The awesome Corps Dance Crew at the Comic-Con Masquerade.

While all of this did require a Comic-Con badge, some of the absolute best experiences (called “activations”) – were way too large to fit within the confines of the San Diego Convention Center. Instead they were waiting to be discovered along the streets radiating outwards from there – and many of those did not require that coveted badge.

Two escape rooms provided competition at the activation for SyFy’s “The Expanse.”

Fans of TV’s “Mr. Robot” appreciated E Corp for providing a pre-loaded credit card from the Bank of E, redeemable for free food items at a number of convenient downtown restaurants. SyFy and other networks roamed the streets with giveaways promoting their shows.

Visitors could sign up for a pre-loaded E-Corp credit card, good for purchases of food and more.

Surrounding venues included hotels, vacant or temporarily converted commercial spaces, Petco Park (San Diego’s downtown baseball stadium), the modern public library, green spaces and even Balboa Park.

This van was in the window of the Laika Experience pop-up shop.
Hand-made production puppets from Laika’s “The BoxTrolls.”
Locker scene model from Laika’s “ParaNorman”

Thanks to getting off at the wrong trolley stop one day, I experienced an incredible activation for the upcoming new “Blade Runner 2049” movie. Inside there was a VR-enabled motion ride and recreated movie sets.

After putting on the VR headset, the ride took participants on a flying car chase through the world of the movie. After landing, we walked into a seedy set of “Blade Runner 2049,” where we interacted with costumed characters from the movie. The extreme attention to detail included falling rain and umbrellas. Near the Chinese restaurant we enjoyed themed food and beverages – featuring Johnnie Walker whiskey for those of us who were cleared by the bar’s bouncer.

At the beginning of the “Blade Runner 2049” experience, there was a realistic VR-enhanced motion simulator.
Yours truly landing in the seamy world of “Blade Runner 2049.”
It rained between sets.
Thankfully I was cleared as a human.
Vending machines dispensed shirts and Blade Runner 2049 posters.

Other especially cool activations were for HBO’s “Westworld” and Amazon’s “The Tick.”

This series of photos shows the activation for Amazon Prime Video’s “The Tick.” Those giant antennae were remotely controlled by visitors.
The last stop at “The Tick” offered shirts and bags, with graphics made to order.

A growing trend – and an increasingly attractive alternative to traditional, expensive cable television, is towards content delivered on streaming video, paid subscription services such as Amazon Prime Video, Netflix and Hulu. After the first episode airs on CBS broadcast television, “Star Trek: Discovery” will move to CBS All Access.

Cosplay — with plenty of STAR WARS — was everywhere.
Family time.
Driving through the streets of downtown San Diego.

“Adult Swim on the Green” returned with carnival games and prizes on the grass behind the convention center.

Racing at the annual “Adult Swim on the Green” Comic-Con carnival.
Adult Swim distributing the prizes that remained just before their carnival closed for another year.
Yours truly, again.

Nearby was an experience for a new, space themed, science fiction TV show coming this fall to Fox. It is called “The Orville” and it stars Seth MacFarlane.

This motion ride for “The Orville” was the real deal.

To promote their popular, long-running “Vikings” TV series, the History Channel set fire to a Viking ship on the bay.

Funeral pyre for the History Channel’s “Vikings.”

Free block parties were held at Petco Park for TruTV’s “Impractical Jokers” (more than 16,500 fans attended!) and MTV’s “Fandom Fest.”

Best friends Sal, Q and Murr at Tru TV’s day-long “Impractical Jokers” block party at Petco Park (Joe was home with his wife, who was expecting a baby).
Did you see the “Impractical Jokers” episode where Joe surprised Sal with this permanent tatoo of Jaden Smith?
MTV’s Fandom Fest 2017 at Petco Park.
They were tearing it down before I even boarded the Trolley to leave.


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Jan Wagner

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