First Look at the Comic-Con Museum on Opening Weekend

Comic Con Museum Building

After a long hiatus, San Diego Comic-Con is back! The November 26, 2021 weekend marked the return of SDCC to the San Diego Convention Center.

And what better way to mark the occasion than the grand opening of the Comic-Con Museum.

According to the Comic-Con Museum’s mission statement, the organizers of Comi-Con envisioned it as a place where people can gather and experience the magic of Comic-Con all year round. The exhibits are a celebration of art and pop culture across genres, from comics to TV shows, books, video games, anime, and more. In addition to the exhibits, programming is offered including classes, activities, movie screenings, and trivia contests.

We were fortunate enough to get a first look at the museum on opening weekend. Follow us on our tour of the Comic-Con Museum. Hopefully it tides you over until you can visit it for yourself.

Main Level

The museum is spread out across a main level, upper level, and lower level.

Comic Con Museum Main Level

As you enter the main level of the museum, you’re greeted by Comic-Con International’s mascot, the Toucan.

Comic-Con Museum Toucan

To your left you have the ticket office, and to the right the Pac-Man Arcade. The Pac-Man Arcade is an interactive exhibit where you can play just about every iteration of the iconic Pac-Man video game series.

Comic Con Museum Pac-Man Arcade

Beyond the ticket office, the main level opens up to several exhibits. The first one you see is a lineup of intricate costumes made in past years by Comic-Con attendees for the Masquerade, the cosplay contest that headlines the convention. Marvel and DC superheroes are the theme here, with Super-Man, Captain America, Doctor Strange, and Bat-Girl costumes standing tall.

Comic Con Museum Masquerade Cosplay Costumes

Facing these costumes is Cardboard Superheroes, an impressive array of statues fabricated using only cardboard.

Comic Con Museum Cardboard Superheroes

Behind the Masquerade costume is an exhibit celebrating eight decades of Archie Comics, including the familiar faces of Riverdale like Betty and Veronica. The pop-up exhibition “explores the storied history of America’s typical teenagers through immersive set pieces, visual displays, and hundreds of artifacts including vintage comic books, animation production materials, priceless pieces of original art, TV and film props, and other memorabilia.”

Comic Con Museum Archie Exhibit

Sabrina the Teenage Witch makes a cameo in the Archie exhibit, as do Josie and the Pussycats.

Comic Con Museum Sabrina Exhibit

The star of the main level, and indeed the whole museum, is a wing for Gene Roddenberry, creator of Star Trek and sci-fi visionary. This exhibit showcases many of artifacts from Star Trek, from the original CBS pitch, to costumes, to the captain’s chair. Visitors will come away with an understanding of the impact Roddenberry has made on science-fiction and the world at large.

Comic Con Museum Star Trek Exhibit

Here we see the salt-craving creature from “The Man Trap” and a Gorn from “Arena”, both episodes from the first season of Star Trek: The Original Series.

Comic Con Museum Star Trek Exhibit

Upper Level

Overlooking the main level is a mezzanine. The walls are lined with the charmingly ghoulish artwork of Chas Addams, including but not limited to the Addams Family and his cartoons for The New Yorker.

Comic-Con Museum Chao Addams

In one of the side rooms of the upper level is an exhibit titled Out of the Darkness: Comic Art in the Times of Covid. This exhibit shines a spotlight on the work of young artists.

Comic Con Museum Comic Art in the Times of Covid

In another room is the Cosplay Creator’s Lab, a working maker workshop with several creations on display. We spotted Peggy Carter’s Captain Britain costume from “What If?”, Pennywise’s clown suit from Stephen King’s “It”, and Beast’s head from Beauty and the Beast.

Comic Con Museum Maker Workshop

Lower Level

On the lower level, several more cosplay costumes from Comic-Con’s Masquerade stand proudly.

Comic Con Museum Masquerade Cosplay Costumes

Beyond that was the theater, which had the Comic-Con Museum Character Hall-of-Fame Induction Ceremonies, with the latest inductee Wonder Woman, playing on screen.

And with that, our tour of the Comic-Con museum is complete. We must exit through the gift shop.

If you’re a pop culture aficionado, the Comic-Con Museum is worth a visit. Located in Balboa Park, with proximity to several other museums and the San Diego Zoo, it’s a fun finale to a day of culture.

Comic Con Museum Gift Shop

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