Comic-Con 2014

(Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Now in its 46th annual visit to the San Diego Convention Center, this unusual event has become a cult classic carnival beyond comparison. To celebrate the characters we all know and love, thousands of fans descend on San Diego for Comic Con and this year is no different. It’s an outrageous, four-day street parade of costumes that will dazzle the newest enthusiasts into awed amazement.Those lucky visitors with VIP badges know that the miraculous feats of wonder, where the truly impressive powers are revealed, happen in the shadows… where the inkwell-wielding creators are molding the comic book icons of the future. Check out a small sampling of the events with this limited list of “must see” areas of interest. Remember: The party rages into the surrounding streets and hotels as well, so enjoying the fun isn’t exclusively for the folks that arrive with an official badge.

Comic-Con International San Diego
San Diego Convention Center
111 W. Harbor Drive
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 525-5000
Dates: Wednesday, July 8 – 6pm to 9pm; Thursday, July 9:30am to 7pm; Saturday, July 11 – 9:30am to 7pm.; Sunday, July 12 -9:30am to 5pm

General view of the atmosphere during Day 3 of Comic-Con International 2014 on Saturday in San Diego. (credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

General view of the atmosphere during Day 3 of Comic-Con International 2014 on Saturday in San Diego. (credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Official Comic-Con Events 2015
San Diego Convention CenterMain Floor/Second Floor and MezzanineThe official events held at the convention center include a festival of films, cartoons and promotional clips from Action/Adventure, Animation, Horror/Suspense, Comic-Oriented Documentary, Humor and Science Fiction/Fantasy. The judges grade each entry on a long list of criteria. Awards are handed out to the best and brightest, including a “Judge’s Choice” award, the “Best Newcomer” the “Icon” award, best “Cosplay” and the “InkPots” award. Make sure to get your Comic-Con bag to hold all the freebies. With art shows, games, photo ops, masquerades, films and celebrity autographs, the place is overflowing day and night. Pick up the Souvenir Book, Events Guide or Quick Guide to help you get around; you’ll need it.

(credit: Suzanne Marques/CBS)

(credit: Suzanne Marques/CBS)

Activities Around Comic-Con
www.sandiego.orgThe streets of San Diego come alive for the entire four-day weekend during this event. Costumed super heroes walk, rickshaw, Lyft and trolley around while the major studios fill the surrounding streets with promotional displays, handing out T-shirts, extras and swag. The Cartoon Network, NBC, Warner Bros., Fox and several others notable studios have giant pop-up, inflated characters and castles. The circus atmosphere is overwhelming, so remember to pace yourself and wear comfortable shoes, because there’s a lot of walking and waiting no matter where you go. Parties? Oh, there are a few of those, too.

(credit: Ed L./Yelp)

(credit: Ed L./Yelp)

Bars, Restaurants And Hotels
www.comic-con.orgMost bars and restaurants within walking distance are celebrating Comic-Con with a variety of events and themes. The Gaslamp Omni and the Hard Rock Cafe get “Hunger Games” or “Game of Thrones” experience themes, the bars and nightclubs implement themes like the “nerdiest” or “geekiest.” Events and parties are planned in the lobbies and halls of most the local hotels. The Manchester Grand Hyatt hosts the “Geek Couture” fashion show and design contest,.The bay front Marriott and Hilton have areas with themes and photo ops. If you go to Petco Park, the stadium is jumping with a zombie attraction from “The Walking Dead”.

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A zombie character from the TV show "The Walking Dead" approaches the attendees during the 45th annual San Diego Comic-Con on July 24, 2014 in San Diego, California. An estimated 130,000 attendees are expected at this year's convention, which will celebrate the 75th anniversary of both Marvel Comics and the first Batman comic book. (credit: T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images)

(credit: T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images)

The Floor
San Diego Convention Center
Main Floor/Second Floor and MezzanineThe convention center floor is filled with vendors, characters and exclusive collectibles to buy, sell and trade. They provide a celebrity autograph area on the upper level and halls have exhibitors and artists. Many exhibitors produce limited edition collectables just for the show, so look for those if you can find them. Certain areas have fans waiting to get in, so be prepared to stand around. For the serious, aspiring artist who wants to have her original work critiqued, this event offers a rare opportunity to have portfolios reviewed by a studio pro.

Actors Dolph Lundgren, Wesley Snipes and Randy Couture attend "The Expendables 3" Movies on Demand Interview session at Hard Rock Hotel San Diego on July 24, 2014 in San Diego, California.  (credit: Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for iN DEMAND)

(credit: Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for iN DEMAND)

San Diego Convention Center
Horton Grand Theater
Lyceum Theater
Plaza Park
(619) 414-1020 Panels are dedicated to certain comic book characters, films or TV shows. Each panel has a program schedule that needs to be considered when planning your day. Panels for the most popular exhibitors fill up quickly, so check out the guide and choose carefully because you could miss a lot of fun just waiting. If there’s an important panel you can’t attend, the Omni Hotel has a playback room that shows the panel events for the folks that couldn’t wait. Take a stroll through any hotel lobby and see what they have planned because the schedules are not always announced in advance. Every participating hotel will have special offers and deals for Comic-Con guests.

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As a creative professional in Los Angeles, Cat West brings versatile skills to any topic. Whether freelancing as a writer or designing digital art from her studio, Cat provides excellent creative product with content-driven artwork and photography.