Comic-Con-worthy Comic Book Stores

comic con

With the eagerly awaited arrival of Comic-Con International this week, San Diego is gleefully celebrating all things comic. And whether or not you were lucky enough to have scored Comic-Con tickets, you can certainly partake in San Diego’s love affair with the genre.

comic con

No need to get angry! There are plenty of places outside of Comic-Con to stock up on comics.

Just wandering the street of downtown during Comic-Con is entertaining. The general fanfare of the event spills out from the Convention Center with revelers and vendors costumed and ready to party. But no matter what time of year you visit San Diego, you’ll find the spirit of Comic-Con thriving at San Diego’s many comic book stores. Here are a few to seek out:

Villainous Lair

Villainous Lair is one of two San Diego comic book stores named among the world’s best by Comic-Con in 2014.  It is a one-stop shop for comics, RPGs, board games and collectibles.  They also host Yu-Gi-Oh and other gaming tournaments throughout the year.

3320 Adams Ave.
San Diego, 92116


Southern California Comics has such a big selection you might be overwhelmed, too.

Southern California Comics

Southern California Comics was the other local store named by Comic-Con as one of the world’s best this year. Located in a large warehouse, they offer a great selection of comics plus an equal amount of space devoted to graphic novels. But what makes this store special is that they buy directly from collectors so they have a lot of exotic and rare comic books.  They also have hundreds of boxes of $1 comic books, a revolving selection of comic book sets, original art and a special Kids Corner for young enthusiasts.

8280 Clairemont Mesa Blvd. #124
San Diego, 92111

Rising Sun Creations (Ani-Manga)

Rising Sun Creations carries a good selection of both comic books and manga materials including model kits and merchandise. Located directly across from the Mission Valley Mall, look for the Ani-Manga sign.

1640 Camino Del Rio North, Suite 1478
San Diego, 92108

Comickaze Comics Books and More

Stocking a good selection of comics, graphic novels, manga and collectibles, Comickaze is a local favorite. The store is very engaged with the larger comic community, including hosting events, fan forums and involvement in a retailer network. The staff is very friendly and will happily special order any comic or book you’re after.

5517 Clairemont Mesa Blvd, Suite AB
San Diego, 92117

comic book store

Fans gather for an event at Mysterious Galaxy.

Mysterious Galaxy

This bookstore’s tagline is “books of martians, murder, magic and mayhem,” and as it suggests, they offer a great selection of science fiction, mystery, fantasy and horror books. The owners are also very involved in the community, and the store hosts regular author signings and other events.

7051 Clairemont Mesa Blvd.
San Diego, 92111

Comics N Stuff

Comics N Stuff has seven locations in San Diego, but the one in San Diego’s east county is the largest.  The store has a huge selection of comic books, both newly released, back issues and harder to find comics. They also have a large selection of collectibles, toys, apparel, trading cards, DVDs, etc.  and an adult section.  The great staff is very knowledgeable and helpful.

1020 El Cajon Blvd.
El Cajon, 92020

What is your favorite comic book store in San Diego? Tell us in the comments below!

Robert Arends

Coronado for Comic-Con Fans – Wizards, Dwarves and Dorothy

Wizard of Oz art exhibit at Coronado Public Library

Wizard of Oz art exhibit at Coronado Public Library

Long before Harry Potter or the Twilight series about vampires and werewolves, an author by the name of L. Frank Baum penned a few – well, 14 to be exact! – incredible fantastical novels about a Kansas girl (and original storm chaser) who hitched a ride on a tornado and found herself over the rainbow.

Yep, I’m talkin’ about The Wizard of Oz.

When Disney added its magic touch to the original movie classic earlier this year with Oz The Great & Powerful, I was in awe at how this timeless story continues to enchant and entertain a whole new generation of viewers.

Hotel del Coronado, inspiration for the Emerald City!

Hotel del Coronado, inspiration for the Emerald City!

Well, for you movie buffs and pop culture fans, there’s a fun surprising San Diego/Coronado connection to the Wizard of Oz. Between 1904 and 1910, Oz author L. Frank Baum frequently vacationed here with his family, staying at the Hotel del Coronado, which if you look very closely at the book cover below, was the inspiration for the Emerald City! Note the red turrets and white awnings in the background. Cool huh!

Hotel del Coronado- Emerald City of Oz

Did you know: In addition to “Crown City,” Coronado is also nicknamed the Emerald City.

If you get a chance to explore the Hotel Del, head to the Crown Room, look up and you’ll spot four regal crown chandeliers that were designed by Baum!

L. Frank Baum's historic Coronado home.

L. Frank Baum’s historic Coronado home.

Down the street from The Del, Baum also rented a humble yellow cottage on Star Park Circle where he wrote three of his famous Oz books: Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz, The Emerald City of Oz and The Road to Oz. You can check out rare first editions of the books at the Coronado Museum of History & Art!

Oz books

At the Coronado Public Library, you’ll not only find the complete Oz book series, but also a spectacular Wizard of Oz Glass Art Exhibit, where  Baum’s storybook jumps off the pages onto nine huge glass panels depicting Dorothy, the cowardly Lion, Scarecrow, Tin Man, Glenda the Good Witch, Munchkins and more.

Welcome Comic-Con fans to our fine city and if you get a chance, definitely follow the Yellow Brick Road over the bridge to Coronado to discover the home-away-from-home of one of America’s most beloved authors. One look at our island paradise and you’ll see why Baum was so enamored!

Also, plan to return this fall for Coronado’s premier Wizard of Oz Weekend (September 20-22), celebrating the 75th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz. There will be exclusive screenings of the first-ever, re-mastered 3D version of the movie at Coronado’s Village Theatre, as well as a Wizard of Oz parade down Orange Ave. – Coronado’s main street – book signings, exhibits, character look-a-like contests and more!


Superhero Approved: Comic-Con inspired Food and Drinks

San Diego Comic-Con Zombie Bento Box

Zombies and superheroes rejoice: you don’t have to settle for boring concession stand food and drinks at Comic-Con. The spirit of season has taken over several spots around San Diego, offering crafty cocktails, nerdy brews and tasty bites that any caped crusader or would approve of.

Zombie Bento Boxes

San Diego Comic-Con Zombie Bento Box

Gaijin’s Zombie Bento Box photographed by Chris Morrow. Check out Chris’ CNN iReport for more great Comic-Con info.

Located close to the Convention Center in the Gaslamp District, Gaijin Noodle + Sake House serves up a bento box that’s not for the faint of heart: their special Comic-Con edition “Zombie” bento boxes feature “pork blisters,” “buried and fermented bloody cabbage,” and “raw flesh of fish with cold, grey worms” (which translates into fried pork gyoza, kimchi, and yellowtail with cold buckwheat noodles, for those of us that don’t speak Zombie).

A Comic-Con and Pop Culture-Inspired Menu

Marriott Gaslamp Quarter's Soleil @K

Marriott Gaslamp Quarter’s Soleil @K will be offering a special Comic-Con inspired menu.

Also near the Convention Center, the Marriott Gaslamp Quarter’s Soleil @K restaurant and Latitude Lounge offers up a comic and pop culture-inspired menu this week. Try the “Wolverine” (prime rib) or “Grimm” (blackened chicken) sandwiches.

The Golden Age meets the Speakeasy Era

In the north end of downtown, the Prohibition-inspired restaurant Chaplos pays homage to classic comics from the 1930s with an event titled “The Golden Age meets the Speakeasy Era.” Comic Con fans are invited to stop by on Friday, July 19 and Saturday, July 20 for an evening of cocktails and traditional jazz. Wear a costume, memorabilia or t-shirt showcasing your favorite Golden Age comic book hero (Superman, Batman, Captain America, Captain Marvel and Wonder Woman) or show your comic con badge and receive a free specialty cocktail from 7:00 to 9:00 PM.

Heroes Brew Craft Beer Festival

On Saturday, July 20, beer fans and comic fans alike will want to head to the Embarcadero Park North for the Heroes Brew Craft Beer Festival. San Diego’s first Superheroes themed craft beer festival will feature dozens of craft breweries pouring samples, live music, and a costume contest. General admission, which includes 20 tasting tickets and a mug, is $45, and proceeds benefit the San Diego Coastkeeper and Surfrider Foundation.

Spot any other Comic-Con theme food and drinks around town? Let us know about them in the comments below!

Brent Bernasconi

Top Things to Do in San Diego – July 16-21, 2013

Captain American at Comic-Con International - Top Things to Do in San Diego

Become your family’s super hero and take a plane, take a train, take a car or take a spaceship to San Diego to enjoy these top things to do this weekend:

Comic-Con International

Captain American at Comic-Con International - Top Things to Do in San Diego

You never know which super hero(es) you will meet at Comic-Con International

Holy Trolls and Goblins Batman, it’s time once again for the ultimate nerdi gras! Wookies, red-shirted ensigns, X-men, Avengers and plenty of other cos-play characters will fill up the streets of the Gaslamp Quarter and Convention Center this weekend. Even though the Comic-Con is sold out, there is still plenty to do nearby including people watching, industry sponsored parties and the highlighted events below:

> Find out more about Comic-Con International San Diego

Opening Day at the Del Mar Races

A plethora of interesting hats at the Del Mar Races Opening Day

Staying Classy in San Diego at the Del Mar Racetrack.

Bing Crosby’s song, “Where the Surf Meets the Turf,” written to promote the racetrack, lingers in air every summer in Del Mar. Men and women often don a special fedora or fascinator for their day at the Del Mar races, which serves the dual purpose of sun-protection and playful pageantry. Opening Day’s “One and Only Truly Fabulous Hats Contest” brings out the best of them, with categories including Most Glamorous, Best Fascinator, Best Racing Theme, Funniest or Most Outrageous, and Best Flowers/All Others.

Please Note: There will be a lot of traffic around the racetrack on opening day. Please allow yourself plenty of time to find parking. Better yet, consider taking the coaster or other public transportation options.

> Read our 2013 Guide to the Del Mar Races

Where: 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd, Del Mar, CA 92014
When: July 17, 2013
Time: 11:30 to 7:00 PM
Cost: $10-$20
> Find out more about Opening Day at the Del Mar Races

The Steam World’s Fair

Steam World's Fair - Top Things to Do in San Diego

Take a break from the hustle and bustle in downtown this weekend and step back into our steam-and-coppered-powered future at the Steam Worlds Fair. There will be seven live entertainment stages, more than 80 vendors, a steampunk art gallery and much more. Costumes are encouraged! For those over 21, join in the pageantry pub crawl.

Where: Various locations along Adams Avenue in Normal Heights
When: July 19, 2013
Time: 6:00 to 11:00 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the Steam World’s Fair


Sideways - La Jolla Playhouse

From the big screen to La Jolla! Buckle up for this whirlwind road trip as two sharp-tongued bachelors cope with their midlife crises involving wine, women and disappointment.

Where: La Jolla Playhouse – 2910 La Jolla Village Dr, La Jolla, CA 92037
When: July 16-August 18, 2013
Cost: Tickets start at $15
> Find out more about Sideways

Over The Line Tournament

Over the Line Tournament

Who will be the 2013 Over the Line Tournament champion?

Who will be the 2013 Over the Line champion? Find out during the last and final weekend of play. Remember, observe the five B’s rule: No Babies, No Bottles, No Bowsers, No Bikes, No Boas. Enjoy!

Where: Fiesta Island in Mission Bay
When: July 20-21, 2013
Time: 7:30 AM to Dusk
Cost: Free to watch
> Find out more about the 60th Over the Line Tournament

> Browse more top things to do on the San Diego Event Calendar

Know of some other top things to do this weekend? Let everyone know in the comments below.

Brent Bernasconi

Saturday Comic-Con Excitement in the Gaslamp Quater

The Gaslamp Quarter Full of Awesome Geekery

It’s the third day of San Diego Comic-Con and there is still a ton to do! Take a break from the Convention Center crowds and head out into the Gaslamp Quarter for one of these great Comic-Con related events: (best part: they don’t require a coveted Comic-Con badge!)

> Find Even More Great Comic-Con Events in the Gaslamp Quarter

Sony Hosts Phase 1 of the GT Academy National Finals
Where: Jolt’n Joe’s, 379 4th Avenue
Compete for a chance at snagging one of 32 exclusive spots in Phase 1 of the GT Academy National Finals. Register to compete at the Hard Rock Hotel (207 5th Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101) on Thursday, July 12th from 10:00am to 4:00pm, and compete for top lap time in Gran Turismo 5. The top competitor will walk away with one-of-a-kind GT Academy swag.
> Learn More

Power Rangers 3D Progressive Mural
Last Updated by Gaslamp Quarter yesterday
Where: Corner of 5th Ave. and Island Ave. Gaslamp Quarter
Time: 12:00 pm
Reveal of the Power Rangers 3D Progressive Mural. Join the cast of the number one kids’ action series, Power Rangers Super Samurai, to unveil POWERful new information and surprises surrounding the 20th Anniversary season next year, Power Rangers Megaforce.
> Learn More

Superhero Pub Crawl San Diego
Check-In: Taste & Thirst on Fourth, 715 4th Avenue
Time: 12:00 to 9:00 pm
Don your favorite superhero costume and join your fellow heroes for this pubcrawl of some of San Diego’s best bars, hosted by PubCrawls.com. Prices starting at $10 for one day, $15 for both. Group discounts available. Must be 21+ to attend.
> Learn More

Chuck Jones Centennial – Meet the Artist, Tennessee Loveless
Where: The Chuck Jones Gallery, 232 5th Avenue
Time: 2:00 to 5:00 pm
Celebrate 100 years of Chuck Jones with an artist meet-and-greet with Tennessee Loveless. The artist will be signing and dedicating artwork purchased at this event.
> Learn More

The Aquabats Super Comic-Con Show
Where: House of Blues San Diego, 1055 5th Avenue
Time: 6:30 pm
The Hub Network’s popular show/band The Aquabats returns to the House of Blues San Diego for live music event that is sure to please both kids and adults alike. All ages welcome, though persons under 18 must be accompanied by a parent, guardian or responsible adult 25+ with written authorization from a parent/guardian. Tickets are $27.50 per person.
>Learn More

The Haunted Hotel
Where: 424 Market Street
Time: 7:00 to 11:00 pm
What: Each year, the Gaslamp Quarter’s scariest lodgings opens its doors exclusively for Comic-Con International. Get a sneak peek of the scares to come later in the year during Halloween Time in the Gaslamp. Wind your way through the terrifying corridors and try not to lose your sanity along the way. Tickets are available at the door for $16.99 per person, cash only. Not recommended for children under 10.
> Learn More

Hollywood Babble-on: Kevin Smith with Ralph Garman
Where: House of Blues San Diego, 1055 5th Avenue
Time: 11:00 pm to 1:00am
What: Kevin Smith’s tradition of hosting off-site comedy shows continues at the House of Blues San Diego this year, with host of “The Joe Schmo Show,” Ralph Garman accompanying him for boundless shenanigans. Must be 21+with valid photo ID to attend. Tickets range from $46.50 to $67.50.
> Learn More

Know of another great event in the Gaslamp Quarter? Let us know in the comments below.

Brent Bernasconi

Photos from Friday at San Diego Comic-Con

Only at San Diego Comic-Con can you enjoy movie sneak peeks, walk right past tons of celebrities (so far I have seen comic book god Stan Lee, director Guillermo del Toro and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia star Rob McElhenney), spot people dressed like they are from space and then actually win a trip to space (not jealous at all)! Can’t wait to see what Saturday has in store for us.

Brent Bernasconi

Get Nerdy and Enjoy San Diego at Comic-Con 2012

It’s July and that’s means downtown San Diego is full of Klingons, Stormtroopers, Zombies and more enjoying the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con International.

Here are just a few resources with events and offers to make the most out of your visit to San Diego and Comic-Con:

Food and Drink


If you know of anymore great resources, please let us know in the comments below. And just for fun are a few photos from Wednesday’s Preview Night…

Preview Night Photos


Downtown Hot Spots for the Kids

So you are coming to San Diego for Comic Con and staying downtown (can anyone say – Gaslamp Quarter?). Oh wait, you’re coming with the kids. Don’t despair, there are actually quite a lot of things to do that entertain both parents and kids alike.

What to do:

Children's Museum at night

This museum is great for kids 10 and under. They do have a tween/teen area, but I have found kids under 10 get the most out of it. There are some really great interactive exhibits, and when the weather is nice, they open their doors and you can’t tell if you are inside or out. Be sure to make and take home your very own clay sculpture!

Seaport Village – With 54 specialty shops and over 15 restaurants (and not to mention the awesome bayside location) Seaport Village is a great stop downtown. There is a carousel and other fun activities for kids. On the weekends be sure to look out for the balloon artist. He has made some of the best balloon animals/objects we have ever seen! He is definitely worth the wait.

Embarcadero Marina Park – Located adjacent to Seaport Village, Embarcadero is a great spot to picnic and watch sailboats go by. You can also walk the length of the park, which extends all the way around, to the USS Midway Museum.

USS Midway Museum – This is actually one of my favorite spots for kids and adults of all ages. Visitors can experience “life at sea” by touring galleys, officer’s quarters, engine rooms as well as getting inside real planes and helicopters.

Horton Plaza – If you have any tweens/teens in your group, this mall will not disappoint. With a movie theatre and more than 100 shops and dining options, as well as a festive European open-air atmosphere, Horton Plaza is sure to please even the most discerning teens.

Gaslamp Quarter – Primarily known for its nightlife, the Gaslamp Quarter is a great place to take a stroll, people watch and do a little shopping during the day. There are grand Victorian-era buildings which are now home to more than 100 restaurants, 35 pubs and nightclubs and 100 retail shops, as well as theaters and art galleries.

Where to eat:

Below is a list of some of my favorite places to take the kids downtown – however with over 100 restaurants in Gaslamp alone, feel free to find a restaurant that is perfect for you. Most restaurants post their menus outside so that you can see what is right for you.

Brickyard Café – Located just a block from Children’s Museum and Seaport Village, this café is a great place to catch breakfast or lunch outside. You will find mostly locals here. My kids love it because the Trolley stops in front of the café which keeps them entertained. Our favorite is their chili and grilled cheese sandwich combo. They also have a great coffee bar.

Maryjane’s – Located in the Hard Rock Hotel, this is an ideal spot any time of day. When the weather is nice be sure to sit outside and people watch. The menu includes a lot of diner style options. Be sure to try the fish tacos – they are great!

Spaghetti Factory – Located right in Gaslamp, this restaurant is a popular spot, so expect a wait. The atmosphere is always festive and fun. On some days there is also a balloon artist out front to keep the kids entertained.

Filippi’s Pizza Grotto – A mainstay in San Diego for over 50 years, this is an awesome place to experience San Diego’s Little Italy. The restaurant, located behind the deli, offers some of the best pizza in San Diego. Be prepared for a wait, but it’s worth it!

Sweet Treats:

Pinkberry – If you haven’t tried Pinkberry, it’s worth the stop. Located in the Hard Rock Hotel, Pinkberry is my favorite yogurt shop in San Diego. Love the original with raspberries and chocolate chips!

Heavenly Cupcakes
– For some reason on Friday’s, I always find a reason to be in the area to pick up some cupcakes. My favorite is the black and white. My son loves the mint chocolate.

Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop
– Need I say more? This is for serious desert people. Located in the heart of the Gaslamp, it is open late and offers the best chocolate sundaes!

Guest Blogger

Back So Soon, Comic-Con?

No, not exactly.  You might see Comic-Con banners back up at the Convention Center as well as what looks like a large Comic-Con crowd on the street today.  Don’t panic!  You didn’t travel through one of Dr. Strange’s spacetime portals to last month’s Comic-Con; it’s just a movie set.


Photo courtesy of the Unified Port of San Diego

The film in production is called Paul.  It’s a comedy about two comic book *ahem* enthusiasts who travel cross-country in an RV and land at Comic-Con, and it stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz . . . hel-lo?).  But most exciting is the appearance of San Diego as itself.  You remember San Diego, don’t you?  Star of such films as Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, Return of the Killer Tomatoes, and Killer Tomatoes Strike Back, among many other films and television shows.  (Okay, more recently, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.)

Get ready to see yourself grace the silver screen once again, Diego!

L ro R - Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, San Diego

Left to right - Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Middle Earth vacationers

Sorry to those hoping for a surprise encore of Comic-Con 2009.  If you want to attend the real Comic-Con, you’ll have to travel through time the regular way with the rest of us and wait until next year — July 22-25, 2010, to be exact.

‘Nuff said.

Guest Blogger

Eye On Comic-Con

I”m back!  In case you were wondering, my fish & chips lunch was delicious.  And my people-watching session proved to be more fruitful than I expected!  Through the magic of common begging — and with the help of a generous Comic-Con attendee — my boys and I were able to enter the Con and take a quick lap around the exhibit hall to see what we could see.  (By the way, you haven”t truly experienced gridlock until you”ve attempted to push a stroller through Comic-Con on Saturday.  My apologies to all the ankles I smashed yesterday.)

"Nobody move! I dropped a contact lens."

"Nobody move! I dropped a contact lens."

So you all know what Bat-, Spider- and Supermen look like.  Here are a couple of my favorite creative best online casino efforts from this year.

HimTube: Live @ Comic-Con 2009

HimTube: Live @ Comic-Con 2009

The dark side: the side with style!

The dark side: the side with style!


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Imagine how excited I was to see this costume. I mean, I finally found Waldo!

Imagine how excited I was to see this! After all these years, I finally found Waldo!

You ask me, this is the real Mardi Gras in San Diego.  (I mean Samedi Gras.)

During my quick visit to the exhibit hall, I was reminded of another of Comic-Con”s attractions — the art!  There are rows upon rows of artists displaying their work and even creating new, original sketches for fans before their very eyes.  This is, after all, what it”s all about.  These are the guys and gals who inspire the madness we see every year downtown in the first place.  I was happy to find at least one artist I recognized, in action (pictured below).  Maybe next year, I”ll go to the Con dressed as him.


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G-Man and Mini Marvels creator Chris Giarrusso sketches the cutest superheroes ever.

G-Man and Mini Marvels creator Chris Giarrusso sketches the cutest superheroes ever.

Hurry! There are precious few hours left in which to get your superpeople-watching on!

“Nuff said.