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Prep ahead for these can’t-miss events and get the most out of your time at San Diego Comic-Con International.

SDCC lets fans mingle with the pop culture creative community and reinforces the industry’s mass appeal to a growing audience.

Excitement is high and the crowds will be huge, so before making your way to the San Diego Convention Center for this year’s Comic-Con International, check out some of the most popular events – and prepare for your journey ahead of time so you don’t miss out on your own personal favorites. The show kicks off with a Preview Night on Wednesday, July 19, then runs through July 20-July 23.

1. World Premiere of Batman and Harley Quinn
As they have for the past 10 years, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (WBHE) again premieres their latest DC Universe Original Movie, this year presenting the animated feature Batman and Harley Quinn before thousands of fans gathered in a massive ballroom setting. Described as “a thrill ride of action, adventure and comedy,” the movie will be followed by a post-screening panel discussion with some of the core team of filmmakers and voice cast members.

2. The Blade Runner 2049 Experience
The Blade Runner 2049 Experience, which is stationed across the street from the convention center, beckons the question: are you a replicant or are you a human? The Oculus VR experience takes the user through a gallery, where you are introduced to a post-apocalyptic Los Angeles street scene. Actors wearing actual costumes from the Blade Runner 2049 set will be present, handing out giveaways and other surprises. Additionally, the Spinner used in the new film will be on display.

3. Autograph Signings
From comic professionals in Artist Alley to signings at publisher booths, Comic-Con offers a rare opportunity to fill up your sketchbook or autograph collection and meet fan favorites up-close and personal – such as award-winning artist Arthur Adams (Longshot, Marvel covers), best-selling writer Marguerite Bennett (Batwoman, DC Bombshells), et. al. But be prepared and plan ahead! Your badge does not guarantee access to events that reach capacity – and most autograph signings are limited.

4. Art Show Deals
Drawings, paintings, jewelry, sculptures – you name it, you'll find it at the Comic-Con Art Show. There’s an eclectic mix of original art, classic books, and memorabilia on display by amateurs and professionals alike – with many of the pieces for sale by silent or voice auction. Also on display: the nominated books and comics for this year’s Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards. 

5. Comic Creator Connection
Give your career in the comic book industry a boost! Comic Creator Connection is a rapid-fire networking event where writers can meet artists – and vice versa – to form new creative partnerships. Like speed-daters, participants get to know each other – their mindsets and skillsets – in 5-minute one-on-one sessions. You can register onsite for the highly popular program, but you’re encouraged to pre-register for priority seating at this limited space event.

6. Game Creator Connection
But that’s not all. New this year is Game Creator Connection (GCC), where both professional and aspiring game developers can gain valuable insights and mentoring advice from seasoned pros – rotating between those with diverse backgrounds in production, programming, art, business development, and more. Registration by email is already open for GCC. Once onsite, you can also sign-up for another new session, Game Pitch Review, which gives participants three minutes to pitch their best game idea and then receive constructive criticism from a panel of professional developers.

7. CCI Independent Film Festival (CCI-IFF)
The CCI-IFF features more than 50 films from all over the world, including the U.S., Canada, France, Chile, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Russia, Sri Lanka, and Taiwan. Stick to your favorite pop culture genre, or pick screenings from seven different categories: Action/Adventure, Animation, Comics-Oriented, Documentary (Pop Culture-Oriented), Horror/Suspense, Humor, and Science Fiction/Fantasy. The schedule includes Comic-Con Film School – an ongoing series of film-related panels and how-to’s on filmmaking – presentation of the CCI-IFF Awards, and screenings of the award-winning films.

8. Celebrate Jack Kirby’s Centennial
X-Men, The Avengers, Fantastic Four, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Captain America – if you’ve seen a Marvel movie or TV show this century, you’ve seen the influence of Jack Kirby, who co-created many of these characters throughout his 50-plus year comic book career. Comic-Con celebrates the centennial of Kirby’s birth with special panels and a glowing tribute in the 2017 Souvenir Book. Get your keepsake copy early; it’s free to all attendees but only while supplies last!

9. 43rd Annual Masquerade
Although pre-registration as a contestant is closed, you can still hit the Masquerade and catch an eyeful as an observer if you have a badge that includes Saturday. This show-stopping highlight of the week celebrates the amazing creativity of attendees, some who spend many months perfecting their Masquerade costume for the showcase competition. If you’re one of them and don’t have a reserved spot, you can still request to be placed on the Stand-By List and be notified regarding last-minute cancellations.

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