San Diego Comic-Con Museum to open in November

Comic-Con Museum organizers Melissa Peterman, David Glazner and Patti Roscoe
Comic-Con Museum organizers Melissa Peterman, David Glazner and Patti Roscoe pose in front of the future home of the Comic-Con Museum in Balboa Park on Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020.
(Jarrod Valliere / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

The anticipated Comic-Con extension in Balboa Park has been in the works since 2017


The Comic-Con Museum in Balboa Park finally has an opening date: Nov. 26.

It has been more than four years since plans for the museum were announced and a planned opening this summer was delayed because of the pandemic. Comic-Con made the announcement Thursday to supporters that they had a new opening date and construction had begun.

Plans for the museum include two art galleries, a theater, rotating exhibits, outdoor seating, a gift shop with exclusive merchandise, a café and an extensive education center. It will be the first museum to open at the park in nearly 20 years.

COVID-19 did more than delay the museum — it also canceled the in-person Comic-Con two years in a row. Not only was it a hit to the pocketbook of the nonprofit that runs the convention, but also San Diego’s tourism industry. The launch of the museum is welcome news to many in the community.

“With the museum’s construction under way,” San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria said in a statement, “we’re closer than ever to welcoming a global audience to get a taste of the Comic-Con experience in the middle of our city’s crown jewel, Balboa Park.”

Visitors to the new museum Thanksgiving Week will be only seeing the first phase of the project, which will include exhibits of comic book art, part of an education center, an atrium and artwork from past conventions. Other parts of the three-floor museum, which Comic-Con said will be completed by July 2022, will be worked on as the museum stays open.

Comic-Con did not provide estimated ticket costs, hours of operation or fundraising information in its announcement. Efforts to get more information from the organization were unsuccessful.

Comic-Con Museum’s opening coincides with a smaller version of its in-person convention planned for Nov. 26 to 28. The venue has yet to be announced. The completed museum, in theory, should open when the big convention returns to downtown San Diego in July 2022.

The nonprofit said last summer it had raised roughly $17 million of its $34 million fundraising goal. In a statement, longtime Comic-Con spokesman David Glazner said “fundraising for the museum is not at the level we would have hoped.”

It has received donations from fans for the museum, and large corporate contributions from AT&T, DC Comics, U.S. Bank, Cox Communications and the Roddenberry Foundation.

A museum without all the bells and whistles hasn’t seemed to stop early visitors to the space from having a good time. It was used during Comic-Con in 2019 as a celebration of Batman on the character’s 80th anniversary. It also hosted a mini-comic convention during the Maker Faire in 2018 and other small events.

City of San Diego officials gave Comic-Con the 68,000-square-foot former San Diego Hall of Champions building in March 2017. The sports-themed museum had been in the park since 1961. The lease was signed by John Rogers, the convention’s longtime president, who died in November 2018.