Get Con-Nected

By Michael Benninger

The 2015 Comic-Con International sold out faster than Superman can strip down to his spandex - all 130,000 tickets to the four-day fan fiesta were scooped up in one hour. That may not be faster than a speeding bullet, but it is 30 minutes faster than last year, and a record-breaking rate for this signature San Diego event.

Thankfully, mere mortals who didn't score tickets can still get in on the geeky goodness, as the celebration of Comic-Con extends far beyond the confines of the Convention Center walls. From art exhibits to zombie crawls, and beer tastings to burlesque parties, if you're looking to get in touch with your inner superhero, check out a few of this year's "no badge required" events.

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ART EVENTS

Comic Art Now
Wednesday, July 8, 6-10 p.m.
Mike Hess Brewing
3812 Grim Ave., North Park
artbykami.com
Meet and interact with more than 40 local cartoonists, animators and other comic-industry artists as they display and discuss their work and craft at this free-to-attend, dog-friendly event.

Marvel vs. DC Exhibition
Saturday, July 11, 5-10 p.m.
La Bodega Gallery
2196 Logan Ave., Barrio Logan
facebook.com/Bodega619
Wear a costume while checking out this group art exhibition, which features pieces by more than 50 artists influenced by characters from the two titans of the comic-publishing world.

The Art of Comic-Con
Daily through August 30
San Diego Public Library
330 Park Ave., Ninth Floor, East Village
sandiegolibrary.org
Artsy highlights from Comic- Con's 45-year history and original pieces by more than 60 acclaimed comic artists make this summer a great time finally to visit downtown's new library.

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DRINKING EVENTS

Hop-Con 3.0: The w00tstout Festival
Wednesday, July 8, 5-10 p.m.
Stone Brewing Liberty Station
2816 Historic Decatur Rd., Ste. 116, Point Loma
stonebrewing.com
Celebrate the release of Stone Brewing Co.'s Farking Wheaton w00tstout at this third annual beer-lovers' brew-ha-ha. It's 45 percent larger than last year's event, ensuring room to accommodate even more hop-heads and ale-loving luminaries.

Ghostbusters Mass Hysteria Fan Party
Friday, July 10, 7p.m.- 2 a.m.
Werewolf
627 Fourth Ave., Gaslamp
facebook.com/realtampbayghostbusters
There's something strange in the neighborhood (in this case, the Gaslamp): unlicensed nuclear reactors, a 1959 Cadillac called the Ecto-1 and a gaggle of geektastic Ghostbusters fanatics commemorating the groundbreaking films that proved getting slimed can be an enjoyable experience.

Heroes Brew Fest
Saturday, July 11, 2-6 p.m.
The Loma Club
2960 Truxtun Rd., Point Loma
heroesbrewfest.com
Unleash your alterego while sampling suds from 40 craft breweries and enjoying an afternoon of music and food trucks at this annual beer bash benefiting real-life heroes from the Warrior Foundation.

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COSPLAY EVENTS

SuicideGirls: Blackheart Burlesque Tour
Thursday, July 9, 11 p.m.
House of Blues
1055 Fifth Ave., Gaslamp Quarter
blackheartburlesque.com
Watch striptease performances dripping with pop culture references as burlesque beauties recreate risqué scenes from Star Wars, Donnie Darko and Clockwork Orange, among other monuments of American cinema.

Walker Stalker Fan Fest
Friday and Saturday, July 10-11, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Petco Park
100 Park Blvd., East Village
walkerstalkerfanfest.com
Limp, lurch or lumber your way to this epic two-day gala in honor of all things undead. Surviving the crowd might mean un-living long enough to meet and speak with the zombies and hunters from killer shows like AMC's The Walking Dead.

Starburner Galactic Courier 7th Annual Steampunk Meet-Up
Saturday, July 11, 12 p.m.
North Stairs Behind Convention Center Mezzanine
111 West Harbor Dr., Marina District
starburnercouriers.com
Witness incredible costumes and ingenious gadgets at this steampunk junction, where esteemed members of the subgenre's society will receive recognition for their creative contributions to the community.

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OTHER PARTIES

The Great Royal Marshmallow Comic-Con After-Party
Thursday, July 9, 8 p.m.-2 a.m.
Somewhere Loud
3489 Noell St., Middletown
ozparty.us
Journey from a monochromatic Kansas to the psychedelic land of Oz with the Tin Man, Scarecrow and the rest of Dorothy Gale's gang. Burlesque, live tattooing and a Pabst Blue Ribbon-themed art show/competition for $30,000 in prizes round
out this visit to the Emerald City.

Lovelife Presents Episode XII: A New Boat
Saturday, July 11, 6-10 p.m.
Inspiration Hornblower
1800 North Harbor Dr., Harborview
facebook.com/lovelifeparties
Ewoks, Wookies and other creatures from a galaxy far, far away are invited to hop aboard this Star Wars-themed Intergalactic Boat Party to enjoy drinks, dancing and a glimpse of the Death Star.

Agents Wrap Party
Sunday, July 12, 5-8 p.m.
Henry's Pub
618 Fifth Ave., Gaslamp
shieldtv.net
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter fans unite at this gala celebrating the television spinoffs from The Avengers movie series.

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