San Diego is a gorgeous city. Sun, beaches, great restaurants, and a comics Mecca for a week in July during Comic Con International. Now there’s a year-round destination for fans of comics to check out when they hit this city nestled in the extreme southwest corner of the continental USA. The San Diego Comic Art Gallery opened recently and I visited it last week. Located close to the San Diego Airport (you can hear planes taking off during your visit) it’s also close to Downtown, Ocean Beach, Old Town, Mission Bay, and the Cabrillo National Monument. You can easily work the Gallery into a really nice one or two day visit to sunny San Diego.
The Gallery has free admission and is located next to IDW Publishing’s headquarters at 2765 Truxtun Rd. Visit the web-site for current hours. They are closed Mondays and open Tuesday by appointment only, so try to be in town on a day when they’re open!
The inaugural exhibition is dedicated to Kevin Eastman, co-creator of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I was really impressed by the large amount of great stuff they were able to pack into a relatively compact space. This exhibit should be running until the end of the year, to be followed in 2016 and beyond by a rotating series of exhibits dedicated to various comics art and pop culture artists and subjects. I’ll definitely be making a trip down for each new exhibit!
I’m sharing pictures of a few of the dozens of pieces of art on exhibit in the gallery. As a collector of original art, I love seeing samples of artists craft, just to appreciate it for purely art’s sake. For someone who is a big TMNT fan this would be a special treat.
Going past the main gallery space and looking to the right, I was treated to an amazing sight: Kevin Eastman’s studio transplanted into the gallery in a dedicated room! A hard-core fan could spend an hour looking at all the stuff packed into every nook and cranny!
The next room is the ‘Artist in Residence Studio’. No artists were around during my visit, but there are drawing tables set up for artists to work at and there are artists there some days. I’d suggest calling to check schedules if you’d like to visit when there is an artist present. They do have a sketch book that guests with artistic leaning are encouraged to leave a drawing in!
The final room is the IDW Research Library. This room contains a selection of works from IDW Publishing’s catalog. A variety of collected editions including the Eisner Award winning Alex Toth trilogy, selections from the Library of American Comics, and many more. Also very cool are the display cases with some of IDW’s numerous awards (seen at the back of the room). The Library is open by appointment only, so again, if you’d like to visit this room and spend some time, contact the Gallery before your visit. This is a room I was only able to spend a short time in and I’d love to return when I’m able to sit down and spend some time checking out a lot more of what they have to offer.
Visiting the San Diego Comic Art Gallery was thoroughly enjoyable and I’m definitely going to return. I can’t recommend this highly enough for fans of the comic arts and I applaud IDW for setting this up as a public attraction promoting comics and pop culture.
Bob Bretall: firstname.lastname@example.org
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