The Marvel man: Stan Lee is legendary in the geek world. The comic-book writer and former president of Marvel Comics is one of the guys behind Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, X-Men and lots of other fictional characters who get the Comic-Con crowd all hot and bothered. From 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, July 22, The Chuck Jones Gallery (232 Fifth Ave., Downtown) will have the Con crowd—and maybe the general public, too—in a fervor by opening a show featuring new, limited-edition art from Lee's most provocative series, Stripperella. The character, originally based on and voiced by Pamela Anderson during its run on Spike TV, has reportedly been re-imagined by Lee and is making a comeback as a bombshell redhead. chuckjonesgallery.com.
The good stuff: One of the coolest things about Comic-Con is the Artist Alley exhibition hall, where some of today's best comic-book artists hang out. The problem with the space, though, is that it's almost always crowded. The first-ever AFTERCON art show is probably a better bet if you're looking to spend some serious time looking at art. Featuring more than 75 big-name artists—Ray Bradbury, Phile Yeh and Phil Ortiz, to name a few—who've contributed custom vinyl toys, skate decks, paintings, graphic novels and more, the art show is being held in honor of Comic-Con founder Shel Dorf as a fundraiser for school art programs and art scholarships. AFTER- CON is happening three nights, Thursday, July 22, through Saturday, July 24, from 8 p.m. to midnight at Suture Gallery, 655 10th Ave., Downtown. $5 suggested donation. aftercon.blogspot.com
Earcraft of Warcraft: Video Games Live: Bonus Round might be the only classical performance in the world that starts off with a Guitar Hero: Van Halen competition. For the third year in a row, the event is coming to San Diego during Comic-Con, and this time the orchestral performance and light show includes music from World of Warcraft and the premiere of the music to the forthcoming game End of Nations. The show starts at 8 p.m. Saturday, July 24, at San Diego Civic Theater, 1100 Third Ave., Downtown. All ticket holders are welcome at a post-concert meet-and-greet with some of the brightest minds in video game design. Tickets start at $20. sdcivic.org
Gritty Beauty: One of our favorite new Downtown galleries, Alexander Salazar Fine Art (640 Broadway), is hosting a California-centric, smaller-scale version of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego's current street-art show, Viva la Revolución. California U.rban S.treet A.rtists, on display through Sunday, July 25, features work by artists like Saratoga Sake, Chor Boogie, Crol, MEAR ONE, Justin Bua and Mike Maxwell, all of whom have turned blank walls into vibrant murals. There's an opening reception from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, July 23. alexandersalazarfineart.com
Comic Iconic: With Comic-Con comes an onslaught of awesome events, and Icons, a pop-culture extravaganza featuring film, music, art and fashion, is among them. The event happens Saturday, July 24, at the Horton Plaza Event Center (the space where Steve & Barry's used to be). Highlights during the day include a musical performance by oddballs Satanic Puppeteer Orchestra, an art show of movie and music icons and a meetand-greet with the cast of the Universal Dead web series. Later, check out aerial hoop performances from Hoopcharmer and a geek fashion show. But that isn't even the half of it—see westcoastclublife.com to find out everything that's going on. $5 for daytime entry, $15 at night. All ages from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., 21 and older after 9 p.m. Click here for more info.
Badass Mahfood: CityBeat hereby issues artist Jim Mahfood one-night immunity from the boycott of all things Arizona that we issued after the state passed the anti-immigrant law known as SB 1070. Mahfood inks a weekly cartoon for Phoenix New Times, but he's also an underground comic hero in his own right—and when we say “hero,” we simply mean that he draws awesome but admittedly “stupid” comics about beer, porn and weed. Mahfood will be one of several guests creating art live at the Scenes of a Graphic Nature Comic-Con after-party hosted by Nerd City, Image Comics and TFAW.Com. The gig—which will feature DJ Red Sonya and The Burning of Rome—starts at 9 p.m. Saturday, July 24, at Soda Bar (3615 El Cajon Blvd. in North Park). sodabarmusic.com
Locals Only: Mixture, the hip and spacious Little Italy home-goods, art and design store (2210 Kettner Blvd.) will host All Day Art from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, July 24. Part sale, part exhibit, the event features work by more than three dozen San Diego artists and craftspeople— from Amy Paul's elegant resin-on-wood prints to William Leslie's sculptured wood-and-paper lamps and Chris Austin's mid-century inspired glasswork—with prices ranging from totally affordable to somewhat expensive. Mixture also carries items by internationally known names like Phillipe Starck and De La Espada and will be offering 10 percent off everything in the store. mixturehome.com
Blood in the water: This past April, The Cove won the Academy Award for Best Documentary of 2009. If you missed it, you'll get another chance to see it on a big screen on Thursday, July 22, at the Birch North Park Theatre (2891 University Ave.). The movie details the mass slaughter of dolphins at a national park in Taiji, Japan. The event starts with a mixer at 5 p.m. in the adjoining West Coast Tavern with a special guest, actor and model Kelly Hu (she played Lady Deathstrike in X2). At 7 p.m., there'll be a Q&A with Hu, followed by the free film screening at 7:20. After the credits roll, there'll be another Q&A, this one with Craig Tsuyumine of the activist group Save Japan Dolphins. You'll have to buy your own drinks at the mixer, but the rest of the event is all free. birchnorthparktheatre.net, thecovemovie.com, yousavejapandolphins.org