San Diego Comic-Con 2012 Wrap-Up: All Things Related to Food

Just like that and San Diego Comic-Con is over. All the weeks of prep and the days just blew by once the event was finally here. I’m sure you’re already seeing a ton of comic-con recaps out there, covering everything from upcoming movie releases, breaking news, reunions and limited-edition collector’s items. Here’s my update on all things related to food. “Food stuff at the Comic-Con? Come on, Darlene!” It may have been a stretch in previous years to make the connection to food and comic-con, but this year it was easy. The hardest part was paring it down to a digestible size.


The first and possibly the biggest announcement coming out of Comic-Con — at least in my eyes — was the appearance of Anthony Bourdain. With the release of his new comic, “Get Jiro!” by Vertigo Comics (an offprint of DC Comics), everyone was a buzz with Bourdain’s panel and two days of signings. I managed to meet him, shake his hand and give him a copy of The Girl with the Donut Tattoo and a Cool Jerk canvas panel reproduction (featuring him) to which he proclaimed “Wow! Best swag ever.

Chef Bigfoot

Shia LaBeouf in Small Press

Bourdain was gracious and very congenial to everyone, even when interviewed by YouTube personality Chef Bigfoot. Surprisingly, Bourdain was much more reachable than most celebrities who hit the floor. I guess in the world of comics, Bourdain is a much smaller fish than Shia LaBeouf, who was swarmed by wanna-be paparazzi in Small Press while trying to give away his book. (Check out Keith Knight’s experience sharing the table with LaBeouf told in comic-form.)

Word has been out for a while now that companies don’t have to buy a booth at the convention center to promote their stuff. Outside the venue, loads of companies were offering tons of freebies. Vitamin Water, 5-Hour Energy Drink and Jarritos were just some of the vendors offering free full-sized samples, hoping to get some future business from thirsty attendees.

Sprinkles Avengers Cupcake

Guys eating cupcakes

Among them was Sprinkles Cupcakes. The Sprinkles Mobile was tweeting their location and giving away cupcakes specially decorated for Comic-Con: Wonder Woman, Avengers, Spider-Man and X-Men logos were printed on fondant and topped four different cupcakes. The cupcakes were a welcome sugar rush for many, including myself.

History Channel Cookout

Eat Sausages

One event outside of the convention center that was open only to attendees was the History Channel’s Cookoff  by Island Ave. For two days, they gave away free sausages to people, who also had a chance to taste/judge some BBQ ribs and burgers and play some yard games. Local eateries Phil’s BBQ and Hodad’s also participated in this event.

Ralph's ComicCon

Down the street from the cookoff, Ralphs transformed their storefront. They replaced the patio seating on one side to allow for the easy purchase of drinks, chips and sandwiches. Regardless of the popup street-side convenience, sales were still brisk inside the grocery store.

The Gaslamp Quarter was again a blaze with restaurant deals or comic-related menu items to take advantage of hungry attendees.

Defiance Diner

MaryJane’s Coffeeshop must have a deal with the Syfy network. In previous years, it was transformed into a restaurant for their show, Eureka. This year, their new show Defiance took over the location. A building wrap for Defiance was also plastered on the side of the Marriott.

Tin Fish

Closer to the convention center, Tin Fish was transformed into a forest for NBC’s Grimm. Despite the facelift, regular meals were still being served.


Even fast food joints were trying to get a piece of the comic-con pie. From a distance, who I thought were a pair of Raggedy Ann cosplayers were actually promoting Wendy’s. These gals were handing out coupons for combo meals and strawberry-inspired desserts.

Inside the convention center, there were hundreds of food-related curiosities as well.

Zombie Foot

Possibly the grossest and most realistic thing I would never consider getting would be the plastic wrapped, rotting zombie foot. Apparently these were hot merchandise and flying off the shelves. And just when I thought the zombie trend was coming to an end.

Donuts and Robots

I’ve been coveting these robot donut prints from Eric Joyner for a few years now. At $80 a pop per a limited print, it’s bit too rich for my blood.  Some day… some day…

Yummy Breakfast Dessert

On a more manageable price level, Kid Robot was selling blind boxes of Yummy Dessert or Yummy Breakfast keychains for about $6. It’s a nice gift for any food fiend who enjoys cute food stuff like myself.

Sugar Frosted Fat

Ron English’s Fat Tony vinyl figure was sold out by Saturday. It’s a funny-but-sad commentary on childhood obesity.

Willy Wonka

On display with other movie memorabilia is Gene Wilder’s Willy Wonka outfit. Close by were Golden Tickets and replicas of the chocolate bars featured in the movie.

Breakfast Princess

As usual, it was cosplay galore (with a big population explosion on Saturday). Doctor Who and steampunk were still pretty popular, along with super-heroes from all walks of life. I loved seeing the Breakfast Princess and Flame Princess from Adventure Time. Everything on this Breakfast Princess was on par with her cartoon counterpart: bacon belt, bacon crown and toast top. Adventure Time was huge at this year’s convention; from blocks away you could see Finn’s big inflated head atop the Children’s Museum.

Louis from Bob's Burgers

And I never would have understood this costume if I hadn’t binge-viewed Bob’s Burgers weeks before the convention. It’s a more grown up version of the Bob’s youngest spawn, Louise. Cute-as-a-button Kristen Schaal does the voice on the show.

Ronald McDonald Crossplay

Fast food was represented inside too. This crossplay of Ronald McDonald was spotted wandering the aisles with a burger purse slung around her neck. This woman must really love her Mickey D’s.

Cookie Monster

Sesame Street’s Cookie Monster may not be eating cookies all the time now, but the costumed guy inside was ecstatic to receive a free donut cookie. The donut cookies — free with purchase of The Girl with the Donut Tattoo — were baked by Jenny Wenny Cakes. They were enthusiastically received by many people.

Speaking of food bloggers, there were a few in Small Press besides myself.

JustJenn Recipe cards

Our friend Jenn of JustJenn Recipes was selling a four-pack of recipe cards at her table, alongside her popular recipe comic, O.G. Favorite Recipes. Everything can be found and purchased online if you didn’t make it to the convention.

Kate Becan

New-to-me food blogger was Sarah Becan of Sauceome, who flew out to San Diego from the “great state of Chicago.” (That’s a Dan Quayle-ism btw.) Sarah was selling her books and fantastic-looking food prints, including Sausages of the World. It was great talking food with her for a few minutes. I can’t wait to read more stuff on her site.

Grandmother fan

On Saturday, a woman came up and bought two copies of The Girl with the Donut Tattoo for her 89-year-old grandmother, Beatrice, who was unable to attend the con. She came back Sunday to say how much her grandmother enjoyed it and wanted more. It was touching, to say the least. Several other people came by to buy several copies for themselves and friends throughout the show.

Avengers Shawarma

While we weren’t able to linger downtown after hours like many conventioneers, we made it a point to grab dinner Saturday night while soaking in the festive nightlife. We wandered from place to place, finally deciding on Sultan Shawarma. The line was long but we were rewarded with a recreation of the shawarma scene at the end of The Avengers. Sure, half the Avengers were lean Asian crossplaying kids, but it was adorable. (The person relegated to sit on the floor was apparently Loki.) Check out the face on the Twee Hulk!

A very hearty thanks to everyone who came out and purchased a copy of the comic The Girl with the Donut Tattoo. On Sunday, it was completely sold out. If you didn’t get a copy and would like to order one, we will have a second printing that will available for sale at Cool Jerk very soon!

Related: Culinary Culture in Comics: Comic-Con 2011 Wrap-Up;
Why Did Snoopy quit the comic strip? Because he was tired of working for Peanuts (2010);
A Strange Conversation At Comic-Con (And It’s Food-Related) (2007)

25 thoughts on “San Diego Comic-Con 2012 Wrap-Up: All Things Related to Food

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  1. So glad to read this round-up, Darlene! And very happy to hear that you sold out your first printing of “Girl with the Donut Tattoo.” It’s on my to-read list once you guys have them available online. 🙂

    I thought I would miss Comic-Con a lot more this year since I’m not in “newborn-land,” (also known as “the land without sleep”…), but, once I saw the 6 a.m. line at the Convention Center on Thursday morning, I realized I wouldn’t miss the crowds, just the people I’ve gotten to know over the years through comics…Anyway, there’s always next year, right?

    1. I can’t imagine bringing a baby to the convention. I would imagine it would be overwhelming BUT I’ve seen it happen. And yes, there’s always next year! 🙂

    1. I believe as long as the hot dogs are cooked properly and not left cooking for a long time, they should be passable. Ugh… sorry about the pizza.

  2. I’m partially sad I didn’t get to go to Comic Con, but I’ve been enough times in the past to be over it. But I love the recaps and all of the photos! That zombie foot thing … was pretty gross. I admit I would buy one, but only to give it as a gift for someone else. I’ll have to snag a copy of your book when you get it printed again!

  3. I always look forward to your report of the free food giveaways outdoors because I sadly always miss all of those! Eric got a great photo of a Louise (my fave on Bob’s Burgers) and Gene in the burger costume. The woman looked a bit like Kristen Schaal. What a wonderful and simple cosplay idea!

  4. Great food related recap of the Con! The zombie foot is pretty cool but I don’t think I’d eat it myself. Unless I was a zombie of course.

    My friend Superman actually saved the free cookie for me when he delivered my books this weekend. The cookie was broken into pieces but TC and I still enjoyed it! Loved your book to pieces!

    And how awesome is that —-getting to meet BOURDAIN!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Glad to see that you found “Sauceome”!

    Now I just wish I had found those cupcakes. Or the BBQ. Or…

  6. So cool! I love to live vicariously through you and Paul for this event as it is just not my thing. It is pretty awesome to see the cookie monster with one of my cookies too!

  7. Wow!!!! I’m almost speechless. I just keep imagining meeting Bourdain and giving him your book and Paul’s comic. Best swag ever, indeed! Great article on a different view of the Con!

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