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It’s here! Preview Night is over and San Diego Comic-Con 2012 is officially in full swing.

Racket Magazine is out for blood this year – well, SDCC exclusives, rather. Jonathan Yost, Laura Gaddy, and I will be taking the convention by storm, hoping to absorb as much animated, pop cultured, loot-filled goodness as possible.

While the Nerdist (featuring Neil Degrasse Tyson!!), The Hobbit, and the return of my beloved Doctor Who are high on my radar for panels, much of my time in San Diego will be spent wandering, gleaning as much costumed goodness as I can in 4 days (also, I just get lost a lot).

This year, I’m tweaking my wandering a bit and taking it outside the halls. Comic-Con offsite programming is proving to be as phenomenal as what’s inside the Convention Center – and the best part is that most of it is badge- (and cost) free!

Here’s 5 offsite, badge-free stops I’ll be making at my SDCC adventure:

  1. Warner Bros. Extra at Comic-Con. So much stuff, where to start? Warner Bros. presents “Extra at Comic-Con,” featuring free outdoor entertainment at the San Diego Bayfront Park. The Bacon Brothers (yes, those Bacon brothers) and Kevin Smith will hit the stage, there will be free screenings of cult classics like The Goonies and Beetlejuice, and best of all, ALL SIX Batmobiles will be at the event for your ogling and photographing pleasure.
  2. Adventure Time Keeper Seeker experience. Finn, Jake and the gang are taking over The New Children’s Musuem across the street from the Convention Center. Check out the Adventure Time Fan Art Exhibit and participate in the Keeper Seeker Challenge (visit Adventure Time on Facebook for more details!).
  3. Yahoo! Movieland. Interact with a life-sized version of Yahoo!’s Movieland game and some of the summer’s upcoming blockbusters, such as Total Recall and ParaNorman. Movie props, trivia, and celebrity appearances – what more could you want? Located at 520 E. 5th Ave. across the street from the Convention Center, stop by for some freebies and to check out original Comic-Con programming playing at the event.
  4. LEGO art in action by Nathan Sawaya & Jim Lee – The renowned LEGO brick artist will team up with comic book artist Jim Lee as part of Darkness & Light: Art Inspired by Heroes & Villains, Hope & Heroism. The exhibition is part of DC Entertainment’s We Can Be Heroes campaign, which focuses on raising funds and awareness for the hunger crisis in the Horn of Africa. Find the event at the Michael J. Wolf Fine Arts Gallery, 363 5th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101 on Friday, July 13, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  5. Archie and M.A.C. Cosmetics. M.A.C. Cosmetics is teaming up with beloved Archie comics to create a line celebrating the comic’s iconic ladies Betty and Veronica. While the “M.A.C. Archie’s Girls” line won’t be available until spring 2013, you can visit the M.A.C. store, located at 234 5th Ave., where celebrated comic book artist and illustrator Dan Parent will be on hand, providing sketches and showing off his wonderful illustrations. Stop by Thursday, from 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. or 6:00-8:00 p.m., and be sure to look out for M.A.C.’s team of “Archies” wandering the streets of the Gaslamp quarter.
For super exclusive, fascinating San Diego Comic-Con coverage, follow @RacketMagazine on Twitter (no badges required here either!)