DC Comics sets up shop at SXSW with superhero pop-up

Three Batmobiles are on display at DC's superhero activation

DC Comics is hosting a superhero-filled pop-up experience for the whole of SXSW in Austin, Texas.

The activation, which is open to both SXSW attendees and the public, is primarily promoting the upcoming series Krypton, which is premiering on Syfy on March 21. Set two generations before the destruction of Superman’s home planet Krypton, the show will follow his grandfather as he “fights to redeem his family’s honor and save his beloved world from chaos.”

DC Comics is also using the SXSW activation to celebrate Superman’s 80th birthday as well as the 1,000th issue his comic series. Attendees can get their hands on limited-edition book that includes new stories and custom artwork. Those who purchase $50 or more of merchandise will receive a limited-edition poster that highlights all 1,000 Action Comics covers.

Other superheroes are featuring at the event as well. Three of Batman’s iconic onscreen Batmobiles and two Bat-cycles are on display, and the cast of the show Black Lightning will be on site to meet fans and sign autographs. DC comic book writers and artists Jim Lee and Dan Jurgens will also be at the event on March 10 and 11 to do signings.

Each night, a pop-up version of Oswald's, the bar and nightclub featured on Fox’s Gotham, will offer free beer tastings from local Austin brewery Family Business Beer Company. On Friday and Saturday nights, the event will feature a performance by Laserman, an Italian dancer who will “engage in a choreographed laser-enhanced performance” to the Justice League soundtrack.

Lisa Gregorian, president & chief marketing officer of DC Comics’ parent company Warner Bros. Television Group, said 10-day activation was put together to show Austin locals and SXSW attendees “all of the different ways in which DC stories and characters are expressed.”

She also said that DC Comics wanted to align itself with SXSW since it’s a “pop culture” event where many of its fans and consumers are likely to be.

“There are two original art forms that are uniquely and distinctly American. The first one is jazz, and the second one is comic books,” she said. “Comic books have always played a role in society across the United States.”

Additionally, the experience is part of the brand’s effort to connect with fans in local markets. Earlier this year, Gregorian said DC Comics hosted a similar experience in Washington, D.C. The event, which took place the weekend before Martin Luther King Jr. Day, brought together “the worlds of entertainment and public service to illuminate the story of America and current issues” through the lens of comics and superheroes.

“Everything we do is always so big, and yet there are so many really incredible stories with the local fans in each market,” she said. “Traveling across the country gives us the opportunity to get up close and hear their stories.”

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