San Diego Comic-Con Still Doing Blood Drives, Free Black Widow Shirt

Okay, that is pretty impressive, San Diego Comic-Con's Robert A. Heinlein Blood Drive is still returning for its 44th year in 2020 – even though there isn't a San Diego Comic-Con. Instead, they will have a 26-day blood drive for Comic-Con@Home, that participants can take part in across California. As they point out "over the past 43 years 25,950 pints of blood have been donated by Comic-Con attendees, exhibitors, pros, volunteers, and staff. San Diego Blood Bank estimates that your donations have impacted more than 75 thousand lives over the course of our 43 years."

San Diego Comic-Con Still Doing Blood Drives, Free Black Widow Shirt.
San Diego Comic-Con Still Doing Blood Drives, Free Black Widow Shirt.

Those who donate from now until August 16th and book using a special code (CCON) will receive a limited-edition Marvel Black Widow T-shirt. Donors will also receive a free antibody screening for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, with results available in 7 to 10 days.

Visit or call (619) 400-8251. 

Carmel Valley Donor Center
Piazza Carmel
3880 Valley Centre Drive, Suite 210
San Diego, CA 92130

East County Donor Center
776 Arnele Ave
El Cajon, CA 92020

North County Donor Center
358 West El Norte Parkway
Suite J
Escondido, CA 92026

Coastal Donor Center
1910 Via Centre
Vista, CA 92081

Gateway Donor Center
3636 Gateway Center Ave
Suite 100
San Diego, CA 92102

Sabre Springs Donor Center
12640 Sabre Springs Parkway
Suite 109
San Diego, CA 92128

For science fiction fans, few names were as stellar as Robert A. Heinlein. From Star Ship Troopers to Stranger in a Strange Land, Heinlein was the dean of SF writers. Unfortunately, he rarely attended conventions, so his readers had few opportunities to meet the master in person. Then in the early 1970s, Heinlein had a life-threatening illness and needed many pints of a rare blood type. He felt he owed his life to the donors, so when asked to be a guest at the 1976 World Con in his hometown of Kansas City, he agreed-but with one specific stipulation: that he would only sign autographs for people who donated blood.

Thus longtime Comic-Con committee member Jackie Estrada approached the author with an offer to hold a blood drive in San Diego if he would consent to being a guest. He agreed, and in 1977 Heinlein came to Comic-Con. He and his wife, Ginny, had a great time and Heinlein even drew a picture for the Sunday morning Art Auction.

"David Scroggy [who went onto be a VP at Dark Horse Comics before he retired] was the first blood drive coordinator," recalls Estrada. "We also had Theodore Sturgeon there signing his book, Some of Your Blood, which he gave to all of the blood donors. We also had entertainment for the people while they were [donating blood]. I remember that Leslie Cabarga played the piano, C. C. Beck played the guitar. It was a very fun event and Robert was delighted. We've had the blood drive every year since."

About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.

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