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013: Bring the Thunder, and Show some Love at the Robert A. Heinlein Blood Drive!

Super Amazing Good Looking Comic-Con 2022 Blood Drive: Marvel Studios THOR Love and Thunder T-shirt
2022 Comic-Con® Robert A. Heinlein Blood Drive 

Comic-Con’s Robert A. Heinlein Blood Drive, San Diego Blood Bank’s largest and longest-running blood drive, returns for our 46th year, with donation areas located in the Coronado Ballroom at the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel, and at San Diego Blood Bank Donation Centers. The past few years have been hard on us all, and now more than ever is an amazing time to donate blood and help save lives! So be your own superhero today by:

  1. Donating On-Site
  2. Donating for an additional 21 days after the convention.
  3. Donating before Comic-Con (and request a certificate of Donation).
 Robert A. Heinlein at Comic-Con in 1977

Robert A. Heinlein at Comic-Con in 1977
Photo by Jackie Estrada

For science fiction fans, few names were as stellar as Robert A. Heinlein. From Starship 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 on to 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."


Join us over the next week as we post more Toucan Tips to help you enjoy and better navigate Comic-Con 2022!

Bookmark Toucan for the latest Toucan Tips as we hurtle towards Comic-Con 2022, July 21–24 at the San Diego Convention Center!