Hard to believe that a year has gone by and it’s Comic-Con time already. I’ll be leaving for San Diego Wednesday morning. Gee whiz. I’m sure many of you have your schedule all mapped out already. Hell, I know you Twilight fans are already camped in a line outside of Hall H at this very moment (a spot you’ll lose anyway when you have to go and line up for your badge, but whatever floats your sparkly boat).
But maybe some of you are Comic-Con rookies, or have simply been too busy hitting the beach recently to pay attention to the announced schedule (yeah, right). Either way, here are some of the things you might not want to miss, both on and off the convention center.
Game of Thrones
The first season of HBO’s foray into fantasy was met with both critical and fan acclaim, and a second season is already in the works. So come join this Q&A session with the cast and producers, including Peter Dinklage and Jason Momoa. Creator George R.R. Martin will moderate the panel. Thursday, 3pm, Ballroom 20.
Batman: Arkham City
It’s one of the hottest anticipated video game sequels ever. Join Batman and Joker, Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill, along with story writer Paul Dini, DC co-publisher Jim Lee and game director Sefton Hill to see and hear about some new details of the game. Arkham Asylum was arguably the best superhero game of all time. Can Arkham City top it the same way The Dark Knight topped Batman Begins? Thursday, 5pm, Indigo Ballroom.
Jon Favreau Meets Guillermo Del Toro
You can call it a Comic-Con tradition now that every year, Entertainment Weekly host a Visionaries panel where they basically just have two huge directors sit down in front of an audience to discuss the future of pop culture. It started in 2008 when they put Kevin Smith, Judd Apatow, Zack Snyder and Frank Miller together. In 2009, they “scaled down” by having just Peter Jackson and James Cameron, and last year they had JJ Abrams duke it out with Joss Whedon. This year, it’ll be Favreau and Del Toro. Maybe they’ll spend 30 minutes arguing who’d win in a fight, Iron Man or Hellboy. Thursday, 6pm, Hall H.
“Stitched” Movie Premiere
Garth Ennis made a movie? That’s right. The Preacher and The Boys creator is a huge movie buff, that much is obvious to anyone who’s read his comics, but I guess he’s now taking the plunge by writing and directing his own horror short film, about soldiers in Afghanistan running into unimaginable terror in the caves. The world premiere is right here. Thursday, 8:15pm, Room 6DE.
Torchwood: Miracle Day
So I’m a fan. Sue me, but this panel should be drop dead fun. The entire cast of Torchwood, including leading members John Barrowman and Eve Myles, as well as this season’s new faces like Mekhi Phifer, Bill Pullman, Alexa Havins and Lauren Ambrose will be joined by writer Jane Espensen. The night before, Comic-Con will have a special screening of Episode 3 so fans can watch it early in time for the panel discussion. Friday, 10am, Ballroom 20.
The Adventures of Tintin
Paramount’s keeping it pretty sly with this Tintin panel (the official schedule doesn’t even have a description for this block of programming), but there’s a reason for that. The bird’s word is that the guest of the panel will be none other than director Steven Spielberg himself, making his first Comic-Con appearance. Friday, 11am, Hall H.
Black Dynamite Anime
If you can’t get enough of Black Dynamite, Adult Swim is bringing you more, in animated form. The Boondocks producer Carl Jones teamed up with the film’s director Scott Sanders and stars Michael Jai White, Tommy Davidson, Kum Whitley and Byron Minns (all reprising their characters from the film in voice) to bring you this upcoming series. They will all appear to do a Q&A, you jive muthafuckaaaas. Friday, 2:30pm, Indigo Ballroom.
Sony Presents “The Amazing Spider-Man”
Possibly the biggest panel at the Con this year, get to know what the Spidey reboot will be like in this panel. Director Marc Webb, Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone will all be there to show off some of that 3D footage. Oh, and I think Nicolas Cage will be there for the sequel to some flaming biker movie. Or something. Friday, 4pm, Hall H.
World Premiere of “Batman: Year One”
The latest from Warner Home Video is an animated adaptation of Frank Miller and David Mazzuchelli’s seminal Batman story, and it will have its world premiere right here at the Con. After the premiere is a panel discussion with producer Bruce Timm, directors Sam Liu and Lauren Montgomery, voice director Andrea Romano, as well as three of the cast members: Ben McKenzie, Eliza Dushku and Katee Sackhoff. Friday, 8pm, Ballroom 20.
Francis Ford Coppola’s “TWIXT”
Coppola appearing to present sequences from his new mysterious movie Twixt is interesting in itself, but what’s also intriguing is the announcement that the film will be released accompanied by live music performance from Dan Deacon, and the panel audience will get to experience first hand what that’s like, as a “dress rehearsal.” Saturday, 11:45am, Hall H.
Another year, another snub. The Emmy’s may ignore them, but Comic-Con attendees know that Community is the greatest comedy show currently on television. That’s why the entire cast will be back again to do more interaction with fans. Saturday, 1pm, Indigo Ballroom.
The Last Airbender: Legend of Korra
I’ve been waiting for this one forever. Nickelodeon will finally debut a sneak peek at the quasi-sequel series to their smash hit Avatar: The Last Airbender. The new series takes place decades after the end of Avatar and will feature a more urban, steampunk-ish look. How cool will it actually be? You’ll see it in this panel. Saturday, 4pm, Room 6BCF.
Well, The Doctor is certainly no stranger to Comic-Con. David Tennant came ‘round in 2009 and made heads explode when he kissed John Barrowman on the lips onstage. This will be the first appearance for the new Doctor, Matt Smith, as well as his companion Karen Gillan. They’ll have exclusive footage of the new season before it airs on BBC America later this Summer. Sunday, 12:30, Hall H.
"Cowboys and Aliens" World Premiere
In a highly unusual move, a big mainstream summer movie will not have a swank premiere with celebrity guests in Hollywood or New York. Instead, director Jon Favreau has decided that he should give back to the fans by holding the premiere at Comic-Con, making it a first. Not only that, he's also planning on getting in as many fans as possible into the screening. Saturday, 7pm, San Diego Civic Theater.
Cirque du Soleil - “KA”
The famous acrobatic show about the battle between good and evil will give a free performance to Comic-Con attendees at Petco Park, right across the street from the convention center. Thursday, 8pm, Petco Park.
“South Park” Ultimate Fan Experience
South Park fans will get a chance to be appreciated in this 15,000 sq ft South Park exhibition where you’ll see a South Park-themed parade, costume contests, and even win tickets to see The Book of Mormon. Thursday-Saturday, 450 2nd Avenue.
Shark Night 3D Experience
Well, the movie looks like shit, but this could be a fun time. If you go to Petco Park, you’ll be able to take photos with the interactive mechanical shark from Shark Night 3D. Thursday-Sunday, Petco Park D1/D2 Parking Lot.
The Fine Art of the Flaming C
And finally, fans of Conan O’Brien will be able to visit a gallery opening celebrating Conan’s hilarious superhero alter-ego created by Bruce Timm, The Flaming C. The exhibit will show over 60 select artworks from Conan fans all over the world, and will also include a giant LEGO statue of The Flaming C. Thursday-Sunday, 363 Fifth Ave. Suite 102.
* * *
Of course, these are mere samplings of what will be available at the Con, where I will be for the next few days to report on what other shenanigans I can find. So get your schedules lined up and hydrate properly. San Diego Comic-Con 2011 is here.