Regular DHD readers know I don’t do geek. But frequent LA Weekly film reviewer and comic book expert Luke Y Thompson does. He spends all year waiting for Comic-Con and this time he’s covering it for me. Here’s his preview:

WEDNESDAY, JULY 23rd

I really should be working on my cardio right now: Comic-Con is as close to running a marathon as someone like me gets. It is absolutely impossible for one person to do absolutely everything that sounds interesting, but might as well try for as much as possible, right? The usual warnings apply: — Arrive early. Like, before the show opens. If you’re driving down from L.A., leave before the sun rises. This is not hyperbole. — Pace yourself. Hydrate. Eat breakfast. Maybe even bring deodorant. Your fellow conventiongoers will thank you. — Comic-Con treats pretty much everyone equally, so even if you’re a VIP, be prepared to wait in line. — Don’t buy food or drink in the convention hall. It’s way overpriced, and there’s a Ralphs a couple blocks away. For booze, go to the hotel bar next door. –Remember to have fun! You’ll be exhausted, but for folks like me, this is still the most wonderful time of the year. So what looks worth seeing? Glad you asked. Herewith, my picks for most interesting panels (but be sure to save some time for roaming the convention floor, too):

Wednesday is usually strictly for hall-roaming, but this year, there’s also going to be a screening of the new J.J. Abrams pilot FRINGE, about a plane that lands full of dead bodies, and the mystery that unfolds as folks try to find out why. John Noble (Denethor from RETURN OF THE KING) stars as some kind of mad genius. Now might be as good a time as any to bitch about how J.J. Abrams isn’t going to be showing anything from his new STAR TREK movie. My sources at Paramount say it’s just too soon, despite the fact that they had a panel for it last year. Chud.com recently ran a piece that suggests J.J. is using the weak excuse that the special effects aren’t done. They, like me, suspect that J.J. is doing his default routine of secrecy, when in this case he needs to be reassuring the fan-base who are very skeptical of recasting the original crew.
 
Here’s why the “not finished yet” argument doesn’t wash: Reason #1: J.J. showed footage to Harry Knowles already. I can’t find Harry’s “review” of the footage anywhere on the site, which I’ll chalk up to their crappy search engine, but needless to say, as with any advance footage for something like this, Harry liked it. Reason #2: A couple of Cons ago, Peter Jackson showed the T-rex fight from KING KONG. It was very unfinished, featuring a lot of wire-frame animation. But it still looked cool as hell, and the crowd asked to watch it a second time. The finished sequence remains the best part of the way-too-long movie. Anyway, between now and next May, there won’t be another opportunity to show STAR TREK footage to a crowd this big that’s predisposed to like it. Blown opportunity, J.J. And makes me suspect somebody’s running scared.
 
I’m also told that a special rail car full of props from Gil Kenan’s upcoming live-action sci-fi movie CITY OF EMBER should be pulling into town on Wednesday. And rumor has it the owl-ship from WATCHMEN will be in the convention hall. But mostly, Wednesday is the night to buy as many exclusive toys as are available (and not all will be).