Comic-Con 2010 Preview: Thursday, July 22


The Real Start Day Of The Con

Luke Y Thompson covers Hollywood events at the Con for Deadline:

10:00-11:00 AM: DreamWorks Animation: Megamind. I can’t say the posters for this new 3-D animated movie starring Will Ferrell were particularly appealing. A hybrid Smurf-Martian thing with a goatee, and, one imagines, Ferrell doing the same voice he always does? Not super-exciting. But the recently released trailer made things look up a bit – Ferrell’s character is the last son of a dying planet like Krypton, who learns in short order that a far more Superman-like character (Brad Pitt) has a similar story, and made it to Earth first. Ferrell, Tina Fey, and Jonah Hill will be in attendance, and there are rumors Pitt may even make a surprise appearance, but don’t hold us to that. Hall H

10:30-11:30 AM: Danny Elfman. Everybody loves Danny Elfman. Right? Even if you think that faux-lullabye-over-brooding thing he does has gotten stale, I guarantee that you love at least one soundtrack he’s done, whether it be the TALES FROM THE CRYPT intro, 1989 BATMAN theme, those infernal NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS songs, or my personal fave, the PE-WEE’S BIG ADVENTURE music. It’s been 25 years since that movie teamed him with Tim Burton for the first time, so instead of sending him an anniversary card, you can just show up here and listen to him speak. Room 6BCF

10:30-11:30 AM: Talks The Hobbit movies. Considering there isn’t even a director as of last time we checked, this should be a short panel, heavy on pure speculation. Room 7AB

11:00 AM-12:00 PM: That Chris Gore Show. I’ve met Chris Gore and like him, but seriously, if you want to talk to him, it’s not hard to meet the guy; he can be found at all the usual Los Angeles cinema hangouts most evenings. If you’re coming from out of state, however, and really, really wanna get an up-close look at the founder of Film Threat, this is the place. Room 5AB

11:00 AM-12:00 PM: The Clockwork Girl. Kevin Hanna and Sean O’Reilly’s independent comic miniseries is apparently set to become an independent 3-D CG-animated feature, produced by O’Reilly. Alexa Vega (REPO: THE GENETIC OPERA, SPY KIDS) will voice the title character, and be in attendance. This one has flown under the radar of most fanboys, it seems…could be a breakout panel, or it could be just like the many Emily THE STRANGE movies that have been discussed at past cons and never happened. Either way, could be interesting. Room 9

11:15 AM-12:45 PM: Walt Disney Pictures: TRON: Legacy. It wants to be this year’s AVATAR, at least as far as fan reaction at Comic-Con is concerned, and clips shown both last year and the year before have garnered cheers from the fanbase. But unlike with AVATAR, we have a good idea what to expect on this one by now; will showing too much venture into spoiler territory? Regardless, this will be the hot ticket panel on Thursday; they’re already trying to dub the hype “ComiTRON.” Patton Oswalt will moderate the panel, for some reason (he’s funny and all, but why is he the go-to geek for moderation? Moderators should be less conspicuous than the guests); announced guests include Jeff Bridges, Bruce Boxleitner, Olivia Wilde, Michael Sheen, and Garrett Hedlund. Hall H

11:30 AM-12:30 PM: Mattel and WWE: The Ultimate Tag Team. Yes, I collect wrestling toys. As a fan, I also find it notable that previous WWE toymakers Jakks Pacific never seemed to care much about Comic-Con, even though they’re a Malibu-based company and could easily have made the trek down. The exciting news is that WWE talent will be at this panel; the less exciting news is that it’s only gonna be Eve and the Miz. More interesting is the fact that WWE writers Brian Gewirtz and Ed Koskey will be there; it’s somewhat unprecedented for the folks who actually write the televised wrestling storylines to face the fans. So for those of you who’ve been complaining for the last couple years about how stale the product is…these are the folks to complain to. As the Rock would say, “just bring it.” Room 7AB

11:30 AM-12:30 PM: Iron Man and Rocket Men: Is Stark Industries an Appropriate Model for Private-Industry Space Exploration? The kind of wonky, nerdy discussion that Comic-Con was really meant for. Actual space entrepreneurs discuss whether or not Iron Man is a realistic character and/or good role model for businesses. This may be even more entertaining if you indulge in the same kind of vices that Robert Downey Jr. used to enjoy. Room 24ABC

12:00-1:00 PM: Caprica, Battlestar, and Beyond. The show ended, but what about that movie project based on the original ‘70s series that Bryan Singer was attached to at one time? Maybe they’ll mention it by the end of this panel. Richard Hatch, who was pitching GALACTICA remakes long before it was cool, will moderate. Room 6A

1:00-2:00 PM: Video Game Comics: The Next Big Thing. Really? Prove it. Oh, you’re gonna try to do just that? Groovy. I’d like a comic based on the Uwe Boll version of POSTAL, please. Room 5AB

1:00-2:00 PM: USA Network’s Burn Notice. Bruce Campbell is on this TV show. That is all you need to know about the panel. I’m not particularly familiar with the show, but I do know that there will be questions about EVIL DEAD 4, particularly now that Campbell’s standard answer (“If you can persuade Sam Raimi to stop making SPIDER-MAN movies for millions of dollars…”) is not as easy an excuse any more. Ballroom 20

1:00-2:00 PM: CBLDF Master Session: Rob Liefeld: Designing Iconic Characters. I’ve met Rob Liefeld, and I like him personally. That said, a large majority of comic-book fans consider his character designs to be mockable rather than iconic. The giant shoulder pads, preposterously huge guns, perma-squint facial expressions, and massive breasts defined the ‘90s and became cliché thereafter. He justifiably points out that he’s aspiring to stylization rather than realism, but the fans still love to bash his earlier work, and claim that he’s averse to drawing hands and feet. Still, he did give us Deadpool; the real one, not that bizarre bastardization that appeared in the Wolverine movie. Room 30CDE

1:00-2:00 PM: Sony Pictures Entertainment: Battle: Los Angeles and Salt. BATTLE: LOS ANGELES is apparently a movie about aliens invading and trashing L.A., and since even those of us who live here often have a love-hate thing going on with the city, while the rest of the country just has a hate thing, it should do very well. Even with Aaron Eckhart in the lead (I dig the guy, but having two A’s in your first name doesn’t make you A-list). Eckhart, Michelle Rodriguez, Neal Moritz, and director Jonathan Liebesman (he of the mediocre TEXAS CHAINSAW prequel and DARKNESS FALLS) will be in attendance.

As for SALT – Angelina Jolie herself is supposed to show up. She can beg every attendee to go see it. Hall H

1:30-2:30 PM: Spotlight on Dusty Higgins and Van Jensen. Never heard of these guys, but they do a comic called Pinocchio the Vampire Slayer. That alone makes me curious. Room 3

1:30-2:30 PM: Bill Plympton’s Hair High and Adventures in Plymptoons. The iconoclastic independent animator has yet another new hand-drawn movie coming out on DVD, described as a romantic zombie prom comedy. Attend the panel and he’ll do you a free drawing! If you’re tired of CGI, he’s your guy. Room 8

2:00-3:00 PM: Walt Disney Animation Studios: Character Creation! Just a li’l bit better at creating iconic characters than Rob Liefeld, I’d say…and most would agree. Room 5AB

2:15-3:15 PM: Summit Entertainment: RED. You know that trailer going around that has Hellen Mirren firing a machine gun? That’s this flick, also starring Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, and John Malkovich. Some of the film’s stars are promised, but which ones? The program is not specific, but Willis does also have THE EXPENDABLES to promote, so maybe… Hall H

2:30-3:30 PM: I Can’t Write, I Can’t Draw, But I Love Comics!— The Comic-Con program says: “There are tons of jobs in the comics, animation, and gaming industries besides writing and illustration. Companies still need computer programmers, motion-capture actors, retailers, agents, development executives, and publishers.” The job market being what it is, I am skeptical, but a bunch of industry folks will supposedly give you pointers on what’s available. Room 24ABC

3:00-4:00 PM: Masters of the Web. Interesting history here: this panel was traditionally put together by IESB’s Robert Sanchez, who recently went missing amid scandalous rumors. Normally, Sanchez also organizes the must-attend “Wrath of Con” party…at the last minute, this has now been replaced by something called “From Dusk Till Con.” If you don’t care about any of that, what you need to know is that STAR TREK/TRANSFORMERS coscribe Roberto Orci and geek-fave director Edgar Wright will moderate a panel of online critics including Jen Yamato, Edward Douglas, George Roush, Devin Faraci, Mike Sampson, Erik Davis, and Vic Holtreman. You’ve left obscene comments on their sites; now say it to their faces! Room 32AB

3:30-4:30 PM: The Visionaries. J.J. Abrams is okay in my book for his STAR TREK reboot. Joss Whedon, on the other hand, writes insufferably self-conscious dialogue that some people really love. Both of these so-called “geek gods” will discuss the future of entertainment. As I’m one of the few looking forward to a potential Whedon-free remake of the original Kristy Swanson BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER movie, I am not the target audience here. But Abrams could be cool. Hall H

4:45-5:45 PM: Lionsgate: The Expendables. Please don’t suck please don’t suck please don’t suck please don’t suck! Sly Stallone, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Randy Couture, Dolph Lundgren, and Terry Crews are expected to show up and make everyone in attendance feel completely emasculated. But can they handle a hall full of nerd-dom? Hall H

5:30-6:30 PM: Geek Girls Exist. Yep, they do. That shouldn’t be news at this stage. Room 8

6:00-7:00 PM: Universal: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. I seriously do not understand why people are excited for this movie that appears to be about a dorky guy engaging in videogame-like battles with his would-be girlfriend’s many evil exes. But if you get it better than me, be advised that pretty much every major name involved will be at the panel. Hall H

7:15-8:15 PM: A New Generation of Spike & Mike. The “Sick and Twisted” moniker has been dropped, implying that independent animation presenter Spike has broadened the scope of his show this year. But be prepared for an audience full of drunk dudes expecting nonstop dick jokes anyway. Room 6BCF

7:30-8:30 PM: Penn + Teller: 35 Years of Magic & BS! If you don’t like Penn and Teller, you’re probably either a joyless political ideologue who can’t stand Penn’s outspoken libertarianism…or you may not have a sense of humor at all. For the rest of you, come see ‘em in person. Indigo Ballroom, San Diego Hilton Bayfront

10:00 PM-12:00 AM: World Premiere of Lost Boys: The Thirst. Did you know there had been a direct-to-DVD sequel to THE LOST BOYS? Were you clamoring for a part three? Here it is anyway, and yes, Corey Feldman’s still in it. Free popcorn will be offered. Indigo Ballroom, San Diego Hilton Bayfront

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