Before you snap your spine picking up the official event guide for San Diego’s massive comics, animation and pop-culture event, take a quick glance at what the 41st edition has to offer this July 21-24.
The show will be celebrating some key milestones in the comics world this year: 50 years of Marvel’s Fantastic Four and MAD’s Spy vs. Spy; 25 years of Dark Horse Comics, Slave Labor Graphics (SLG Publishing) and the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund; and the 20th anniversary of Jeff Smith’s 10-time Eisner winner Bone.
May I Have the Envelope, Please…
Speaking of the Eisner Awards, online voting is now open for the 2011 edition. Nominees from all corners—from classic comic-books to web comics, political cartoons and graphic novels—are vying for honors in nearly 30 categories. Jim McCann and Janet Lee’s fantasy tale Return of the Dapper Men and creator Mike Mignola (Hellboy) lead the pack with five nominations each. Up for the Hall of Fame this year are Ernie Bushmiller, Jack Jackson, Martin Nodell and Lynd Ward.
Everybody, Out of the Pool!
For the first time ever [adult swim] will be hosting a full day of back-to-back panels. On Friday, July 21, hop over to the Hilton Bayfront to hear from Rob Corddry (Children’s Hospital), Chris Elliott (Eagleheart), Paul Scheer (NTSF:SD:SUV), Jackson Publick (The Venture Bros.), Doc Hammer (Venture Bros.), Seth Green (Robot Chicken) and more. The irreverent block will also host nightly fan events at Quality Social Club in the Gaslamp thru Saturday. And, most importantly: the ice cream trucks are back!
The Starz Come Out
Starz Entertainment will be hosting panels featuring the talent and exec producers behind two of their upcoming vfx showcase series. On Friday, meet the cast of sci-fi show Torchwood: Miracle Day (premiering on Starz July 8), including Cap’n Jack himself John Barrowman, Eve Myles, Bill Pullman, Mekhi Phifer, Alexa Havins, Lauren Ambrose and writer Jane Espenson. Then, catch the panel for Spartacus: Vengeance (2012) and meet new star Liam McIntyre, plus Lucy Lawless, Dustin Clare, Manu Bennett, Katrina Law and exec producer/head writer Steven S. DeKnight. Don’t miss the screening of never-seen Miracle Day episode “Night of the Dead” Thursday night at 9:30 in room 6DE!
Horror Haunts Hall H!
Enter Hall H on Friday—if you dare—to check out a special presentation for DreamWorks/Touchstone’s Fright Night; Craig Gillespie’s 3-D revamp of the cult 1985 vampire flick. Due out August 19, the film stars Anton Yelchin as a high school student who traces his town’s mysterious disappearances back to new neighbor Jerry (Colin Farrell). David Tennant, Toni Collette, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Lisa Loeb, Imogen Poots, Dave Franco and Sandra Vergara also star.
Grab Your Spurs and/or Ray Guns
DreamWorks Pictures and distributor Universal are launching Jon Favreau’s sci-fi Western bonanza Cowboys & Aliens in San Diego, a week ahead of its July 29 release. The film is based on the graphic novel by Scott Mitchell Rosenberg and takes places in late 1800s Arizona, where a loner named Jake (Daniel Craig) awakens with no memory of his past and a mysterious shackle on his wrist which holds the key to stopping an alien invasion—brought to life with kicking effects from ILM.
CN Invades SD
The colorful characters of Cartoon Network will make a big splash at the Con: Panels on comedy series (Regular Show, The Problem Solverz and more; 10:30 a.m. Friday), action (Ben 10, Generator Rex; 2:15 p.m. Sunday) and smash hit Adventure Time (Saturday, 3 p.m.) will be joined by awesome booth activities and the crazy Adventure Time takeover of Ciro’s Pizzeria in the Gaslamp (where you can catch Finn, Jake and the rest of the gang on parade daily).
The Wondrous World of Warner Bros.
Warner Bros. Animation will be hosting some must-see panels for popular new faves and highly anticipated upcoming series. On Friday check out the MAD screening and Q&A (10 a.m.); the Green Lantern: The Animated Series video presentation and Q&A, moderated by Sam Register (2 p.m.); and the premiere episode screening and Q&A for ThunderCats (3:30 p.m.). Sunday offers the Young Justice screening/Q&A (10 a.m.) and looks at the latest take on old familiars Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated and The Looney Tunes Show (1 p.m. and 2:15 p.m., respectively). The WBTV booth will offer signings and interactive kiosks, and a series of pilot screenings on Wednesday (6-9 p.m.) will include a peak at Supernatural: The Anime Series.
Orange You Glad You Came?
Look for Nickelodeon’s trademark citrus hue to find fun fan activities at their booth, including costumed characters, exclusive poster signings, videos and an interactive romp with virtual 3-D simians from Monkey Quest. Four days of panels will introduce you to creators and talent: Thursday, Fanboy & Chum Chum and The Penguins of Madagascar; Friday, Kung Fu Panda and SpongeBob; Saturday, Legend of Korra and Power Rangers; and Sunday a twofer Butch Hartman extravaganza for T.U.F.F. Puppy and Fairly OddParents. Don’t miss the totally tubular Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles “Un-Shelled” fan even Friday evening at Basic Urban Kitch + Bar!
The Mouse is in the House
Disney’s fun-loving XD channel is presenting three panels for their hit animated series. On Friday, Phineas and Ferb creators Dan Povenmire and Swampy Marsh appear with stars Vincent Martella, Ashley Tisdale and Dee Bradley Baker. NBA star Dwight Howard makes an in-character appearance with creator Sandro Corsaro at the Kick Buttowski panel on Saturday. And on Sunday check out Noah Z. Jones (creator) and Maxwell Atoms (exec producer) as they chat with talents Chelsea Kane, Kyle Massey and Justin Roiland about Fish Hooks. You can also try to snag an invite to the sneak preview of the new original TV movie Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension on Saturday followed by a Q&A with cast and crew.
What the Fox!
20th Century Fox TV will present a range of toons and vfx spectacles at the show. Topping the must-see list is the pilot for time-travelling adventure series Terra Nova, created by Steven Spielberg and Peter Chernin. Star Stephen Lang and exec producers Rene Echevarria Brannon Braga and Jose Molina will present the series, set to premiere in September, on Saturday. Sci-fi drama Awake (Thurs.) and toons Bob’s Burgers (Fri.); Futurama, The Simpsons, Family Guy, American Dad! (Sat.); and The Cleveland Show (Sun.) will have their share of sneak-peeks and star powered panels as well.