Comic-Con 2007: Beyond the comics pages

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Entertainment editor Sharon Eberson travels with her son, Josh, to blog about the scene at Comic-Con in San Diego, or as she describes it, five nights and four days of geek heaven:

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Day 4: It's a wrap

By Sharon Eberson

British writer Neil Gaiman is the rock star of San Diego Comic-Con. He started things off Wednesday night, bringing clips of "Beowulf," which he adapted for the big screen and which stars an all-star cast, and then collected Eisner Awards for "Absolute Sandman, Vol. 1" and a humanitarian award. I finally got a glimpse of his charisma during a packed tribute to the legendary Jack Kirby on Sunday, the final day of the con.

Gaiman walked in the room in sunglasses and a leather jacket, took his seat on the panel and waited his turn as Kirby's biographer, Mark Evanier, his daughter Lisa Kirby and others told of new projects that involved Kirby's work. When Evanier then asked the panelists to name a Kirby favorite, Gaiman told this story:

"I was having this same conversation with Guillermo del Toro two weeks ago in Budapest on the set of 'Hellboy' ..."

Evanier interrupts, saying that might be his favorite sentence of the whole con.

Gaiman continues, explaining how he described a favorite sequence in the DC comic The Demon, involving Klarion the Witch Boy. He then switches from his English accent to a Spanish one, mimicking del Toro saying, "You know, we must make The Demon movie and I will put that in there, shot for shot."

If del Toro is serious about The Demon, Gaiman says, he'd love to write it.

Later, during my last run around exhibit hall, I buy the hard-cover graphic novel of Gaiman's "Stardust" (coming soon to a theater near you), with spectacular artwork by Charles Ves. While in line to pay, the guy behind me looks at my purchase and says, "All the chicks love Neil Gaiman." His girlfriend agrees.

My son Josh and I decide to spend our last hours at Comic-Con checking out the hall and the costumes and the games and the wall-to-wall stuff, and just communing with the crowd. I pass Aaron Douglas (Chief Tyrol on "Battlestar Galactica") signing autographs. His hair is in a buzz cut; I wonder if that's for a story line. TV's "Incredible Hulk," Lou Ferrigno, is signing at another booth. And then there are the stars I don't recognize but who are signing away, too - the writers and illustrators at DC, Marvel, Dark Horse and other comic-book publishing booths.

I buy two comic books before we leave, the new "Thor" for me and "Ghost Rider" for my son. We decide to leave a little earlier of the 5 p.m. closing, and see at least a few blocks of the city.

It's a beautiful Sunday night in San Diego, with a cool evening breeze. We had left the building briefly for lunch and met a woman at the next table from Erie. Now,

we finally spend a few hours away from the convention center, in the trendy Gaslamp District, enjoying a movie and dinner. The couple next to us hears our conversation, and asks questions about the convention. It's the same everywhere we've been, inside and outside the con - people are friendly and eager to know who or what we've seen.

Josh is already mourning the journey's end and trying to plan future visits. I've had my fill for now. I hear it's hot as blazes back in Pittsburgh, but I'm ready to come home.

Sharon Eberson is Post-Gazette entertainment editor.

By Josh Axelrod

I'm sad. Not because I'm disappointed with anything at Comic-Con. It's exactly the opposite: I'm sad because it was so incredibly mind-blowingly awesome and now it's over. I desperately want to go next year, but I doubt that circumstances (and parents) will allow me to do that. Anyway, my last day wasn't as exciting as the previous two days, but it was fun nonetheless.

Nicolas Cage with his son, Weston, was there promoting their new collaborative comic-book effort, "Voodoo Child." It follows the story of Gabriel, a racially mixed teenager who died during the American Civil War, and for some reason is brought back to life in post-Katrina New Orleans. That's all the sense I was able to get out of that panel.

The rest of the day was devoted to walking the show floor and geeking out as much as possible. My mom did that with a "Doctor Who" sonic screwdriver, a skrump (autographed by creator John Chandler), and a copy of Neil Gaiman's graphic novel "Stardust," which is being made into a feature film. I geeked out with a Naruto headband and wristband, a "Ghost Rider" poster signed by creator Gary Friedrich, and a white multiplayer elite figure from the "Halo" series.

The floor closed at 5, which sent us to something we had been waiting for an opportunity to see: "The Simpsons Movie." It was laugh-out-loud funny. Even though it could have easily been a straight-to-DVD movie, hearing Maggie say her first word and watching Homer doom, doom again, and save Springfield was a blast. It's in my top five movies of the summer so far.

I can't believe the week's already over. It went by in a blur. I can't imagine anything more fun than waiting in crazy lines, walking miles and miles, and only getting to see the back of Jessica Alba's head when she was signing autographs. That is the Comic-Con experience, and even those low points were great. I loved every minute of my time in San Diego, and I can't wait until the next time I get to experience the rush of Comic-Con.

Josh Axelrod, 15, is the son of Post-Gazette staff writers Sharon Eberson and Phil Axelrod.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Day Three: Favorite TV shows and more gaming ...

By Josh Axelrod

Comic-Con lost no steam on Saturday. The proof of that was in the incredibly long line that snaked outside on the top floor for a panel that wouldn't start for another two hours and 45 minutes: "Heroes." That's why we were there at least. Before that panel started, though, we were treated to some pleasant surprises.

We knew the first panel was going to be for "Bionic Woman," a remake of a 70s show for NBC premiering in September. We didn't know that we would be viewing the pilot that won't air in this form on TV -- they've already switched a character, whose new scenes will be edited into what we saw. If this unaired episode is any indication, any episode they do air should be spectacular. I'm definitely tuning in.

Then there was a "TV Guide Hot List" panel, and the only reason people were at that was because they didn't want to lose their seats when the "Heroes" panel started. "Bionic Woman," "Heroes," "Jericho," "Kyle XY" and the "4400" were all represented. It was great watching Tim Kring (creator of "Heroes") interact with Masi Oka (you should know who he is by now). The two are a great comedy duo.

Then came the main event. We got trailers for "Heroes" Season 1 on DVD, a brief glimpse at Season 2 (I know who lived and died!), and a few awesome announcements, one of which was of particular interest to me: game developer Ubisoft is working a "Heroes" video game!!!!! I'm excited and worried at the same time. Ubisoft is known for excellence (Splinter Cell, Prince of Persia, Assassin's Creed), and I'm hoping with crossed fingers and toes that this game will be as good as it should be.

The show floor was kind of boring, to be honest. There wasn't a lot of new free stuff or new booths. I was able to entertain myself, though. I waited on line for twenty minutes to play "Devil May Cry 4" before realizing that they wouldn't let me in because I was under 17. Whatever, I'm still psyched for the game.

I did get some time with "Hellboy: the Science of Evil" for the Xbox 360 and "Godzilla: Unleashed" for the Wii. "Hellboy" didn't look particularly next gen, and he moves so slugishly that the combat wasn't quite as fulfilling as it should have been. It just seems like a generic beat-em-up, but maybe I'll be proved wrong when the game is released.

"Godzilla" was fun and utilized the Wii controls well enough. The graphics were fine for the less powerful Wii, but it felt like my monster took too long to react to my control input. If everything is smoothed out, this should be a monster of a game. Get it? Yeah, I know. I'll wrap things up better tomorrow.

Josh Axelrod, 15, is the son of Post-Gazette staff writers Sharon Eberson and Phil Axelrod.

Day Three: 'Heroes' and heroes at Comic-Con

By Sharon Eberson

SAN DIEGO -- Matt Groening, you're my hero. Not because you are the creator of "The Simpsons" and "Futurama," although that's pretty cool. It's because when my son asked for an autograph and the security people around you told him no, you insisted. You took the pad from his hand, drew a quick Bart, signed it and dated it.

How cool is that?

Among the thousands of people at Comic-Con, I'm sure everyone comes home with a story to tell about a perfect moment. That, I think, will be mine.

A day earlier, on Friday, waiting on a long line at a Starbucks inside the San Diego Convention Center, I struck up a conversation with a woman wearing Princess Leia buns (bun muffs?). She's a relative native, living about a three-hour drive away. Her 16-year-old son was in the exhibit hall, where my 15-year-old was as well, with only a cell phone connecting us. Yet, we agreed, it was a place where we felt the boys were safe. A toe might be trampled, and some women's costumes approach soft porn, but otherwise, fans here, where waits are long and lines can be shoulder to shoulder, are mostly respectful of each other.

Speaking of long lines ... getting into the "Heroes" panel meant arriving first thing and waiting on a long line to get into huge Ballroom 20, where the first panel was NBC's new take on the "Bionic Woman," played by newcomer Michelle Ryan. Show runner is David Eick of "Battlestar Galactica," and there are lots of "BSG" cameos and connections, including Katee Sackhoff, who plays Ryan's adversary on the show.

Sackoff, who later sat on another panel for the "Battlestar Galactica," said her melodramatic roles keep her sane.

"I keep saying, the characters I play are allowing me not to go to therapy," she said. "I get to go to work and beat people up."

Ballroom 20 was the place to be for genre TV fans for most of the day, with the cast of "Heroes" and a surprise guest -- director Kevin Smith -- wowing a packed house at midday. Writer Jeph Loeb moderated a panel with series creator Tim Kring and most of the cast, including several people who seemed to have met their doom at the end of last season. An exclusive clip of Season Two gave glimpses into who lives and who dies, but Loeb begged us not to tell, and I'm no spoil sport.

We did learn two things that would spread quickly, and I called TV editor Rob Owen about them earlier: Kevin Smith will be one of the guest directors of the "Heroes" spinoff miniseries, "Origins," and there will be a new character named Monica, "from flood-ravaged New Orleans." There was also talk of a "Heroes" game and DVD and Web extras.

When Smith came out -- a surprise to the cast as well -- and Kring said they would be asking other directors to come on board for "Origins," Greg Grunberg (who plays Matt Parkman) offered up his friend J.J. Abrams' phone number.

Grunberg is the class clown of the group, with Masi Oka, who during another panel was interpreting Kring's words with hand signals. Oka, a techie who has worked for George Lucas, even crawled under the table to fix cables when there were sound problems. The kidding among the cast was nonstop, and all in good fun.

Kring stopped the audience in its reveling tracks at one point, saying he was devising a way to "harness the power" of the "Heroes" fan community to do something good in the world, and we'd be hearing about it on his Web site soon.

If anyone can grab fans' attention, he can.

Still in Ballroom 20, the "Heroes" were followed by those ladies of "Battlestar Galactica" -- Sackhoff, Tricia Helfer and Mary McDonnell. Soon after, Lucy Lawless crashed the party to announce she's coming back for three or four episodes next season.

There was a lot of female empowerment talk and exclusive scenes from the upcoming "Razor," a separate but connected "BSG" story about the Pegasus, with Michelle Forbes back to command that ship.

One of the main things I'm going to remember is something Eick said, looking out at the crowds at Comic-Con: TV, like all forms of entertainment, is becoming so fractured, that there's a realization that shows "don't need a 30 share to survive." Networks are making room for shows with rabid fans, like the ones who saved "Jericho" from extinction.

I finally left the confines of Ballroom 20 to meet Josh and get in line - another long, long line -- for the Marvel Studios introduction to "The Hulk," written by and starring Edward Norton. All involved are determined to make fans forget the distastrous Ang Lee try at a Hulk film, and Norton talked about new technology that allows him to act as both Bruce Banner and his CGI alter ego, the Hulk.

Norton's a serious guy, and he takes his Marvel comics seriously. Everyone on board also had great things to say about the late Bill Bixby's TV characterization, and they promised an appropriate homage.

"Homage," noted French director Louis Leterrier, "is French for stealing from American films."

Finally, Marvel rolled out the first footage of "Iron Man," with director Jon Favreau and stars Robert Downey Jr., Terrence Howard and Gwyneth Paltrow all available to answer questions, although I'm not sure what universe Downey was in, as his answers didn't always quite match the questions.

Stan Lee joined the panel, including Marvel's Avi Arad, and he gave the proceedings his stamp of approval.

Later Saturday night, the Sci Fi/Entertainment Weekly party was a mingling affair, where the casts of the "Stargates," "Eureka" and "Battlestar Galactica." It was fun to see "SG-1's" Chris Judge laughing with Helfer and her co-star Michael Trucco, and then Stan Lee arriving late to play the crowd.

I talked for a while with actor Ben Browder, who's now in writing mode on a miniseries called "Going Homer." He said again that it's really too early to talk about his involvement in "Farscape" webisodes being developed by Brian Henson and Rockne O'Bannon, so we talked about the writing process a bit.

After three days of being surrounded by people in homemade Stormtrooper outfits or as Jack Sparrow wannabes or Naruto characters, it was a lovely change of pace to be in a relaxed environment -- and not one costume in sight.

Sharon Eberson is Post-Gazette entertainment editor.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Day Two: Happy. Very, very happy.

By Josh Axelrod

SAN DIEGO -- Friday embodied the Comic-Con experience for me. I saw people I wanted to see, played the games I wanted to play, and I even got to see "300" in HD in Petco Park, with both director Zach Snyder and the writer of the original graphic novel Frank Miller introducing it. Yeah, it was a good day.

The day started out great at the WB panel, with us getting "Stargate Atlantis" water bottles while waiting on a very long line. It got even better when we got in the panel itself. The cast of "Get Smart" held a hilarious panel with an awesome trailer (and with guest appearances by The Rock and Steve Carell).

There was a chilling trailer for "Whiteout," followed by a discussion with producer Joel Silver, the writer of the original graphic novel, and Kate Beckinsale (who was late). Finally, fanboys had a nerdgasm when Zach Snyder came out and talked about "Watchmen." Snyder is using young, no-name actors for this, but assures us that they are amazing and that everything will work out. He hopes creator Alan Moore will still want to keep his name on the project, unlike "V for Vendetta."

On the gaming side of things, I got a demo with "Heavenly Sword" for the PS3, and I really really wished I had a PS3. The graphics were gorgeous, the gameplay up to "God of War's" standards, and the changes in weaponry actually affected combat. There's no way this game won't be good.

I also got demos of "Naruto Clash of Ninja Revolutions" for the Wii and "Naruto: Rise of a Ninja" for the 360. "Revolution" took some getting used to, but once you're used to the motions, everything about the game is more fun than the originals for the Gamecube. "Rise of a Ninja" looked fun, but the guy I was playing against destroyed me in thirty secoonds, so I couldn't get a feel for the gameplay, although when other people play it, it looks fun.

Oh yeah ... the G4 crew was there too, with correspondents Kevin Pereira, Olivia Munn, Blair Butler and Chris Gore. They only let people with costumes around their stage, so it was chaos trying to get close during filming. I got a picture and autograph with Olivia Munn, though, so I was happy. Very, very happy.

Josh Axelrod, 15, is the son of Post-Gazette staff writers Sharon Eberson and Phil Axelrod.

Movie and media whirlwind

By Sharon Eberson

SAN DIEGO -- You can't possibly do everything at Comic-Con, or even everything you want to, what with simultaneous panels, screenings and fire marshals watching over the crowded auditoriums. So you decide what you want to do most, get there early, and hope for the best.

For the most part, that strategy worked on Friday, the second day of the con that people are estimating at more than 150,000 attendees.

The day started at 9 a.m. at the back of a line that was about a mile long, stretching to a marina behind the San Diego Convention Center, with thousands of fans waiting to gain entry to Hall H, the biggest auditorium in the huge building and the one that houses movie-studio panels and exclusive content.

The first panel of the day was for Warner Bros.' "Get Smart," and as director Peter Segal introduced his cast, he kept going and going ... Nate Torrence ("Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip") ... Masi Oka ("Heroes") ... Ken Davitan ("Borat") ... The Rock. And we thought it would stop there. But then came the man himself, Steve Carell, who seems tailor-made to fit Don Adams' shoe phone in the title role.

They teased and had fun and took questions and everyone who came to see Zack Snyder (the director of "300") in the panel about adapting Alan Moore's "Watchmen" was suitably impressed.

I left after a preview of "Invasion," introduced by Nicole Kidman in a tape from Australia, and left my son, Josh, to finish out the panel.

I was determined to get my TV geek on and get a good seat at the "Stargate SG-1" panel, where there was exclusive footage of their straight-to-DVD movies coming out next year. I got a good seat -- well, decent, actually. I was over an hour early in an auditorium that seats 5,000, and about a third was already filled when I got there. It was packed by the time the cast arrived.

Best part: the military representatives in the audience, who asked knowledgeable questions about the show, and the SG-1 cast, producer Robert Cooper and director Martin Wood paying tribute to them. The show has always relied on the kindness of different branches of the military to lend the show an air of authenticity (not including the aliens, of course).

Ben Browder (Col. Mitchell on "SG-1") dodged my question about whether he would be participating in the announced "Farscape" webisodes, saying I'd have to go to the Henson panel, where his former "Farscape" boss, Brian Henson, was holding forth on new characters for the kids, called Skrumps. Using state-of-the-art real-time technology, the Skrumps are on Yahoo! and coming to TV soon he said. Interesting, but while I was there, no further word on who would be in "Farscape's" new online venture.

OK, I can wait.

Next, I ran a couple of blocks to the fashionable downtown Hotel Solamar to interview J. Michael Straczynski, who is here in support of a straight-to-DVD movie spinoff of his '90s TV series. "Babylon 5: The Lost Tales" brings Sheridan (Bruce Boxleitner) and Lochley (Tracy Scoggins) back into focus for the 10th anniversary of the formation of the Alliance.

All were present at Comic-Con yesterday, but JMS is the man for all seasons in this genre big-show. He's a comic-book writer who is bringing the Silver Surfer back to the big screen "5 minutes after the end" of the last "Fantastic Four" movie. He's brought Thor back into the Marvel comic-book fold this year, and he has written a movie, "Changeling," that's being produced by Ron Howard, directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Angelina Jolie. He says he completed the script in 12 days, Howard saw it, and it snowballed from there.

How does he do it all? He seems surprised at the question.

"It's easy for me," he says of doing so many overlapping projects. "It's the way I'm wired."

Spent some time on the exhibit floor watching the G4 folks do their thing, but I'll leave that part of the day to my son.

Finally, I caught up with Zack Snyder's portion of the program at a nighttime screening of the HD DVD version of "300" -- shown on the scoreboard at Petco Park, across the street from the convention center. The revered graphic novelist and "300" creator Frank Miller was there with Snyder, and there were other treats as well, including clips from the fifth cut of "Blade Runner," called "The Final Cut" this time, and a surprise appearance by Harrison Ford's replicant squeeze in the film, Sean Young, with other members of the cast.

There's always more to see and some regrets about what you've missed. But counting what we did and what we saw this day, it's deemed a major success.

Tomorrow: the cast of "Heroes" arrives.

Sharon Eberson is Post-Gazette entertainment editor and is attending her first Comic-Con with her son, Josh Axelrod.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

The fans are as fun to watch as the stars

By Sharon Eberson

SAN DIEGO -- San Diego is a beautiful city by the Pacific, but we have come to stay indoors for four days. That's right, my son Josh and I are here to attend Comic-Con, see the stars, try the demos, commune with fellow geeks. I knew I was at home when I saw a woman carrying a tote with a picture showing actor Alan Rickman dressed as Snape (from the Harry Potter films) in different poses on an airplane. It also displayed four words: Snapes on a Plane.

She disappeared into the crowd before I could ask her where she got it. Hopefully, I'll spot her (and the bag) again.

The fans were pretty entertaining, but Leonard Nimoy brought down the house and Jessica Alba kept the fanboys on their feet Thursday, the first full day of Comic-Con. Zach Quinto was introduced as the new Spock and Nimoy made an uproarious entrance in support of J.J. Abrams' prequel to the "Star Trek" series.

In this crazy madhouse of thousands of people packing the San Diego Convention Center's enormous exhibition hall, plus filled theaters, ballrooms and meeting rooms a floor up, Abrams talk about the enigmatic "cloverfield" trailer that hit theaters and then the Internet had fans abuzz. Inspired by "Godzilla," Abrams was in the mood to make a monster movie, and "cloverfield" is it.

Comic-Con might be the place for comic book heroes (and there were those aplenty -- I saw at least six different versions of Spider-man) but it's also the place for momentum building, no matter the genre. Alba, with co-star Dane Cook, was here in support of their comedy "Good Luck Chuck," and Alba also has "The Eye" coming out. Mostly, the fans showed Alba, star of "Fantastic Four" and "Sin City," their devotion, while Cook cracked wise, teasing her about her gold flats -- "C3P0 shoes," he called them.

One fan boy asked Alba what one thing we don't know about her.

"I'm a man," she said.

That had 'em rolling in the aisles.

The panel that followed immediately was for the remake of the Western "3:10 to Yuma," and I had to feel sorry for Ben Foster (Angel in "X-Men: The Last Stand") and Peter Fonda. The crowd that stood for Alba filed out for these guys, who are helping director James Mangold and star Russell Crowe bring back the Old West.

Back in the big hall, it was mostly lines for demos or autographs, and chaos and scantily clad women promoting films like "Postal" and the DVD release of "300" -- which is being shown in a free screening tomorrow night at nearby Petco Park. All in all, a blast.

Time to go soak my feet, because there's three more days of nonstop fanboy/fangirl fun coming up. Tomorrow, there are Sci-Fi Channel panels to look forward to and the "Heroes" are coming -- and not just the girls in cheerleader outfits handing out "Vote for Petrelli" buttons.

Sharon Eberson is Post-Gazette entertainment editor and is attending her first Comic-Con with her son, Josh Axelrod.

... And there are the game demos!

By Josh Axelrod

Jessica Alba... what more can be said? Oh yeah, Dane Cook was there too. They were promoting their new movie, "Good Luck Chuck," but I heard someone shouting, "Get out of the way, Dane! You're blocking Jessica!" Their Lionsgate panel was funny with great scenery.

Aside from her, though, the most exciting thing for me was the game demos. Some of the top publishers and developers, like Sony, Capcom, Square Enix and Lucasarts, are here. The Sony booth is particularly impressive, because now I want a PS3.

There is what seems like a karoake contest going on for promoting "Singstar Pop." I only got a demo with "Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destructions," and I was seriously impressed with the graphics and game play. The groovetron is officially the coolest weapon ever (enemies dance to a giant floating disco balls, giving the perfect opportunity for some sucker punches). I'm looking forward to demoing "Heavenly Sword" tomorrow.

Capcom had demos for its high-profile games. I didn't get a chance to demo any of them the first day, but I'm looking forward to playing "Devil May Cry 4" and "Resident Evil Umbrella Chronicles," which should use the recently announced Wii zapper, which turns the wiimote and nunchuck into a gun.

Lucasarts main showing was "Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga" for the Wii. It's a compilation of the first two games of the series (also coming out for other platforms). The graphics were nice but the Wii controls were imprecise. If those are polished, this could be a great game when it comes out; it's due in November.

Tomorrow I get to go to a HD big screen showing of "300" at Petco Park. I might also get some new "Halo 3" info, demo "Naruto: Rise of a Ninja," which from watching it being played looks like a blast, and everywhere you turn, someone hands you free stuff. Of course, if you buy something from Hasbro here, you have to get a ticket and stand in line, there's such a big demand for some toys.

Josh Axelrod, 15, is the son of Post-Gazette staff writers Sharon Eberson and Phil Axelrod.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Entertainment Editor Sharon Eberson and her son, Josh, are on their way to Comic-Con 2007 in San Diego, a gathering of tens of thousands of comics fans (and costumed fanatics) who gather to celbrate the pop art form.

She'll be filing daily reports here, beginning tonight.

If you don't already know what it is, you can find out more at Comic-Con.

Here's her first post:

I'm exhausted, and I haven't left the house yet.

That's how I feel about the build-up to my first trip to San Diego Comic-Con - five nights and four days of geek heaven that attracts more than 100,000 fans and costumed fanatics to the convention center in that city with the awesome weather.

Where else would you find someone dressed as Darth Vader in a Hello Kitty motif (See photo)?

So, it's westward, ho, to Comic-Con I go, with my son, Josh, the gamer in the family who knows his consoles and who has enough comic-book knowledge to help me get by.

Strange, neither of us are big comic-book readers, but as pop culturists, we know enough between us to be excited that "Babylon 5's" J. Michael Straczynski is bringing Thor back into the Marvel fold.

Straczynski will be at this con. And Neil Gaiman, the "Sandman" writer who's "Stardust" hits the big screen next month and who has adapted "Beowulf" for an all-star cast, directed by Robert Zemekis. Other anticipated genre releases, such as "Iron Man" with Robert Downey and the Tim Burton/Johnny Depp big-screen "Sweeney Todd," are likely to have first looks here.

There are a gazillion panels, demos, screenings and press invitations already clogging my e-mail, and Josh and I will try to bring some of the experience alive for fellow geeks (and just plain lovers of movies, TV, video games and comic books) in daily blogs posted at

I asked the guy in charge of press credentials what his best advice was for getting the most out of the experience.

"Wear comfortable shoes," he said.

That much, we can do.

Chris Park, Associated Press photos

Actor/director Kevin Smith speaks to the crowd after making a surprise appearance during a panel for the television show "Heroes" on the third day of the Comic-Con International convention in San Diego.
Click photo for larger image.The writer of the television show "Heroes," Tim Kring, right, speaks during the panel while actress Hayden Panettiere, left, listens in.
Click photo for larger image.

Chris Park, Associated Press

Actor Masi Oka, center, yells out to the crowd while fellow "Heroes" cast member Adrian Pasdar, right, and Tim Sale, left cheer during the third day of the Comic-Con yesterday in San Diego.
Click photo for larger image.

Denis Poroy, Associated Press

Actress Gwyneth Paltrow, right, and actor Robert Downey Jr., left, leave a panel discussion for the Marvel Studios film "Iron Man" at the Comic-Con. Writer Stan Lee is at left.
Click photo for larger image.

Denis Poroy, Associated Press photos

Director Zack Snyder holds up a poster for his new film "Watchmen" during a panel discussion at Comic-Con yesterday.
Click photo for larger image.Actress Kate Beckinsale poses for photographers after a panel discussion for her new film "Whiteout."
Click photo for larger image.

Denis Poroy, Associated Press photos

Actor Steve Carell waves to the audience yesterday at a panel discussion for his new Warner Bros. film "Get Smart" on the second day of the 2007 Comic-Con convention held in San Diego.
Click photo for larger image.Director Zack Snyder, left, and his wife, Debbie Snyder, center, pose for a photo with John Coulter, right, dressed as a Spartan, at a DVD release party for the movie "300" at the Comic-Con convention yesterday.
Click photo for larger image.

Denis Poroy, Associated Press photos

Aaron Blossom, dressed as Batman, right, makes a call while standing next to a life-sized Chewbacca figure from Star Wars made of Lego bricks on the first day of the Comic-Con convention in San Diego, yesterday. The annual comic and popular culture convention attracts more than 100,000 people annually.
Click photo for larger image.Actress Jessica Alba, left, and actor Dane Cook, right, talk about their new film "Good Luck Chuck" during a panel discussion held at the Comic-Con yesterday.
Click photo for larger image.


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