San Diego Comic-Con 2013: Preview Night and Day 1 Highlights and Lowlights

A few suggestions and snarky comments on what sounds good and what doesn't.
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San Diego Comic-Con 2013, one of the world's largest pop-culture events, is about to commence.  A few suggestions and snarky comments on what sounds good and what doesn't.

Wednesday, July 17

While most folks will be on the exhibition floor trying to scoop up exclusive merchandise, Warner Bros. Television will again deliver an evening of programming that few attendees will be concerned about. The pilot episodes are for Almost Human, The Tomorrow People, The 100, and The Vampire Diaries spinoff series, The Originals.  At least four Sentries will be the Adam Ant concert so don't look for us there.

Ballroom 20 - 6pm

Thursday, July 18

Masters of the Web

Some of the most prominent and influential film pundits on the web discuss the film industry, writing for film online, film fandom, and a whole lot more with a special focus on the world of horror this year. Moderated by the director and writer of the upcoming Lionsgate film You're Next, Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett. Panelists include Ryan Turek (ShockTillYouDrop.com), Evan Dickson (Bloody-Disgusting.Com), Grae Drake (RottenTomatoes.Com), Heather Wixson (DreadCentral.Com), Lawrence Raffel (FearNet.com), James "Jimmy O" Oster (JoBlo.com), and hosted by John Campea (AMC Theatres). AMC is generously providing free movies passes to all attendees of the panel this year!

11:30am - 12:30pm - Room 24ABC

If there was any doubt that Comic-Con is about hype and promotion, the description of this panel is a dead giveaway.  Not sure why anyone would sit through a panel with these folks when the creators of the material they cover are going to be holding their own panels.  If they have to give you movie tickets to attend, it's not a good sign.

The 14th Annual Animation Show of Shows

Ron Diamond (program curator, president of Acme Filmworks and AWN.com) presents the best and newest in international animation. Included is Disney's Oscar winning Paperman along with 10 animated shorts culled from the most notable festivals from around the world. Shows annually at Pixar, Dreamworks, Disney, ILM, Blue Sky, Sony, EA, UCLA, SVA, USC, SCAD, NYU, RISD, Harvard and CalArts.

11:50am - 12:50pm - Hall H

I saw this at WonderCon and if it is the same line-up as it appears, it is worth checking out.

Comedy Legends of TV Land

The Comedy Legends of TV Land panel gets you up close and personal with the most hilarious and adored sitcom stars in TV history-many of whom now star in original sitcoms on TV Land! Talent from shows airing on TV Land like Hot in Cleveland, Kirstie, The Soul Man, Happily Divorced, and The Exes will be on hand. The panel invites fans of all ages to ask the stars questions about their current projects, their favorite sitcoms past and present, and making it in the world of TV comedy. Exclusive content includes a Comic-Con-only sneak peek at TV Land's newest series, Kirstie.

12:00pm - 1:00pm - Indigo Ballroom, Hilton San Diego Bayfront

Do you know anyone watching these shows?

Spotlight on Gene Deitch

Comic-Con special guest Gene Deitch is a legendary cartoonist, animator, Academy Award-winning filmmaker, and creator of Tom Terrific. Join him for a tour thru his 70-year career, including his years directing cartoons for UPA and Weston Woods, as well as creating the comic strip Terr'ble Thompson and crossing paths with everyone from Pete Seeger and John Lee Hooker to Maurice Sendak and Jules Feiffer. Moderated by animation historian Jerry Beck and famed movie critic and author-and Comic-Con special guest-Leonard Maltin!

12:30pm - 1:30pm - Room 8

Hanna-Barbera

After a pair of droids set the world on fire in a galaxy far, far away, Hanna-Barbera reconvened their super-terrific Sixties space superheroes for a second round of intergalactic adventures. Joining the already iconic masterpieces of Alex Toth design Space Ghost and the Herculoids were newcomers Teen Force and Astro and the Space Mutts (yes, THAT Astro) - and best of all, the heroes would frequently unite in fantastic team-up finales. Warner Archive Collection presents a look at the legacy of Space Ghost and the Herculoids, preview the upcoming release of Space Stars, take a detour to examine everyone’s favorite pre-historic superhero Captain Caveman, and discuss a very special upcoming Blu-ray release. Join WAC Podcast hosts Matthew Patterson and DW Ferranti and notable guests James Tucker (Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox) and Steven Melching (Batman: The Brave and the Bold) for this entertaining survey of some truly super-toons.

12:45pm - 1:30pm - Room 6A

Not sure why these are scheduled against each other, but animation fans should choose to pay respects to Mr. Deitch. 

Superman: The Julie Schwartz Era

In celebration of Superman's 75th Birthday, we look back at the Man of Steel in comics' Bronze Age. In 1970, veteran editor Julius Schwartz assumed command of the primal hero and charted a course for a new generation. On hand to discuss it are many of the writers who worked with Julie in keeping Superman flying high: Gerry Conway, Martin Pasko, Marv Wolfman, Elliot S! Maggin, and moderator Mark Evanier.

1:00pm - 2:00pm - Room 5AB

I should probably make mention of some comic panels at this event.  This looks like a good one, especially for Gen-Xers who discovered the Man of Steel during this era.

Comedy Central: Workaholics

It's time to get weird with Comedy Central's hit series Workaholics! Whether it's Blake dressed in a bear coat, Adam singing about Catherine Zeta Jones while on shroomz, or The Ders celebrating his birthday with a drinking triathlon, the boys seem to run into trouble wherever they go. These three friends work together from 9 to 5, live together from 5 to 9, and party together 24/7. Stars, co-creators, writers, and executive producers Blake Anderson, Adam Devine, Anders Holm, and Kyle Newacheck go behind the scenes for a sneak peek into next season, including a few special surprises that are guaranteed to be "Tight Butthole." S'Go!

2:00pm - 3:00pm - Indigo Ballroom, Hilton San Diego Bayfront

Last year, the level of interest in this panel was not anticipated as they were stuck in a dinky room and many fans lined the hallway, hoping to get in.  The Indigo should accomodate them nicely.

Sherlock

Steven Moffat (co-creator, executive producer and writer), Mark Gatiss (co-creator, executive producer and writer), and Sue Vertue (producer) discuss the latest adventures of Sherlock Holmes and his long-suffering faithful friend, Dr. John Watson. Coming to PBS Masterpiece during the 2013-14 season.

2:15pm - 3:15pm - Ballroom 20

Without Benedict Cumberbatch or Martin Freeman, are fans of the show still going to show up?

ComicBase User Group Meeting

ComicBase, the world's premiere software for managing your comic collection, returns to Comic-Con. Join the ComicBase User Group meeting with creator Peter Bickford. Get all the latest news as well as what's coming next for the software.

2:30pm - 3:30pm - Room 4

You can either add to your collection on the exhibit floor or you can learn about software to deal with what you already have.  Good luck packing them in with everything else going on because I cannot fathom anyone attending unless they are waiting for the next panel.

Entertainment Weekly's The Visionaries

From art house cinema to studio blockbuster, these uncompromising directors have electrified audiences with their virtuoso storytelling and breathtaking imagery. Marc Webb (The Amazing Spider-Man 2, 500 Days of Summer), Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban), and Edgar Wright (The World's End, Shaun of the Dead) lead this master class on the art of filmmaking and a wide-ranging discussion about the future of film.

2:30pm - 3:30pm - Hall H

Once you learn about the updates to ComicBase, this might be of interest.

We Still Love the '80s: 1983

Our 1982 panel was such a success, it's only apropos that it get a sequel. Welcome to 1983, now in 3D. If you thought nothing can compare to the greatest geek year ever, 1982, you're only half right. Get ready as GEEK magazine takes you back to the future; the year of such films as Return of the Jedi, War Games, The Right Stuff, Risky Business, Vacation, Scarface, Zelig, A Christmas Story, Blue Thunder, Krull, Psycho II, the 3D triptych of Spacehunter, Jaws 3-D, and Parasite and, of course, the ultimate 007 showdown, Octopussy vs. Never Say Never Again. GEEK founding publisher and moderator Mark A. Altman (Castle, Necessary Roughness) he promises a San Diego "all-time high" with Ashley E. Miller (Thor, X-Men: First Class), Robert Meyer Burnett (Free Enterprise, ST: TNG Blu-Rays), Steve Melching (Transformers Prime, Star Wars: The Clone Wars), Steve Kriozere (N.C.I.S., Femme Fatales), and David E. Williams (editor-in-chief, GEEKMagazine).

3:00pm - 4:00pm - Room 5AB

The 1982 panel was fun.  Reliving 1983 should be as well.

TV Guide Magazine Celebrates The X-Files' 20th Anniversary

It's been two decades since FBI Special Agents Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson) first partnered to investigate unsolved paranormal cases. The X-Files made primetime safe for sci-fi, and spawned a generation of hugely successful writer/producers. Somewhere, the truth is still out there. TV Guide Magazine Los Angeles bureau chief Michael Schneider leads a panel scheduled to include series creator Chris Carter, plus writers/producers David Amann, Vince Gilligan, Howard Gordon, Darin Morgan, Glen Morgan, John Shiban, Jim Wong, and more guests to come.

3:30pm - 4:30pm - Ballroom 20

With no Twilight panel this year, this could be the one that has folks lining up as early as Tuesday.

Enders Game and Divergent

Summit Entertainment presents a special sneak peek at the highly anticipated film adaptation of the beloved, award-winning novel Enders Game. This is a must-see for fans, who will be shown all-new, exclusive footage and treated to a Q&A with stars Harrison Ford, Asa Butterfield, Hailee Steinfeld, and Abigail Breslin, along with producer Roberto Orci (Star Trek Into Darkness) and director Gavin Hood (X-Men Origins: Wolverine). The panel will also feature the first footage ever seen of the futuristic thriller based on the #1 New York Times best-selling novel, Divergent. Cast and filmmakers will complete a Q&A sharing details of the project's transition from book to film. Panelists will include novelist Veronica Roth, director Neil Burger, and cast members Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Miles Teller, Maggie Q, Ansel Elgort, Mekhi Phifer, Ben Lamb, Ben Lloyd-Hughes and Christian Madsen.

3:50pm - 4:50pm - Hall H

Are the pro-gay marriage folks going to attend or hold a protest over this panel?  I just hope no one takes a pencil to the eye during the shenaigans that are sure to take place.

I Can't Believe It's Over: The Best and Worst Series Finales Ever

It's time to put the great debates to rest as GEEK Magazine answers the most important question of our time: What are the best and worst TV season finales of all time? A panel of geeksperts dissect the end of Galactica's lonely quest in Battlestar Galactica, the purgatory of the Lost finale, the Sopranos sign-off, the all good things come to an end for Star Trek: The Next Generation, Special Agent Dale Cooper getting piqued in Twin Peaks, and many more. Moderator Mark A. Altman (Free Enterprise, Femme Fatales) turns up the volume for GEEK panelists Kathryn Reindl (Twisted, Millennium), Nikki Griffin (GEEK magazine editor-at-large), Ashley E. Miller (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Thor, Fringe), and Steve Melching (Batman: The Brave and The Bold, Starship Troopers).

4:00pm - 5:00pm - Room 23ABC

Seeing the Sopranos mentioned gives me hope that it won't be limited to Nerd TV because finales from The Fugitive, Newhart, and Six Feet Under are some of the best.

The Legendary Animators of Classic '60s Cartoons

Legendary and award-winning animators Bob Singer (character and background designer, Bugs Bunny/Scooby Doo), Art Leonardi (designer/director, Pink Panther), Willie Ito (layout artist/Bugs Bunny, Flintstones), and Iraj Paran (character and title designer, Super Friends, Josie and the Pussycats), share their vast experience shaping animation history and creating hundreds of classic characters and cartoons we love from Disney, Warner Brothers, and Hanna Barbera, with over 100 years of experience among them. Leslie Combemale of ArtInsights Animation and Film Art Gallery moderates.

5:00pm - 6:00pm - Room 9

I'm a sucker for old-timers telling stories.

Voltage Pictures: An Exclusive Preview of The Zero Theorem, Directed by Terry Gilliam

An eccentric and reclusive computer genius plagued with existential angst works on a mysterious project aimed at discovering the purpose of existence ­or the lack thereof­ once and for all. However, it is only once he experiences the power of love and desire that he is able to understand his very reason for being. Appearing on stage to introduce the special early look at this new film and take your questions are producers Zev Foreman (Killer Joe) and Dean Zanuck (Get Low), and Terry's daughter Amy Gilliam, who worked on the film. Moderated by Gina McIntyre of the LA Times' Hero Complex.

5:10pm - 5:40pm - Hall H

Looks cool but no Terry is a disappointment.

An Unofficial Sneak Peek of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug with TheOneRing.net

With 14 years on the front line of Middle Earth news, take a look with TORn staff at what you might not know about the second Hobbit movie. Rumors, spy reports, conjecture, inside info, debunking, and lively debate all play a part as Cliff Broadway (Ringers), Lisa Crouch (Barliman's), Larry D. Curtis (set visits), Rebecca Perry and Alex and Kellie Rice (Happy Hobbit), and additional staff dish the latest by and for fans of J. R. R. Tolkien.

5:30pm - 6:30pm - Room 6A

Basically an internet forum brought into the real world with Hobbt movie fans sharing rumors.  Sounds scary.

Trailer Park

It's a Comic-Con tradition! See the latest and greatest trailers with 6,499 of your pop culture-loving friends on the big screen.

5:40pm - 6:10pm - Hall H

For those who don't get to see trailers at the movies.

Teen Wolf

Join cast members Tyler Posey, Crystal Reed, Dylan O'Brien, Tyler Hoechlin, Holland Roden, Charlie Carver, and Max Carver plus executive producer Jeff Davis for a Q&A as they discuss season 3 and share a special video presentation exclusively for Comic-Con fans. Moderated by ETOnline reporter Jarett Wieselman.

6:00pm - 7:00pm - Ballroom 20

A few Sentries might be interested but will they admit it?

[adult swim]: The Heart, She Holler

The creators and stars of Adult Swim's epic TV event The Heart, She Holler explain it all at this panel. Executive producers John Lee (Xavier: Renegade Angel, Wonder Showzen) and Alyson Levy (Xavier: Renegade Angel, Wonder Showzen) will be joined by cast members Patton Oswalt (United States of Tara, Ratatouille), Amy Sedaris (Strangers with Candy), and Heather Lawless (The Campaign).

6:00pm - 7:00pm - Room 25ABC

Don't know the show, but my love of Amy Sedaris might be enough to pull me in..

Family Feud: The Comics Blogging Panel

With the 24-hour news cycle turning into a 24-minute news cycle, fans are still getting their comics news from the top news sites and blogs out there. Join moderator Tom Spurgeon in a no-holds-barred discussion with comics journalists on how they make-and break-the news, the ethics of journalism, the death of blogging, the uses of social media, and ways you can join in on the fun. With Spurgeon (The Comics Reporter), Heidi MacDonald (The Beat), Tony Isabella (Tony's Tips), Alexa Dickman (Ladies Making Comix), Rich Johnston (Bleeding Cool), and special surprises!

7:00pm - 8:00pm - Room 23ABC

I found a phrase that makes me laugh more than "movie journalists": "comic journalists".

First Look: Necessary Evil: Super-Villains of DC Comics

Behind every great superhero is an even greater rogues gallery, and that's where the spotlight lands in the all-new documentary Necessary Evil: Super-Villains of DC Comics. From the Joker and Deathstroke to Lex Luthor and Darkseid, the film investigates the inner workings of the most nefarious collection of baddies in comics history. Join Warner Bros. Home Entertainment and DC Entertainment for a first-look at a Comic-Con exclusive teaser version of the film, then hear from some of the experts themselves on a panel that will feature bestselling comic book writer and DC Entertainment chief creative officer Geoff Johns, Entertainment Weekly editor Geoff Boucher, and distinguished representatives of DC Comics's storied history, including Kevin Shinick (Robot Chicken, MAD), Andrea Romano (Batman: The Animated Series), and other notable comics creators, filmmakers, actors and more. Necessary Evil: Super-Villains of DC Comics is narrated by everyone’s favorite villain, Christopher Lee (The Lord of the Rings and Star Wars films), and will be distributed by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment on October 25, 2013.

7:00pm - 8:00pm - Room 6DE

Villians make the heroes, so this has me curious.

Not Guilty Due to Zombification? Law and Forensic Psychiatry in a Zombie Apocalypse

During a "zombie apocalypse" humans play by a new set of rules-or no rules at all. Zombies kill humans, humans hunt zombies, and humans murder other humans-with no legal repercussions. But suppose the zombie apocalypse ended after eradication of the zombies or the discovery of a cure that rejoined the dead with the living. When society's laws are restored, what would happen if humans, zombies, and former zombies alike stood trial for their actions? Would any of them be found guilty, or would the circumstances of the apocalypse excuse crimes like theft, breaking and entering, misuse of a corpse, murder, and cannibalism? What legal defenses might apply? The forensic psychiatrists of Broadcast Thought-H. Eric Bender, M.D., Praveen R. Kambam, M.D., and Vasilis K. Pozios, M.D.-along with an attorney from Law and the Multiverse, James Daily (The Law of Superheroes), and attorney and professor Jeff Trexler examine the legal issues faced by a post-zombie-apocalyptic world. In a mock trial, the lawyers will be the prosecution and defense, the doctors will be the expert witnesses, and you will be the jury. Will the walking dead be found guilty or will they walk free?

8:00pm - 9:30pm - Room 7AB

This sounds so ridiculous it might be worth a peek if you've already eaten and got no parties to attend.

Not So Strange Bedfellows: The Relationship Between Comics and Pro Wrestling

Some have called the spectacle of pro wrestling a "comic book come to life." That is not so far from the truth. From the heroics of Hulk Hogan, antiheroes such as John Cena, and villains like Ric Flair, come and explore the parallels that exist in character development and storyline advancement between these outrageous forms of narrative presented by architects from both worlds. Featuring Rik Offenberger (First Comic News.com), Francis Szyskowski (The Massacre Twins), Todd Tochioka (Working Snug.com), Scott Lost (Scott Lost-Art), and international wrestling superstar Rob Van Dam (WWE Monday Night Raw). Moderated by Joshua Waldrop (M1W Entertainment).

8:00pm - 9:00pm - Room 9

I know a Sentry or two who support this crossover.

Superhero Kung Fu Extravaganza

Ric Meyers (Films of Fury: The Kung Fu Movie Book and Movie) is back with another spectacular showing of the greatest action scenes the world has ever seen. Get ready to laugh, gasp, and cheer at the most incredible fights sequences of the year, sneak peaks of upcoming mind-blowers, and even a world premiere. Come celebrate with comedy film nerds Chris Mancini (Asylum) and Graham Elwood (Palm Strike Dance Party), Stunt People leader Eric Jacobus (Mortal Kombat: Legacy), martial art movie legend James Lew (G.I. Joe: Retaliation), Hong Kong film fighter Ho-Sung Pak (Legend of Drunken Master), and more! See why the Extravaganza just keeps getting better in this, its 16th anniversary year!

8:00pm - 10:30pm - Room 6A

Popped in for about 20 minutes last year and had a few laughs.  Might return this year after a lengthy Happy Hour session.

Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog Sing-Along

Join the fun as the California Browncoats screen Internet sensation Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog- coming back with call back sheets so you can play along during the screening. Enter the costume contest: horrible prizes awarded to the best version of each character from the show. DO NOT BOUNCE!

8:30pm - 10:00pm - Room 6BCF

Went to this last year and what a mess.  They try to create a Rocky Horror experience and it doesn't really work because the responses aren't as clever.  Also had to suffer through an unorganized costume contest.

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