It's the Cannes of Capes, the World's Fair for Fanboys, the ultimate Bazaar of the Bizarre. Comic-Con International got under way Thursday at the San Diego Convention Center, which is expecting 125,000 fans.
Like at a rock festival with multiple stages, Comic-Con offers each fan an experience completely different from the next. If you're lucky enough to get into Hall H, the hangar-sized site where Hollywood sends its stars and filmmakers to promote upcoming films, then the convention is all about getting the fresh scoop on next summer's blockbusters.
But you can also devote your Con entirely to video games, anime, horror, TV shows, collectible cards, toys or even, if you're old school, actual comic books.
The good news is there is something for everyone. The bad news: Pretty much everyone shows up to find it. Comic-Con is sold out, and tickets are being auctioned on eBay. The lines can be brutal in some spots. If you want to get into Hall H, the wait might be six hours. It's first-come, first-served, and many fans will get a seat and drop anchor for hours. You need to choose wisely, young Jedi.
Reflect on the Con's scruffy beginnings in 1970 and it's hard to fathom how that musty, nerdy event at the U.S. Grant Hotel become a mecca for movie stars. But, well, life is funny.
This year, the previews and panels in Hall H started Thursday with 20th Century Fox hyping its December release “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” with appearances by Keanu Reeves and Jennifer Connelly. Hall H will also be visited over the weekend by Samuel L. Jackson (for “The Spirit”), Mark Wahlberg and Ludacris (both for “Max Payne”), Benicio Del Toro (“The Wolf Man”), Dwayne Johnson (“Race to Witch Mountain”) and Seth Rogen (“Pineapple Express”), as well as the cast of “Heroes,” including Masi Oka, Hayden Panettiere and Zachary Quinto (the latter will also be raising eyebrows as Mr. Spock when “Star Trek” reboots next year).
Today is “Star Wars” day at the Con, and at 10 a.m. supervising director Dave Filoni will be in Room 7AB with his team to talk about “The Clone Wars,” the new computer-generated animation show (and the tie-in animated film of the same name due in theaters on Aug. 15).