It’s not just me, right? Did the San Diego Comic-Con sneak up on everyone else this year, too?
With the biggest pop-culture event of the year barely a week away, it’s time to indulge in our annual tradition of looking through the SDCC program schedule and seeing what highlights you shouldn’t miss, which ones you won’t want to miss, and which ones you’ll probably miss just because the line stretches all the way down to Sea World. (And if you’re looking for our usual survival tips, you can always click on last year’s edition to brush up.)
Let’s get to it, shall we?
11:00-12:00 Filmation and Lou Scheimer: Celebrating a Generation of Animation and TV Heroes– One of the most successful and groundbreaking television animation studios was Filmation, whose productions shaped Saturday mornings and daytime syndication from the 1960s to the 1980s. From Superman, Batman, and Aquaman to The Archies, from Fat Albert and the Groovie Goolies to the live-action Shazam! and Isis series, up to the groundbreaking He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, She-Ra Princess of Power, Ghostbusters, and Bravestarr, Filmation created the shows that entertained and educated a generation. Making his final convention appearance is Filmation founder Lou Scheimer, who will reminisce about nearly 30 years of animation magic. Appearing with him are author/animator Darrell McNeil (Hero High, Shazam, Tarzan and the Super 7) director/writer/animator Tom Tataranowicz (He-Man, She-Ra, Bravestarr), and other guests. Bestselling author and documentary director Andy Mangels moderates this celebration of the studio that saved American animation in the 1970s and 1980s and show exclusive clips of never-before-seen Filmation footage. Plus, you can get a sneak peek at the September 2012 book release from TwoMorrows, Lou Scheimer: Creating the Filmation Generation, co-written by Scheimer and Mangels. Room 23ABC
The Filmation stuff is a guilty pleasure, and I’ve never heard Lou Scheimer talk about his work. Sold.
12:45-1:45 MAD Screening and Q&A– It’s a MAD world, we just laugh in it. The magazine you tried to hide from your parents is an animated series on Cartoon Network. Now in its third season, this series from Warner Bros. Animation is inspired by the country’s bestselling humor magazine, MAD, and features animated parodies, crazy commercials, pretend promos, and classic gags. Take a peek behind the MAD curtain and learn what goes into bringing the funny to your television every week. Back to bring more laughs this year are series producers Kevin Shinick (Crank Yankers) and Mark Marek (Robot Chicken), along with Peter Girardi, senior vice president of series and alternative animation at Warner Bros. Animation. Join this hilarious panel for a sizzle reel recapping all the laughs from season two as well as a sneak peek at what’s in store for the show this season. MAD airs Mondays at 8:45/7:45c on Cartoon Network. Room 6DE
This show is surprisingly good, with a pretty heavy geek quotient in the humor. Worth checking out.
2:00-3:00 Before and After: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Journey into High Definition– Star Trek: The Next Generation fans are finally getting their wish, with all seven seasons of the beloved series being retransferred into high-definition. Star Trek: The Next Generation-The First Season will be released on July 24, and the team behind the project will give fans an insider’s look at how the original film elements were transferred into high-definition and how the visual effects were painstakingly re-created from the source material to look better than ever before. Robert Meyer Burnett moderates the panel, which includes Roger Lay, Jr. (producer/director, Blu-ray), Mike and Denise Okuda (project consultants), David S. Grant (vice president, multimedia, CBS Television Distribution), Ryan Adams (director, multimedia, CBS Television Distribution), Craig Weiss (creative director, CBS Digital), Eric Bruno (lead compositor), and Wade Felker (film transfer technician). Room 7AB
Can’t wait to get my hands on these.
3:00-4:00 IDW’s Artist’s Editions: What’s Next?– Editor Scott Dunbier answers questions about the Eisner Award-winning series from IDW. If you are a fan of original art, this is the panel for you: one hour of talking about what you want to see as an Artist’s Edition, and just gabbing about great art in general. Plus there will be a few fantastic announcements of forthcoming books. Room 9
Okay, I work on these, so I’m biased. But this will be worth it for the announcements alone.
4:45-5:45 The Expendables 2-Real American Heroes– Sylvester Stallone and the legendary cast of the sequel to 2010′s smash hit film preview the real-deal muscles, weapons, skills, and explosions that went into making a film even bigger and badder than the original. Terry Crews, Randy Couture, Dolph Lundgren, Jean Claude Van Damme, and Arnold Schwarzenegger will join the panel discussion. Hall H
I find the juxtaposition of “Lundgren,” “Van Damme,” “Schwarzenegger” and “panel discussion” hilarious.
5:00-6:00 Archer: Screening and Q&A– This animated half-hour comedy revolves around the spy agency known as the International Secret Intelligence Service (ISIS) and the lives of its self-involved employees. Series creator Adam Reed (Sealab 2021) and the show’s voice actors discuss their daunting and enigmatic work of espionage, reconnaissance missions, wiretapping, and undercover surveillances-which are all actually unmitigated occasions for the ISIS staff to undermine, sabotage, and betray each other for personal gain. Panelists include H. Jon Benjamin (Bob’s Burgers) as the highly skilled yet incredibly vain master spy “Sterling Archer,” Aisha Tyler (The Talk) as Archer’s fellow agent and ex-girlfriend “Lana Kane,” Chris Parnell (Saturday Night Live) as the easily intimidated comptroller-turned-ISIS-agent “Cyril Figgis,” Judy Greer (Arrested Development) as the loquacious secretary “Cheryl Tunt,” and Amber Nash (Frisky Dingo) as the discordant director of human resources for ISIS “Pam Poovey.” Indigo Ballroom, Hilton San Diego Bayfront
Get in line now.
7:00-8:00 Inside The Batmobile– No vehicle has ever captured fans’ imagination like the Batmobile. Be the first to see an exclusive Comic-Con, 22-minute sneak peek at the upcoming documentary The Batmobile, an in-depth examination of its many incarnations and impressive history. A panel discussion will follow the screening featuring distinguished Batman experts George Barris, designer of the famed 1966 Batmobile; Andy Smith, builder of the modern-day Dark Knight “Tumbler”; respected producer/author Michael Uslan (The Boy Who Loved Batman); Ralph Cirella and Jon Hein, hosts of GEEKTIME! Sirius-XM Howard 101; Batmobile designer Tim Flattery (Batman Forever); Batmobile builder Charley Zurian (Batman Forever, Batman & Robin); and a few surprise guests. Stay to the end, when a drawing among all panel attendees will determine which lucky five fans can sit in a Batmobile — which is on display all weekend in the “Batcave” between Hall H and the Bayfront Hilton Room 6DE
The real news here is that there will be a Batcave outside Hall H. What the what?
11:00-12:00 Spotlight on Herb Trimpe– Comic-Con special guest Herb Trimpe carved out his own legendary place in the Marvel Universe starting in the 1960s. His incredible work on the Incredible Hulk, along with his other art on series such as G.I. Joe, Transformers, Godzilla, and many more, have made him a fan-favorite artist. Trimpe talks about his career in this special spotlight panel. Room 32AB
Love seeing some of these ’70s guys getting a little love.
11:00-11:45 Adult Swim: The Venture Bros.– Show creators Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer, with the voice of Dr. Venture James Urbaniak, discuss the original series and answer fan questions. Indigo Ballroom, Hilton San Diego Bayfront
Always packed, always hilarious.
12:05-1:05 The Big Bang Theory Screening and Q&A– Boldly go Big Bang Theory! For the first time ever in Hall H, the mega-popular TV series returns to Comic-Con for a special screening and a lively discussion. Will Howard (“Froot Loops”) Wolowitz return from space? Where do things stand with Penny and Leonard? And will unscheduled handholding affect “The Relationship Agreement”? From Chuck Lorre Productions, Inc. in association with Warner Bros. Television, The Big Bang Theory airs Thursdays at 8/7c on CBS. The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Fifth Season will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on September 11. Hall H
Wow. BIG BANG gets the big room this year.
12:30-1:30 Firefly 10-Year Anniversary Reunion– Calling all Browncoats to unite! It has been 10 years since the crew of the Serenity took flight in the now infamous show Firefly. Science Channel will reunite, for the first time ever, Captain Mal Reynolds and the crew from the ship. Join Joss Whedon, Nathan Fillion, Adam Baldwin, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk, Morena Baccarin, Sean Maher, Summer Glau, and many more for a trip down memory lane, some special surprises, and exclusive Science Channel giveaways. SHINY. Ballroom 20
Yeah, might as well start lining up now.
4:00-5:00 The IDW Show (55 min, TV-MA)– Hosts Chris Ryall and Dirk Wood welcome special guests Duane Swierczynski, Brea and Zane Grant, John Layman, Zach Howard, Conor McCreary, and Anthony Del Col. Plus special announcements by Bobby Curnow, Stupid Audience Tricks, and musical guest Alan Robert and The Grants. NEW (CC) Room 4
Not to be missed. Trust me.
8:30-9:30 Klingon Lifestyles Presentation– Last year saw Admiral K’Han Den shot while in the Mirror Universe. With life in the balance, the crew of the IKV Stranglehold are forced on a mission to save him. All life forms and alien cultures are welcome to the latest episode in the ongoing adventures of life aboard the Klingon vessel Stranglehold. Room 6A
Wait, they’re doing ongoing storylines now?
11:30-12:30 Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained– The Weinstein Company presents a sneak peek at the highly anticipated new film from acclaimed director Quentin Tarantino. Fans will get to see exclusive footage from Django Unchained and take part in a special discussion with Tarantino and the cast. You won’t want to miss this! Hall H
Not much chance of getting in here, but worth a try.
12:00-12:45 Futurama– Futurama cannot be killed! Join the cast and crew of the Emmy-award-winning series for world premiere footage of the all-new season on Comedy Central. Plus: Wear your Futurama-themed costume for the chance to win slightly valuable prizes! Scheduled panelists include creator/executive producer Matt Groening, executive producer David X. Cohen, and stars Billy West (Fry, Zoidberg, Professor Farnsworth, Zapp Brannigan), Katey Sagal (Leela), John DiMaggio (Bender), and Maurice LaMarche (Kif Kroker, Calculon, Morbo). Ballroom 20
Minute for minute, the funniest panel of the show every year.
1:00-2:00 TV Guide Magazine: Fan Favorites– TV Guide magazine returns with another all-star panel. Moderated by editor-in-chief Debra Birnbaum, Fan Favorites brings together stars from TV’s hottest shows for a lively discussion filled with behind-the-scenes scoop. Panelists (subject to change) include Nathan Fillion (Castle), David Giuntoli (Grimm), Joel McHale (Community), Tyler Posey (Teen Wolf), Maggie Q (Nikita), Matt Smith (Doctor Who), and others. Indigo Ballroom, Hilton San Diego Bayfront
How can you pass up the Doctor and the Captain on the same stage?
5:30-6:30 Spotlight on Mark Waid– Comic-Con special guest Mark Waid (Kingdom Come, Daredevil, Thrillbent) hosts a Q&A retrospective on his long career and on his new digital comics venture, Thrillbent — how it’s gone so far and what big developments will be announced at the show. Talk with one of the industry’s most notoriously outspoken figures about the past and future of comics! Room 8
Mark is always endlessly entertaining in these things.
6:00-7:00 Marvel Studios: Iron Man 3– Producer Kevin Feige and special guests provide an inside look at the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe. Hall H
He’s not announced, but you know RDJ will show up. He always shows up.
6:00-7:30 A Tribute to the Legendary Ray Bradbury– Some called him the greatest writer of fantasy of all time. He was a writer of legendary science fiction, an inspiration to generations, and a good friend of Comic-Con. We lost him on June 5, and now many of his friends and colleagues gather to celebrate this extraordinary figure. The guest list is still being finalized as this guide goes to press, but it should include authors William F. Nolan, George Clayton Johnson, Marc Scott Zicree, Joe Hill, and Margaret Atwood, along with figures from the worlds of motion pictures and television. Your hosts are Bradbury biographer Sam Weller (Shadow Show: All-New Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury) and Comic-Con special guest Mark Evanier. Attendees are encouraged to come dressed as their favorite Bradbury character. Indigo Ballroom, Hilton San Diego Bayfront
Come pay your respects to an all-around legend.
12:30-1:30 Darwyn Cooke and The Man Called Parker– Darywn Cooke discusses all things Parker in a lively hour of opinions, insights, and downright good conversation! The Score is being released this week,and Cooke, along with editor Scott Dunbier, will answer questions and talk about Richard Stark’s classic heist-man — and unveil Cooke and IDW’s plans for the future of the graphic novel series — including revealing what the next Parker book will be! Room 8
Again, admittedly biased but check this out.
12:30-1:30 BBC America’s Doctor Who– The Doctor and the Ponds land in San Diego. BBC America’s Doctor Who stars Matt Smith, Karen Gillan, and Arthur Darvill join award-winning lead writer and executive producer Steven Moffat (Sherlock) and award-winning executive producer Caroline Skinner (The Fades) for a Comic-Con panel and Q&A. As fans eagerly await the new season’s premiere, BBC America is making sure Steven Moffat brings new footage to reveal on the big screens in Hall H. Ahead of the new season, BBC America will premiere new Doctor Who specials-The Science of Doctor Who, The Women of Doctor Who, The Timey-Wimey Stuff of Doctor Who, and The Destinations of Doctor Who-as part of the Supernatural Saturday programming block starting Saturday, August 4 at 9pm/8c. For those new to Who, the previous two seasons from Steven Moffat are available now on Blu-ray, DVD, and digital download. Hall H
Don’t need to travel to the future to predict long lines here.
2:00-3:00 Max Brooks: Zombie Survival 101– Max Brooks, screenwriter and author of bestselling books The Zombie Survival Guide, World War Z, and The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks, is the world’s leading authority on the defense against a ghoulish uprising! Renowned for his campus and convention lectures nationwide, Brooks comes to San Diego Comic-Con to share his insight into the rotting minds of the undead, reveal how the Zombie Survival Guide came into existence, and field questions from zombie-phobic fans! You dare not miss this lecture — your very life may depend on it! Room 7AB
Not only is WORLD WAR Z a great book, but Max is a hell of a funny guy. Highly recommended.
Scott Tipton is celebrating the Fourth with ribs and sausages on the grill, and SUPERMAN II on the TV. If you have questions about comics, send them here.