Characters abound at Comic-Con

This past week, the most prominent event in the comic book world began and ended across the border as San Diego Comic-Con commenced off the California shores. The once “comic book” centric festival has evolved over the years to become one of the preeminent stops for Hollywood film and television studios to unleash their upcoming projects on to the world.

Because of the grand scale of the convention now, it is impossible to take in all of the panels and appearances that are scheduled over the course of the five days. Attempting to get the best of all the popular arts is a difficult task, but I did my best to take in everything that I could. Here is what The Cord covered:

Preview Night

Starting with a bang on the night of July 20th, Comic-Con opened its doors to their preview audience who got to experience the exhibition hall before it was open to other pass holders. The preemptive audience also had the opportunity to check out the pilot episodes for a number of new shows premiering later this fall. They ranged from CBS’s crime thriller “Person of Interest” to the new show from producer J.J. Abrams, “Alcatraz”, debuting on Fox. Given the length of lines at both events, the first day was just a precursor to the grand experience to come.

Day One

The morning events started with a stop in Hall H, the massive six thousand plus arena where the majority of the big movie panels take place. The first of those was for the newest Twilight entry, Breaking Dawn: Part 1. Here director Bill Condon and cast members Taylor Lautner, Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson appeared to talk about the film with fans, who had been lining up since Tuesday night to get a good seat to see their vampiry idols.

Following the magnitude of the “twi-hards” was Aardman Animation, the studio responsible for “Wallace and Gromit” and Chicken Run. They were in San Diego to promote their two new films: Pirates: Band of Misfits and Arthur Christmas. The footage they revealed from both films was indeed stellar, definitely on par with the studios previous track record.

Besides the films themselves, filmmaker Morgan Spurlock and 80s character actor Paul Reubens (as Pee Wee Herman) grabbed some Hall H time in between the large panels to reveal upcoming projects they have going on, including Spurlock’s documentary on Comic-Con in which he premiered the trailer and Herman’s new movie he has with mega-producer Judd Apatow.

FilmDistrict held a dual panel with two of their upcoming projects, including the Guillermo del Toro written, Troy Nixey directed Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark and the newest Ryan Gosling film, Drive. The horror centric Dark looked like a welcome entry to del Toro’s repertoire and the filmmaker himself was a welcome delight on the panel, but Drive stole the show with the trailer and scene that was shown. Looking like a tribute to the classic car movies of the 19 70s, Drive left little doubt as to why Nicolas Winding Refn won his Best Director award at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Add this one to your anticipated list if it wasn’t there already.

Day Two

Hall H was once again the place to be on Friday, as Steven Spielberg made his first appearance at Comic-Con to discuss his upcoming Tin Tin film, The Secret of the Unicorn.

The prolific director talked about the new film while showing some never before seen footage. As an unbelievable treat for the audience, Spielberg’s Adventures of Tin Tin collaborator Peter Jackson, who was supposed to be filming The Hobbit in New Zealand, made a surprise entrance on to the stage. The two then discussed their filmographies in a Q & A session with the audience making for a truly amazing encounter.

Once the dust settled in the Hall, Steven Soderbergh came out with cast members Gina Carano and Channing Tatum to discuss their action thriller Haywire. They were then followed by director James McTeigue and actors John Cusack, Alice Eve and Luke Evens to discuss their gothic thriller, The Raven.

Taking a step out of Hall H once The Raven was through, the new “Thundercats” TV show premiered in another room . An audience filled with hardcore fans went ballistic at the pilot episode.

A panel regarding Disney Channel’s “Phineas and Ferb” followed and debuted new scenes and exclusive shorts created specifically for Comic-Con. As a huge follower of the show, the panel was hilarious to sit through. They also announced that they are currently working on a theatrical release of the show, hopefully being completed for 2013.

Day Three

Stepping away from the big film panels for Saturday, a discussion involving Production Designers from the Art Director’s Guild was taking place in one of the room’s upstairs. Here a group of established artists discussed anecdotes and experiences they have had while working on a number of prestigious productions.

Videogame giant Capcom came into the room directly after to unveil new information about their forthcoming sequel, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3. Fans of the series did not seem disappointed in the least.

Disney Channel took to the front of the room next, discussing their plans for their hit show “Kick Buttowski”. The voice cast, along with frequent guest NBA all-star Dwight Howard, played to their young audience, showing trailers for prospective episodes and discussing future storylines.

“The Walking Dead” creator Robert Kirkman then graced his awaiting audience after Disney had dispersed from the area. The inexhaustible comic creator spent the hour in a Q & A with his fans, discussing everything from his non-zombie works to Season 2 of “The Walking Dead” TV Show.

Day Four

Winding down the five-day festivities, a panel discussion from Archaia Entertainment revealed a new graphic novel that is coming out this fall based off of an unproduced script from creative legend Jim Henson. The work entitled “A Tale of Sand” will be in the vain of Henson’s short films he made early in his career, which were also shown to the audience as a reference for the material. Illustrator Ramón Pérez was in attendance to reveal panels and artwork from the novel, which looks extremely crisp and fantastical.

Archaia also revealed their plans to release sequels to other Henson properties The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth in graphic novel form.

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