You can feel it, can’t you? After the strange wave that is the last week in June for Marvel comics, things seem to be getting… smaller at the shelves. You not walking away with as much. You feel the tide is rolling back. And, if you’re like me, you took home one title this week and when you looked in the calm clear water in your glass at lunch, you saw a ripple. A ripple of things to come.
The ground shook, and you ignored it. People came to you looking for costuming ideas and you ignored that too. Only when hotel rooms started getting bandied about, when the desperate cries for tickets rang out like sirens in the air, only when you felt that hoover-like pull at your wallet and woke to dreams of the fresh salt sea air of San Diego did you understand.
Comic-Con is coming.
This is it, folks. Gird your loins! Hydrate! Deodorize! For the mad press of fan flesh and pro extravaganza is upon us once more! And, of this we can be certain, nothing will ever be the same again. These are the six unmissable Comic Con panels for the Marvel devotee.
Because we can’t be sure of anything in the House of Ideas, these won’t be ranked, just listed by day and time. Synchronized watches…. now.
It all starts THURSDAY with the Mondo Marvel panel; this should be an absolute given. Look at the name! While certainly general in its scope, this is where the groundwork will be laid for the rest of the year and beyond in our books. Not the big picture of Dark Reign (though I’m sure a few titles will be hinted at here and there), but the books that hold up the Big Events and some new idea will most certainly be showcased. This is Quesada’s warm-up show, because the Con will still be young; jaws may not be on the floor, but they’ll certainly be loosened.
THURSDAY: 1:00-2:00 Mondo Marvel — Room 6DE
FRIDAY is where the ball really gets rolling! If there is going to be any mind-shattering, jaw-dropping, bowel-explosive (okay, that last one isn’t necessary) announcements going on, Mr. Quesada will save it for his very own panel, Cup o’ Joe. Just after lunch, the EEK (I thought it would be pronounced “Eice”) will be holding court and probably saving the juiciest stuff for himself. No guests are planned but the Man of Honor himself but my guess is Jeph Loeb will show, possibly a new signee to the Marvel crew as well. It’s just the kind of thing you expect from a Cup o’ Joe and if there’s some shaking in the House of Ideas, this is where the epicenter will be.
It’s a terrible thing to say, but you’ll probably want to leave this panel early to get your wait on if this year is anything like last year. Lines will be your bane and you’ll need that edge on the hour and a half between this panel and the next: the Marvel Animation panel. Each year they step up the game, giving us better and better direct to DVD movies as the division expands and this year, Marvel Animation took the cake by annoucing both Japanese animation studio Madhouse and Warren FREAKIN’ Ellis. The man is flying in for 26 hours only and if you want to know what the cranky old bastard is complaining about on Twitter then you need to be at this panel. The very fact that the studio who brought us Trigun and Ninja Scroll will be working on a project for Marvel plus they’re bringing some sort of first look at said project live at San Diego. Yeah, you may want to hire a hobo to keep a place for you in line starting around 9am if they start clearing rooms between panels. If not, you’re camping through what looks to be Past Life pilot screening and something called a ‘DC Nation’….
FRIDAY: 2:00-3:00 Marvel: Cup o’ Joe — Room 6BCF
4:30-5:30 Marvel Animation — Room 6BCF
The train just keeps on coming SATURDAY as we get to see the depth and breadth of the Marvel line is showcased SATURDAY with video games and major motion pictures. You know, that’s just how we roll.
First up, catch your breakfast and come on down to the Activision/Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 panel and get the inside scoop on how this game is slowly coming together. I’ll admit, I heard word of this at last con and I’ve been surprised that it’s taken so long to get this very awesome game to the next level. I played the original dozens of times, not to mention the predecessor games X-Men Legends and each one has been more and more fun for me and a couple of friends who wander by from time to time. This time, we’re looking at the process more than the product: “Learn first-hand the various facets that go into transforming a comic book’s storyline into a captivating video game, including voice work, writing, development, and creativity, all the while evolving with the high-definition environment of the gaming world.” I’ll be honest, I’m still a little worried for a game set in Civil War, but character development and game design have been going strong. You really don’t want to miss this, if only just to be able to say you were there when they showed off game footage last year at next year’s Con.
After that, we hit up the Big Boys on the Block at Marvel Studios for a look at Iron Man 2. The last one hit big, we all gotta pray the next one will hit bigger and well… the info for the panel doesn’t actually do much but read down the IMDB list: “Directed by Jon Favreau, Iron Man 2 stars Robert Downey Jr. Joining Downey in the cast are Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, Jon Favreau, Clark Gregg, John Slattery, Mickey Rourke, and Samuel L. Jackson.” Will any of these people actually be at the panel? Who knows? My bet is that Favreau will make it down and we’ll probably even get some early footage screened. Enetertainment Weekly may have gotten the jump on some exclusive pics from the set, but trust me, Marvel will bring the A game to their blockbuster panel. Get in line early on this one.
SATURDAY: 11:30-12:30 Activision/Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 — Indigo Ballroom / Hilton Bayfront
4:00-5:00 Paramount Pictures and Marvel Entertainment: Iron Man 2 — Hall H
Okay, now it’s SUNDAY; you’re tired, your feet hurt and your mind has been blown eight ways from Sunday by the upcoming Marvel lineup. You’ve got your hotel room to check out of, a plane to catch, so many things to do and there is no better way to detox than the second annual Women of Marvel panel. I went to their first one last year and came out of it energized. The women on the panel were honest and engaging and it became less a talk about being a woman in a predominantly male industry to more a pep talk on self-esteem and looking beyond gender for the best work possible. Last year’s panelists Colleen Coover and Christina Strain led the discussion and talked to anyone and everyone about the industry they love and the history of their work. Yeah, there may be some last minute annoucements but what you’ll take away from this panel will last you the whole ride home. If you love comics, you’ll love this panel about the bare bones necessities of getting your foot in the door.
SUNDAY: 11:00-12:00 Women of Marvel — Room 7AB
This is obviously isn’t everything, but these are the prime choice cuts from the oversized steak that is the San Diego Comic Con. Dig in, True Believers.
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