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The 10 San Diego Comic-Con Panels I Hope to Attend

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It’s that time of year again when thousands upon thousands of pop-culture enthusiasts from around the globe descend on San Diego like locusts outfitted in costumes and quirky t-shirts. For four and half days, San Diego Comic-Con becomes the epicenter of news and celebration as fans of countless entertainment properties gather at and around the Convention Center. The days are packed with panels, as the rooms are packed with people, and if I am lucky, I’ll get to see the following:

Thursday

Batman in the 70s (1:00pm – Room 5AB)

In celebration of Batman’s 75th birthday, panelists look back at a crucial decade in the life of the Caped Crusader. It was a time of change as new writers and artists brought forth new interpretations of this classic character. On hand to discuss it are many of the those who were there: Neal Adams, Denny O’Neil, Michael Uslan, Len Wein, and Anthony Tollin, along with moderator Mark Evanier.

I am a big fan of panels like this where creators tell stories about what went on behind the scenes in the creation of such popular material.

1984’s Greatest Geek Movies: Big Brother Wasn’t The Only One Watching While Doves Cried (2:00pm – Room 5AB)

While Eurasia was still at war with Eastasia and Big Brother was watching you, some amazing movies slipped into cinemas and our panel of experts are going to wax on, wax off about the great geek year of 1984 as they look back at such films as The Terminator, Gremlins, Repo Man, Ghostbusters, Dune, Splash, This is Spinal Tap, Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom, Star Trek III, Buckaroo Banzai, Body Double, The Karate Kid, Red Dawn, Night of the Comet, Once Upon a Time in America, This is Spinal Tap, and, of course, the incomparable Purple Rain. Celebrating the fact that they still love the ’80s will be Ashley E. Miller (Thor, new Terminator TV series), David E. Williams (editor, GEEK magazine), Robert Meyer Burnett (Star Trek: The Next Generation Blu-rays), Marc Berandin (The Hollywood Reporter), Steve Melching (The Clone Wars, Transformers Prime), Joe Kraemer (Jack Reacher), and moderator Mark A. Altman (Free Enterprise, DOA: Dead or Alive). This panel is sure to get turned up to 11.

As a Gen-Xer, my friends and I saw many of these films in the theater before they showed up on those new-fangled things called cable and VHS, so it will be fun to sit around as people reminisce

Greendale Forever: TV Guide Magazine’s Tribute to Community (2:15pm – Ballroom 20)

Will “six seasons and a movie” come true? Greendale Community College been saved by Yahoo, but what happens next to Jeff Winger and the study group? Moderator Michael Schneider, TV Guide magazine’s executive editor, joins Community creator Dan Harmon, executive producer Chris McKenna, and cast members Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Jim Rash and Dino Stamatopoulos as they recap last season (including Dan’s heralded return to the show) and discuss the future of this fan-favorite comedy.  

I just watched the first four seasons of Community earlier this year. It had many great moments and delivered a lot of laughs, but wasn’t consistent and I am not only referring to Season Four. I still need to see Season Five and am curious what comes next for the gang.

Friday

Digging E.T.: Behind the Scenes of the Xbox Originals Documentary, Atari: Game Over (3:30pm – Room 5AB)

Comic-Con fans will get the first glimpse at Atari: Game Over, the Xbox Originals documentary that chronicles the fall of the Atari Corporation through the lens of one of the biggest mysteries of all time, dubbed “The Great Video Game Burial of 1983.” As the story goes, the Atari Corporation, faced with overwhelmingly negative response to the E.T. video game, disposed of hundreds of thousands of unsold game cartridges by burying them in the small town of Alamogordo, New Mexico. Atari founder Nolan Bushnell, original Atari video game designer Howard Scott Warshaw (E.T., Yar’s Revenge, Raiders of the Lost Ark), two-time Academy Award-winning executive producer Simon Chinn (Searching for Sugar Man and Man on Wire), Emmy Award-winning executive producer Jonathan Chinn (FX’s 30 Days and PBS’s American High), director Zak Penn (X-Men 3, Avengers, and Incident at Loch Ness), Fuel CEO Mike Burns, and more as they take fans behind the scenes and share an inside look into the making of this weird and wonderful film. Moderated by Larry Hyrb (Xbox’s Major Nelson).

I am curious what happened to the company that made such a major impact on the cultural landscape.

Archer Screening and Q&A (5:00pm – Indigo Ballroom, Hilton San Diego Bayfront)

The popular animated comedy revolves around the International Secret Intelligence Service (ISIS) and its employees who use every covert operation and global crisis as another excuse to undermine, sabotage and betray each other for personal gain. See an exclusive screening of an original short animation piece created specifically for SDCC, plus the upcoming never-before-seen season 6 premiere episode. Then join the voice cast of H. Jon Benjamin (Bob’s Burgers), Aisha Tyler (The Talk), Chris Parnell(21 Jump Street), Judy Greer (Arrested Development), Amber Nash (Frisky Dingo), and Lucky Yates (Good Eats), plus creator Adam Reed (Sealab 2021) and co-executive producer Casey Willis as they discuss bringing this animated series to life.

Archer has been one of my favorite shows on TV since it debuted and I can’t wait to see what the gang does after last season saw the ISIS team take time off from international espionage to sell cocaine.

Worst Cartoons Ever! (8:15pm – Room 6BCF)

For the 10th year, Jerry Beck (Cartoon Research) presents a new selection of the most terribly written, ugliest drawn, and unintentionally funniest animated films ever made. Cartoons include Mighty Mr. Titan (a physical fitness superhero) and Super President (a one-man weapon of mass destruction)! Be sure to enjoy some of the worst there is out there in this hilarious salute.

It’s annual tradition to subject myself to some of the worst in animation that Beck can get his hands on.

Saturday

Berkeley Breathed: The Last Comic-Con Panel! (12:00pm – Room 9)

Legendary creator Berkeley Breathed (Bloom County, Opus, Flawed Dogs) makes a rare appearance at Comic-Con-International and-even more rare-will be hosting his second (and probably final) presentation. He’s a bit mysterious about what he’ll be presenting. However, there is unofficial word that he may be revealing recent illicit photos and art of his best friend Bill Watterson, “borrowed” from the latter’s secret retreat in the foothills of Colorado.

I am certain this small room will fill quickly for a popular artist such as Breathed. I hope to find it on YouTube.

Inside the Making of Twin Peaks-The Entire Mystery Blu-ray
(3:30pm – Room 5AB)

Go behind the scenes of the unprecedented collection of the groundbreaking cult phenomenon from David Lynch and Mark Frost, Twin Peaks-The Entire Mystery. Join actress Kimmy Robertson (“Lucy Moran”), Blu-ray producer Charles de Lauzirika, Blu-ray co-producer Brian Kursar, and restoration and remastering executive project managers David Grant and Ryan Adams. Get an advance look at not only the staggering results of the high-definition upgrade of both the series and feature film, but also an exclusive sneak peek at the Blu-ray’s massive array of bonus features, including the “holy grail” of Twin Peaks fandom, The Missing Pieces, the long-awaited deleted and extended scenes from Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, directed and edited by David Lynch himself! Moderated by Robert Meyer Burnett.

I was a fan from the the night the first episode aired, and this looks to be another panel that is in too small of a room.

Cartoon Network: The Regular Show Rock-a-Thon (8:30pm – Room 7AB)

You and your best bros are totally invited to take the stage at The Regular Show Rock-a-Thon. Awwwwww yeauuuuh! Cartoon Network presents the most rockin’ hour ever, cutting a rug to some classic episodes and jamming out to a brand new one before anyone else gets to see it. But that’s not all-you are challenged to come up with your best Regular Show number. The more awesome your performance, the more likely you are to win a prize! So what are you waiting for? Practice your funky fresh flow and let’s get this party started! Participation is limited.

One of the most imaginative shows on TV, this panel sounds much more entertaining with the interactive element than the one held for the show earlier in the day.

Sunday

Sesame Street & Pop Culture: 45 Years of Spoofs on the ‘Street’ (10:15am – Room 6A)

Sesame Street has continuously turned the sensations of the entertainment world into lighthearted attractions that make children and their parents laugh, sing, and learn. See a special screening of the new Sesame Street spoofs “Numeric Con” and “Star S’mores” (hilarious parodies of Comic-Con and Star Wars), debuting in the show’s upcoming 45th season. Then explore the ways pop culture has played a vital role throughout the show’s history during a panel discussion with the Sesame StreetMuppets and Eric Jacobson (Grover and Bert), Joey Mazzarino (Murray Monster,Sesame Street head writer and director), David Rudman (Cookie Monster and Baby Bear), and Carol-Lynn Parente (executive producer). The discussion will be moderated by Chris Hardwick (Host of @midnight and Talking Dead, Nerdist).

They had me at “Sesame Street.”

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About Gordon S. Miller

Gordon S. Miller is the artist formerly known as El Bicho, the nom de plume he used when he first began reviewing movies online for The Masked Movie Snobs in 2003. Before the year was out, he became that site's publisher. Over the years, he has also contributed to a number of other sites as a writer and editor, such as FilmRadar, Film School Rejects, High Def Digest, and Blogcritics. He is the Publisher of Cinema Sentries. Some of his random thoughts can be found at twitter.com/ElBicho_CS