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In just one week, the Con is on !

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In just one week, the Con is on !

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A week from today, the madness begins.

Okay. I know. Comic-Con 2008 does have a preview night on Wednesday, which allows pre-registered 4-day members as well as industry professionals to enter the San Diego Convention Center early. Which then gives these folks first crack at acquiring cool crud like "Who is Rocket Johnson?" (i.e. that snazzy graphic novel anthology that Walt Disney Animation Studios' story artists & directors just self-published. Given that there are only 1000 copies available for purchase ... If you're looking to get your hands on this 72-page softcover, you'd best beat feet to Booth 2302).

But for the bulk of Comic-Con attendees, the party doesn't truly get started 'til 9:30 a.m. on Thursday. That's when the doors officially open and the whole world seems to pour into this cavernous convention facility.

Given how crowded Comic-Con gets (last year, 125,000 people pushed their way into the San Diego Convention Center), more importantly given how overwhelming this event can often be ... Trust me, folks. You don't want to enter this facility without first making a plan.

Toward that end, I've spent the past couple of days burrowing through Comic-Con's programming schedule and I've uncovered a number of panels, screenings & signings that I think all of you Disney / Pixar / animation / Jim Henson / ABC / ABC family fans should consider checking out.

Starting on Thursday, July 24th ...

11 a.m. to 12 noon -- The Disney Animation Story Process : Join Nathan Greno (head of story on "Bolt"), Don Hall (head of story on "The Princess and the Frog"), Mark Kennedy (head of story on "Rapunzel"), Joe Mateo (story artist on "Bolt"), Michael LaBash (story artist on "Bolt"), Paul Briggs (story artist on "The Princess and the Frog"), and Josie Trinidad (story artist on "The Princess and the Frog") for an in-depth look at the story process at Walt Disney Animation Studios. FYI: This panel -- which will be held in Room 32AB -- will feature a sneak peek at Disney's next animated feature, "Bolt."

2 p.m. to 3 p.m. -- "The Middleman" : Join Javier Grillo-Marxuach, the creator & executive producer of this insanely entertaining new ABC Family series, as well as cast members Matt Keeslar & Natalie Morales in Room 5AB for a look at the bizarre world of "The Middleman."

(L to R) Natalie Morales & Matt Keeslar from ABC Family's "The Middleman."
Copyright 2008 ABC Family. All Rights Reserved

3 p.m. to 4 p.m. -- "Race to Witch Mountain" : Want to see what Walt Disney Pictures' latest remake looks like? Then make your way to Hall H, where "Witch Mountain" director Andy Fickman and the film's stars -- Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson & Carla Gugino -- will be answering questions about this new action-adventure.

5 p.m. to 6 p.m. -- Spotlight on Floyd Norman : This Disney Legend discusses his long & varied career with cartoonist & animation artist extraordinaire Scott Shaw! This is one panel that (for obvious reasons) JHM readers really don't want to miss. So be sure & drop by Room 7AB

Then on Friday, July 25th ...

12 noon to 1 p.m. -- Prince of Persia : Want to get a sense for what Walt Disney Pictures' summer blockbuster for 2009 will be like? Then come by Room 4 where Jordan Mechner -- the creator of the "Prince of Persia" game as well as the screenwriter of the upcoming film -- will be talking up this project.

2 p.m. to 4 p.m. -- Eric Goldberg signing : This master animator will be at Stuart Ng Books (Which will be located in Booths 5012, 5014, 5016, 5018 & 5020) signing copies of his brand-new book, "Character Animation Crash Course!"

Copyright 2008 Stuart Ng Books

6 p.m. to 7 p.m. -- State of the Animation Industry : Want to know what the new trends in Toontown are? Then drop by Room 3, where Larry Loc will be leading a sure-to-be animated discussion with Tom Sito, Lennie Graves and Ryan Ball.

Come Saturday, July 26th ...

12 noon - 1 p.m. "Lost" : Having trouble following what's now going on with this increasingly incomprehensible ABC series? You and me both. Here's hoping that series co-creator Damon Lindelof and executive producer Carlton Cuse -- as they address "Lost" fans in Hall H -- will be able to offer a rational explanation as to where this show is actually going.

2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. -- "Bolt" & "UP!" : Double your pleasure, double your fun as Pete Docter, Bryon Howard and Chris Williams talk with animation fans in Hall H about these two highly anticipated Disney & Pixar productions.

3:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. -- "Pushing Daisies" : One of last season's quirkier dramas comes to Comic-Con with the hope of recapturing its lost buzz. Cast members Kristin Chenoweth, Ellen Greene and Swoosie Kurtz will be on hand in Room 6A to answer viewers questions.

And -- finally -- on Sunday, July 27th ...

11 a.m. to 12 Noon -- Dave Stevens Tribute : Join fans & friends in Room 7AB as we mourn the passing of the creator of "The Rocketeer."

Copyright 2008 Disney. All Rights Reserved

11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. -- "The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning" : Be among the first to see this new Disney Home Premiere. Though the DVD version of this "Little Mermaid" sequel doesn't hit store shelves 'til August 26th, you can see how Ariel & Sebastian became friends by attending the screening that's being held in Room 6B.

12 noon to 1 p.m. -- Phineas and Ferb : Join Dan Povenmire & Jeff "Swampy" Marsh in Room 5AB as they discuss how this hit Disney Channel series originally came together. More importantly, what the future holds for these inventive step-brothers and their tattletale sister, Candace.

2:45 p.m. - 4:15 p.m. -- Fraggle Rock 25th Anniversary : "Dance your cares away" in Room 6B as Red Fraggle herself (AKA Karen Prell) makes an appearance to talk up the new DVD as well as the upcoming Fraggle feature film.

Now please keep in mind that these are just a few of the Disney-related signings & panels that will be held over the course of this 4-day-long event. And that -- at the exact same time -- there are literally dozens of other events going on inside of the San Diego Convention Center.

So do yourself a favor before heading out to Comic-Con and study the programming guide. Pick out the panels & signings that you'd really like to attend this year. And then -- particularly in the case of those sure-to-be-in-high-demand events like that "Bolt" and "UP!" panel -- make sure that you arrive early enough to actually make it into the Hall. I mean, Hall H does seat 6,500 people. But that doesn't mean that it won't fill up. So plan accordingly.

Copyright 2008 Disney. All Rights Reserved

Beyond that ... While you're scheduling your time at Comic-Con, be sure and allow yourself enough free time to explore places like Artists Alley and/or scour the sale booths for those real hidden gems (like Chris Sanders' latest sketchbook). More importantly, don't let the crush of the crowds wear you down. If you seriously need one, take a break. Wander away from the Convention Center for a little while.

I mean, you are in San Diego after all. And the Pacific Ocean & the beach are literally just a short walk away. Keep that in mind if you need to get away from those 300-pound guys who stuffed themselves in superhero costumes.

Anyway ... Those are my suggestions. Does anyone else out there -- particularly all you Comic-Con veterans -- have any ideas you'd like to share about how to make this year's event more enjoyable / survivable?

Your thoughts?

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  • PingBack from http://populartvshows.twistednaturemedia.com/2008/07/16/in-just-one-week-the-con-is-on/

  • For those with a different kind of fantasy life, there's a somewhat little-known attraction not too far from the convention center in San Diego that's worth a visit. Do you dream of the bounding main and the wide open seas of the days of England's naval glory? Does the name "Lucky Jack Aubrey" ring a bell, or perhaps you prefer to roleplay as Dr. Maturin? Is all of this not quite so much of a shock as...well...a Surprise?

    If you are a fan of the fantastic epic "Master and Commander--The Far Side Of The World," and you'll be in S.D. for ComiCon, you really need to get down to the San Diego Maritime Museum, the home and "final" resting place of the actual ship used in the film. Born as the "HMS Rose" and used as a sailing teacher and history re-creation vessel, the ship was actually BOUGHT by 20th Century Fox for use in the film, renovated to match the descriptions in the original books, sailed from New England to Baja, California where the same studio (and special effects tank) created for the filming of "Titanic" was its home base during the filming...and then? Well, the film did well, but not well enough to justify the expected sequels (There are 22 books in the Patrick O'Brien series--all of them you MUST READ btw) and so the studio was left owning a very-much worn-out little ship. She was donated to the San Diego Maritime Museum which renovated it further and now has it on display daily and, on special occasions, actually takes her out to sea and you can ride along.  There are other great historic ships to see there, too, including the famous Star of India and a late-cold-war-era Russian submarine, plus other exhibits of seafaring lore. Its a brisk walk from ComicCon on the wharf in the heart of San Diego, and you can get more info at the link below--they're open all day 'til 8pm so perhaps it will make the perfect "break" from the convention center and crowds...not to mention a moment when you can pretend to be Russell Crowe instead of Bruce Wayne.


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