<i>by Graeme McMillan, Newsarama Contributor</i> <p><i>Comic-Con International: San Diego</i> 2012 officially gets underway Wednesday evening, as Preview Night heralds in another four day-and-one-night extravaganza of the best that comics and genre-centric pop culture has to offer. But what should we be expecting from this year's convention? <p>Here are ten things we're looking forward to comics out of sunny Southern California over the next few days. <p><i>Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's <a href=http://www.facebook.com/Newsarama><b>FACEBOOK</b></a> and <a href=http://twitter.com/newsarama><b>TWITTER</b></a>!</i> <p>
This one might be wishful thinking, admittedly; the way that announcements go these days, there are usually hints given out via press release days ahead of time, with news breaking via USA Today or some other outlet before the convention even starts (See: Marvel NOW!, last year's New 52). But wouldn't it be great if we had a repeat of 2009's surprise news that Marvel Comics had bought the rights to Marvelman, a story no one saw coming? Well, without the lack of any substantial follow-up, of course. Here's hoping that this year's Comic-Con manages to bring at least one news story that surprises us, makes us excited and reminds us just how inventive comics can be.
Ongoing Important Topic #2 of recent months: Digital comics. Last week's MonkeyBrain announcement felt like a culmination of events and projects like Greg Rucka and Rick Burchett's <em>Lady Sabre & The Ineffable Aether</eM> and Mark Waid and Peter Krause's <em>Insufferable</em>. Creators we know from print are increasingly turning to digital projects that they own, control and - perhaps most importantly, if less discussed - offer a chance to work outside of the superhero genre. It'd be very surprising if we don't hear announcements of more things like this during the convention, especially as Waid has been teasing some Thrillbent news...
Another familiar SDCC game has been "What indie book will be announcing a movie/TV deal?" This year, though, things might be different: With issues of creator-ownership and creator rights being a hot topic of discussion for months now, the hot "new <em>Walking Dead</em>" of the con is more likely to be an actual comic book that's getting attention for being creator-owned, reader-friendly, and poised to crossover into the non-comic-book mainstream. <p>What do you think? <em>Saga</em>? <em>Fatale</em>?
Over the last few years, Robert Kirkman's Image series has become synonymous with San Diego Comic-Con, especially as AMC's television version came into being. With this year's show coinciding not only with #100 of the long-running comic, but also <a href="http://www.thewalkingdeadescape.com/">The Walking Dead Escape</a>, this may be the year that San Diego really does feel like a zombiepocalypse.
Remember the days when San Diego meant announcement after announcement of creators being signed to exclusive deals by either Marvel or DC? With competition between the two heating back up thanks to the success of the New 52 and <em>Avengers Vs. X-Men</em>, don't be too surprised to hear that certain writers and artists are making themselves comfortable with particular publishers for the next few years.
We're still months away from the debut of DC's "third wave" of New 52 titles, but with Marvel NOW! on the horizon, it'd be unusual for DC not to have some kind of big announcement up its collective sleeve as some kind of reminder that Marvel's not the only big publisher that can shake things up. <p>A release date for the much-promised <em>Multiversity</em>, perhaps? Some more details about <em>Trinity War</em>? An announcement about where Jim Lee is going post-<em>Justice League</em>...?
Last year's Comic-Con brought some tense moments for DC Comics creators, editors and executives as fans complained about the lack of female creators in the then-just-announced New 52 relaunch. With this year's show being the first major convention since fans have had a chance to read <em>Before Watchmen</em> for themselves, should we be bracing ourselves for more awkward moments at panels as creator rights and ownership issues are brought up?
While we're on the subject of movies: With Christopher Nolan's final Batman movie less than two weeks away, there's almost no chance that <em>The Dark Knight Rises</em> won't have a major presence at SDCC this year, even if it's just in terms of floor buzz. Given previous con surprises, however, is it too much to expect a secret advance screening or two of the movie for fans?
Talking of things that Marvel can be fairly safely expected to announce at SDCC, here's hoping that we finally get the official announcement of what Marvel's second 2014 movie release will be. Everyone seems to believe that it's <em>Guardians of The Galaxy</em>, but there's always the chance of a last-minute curveball...
We know that Marvel will spend four months relaunching the majority of its line with new first issues and new creative teams, but outside of a handful of titles, we don't know who goes where, and what kind of new things we should be expecting. The chances of Marvel passing up the opportunity to reveal, if not <em>all</em>, then at least <em>a lot</em> between now and Sunday seems fairly unlikely.