Some wait all year for it. Some dread it with each passing day it grows closer. <p> But no matter how you feel about Comic-Con International, it's nearly here, with the San Diego Convention Center — and multiple surrounding venues — about to be swallowed up by the movie, TV, video game and, yes, comic book industries. <p> It can be intimidating for attendees, whether it's your first time or you're a 20-year veteran. Heck, it can be intimidating even if you're just sitting at home trying to follow along with all of the news coming from the show, which takes place from July 17 to 21. <p> So here we've compiled 10 of the most noteworthy — and likely newsworthy — panels of the convention. Nothing against <I>Veronica Mars</i>, <i>Breaking Bad</i> or Metallica, but for ease in narrowing it down to 10, we're sticking with programming that is either purely comic book-focused, or about a direct adaptation of comic book stuff — TV show, movie, video game, etc. <p> So while there are a lot of things worth your attention happening at Comic-Con this year, here are 10 panels that could very well be breaking some major news.
<i>The Walking Dead</i> is now everything from a board game to a video game to a very popular cable TV drama, but it started out in 2003 as a comic book, one that is still ongoing and continuing to move into unexpected territory. <p> That comic book is being celebrated with a 10th anniversary panel at Comic-Con, featuring series creator Robert Kirkman talking about the book's past, present and future — which, as revealed earlier this month at the Image Expo, involves a 12-issue story titled "All Out War." (<i>4:15 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. Thursday, Room 6A</i>.) <p> And for those looking for the pre-season 4 <i>Walking Dead</i> TV panel, that's at 1:35 p.m. Friday at Hall H.
2009's <i>Batman: Arkham Asylum</i> and 2011's <i>Batman: Arkham City</i> were both major hits, and the the third installment in the series — <i>Batman: Arkham Origins</i> — is scheduled for release this fall. <p> Yet unlike the first two, which were developed by Rocksteady Studios, this game is from Warner Bros. Games Montreal. It also doesn't feature long-time Batman voice actor Kevin Conroy in the title role, with <i>Avengers Assemble</i>'s Roger Craig Smith stepping up to the play the younger version of the Caped Crusader. <p> Fans will get a chance to see and here more about these changes in person, Thursday at Comic-Con. (<i>1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, Room 6BCF</i>.)
Not technically a panel, but the Eisner Awards — full name, "Syfy Presents the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards" — is an annual Comic-Con tradition, with the presentation of what's commonly considered the Oscars of the comic book world. <p> It's open to the public, and will include appearances from Jonathan Ross, Neil Gaiman, <i>Torchwood</i>'s John Barrowman and more. Multiple nominees include <i>Building Stories</i>, <i>Saga</i> (pictured), <i>Hawkeye</i> and <i>Fatale</i>. (<i>8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, Indigo Ballroom, Hilton San Diego Bayfront</i>.)
The Sony/Screen Gems panel Friday at Comic-Con will also include <i>Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2</i>, <I>The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones</i> and <i>RoboCop</i>, but unsurprisingly, what we're most looking forward to is the <i>Amazing Spider-Man 2</i> portion. <p> No <i>Amazing Spider-Man 2</i> talent has yet been announced as specifically participating, but director Marc Webb is a very, very safe bet, with some on-screen stars likely in tow. Also likely, or at least probable — the debut of some footage from the 2014 sequel. (<i>4:05 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. Friday, Hall H</i>.)
While there's no official <i>Avengers 2</i> presence this year at Comic-Con — the movie's still two years away, after all — director/writer Joss Whedon will most definitely be at the show, and taking the spotlight at a panel dedicated to the Dark Horse comics based on his beloved TV shows like <i>Buffy the Vampire Slayer</i>. <p> That alone would be notable, but it's likely that someone will ask something about the new <i>Avengers</i> — or at least <i>Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.</i>, right? And speaking of that upcoming ABC series... (<i>6:15 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. Friday, Ballroom 20</i>.)
The other surefire place to find Joss Whedon at Comic-Con will be at <i>Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.</i> panel on Saturday, where he'll be joined by head of Marvel TV Jeph Loeb to talk about the new show set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, debuting on ABC this fall. <p> Since a pilot has been in the can for months now, footage is likely. And possibly a clue about the character J. August Richards is playing? And while he's not listed, Clark Gregg (Agent Couslon) has been known to make surprise appearances at convention panels before... (<i>1:45 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Friday, Ballroom 20</i>.)
The most newsworthy Marvel panel at most any convention is typically Cup O' Joe, Marvel chief creative officer Joe Quesada's con staple that started during his days as the company's editor-in-chief. <p> Will fans learn more about upcoming events like the recently announced "Inhumanity"? Possibly — but don't forget that <i>Infinity</i> hasn't even started yet, and there likely will be a new project or two announced. <p> Also on Friday, Marvel is hosting an Ultimate Universe panel, which <a href=https://twitter.com/BRIANMBENDIS/status/356621520858132481>Brian Michael Bendis has been hyping on Twitter</a>. (<i>3:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. Friday, Room 6BCF</i>.)
The first comic book superhero turned 75 this year, and DC Comics is celebrating the occasion with a unique Comic-Con panel featuring talent associated with the character from a wide variety of media. <p> Listed participants of "Superman's 75th Anniversary Celebration" include Jack Larson, the 1950s <i>Adventures of Superman</i> Jimmy Olsen, frequent Superman voice actor Tim Daly, current animated Supergirl voice actor Molly Quinn, comic book all-stars Grant Morrison, Dan Jurgens and Paul Levitz, plus unspecified "talent from the current blockbuster, <i>Man of Steel</i>." (<i>4:15 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. Saturday, Room 6A</i>.)
Marvel Studios knows how to make a splash at Comic-Con. In 2010, they debuted the full Avengers cast; last year, they confirmed <i>Guardians of the Galaxy</i>, the full titles of the <i>Thor</i> and <i>Captain America</i> sequels, plus debuted <i>Ant-Man</i> test footage. <p> So what do they have on tap this year? Officially, a look at their next two films on the docket: this November's <i>Thor: The Dark World</i>, and next spring's <i>Captain America: The Winter Soldier</i>. <p> No specific names other than studio president Kevin Feige are billed, but there's no way he's coming alone — and with several untitled Marvel Studios film on the schedule for 2016 and beyond, there's a fair chance some big news might be coming out of this presentation. (<i>6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Saturday, Hall H</i>.)
The official Comic-Con description of Fox's Hall H panel is enigmatic and brief, simply reading, "TBA." <p> So, that's not enough to go on for it to earn the top spot on this list. But recent reports that Fox might be using the panel to disclose more plans on the future of the X-Men movie franchise make the 90 minutes in that big room seem way more conspicuous, especially given last Friday's news that <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/18356-report-kick-ass-2-director-writing-fox-s-x-force-film.html><i>Kick-Ass 2</i> director Jeff Wadlow has been hired to write an <I>X-Force</i> film</a>. <p>Of course, even if that doesn't end up happening, Fox still has a lot going on, with <i>The Wolverine</i> out later this month, <i>X-Men: Days of Future Past</i> in 2014, and a <i>Fantastic Four</i> reboot somewhere on the horizon. (<i>4:15 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. Saturday, Hall H</i>.)