SDCC: Comic-Con 2011 Preview – What Looks Good

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Comic-Con International–the one in San Diego, not to be confused with the dozens of others–is less than a month away and of course, ComingSoon.net and SuperHeroHype will be there in force just like in previous years to make sure our readers who can’t make it out there for one reason or another will be kept in the loop about what looks good.

Jordan Hoffman of UGO has graciously assembled the best and brightest from around the web to give their own thoughts on what can’t be missed, which got us thinking about what we’re hoping to see next month.

Of course, we’re very excited to see what Marc Webb, helmer of (500) Days of Summer) will bring to Marvel Comics’ greatest superhero, The Amazing Spider-Man. Other than a few scattered set photos, we’ve seen nothing from the movie, and we have no idea if Andrew Garfield can pull off a Peter Parker as well as Tobey Maguire. We already know that Webb can handle all of the relationship and drama but will he offer the type of action we’ve come to expect from Raimi’s three movies? We’re also curious about some of the other more mysterious characters like the handling of The Lizard, played by Rhys Ifans.

This year’s Comic-Con also marks the return of Neveldine & Taylor with Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, which comes out in February 2012. We first met these crazy guys at Comic-Con in 2006 when they brought their first movie Crank there, and if they can bring the same sort of sensibilities to the return of Nicolas Cage as old Flamehead, this is going to be a very different type of Marvel Comics movie.

Having read the first volume of Suzanne Collins’ trilogy and being well into the second, I can definitely see The Hunger Games being one of those movies that takes people by surprise, especially with a filmmaker of Gary Ross’ caliber behind it. The cast looks great and Comic-Con would be a great time to introduce those who haven’t read the book to this post-apocalyptic world where teenagers are forced to fight in survival games to the death for the amusement of the rich people of the Capitol. It’s the latest movie to announce that it won’t be having a presence in Hall H, but if we can get any cool stuff from the Lionsgate panel or enter their “win a set visit” contest while at Comic-Con, count us in!

Director Peter Jackson has over a year before he really has to show anything from his The Hobbit duology, which has been shooting for a few months, but with the number of pictures that have already turned up, we expect that he’s anxious to share some of the first footage with the fans at the annual festival where they’ll be in force. I still remember being at Comic-Con last year where TheOneRing.net was having a panel talking about the status of The Hobbit and it looked so doubtful it would happen back then so a lot of people are excited to see Jackson returning to his magnum opus.

We can’t say much about what we know about Marvel Studios’ plans for The Avengers at Comic-Con, but with Captain America: The First Avenger opening that same weekend, we can’t imagine they won’t have something to show even if they’re not going to be taking up time in Hall H, as previously announced. We’ll be happy if they show a poster or have something at the ever-present Marvel booth.

Jon Favreau is one of those filmmakers who just owns at Comic-Con along with Guillermo del Toro and Edgar Wright, and with his new movie Cowboys & Aliens–based on a comic book no less!–opening a week later, we have high expectations for what they have planned there. We missed the Hall H panel last year and had to listen to all the excitement from outside the doors, but this year, the movie has graduated to the San Diego Civic Theatre, which would be a cool place to see the movie if we can get into the premiere.

For the next one, I’ll need a bit of a preface, because anyone who has been reading this site for a number of years will already know that I’m not a fan of “The Twilight Saga” by any means. In fact, it’s probably been the exact opposite of something I’d call “anticipated” at Comic-Con, since the fans tend to mob Hall H, shutting out anyone who wants to see other, cooler things. But what sets the last chapter Breaking Dawn apart is that it’s directed by Bill Condon, the director of Oscar-bait like Dreamgirls, Kinsey and Gods and Monsters, and we have the utmost confidence he can get great performances out of the cast. We’ll be really curious what he’ll be showing, making it our very first Comic-Con “Twilight” panel (if we can even get in).

Just in general, I’m always hoping the studios will take advantage of the number of potential moviegoers that attend Comic-Con each year to really go out of their way to wow us. Even if it doesn’t immediately increase a movie’s box office potential, just giving the fans a chance to see some cool stuff makes it worth the price of admission that most of them are paying to attend.

Then again, as much as I want to see footage and hopefully hear some announcements about future superhero movies, Comic-Con is one of the best socializing and networking places for people who want to write about movies or genre-fare, and more than anything, I’m looking forward to spending time with people I don’t normally get to see year-round. People like Garth Franklin from Dark Horizons and Vic from ScreenRant, as well as many of the Los Angeles-based publicists who I rarely get to see in person. Anyone who spends any amount of time online or communicating with people via Email, Twitter and Facebook is aware that it’s just not the same as talking to people face-to-face, and Comic-Con is the perfect place to put faces and voices to the names. One can expect there will be lots of drinking and we’re hoping that we can find the time to get another poker game going ’cause that was fun last year.

That’s it for now, but look for our complete coverage in mid-July.

And as promised, here is a taste of what a bunch of our colleagues on the web have to say about their Comic-Con hopes and dreams (as Werner Herzog might put it):

Kellvin Chavez of Latino Review says “At this year’s convention, with the absence of Marvel Studios, what I really want to see is The Amazing Spider-Man and Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance… which technically is also Marvel, so there will actually be a Marvel presence. I want to see the new take on Spider-Man and how crazy Ghost Rider will be with Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor directing. And let’s not forget The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1!

Ryan Fujitani and Matt Atchity of Rotten Tomatoes say, “So much to do, so little time. I want to get into the ‘Cowboys & Aliens’ premiere. I want to hear fans’ thoughts on DC’s Flashpoint initiative. I’m also going to go to the Marvel booth to demand to know why my MDCU subscription isn’t available on the iPad comics apps.”

The ScreenRant team had “big hopes for Comic-Con 2011 – hopes that were a bit dashed when we learned that some big comic book films like The Avengers wouldn’t be getting major presentations this year. We have our fingers crossed that Zack Snyder’s Superman reboot Man of Steel will have some kind of presence at the convention, but failing that, we’re eager to see if The Amazing Spider-Man is truly a worthy reboot of the franchise.”

Don Kaye from MSN’s Parallel Universe says, “I’m looking forward to the big Dark Knight Rises and Man of Steel presen — oh, wait, those aren’t happening? Okay, then I’m really psyched for the Avengers panel in Hall H and — er, I guess they’re not showing up either. You know what? I’m just looking forward to being surprised by something — like I am every year.”

The sentient robots and/or brain-in-a-vat that is io9 communicates, “The whole io9 staff will be in San Diego, covering the big new movies and TV shows, along with astonishing art, dazzling cosplay, and mindbending books. Check out the reviews, interviews, and previews on io9’s Comic-Con 2011 page.”

Jordan Hoffman of UGO wonders, “What exactly does a studio mean when they say they’ll have a presence, but not a panel, at Comic-Con? I wanna see how The Avengers pulls this off, and I also wanna see Tarsem Singh dazzles the crowd with his comedy act during the Immortals panel. And I sure as hell hope I get in that elevator of two dozen women dressed like Power Girl like I did last year… or was that a dream?”

Josh Wigler of MTV Movies Blog states, Three words: Game of Thrones. Next season is based on “Clash of Kings,” and with it comes more betrayals, more boobs and more blood. Very psyched for any and all new footage (Blackwater!) and casting announcements (Melisandre!) that HBO’s bringing to Comic-Con this year.

Brooke Tarnoff and Breanne L. Heldman, Hit-Girls/Senior Editors of MTV’s NextMovie.com, are heading to San Diego for cowboys, aliens and Cowboys & Aliens. In addition to catching Favreau’s sneak preview, the ladies are most psyched to experience the record-setting decibel levels at the Twilight panel — and will fight to the death, if necessary, to get their hands on Hunger Games intel.

Kristal Bailey will be trekking down to San Diego Comic Con for Gordon and the Whale. She’s a long time attendee, but this is her first year as press. She loves the Hall H panels and Kevin Smith’s long talk, but this year with so many big titles bowing out (see: SUPERMAN, BATMAN, AVENGERS), she’s most excited for the smaller movies she’s haven’t even heard of yet. “There’s always a handful that blow me away and get me excited for the year of genre movies to come!”

Jim Littler of ComicBookMovie.com says, “With many of the major comic book movies bowing out this year (The Dark Knight Rises, Man of Steel, The Avengers, etc.), ComicBookMovie.com’s reporters are going to have some free time to browse this year — and check out all the cosplayer hotties. Be sure to come by the site to see our massive gallery.”

Rick Marshall of MTV’s Splash Page says, I’m hoping to finally see some footage from The Amazing Spider-Man that isn’t recorded on someone’s cell phone, because I need something to wipe the memory of Spider-Man 3 from my mind. I’m also really looking forward to seeing the Locke & Key pilot at IDW’s panel on Friday, since it might be our only chance to find out what we’re missing.

Movies.com, under the new leadership of former Cinematical Editor-in-Chief Erik Davis, will be “assembling a host of movie geeks like David Ehrlich, Todd Gilchrist and himself to storm the Comic-Con castle in the hopes of rescuing a princess… or reporting the same story everyone else is, only five minutes faster and with twice the big words, whichever is easier.”

Chris Carle of IGN reminds us that, “it’s TV’s big year at SDCC and I personally can’t wait to see what’s happening with Game of Thrones. This should be a huge, happy hug fest for fans, and a big ìWe Did It!î moment for creators and producers. Also, Fringe. I’m jonesing to get a look at the revamped Beavis and Butthead, and the new ThunderCats, and curious about Locke & Key and Alcatraz. Despite a reduced movies presence, The Amazing Spider-Man has us intrigued; hopefully, it can follow in the footsteps of the X-Men reboot.”

Film School Rejects is hitting the sunny beaches of San Diego to relax, drink fruity drinks, and occasionally see whether or not there’s anything going on at the convention center. Their Comic-Con Hit Squad plans on setting up tents inside Hall H, pestering Steven Soderbergh for interviews (at least seven), and finding the most interesting angles on the best stories coming out of the Con.

The succinct but lovable Mike Sampson of JoBlo.com says, “I can’t wait to see what The Amazing Spider-Man looks like, especially in 3D. And with any luck, they’ll officially reveal the villain…”

Steve “Frosty” Weintraub at Collider.com is looking forward to hanging out with his fellow nerds and arguing about George Lucas, the Twilight fans, and what was the coolest footage in Hall H.

Danile Hubschman of Hollywood.com says “Many of the films I was most anticipating to see at Comic-Con will not be there at all, but luckily The Amazing Spider-Man will. A first look at the new beginning of this beloved franchise will no doubt be the highlight of the Con, but I’m also giddy about potential small screen hits like Person of Interest and Terra Nova, in addition to blockbuster titles like Cowboys and Aliens and Fright Night.”

Katey Rich from CinemaBlend says, “I’m excited about all the potential for studios to plan something out of the ordinary this year, like the Cowboys & Aliens premiere or whatever Marvel is cooking up for the show floor. Hall H can be great, but it’s time to change up the formula, and I’m hoping studios are planning a lot more unusual stuff than we know about so far.”

Greg Ellwood of HitFix is “on pins and needles to see whether Comic-Con will finally put some of the massively popular TV shows such as True Blood” or “Game of Thrones in Hall H. It’s been too long that fans have to wait for hours to try to get into Ballroom 20 only to never had a shot in the first place. There are definitely some movie panels that would seem more packed in Ballroom 20. There is no reason they can’t mix both halls up with TV and movie content.”

That’s it for now. Look for our full Comic-Con coverage in the next month and kicking into high gear on July 23