A Home Video Geek’s Guide To Comic Con 2013

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Comic Con has been my favorite week of the year for the past twenty years. Since 1992, I’ve gone every year, almost each and every day. There have been a few hears here and there where I missed a day due to work or family obligations.

Since I’ve been covering the convention for the site since 2010, I’ve experienced it in a whole new way. Apart from meeting friends and followers from the Internet, I’ve been able to go to press conferences and interviews.

This year for Comic Con, I’m going to try my best to cover the event from the angle that most of our readers look at the world of geek news online: with a home video filter.

You might hear folks complain about how lame it is to go to Comic Con and sit in Hall H for the weekend, getting exclusive teases and whatnot. Until you’ve experienced that yourself, it’s hard to judge. As I mentioned in my preview podcast with David Bax, there are still neat things that they screen in Hall H that remain exclusive for those who were sitting in the hall that day (like the Godzilla tease last year).

I’ve gone through the schedule and picked out panels for each day of the convention that I think you, our readers, would enjoy attending (assuming you have most of my geeky home video sensibilities).

Some of the following are stretching the rules a bit, but I tried to keep everything relevant. I tried to avoid most of the stuff in Hall H, but I think RoboCop, Godzilla, and Terry Gilliam’s awesome daughter Amy will all be worth the time it takes to wait in line.

I’m sure I’ve left stuff out, so I’ll turn the comments on in case anyone wants to promote a particular panel that has some home video / Criterion-related material in it.

Besides panels, make sure you find the Shout! Factory booth (4248), the Mondo Tees booth, and many more. Mondo will have all kinds of Pacific Rim, Godzilla, and related prints. Fox is going to have tons of exclusive discs that you can purchase and pre-order. Universal is promoting their upcoming Blu-ray release of Oblivion. You’re going to be able to pre-order the upcoming Blu-ray of From Up On Poppy Hill from Cinedigm, who may or may not have a rad treat for you.

If you’ve never been to Comic Con before, make sure you allow yourself plenty of time to wander the sales floor. Check out the bootleg DVD booths, that one booth that has every old tv and movie soundtrack on cd, and all of the booths with incredible posters and film art.

There is a lot going on this year for the modern home video geek, and I am incredibly excited to see what else I find.

If you’re heading to San Diego this week, feel free to tweet at me, or our @CriterionCast Twitter account. I’ll be at our meet-up on Thursday night and certainly at the panels listed below.

Thursday

12:45pm – 1:30pm // Room 6A

Hanna-Barbera

After a pair of droids set the world on fire in a galaxy far, far away, Hanna-Barbera reconvened their super-terrific Sixties space superheroes for a second round of intergalactic adventures.

Warner Archive Collection presents a look at the legacy of Space Ghost and the Herculoids, preview the upcoming release of Space Stars, take a detour to examine everyone’s favorite pre-historic superhero Captain Caveman, and discuss a very special upcoming Blu-ray release.

Join WAC Podcast hosts Matthew Patterson and DW Ferranti and notable guests James Tucker (Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox) and Steven Melching (Batman: The Brave and the Bold) for this entertaining survey of some truly super-toons.

4:00pm – 5:00pm // Room 5AB

The Digital Bits: Blu-ray Producers 2013

*Bill Hunt, Adam Jahnke, and Todd Doogan of The Digital Bits.com host a panel discussion and Q&A with leading independent and indie studio producers of Blu-ray extras.

Panelists include Brian Ward (Shout!/Scream Factory), Charles de Lauzirika (Pain and Gain, Prometheus, The Amazing Spider-Man), Robert Meyer Burnett (Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Enterprise), Cliff Stephenson (Escape Plan, The Vatican Tapes, The Hunger Games), Eric D. Wilkinson (of Kino Lorber), Warner Archive, and others.

4:45pm – 5:45pm // Room 6BCF

I Know That Voice: The Documentary: Special Preview and Q&A

John DiMaggio (executive producer of IKTV, also voice of Bender from Futurama, Jake The Dog from Adventure Time, IFC’s Out There, and many more) brings the cast and crew of IKTV together for an exclusive sneak peek at the most anticipated film about voice-over (in animation and video games) ever made!

Included in the panel are Billy West (Futurama, Ren and Stimpy), Rob Paulsen (TMNT, Pinky and the Brain), Dee Bradley Baker (Clone Wars, Ben 10, American Dad), Fred Tatasciore (Hulk, Ben 10, Mad), Tom Kenny (Spongebob Squarepants, Brickleberry), Andrea Romano (25-time Emmy nominee, 8-time Emmy winner for Animaniacs, Pinky and the Brain, and more), Tommy Reid (producer, IKTV), and Lawrence Shapiro (director, IKTV).

5:00pm – 6:00pm // Room 9

The Legendary Animators of Classic ’60s Cartoons

Legendary and award-winning animators Bob Singer (character and background designer, Bugs Bunny/Scooby Doo), Art Leonardi (designer/director, Pink Panther), Willie Ito (layout artist/Bugs Bunny, Flintstones), and Iraj Paran (character and title designer, Super Friends, Josie and the Pussycats), share their vast experience shaping animation history and creating hundreds of classic characters and cartoons we love from Disney, Warner Brothers, and Hanna Barbera, with over 100 years of experience among them. Leslie Combemale of ArtInsights Animation and Film Art Gallery moderates.

5:10pm – 5:40pm // Hall H

Voltage Pictures: An Exclusive Preview of The Zero Theorem, Directed by Terry Gilliam

An eccentric and reclusive computer genius plagued with existential angst works on a mysterious project aimed at discovering the purpose of existence ­or the lack thereof­ once and for all. However, it is only once he experiences the power of love and desire that he is able to understand his very reason for being. Appearing on stage to introduce the special early look at this new film and take your questions are producers Zev Foreman (Killer Joe) and Dean Zanuck (Get Low), and Terry’s daughter Amy Gilliam, who worked on the film. Moderated by Gina McIntyre of the LA Times’ Hero Complex.

5:30pm – 6:30pm // Room 24ABC

Funimation Industry Panel

Get the latest news (and the chance to win some swag). With blockbuster titles such as Akira, Dragon Ball Z, Fullmetal Alchemist, and One Piece, the FUNimation catalog features anime for both hardcore and casual fans.

8:15pm – 9:15pm // Room 6DE

Robotech Industry Panel

Tommy Yune, director of Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles and Steve Yun, screenwriter of Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles showcase all the latest live-action and animated Robotech projects in production.

Friday

1:30pm – 2:30pm // Room 24ABC

Warner Archive Collection presents Attack of the Killer Bs

The movies you hate to admit you love-and the Warner Archive unabashedly adores- get their overdue marquee moment as panelists shine the spotlight on some of the very best of the B-movies-all those quirky and crazed sci-fi, horror, and action films that transcend their B-movie-ness to become permanent fixtures in our collective imaginations. From The Frozen Dead and The Green Slime to The Hand and The Beast with Five Fingers; from Joe Don Baker waging a one-man war in Mitchell to Peter Graves leading the 5-Man Army in an impossible gold train robbery; these B’s (and many more) will get the TLC they greatly deserve as part of an hour-long discussion of B- movies and the reasons we love them. Join ever-informed, fan-centric WAC Podcast hosts George Feltenstein, Matthew Patterson, and D. W. Ferranti, super-critic Leonard Maltin, and Academy Award-nominated screenwriter Josh Olson (A History of Violence) as they delve into cinematic fun, revealing highlights from WAC’s upcoming slate of entertaining releases.

2:45pm – 3:45pm // Room 5AB

Spotlight on Bruce Timm

Comic-Con special guest Bruce Timm is a legend in the world of animation. Starting with Batman: The Animated Series in 1992, Timm’s name on a Warner Bros. Animation project has become synonymous with a faithful- but entirely original-translation of DC Comics characters from the comic page to the TV screen. Timm’s award-winning work includes Superman, Justice League, Batman Beyond, and Teen Titans, as well as executive producer of a series of original DC Universe animated movies whose premieres have packed Comic-Con panel rooms over the past six years, since Superman/Doomsday in 2007.

4:05pm – 6:15pm // Hall H

RoboCop (Sony / Screen Gems)

In RoboCop, the year is 2028 and multinational conglomerate OmniCorp is at the center of robot technology. Join stars Joel Kinnaman, Abbie Cornish, and Samuel L. Jackson along with director José Padilha for insight into this eagerly awaited movie.

5:45pm – 6:45pm // Room 6BCF

Making Roger Rabbit: 25th Anniversary

The making of Who Framed Roger Rabbit is revealed with a world class panel of animators led by legendary producer Don Hahn and featuring a special appearance by the voice of Roger Rabbit himself, Charles Fleisher.

The panel includes animation masters Andreas Deja and James Baxter, animator/writer/historian Tom Sito, and special effx wizard Dave Bossert, along with incredible clips and stories from the making of this classic film.

6:30pm – 7:30pm //Room 24ABC

Scream Factory in the Bloody Flesh!

Launched in June 2012, Shout Factory’s Scream Factory DVD and Blu-ray division devoted to fan-favorite retro horror and sci-fi films has taken on a life of its own. With classic titles such as They Live, The Howling, and Lifeforce already out, Scream Factory is just the place for horror aficionados.

Cliff MacMillan (Scream Factory DVD producer) and Jeff Nelson (Scream Factory marketing director) take you behind the scenes, introduce exclusive footage, and announce future releases. Also featured is special “Scream Queen” actress Adrienne Barbeau (Creepshow), to coincide with the Blu-ray releases of John Carpenter’s The Fog and Wes Craven’s Swamp Thing. Moderated by Sean Clark (host, Horror’s Hallowed Grounds).

7:00pm – 8:00pm // Room 4

Drew Struzan: The Man Behind the Poster

Movie poster artist Drew Struzan (creator of the Star Wars, Back to the Future, and Indiana Jones movie posters) is joined by celebrity guests and the film crew behind the documentary feature film about his career, set to premiere this summer. Enjoy movie clips, poster giveaways, and free movie tickets.

7:30pm – 9:30pm // Ballroom 20

World Premiere of Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, DC Entertainment, and Warner Bros. Animation invite you to be the first to experience Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, the highly anticipated next entry in the ongoing series of DC Universe Animated Original Movies. Come for the film, but stay for the star-studded panel. Moderator Gary Miereanu will add to the fun with a special announcement of the 2014 DCU movie slate, as well as exclusive, cast-autographed prizes for a few lucky fans.

7:45pm – 8:45pm // Room 8

Your Opinion Sucks! Rotten Tomatoes Critics vs. Fans

Face off with your favorite Rotten Tomatoes critics such as Leonard Maltin (Badass Film Critic and historian), Ben Lyons (Extra), and Scott Mantz (Access Hollywood) when they join editor-in-chief Matt Atchity and senior editor Grae Drake of Rotten Tomatoes along with their editorial team. As Matt and Grae name popular movies of 2012 and 2013, everyone in the room uses their “Personal Tomatometer Paddle” to dis/agree with the score-and debate questions such as “Do reviews even matter anymore?” Courageous members of the audience who openly debate their opinion with the critics receive super cool prizes!

8:15pm – 9:15pm // Room 6BCF

Worst Cartoons Ever!

Presented by Jerry Beck (CartoonResearch.com) returns with an all new program of some of the worst cartoons ever made, including more episodes of Phys Ed super-hero Mighty Mr. Titan, space cadet Johnny Cypher and some of those 1960s Marvel Super Heroes cartoons. Have a ball with the best/bad animation ever!

9:30pm – 11:30pm // Room 6BCF

Spike & Mike’s Sick & Twisted Gauntlet of Animation

You, the lunatic fringe of society, vote on the new Sick & Twisted films, love or hate! See the craziest, most grossed-out, gut wrenching, bloodthirsty, sexy, and hilarious animated short films the world has to offer. Highlights include films from around the world: My Bloody Lad, Pool Cat, and more. Please note: adult content.

Saturday

10:00am – 11:00am // Room 29A

Behind the Creatures

Kirk R. Tatcher (Return of the Jedi, Gremlins, Star Trek IV, The Muppets) and Tony McVey (The Dark Crystal, Return of the Jedi, Gremlins, The Phantom Menace) relive their greatest behind-the-scenes stories from your favorite movies, including the Rancor that never was and Captain Kirk’s surprise. Moderated by Sean Murphy.

10:45am – 1:15pm // Hall H

Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures Preview Their Upcoming Lineups

Legendary Pictures: Godzilla

An epic rebirth to Toho’s iconic Godzilla, this spectacular adventure pits the world’s most famous monster against malevolent creatures who, bolstered by humanity’s scientific arrogance, threaten our very existence.

Warner Bros. Pictures: Gravity

From director Alfonso Cuarón comes the sci-fi Thriller Gravity, starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney.

12:00pm – 12:45pm // Ballroom 20

Futurama

An epic panel for the ages will celebrate Futurama’s latest and greatest final season. On hand will be most or all of Futurama’s legendary voice cast, consisting of Billy West, John DiMaggio, Katey Sagal, Maurice LaMarche, Tress MacNeille, David Herman, Phil LaMarr, and Lauren Tom, performing never-before-heard scenes from the upcoming “Last Episode Ever.”

3:00pm – 4:00pm // Lyceum

Pinky and the Brain 20th Anniversary Voice Reunion

Celebrate one of the all-time funniest animated series when the original voices of the silly simpleton Pinky and his uber-genius pal Brain, Rob Paulsen and Maurice LaMarche, join eight-time Emmy Award-winning dialogue director Andrea Romano for an hour of hilarious reminiscing.

3:30pm – 4:30pm // Room 24ABC

Spotlight on Paul Dini

As a writer, producer, and creator, Comic-Con special guest Paul Dini enjoys a flourishing career in all aspects of popular culture. Join Paul and moderator Bill Morrison (Futurama, Bongo Comics) as they look back at fan-favorite career highlights (Batman: The Animated Series, Arkham City, Lost, Tower Prep), some current projects (Hulk and the Agents of Smash, Black Canary and Zatanna), and a few surprises for the future.

5:00pm – 6:00pm // Room 28DE

Name That Movie

When you enter the room, write your name on the card provided and drop it in the Magic Film Can. If your name is chosen (among 4 contestants), your job is to name as many fun clips as you can! The genre of clips you will see are in the sci-fi, horror and fantasy categories. Whoever names the most clips by the end of the show, wins! There will be prizes for first, second, third, and even fourth place winners! That’s not all; the audience will get a chance to guess those clips that the contestants can’t! Audience members get cool prizes as well.

5:30pm – 6:30pm // Room 26AB

Star Trek Enterprise Bridge Restoration and Sci-Fi Museum

NewStarship.com founder Huston Huddleston and his restoration team Doug Drexler (DS9, Battlestar Galactica), David Gerrold (writer, Star Trek TOS, TNG), Larry Nemecek (writer/historian, Star Trek), and surprise guests discuss this massive project that began with fans saving a discarded Paramount-built touring set and turning it into what will become the world’s first interactive educational Sci-Fi Museum.

5:45pm – 6:45pm // Room 6DE

Batman: The Animated Series Turns 21

Pop the champagne! The landmark television production Batman: The Animated Series turns 21 this year. Spend an hour with the creative core of this groundbreaking series – Bruce Timm, Paul Dini, Alan Burnett, and Eric Radomski – as they recollect the dynamics of crafting a series that would have a resounding influence on Dark Knight properties – and the entire animated television landscape – for two decades and counting.

6:00pm – 7:00pm // Indigo Ballroom

Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey

More than three decades after the debut of Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, Carl Sagan’s stunning and iconic exploration of the universe as revealed by science, Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey sets off on a new voyage for the stars. Renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson joins writer/executive producer Ann Druyan and executive producer/director Brannon Braga (Star Trek franchise, 24) to debut an exclusive first look at the new “Ship of the Imagination,” followed by a Q&A.

6:00pm – 7:00pm // Room 5AB

Spotlight on Leonard Maltin

He’s been called America’s most knowledgeable film critic and historian, and he’s the author of more than a dozen books on motion pictures and animation, in addition to his annual (and bestselling) Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide, a book no lover of film can be without. This year, he’s a Comic-Con special guest and for this hour, Leonard Maltin will be interviewed by his longtime friend Mark Evanier.

Sunday

10:00am – 11:00am // Room 25ABC

DuckTales: Remastered

How do you take a beloved 24-year-old NES game and update it for today’s gamers while doing your best not to ruin anyone’s childhood? Go behind the scenes with Austin Ivansmith (director/designer), Matt Bozon (creative director), and Rey Jimenez (Capcom producer) for an in-depth look at how a great video game is made – from design, to art, to music, and more. Followed by a Q&A session, plus maybe a surprise or two.

10:00am – 5:00pm // Room 9

San Diego International Children’s Film Festival

The San Diego International Children’s Film Festival presents creative, exciting, and imaginative short films from around the world – animation, live action, and documentary – good for all ages, throughout the day. Enjoy films from the U.S., Canada, Italy, Hungary, Croatia, Japan, Australia, Singapore, Spain, and beyond. Animators and filmmakers will talk about their work, ways kids can make their own films, and careers in animation and filmmaking.

10:00am – 11:00am // Marriott Hall 2

Comic-Con Film School 104: Postproduction and Distribution

The final day of our comprehensive course on microbudget moviemaking revolves around what to do after your movie is shot. Panelists will go over the basics of postproduction on your home computer; what software to use for editing, graphic design, sound design, and visualFX; and finally, how to burn your finished product to DVD and upload it to the Internet.

11:30am – 12:45pm // Room 6A

Cartoon Voices #2

Yesterday’s Cartoon Voices Panel will have been such a hit that we’ll have to do another one with different but equally talented actors from the world of animation voicing. Once again, moderator Mark Evanier has assembled an all-star dais that includes Bob Bergen (Porky Pig), Alicyn Packard (The Mr. Men Show, Poppy Cat), Maurice LaMarche (Futurama, Pinky and the Brain), Candi Milo (Dexter’s Laboratory, Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends), Neil Ross (G.I. Joe, The Transformers), and maybe someone else.

12:00pm – 1:00pm //Room 29A

Browncoats Meet-up

There’s no better way to share your love for Firefly, and it’s a lot more practical than starting a fight in an Alliance-friendly bar on U-day.

12:30pm – 1:30pm // Hall H

BBC America’s Doctor Who 50th Anniversary

BBC America presents the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary panel featuring Doctor Who stars Matt Smith and Jenna Coleman, award-winning lead writer and executive producer Steven Moffat, An Adventure in Space and Time star David Bradley, and award-winning writer/executive producer Mark Gatiss. The Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special will premiere November 23, on BBC America.

2:00pm – 3:00pm // Room 7AB

25 Years of the Disney Afternoon: The Continuing Legacy

Life is like a hurricane! Spin it! When there’s trouble, you call D.W.! It’s been more than 25 years since Disney Afternoon debuted on television screens, and the impact of “the golden age of Disney TV Animation” is still felt today. Let’s get dangerous with Tad Stones (creator, Darkwing Duck, Chip n’ Dale Rescue Rangers), Jymn Magon (DuckTales, creator of Talespin), Bob Schooley (co-creator, Kim Possible, co-ex producer Penguins of Madagascar), Rob Paulsen (voice actor, Darkwing Duck, Animaniacs), and Aaron Sparrow (Darkwing Duck: The Duck Knight Returns) for raucous recollections and never-before-heard stories!

2:15pm – 3:15pm // Room 6A

World Premiere of Tom and Jerry’s Giant Adventure

Wind down Comic-Con with everyone’s favorite cat-and-mouse combo in an all-new original movie, Tom and Jerry’s Giant Adventure. The voice cast includes Tom Wilson, Garrison Keillor, Paul Reubens, and Grey DeLisle. Producers/directors Spike Brandt (The Looney Tunes Show) and Tony Cervone (The Looney Tunes Show), and seven-time Eisner Award-winning screenwriter Paul Dini (Batman: The Animated Series) will be on hand to present the film, which will be released by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment as a Blu-ray Combo Pack and a digital download on August 6.

3:30pm – 4:30pm // Room 6BCF

Buffy the Musical Once More with Feeling

Let’s end this show with a bang! The powers that be behind Whedonopolis and Fandom Charities present a screening of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer musical episode Once More with Feeling as Comic-Con’s big closing event! Many say this is the finest, funniest, most ingenious episode ever to come out of the Buffyverse. But remember, the best part of the show is up to you! This episode was made for talkin’ – back, that is – and singing and shouting and dancing in the aisles, with or without your dry cleaning! Audience participation: It isn’t just for Rocky Horror and mob riots anymore.

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