San Diego Comic-Con For People Who Don’t Read Comic Books

The world-famous San Diego Comic-Con began in 1970 under the less-catchy name Golden State Comic Book Convention. Just 300 people showed. 29 years later, it’s an explosion of merch, fanboys and fangrrls in or out of costume, video game goodies, movie marketing and boatloads of journalists.

Even before last year’s “Twilight” mayhem, Comic-Con was a big attraction for major movie studios looking for a captive audience. People eager to see teaser trailers and watch panels featuring their favorite directors and actors. Superhero flicks or not, it’s all about the geek culture.

Even though the hardcore comics fans groan about their hallowed halls being invaded by stampeding game geeks and RPattz fans, it’s really win-win for everyone. As movies, comic books and video games become increasingly intertwined, it’s only natural that the wider film-loving would be as interested in Neil Gaiman as they are in Guillermo del Toro. So even if you’re not on the hunt for a mint condition “Swamp Thing” signed by Alan Moore, there’s still plenty for you movie fans to see and do.

Some of the most anticipated footage this year is from James Cameron’s 3-D IMAX opus “Avatar,” which will possibly blow the top off of everyone’s cranium with its liquidy sci-fi goodness. Cameron, producer Jon Landau and various cast members will be on hand as well.

Walt Disney is getting in on the 3-D action with plenty of footage from upcoming flicks “A Christmas Carol,” “Alice In Wonderland,” and the “Tron” sequel, as well as a panel featuring directors Robert Zemeckis and Tim Burton, “Tron 2″ producer Sean Bailey and Steve Lisberger, the writer of “Tron” and its sequel. They’ll also be showing off a new 3-D version of the childhood classic “Beauty and the Beast,” a “Toy Story” double feature, and the super-cool new Miyazaki film “Ponyo.”

Naturally there will be plenty of “Twilight” to go around. Look for footage from “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” along with Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner. They’ll be the ones being screamed at. Last I heard, someone brought a mattress to camp out outside of Hall H, the “Twilight” panel’s home.

Looking for some horror to chill yer bones? You’ll want to check out “Pandorum,” which will be coming atcha with some cool new scenes and a panel of stars. will be posting ’em as soon as they arrive, so keep your eyes peeled for this new one from the producers of the “Resident Evil” trilogy.

Another highly anticipated flick at Comic-Con is director Terry Gilliam’s “The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus,” starring Heath Ledger, Johnny Depp, Jude Law, supermodel Lily Cole, singer Tom Waits and many more. A totally tripped-out journey into an alternate universe that I’m dying to see!

I’m also chomping at the bit to see “District 9,” the Peter Jackson-produced apocalyptic alien flick directed by Neill Blomkamp. Both will be there to answer questions. Word has it that there will also be some sort of secret screening of the film, but good luck finding it!

Finally we have two super-awesome indie faves. There’s “Paper Heart,” starring the friggin’ adorable and hilarious Charlyne Yi, who crosses the country in her quest to learn the meaning of love. Let’s also not forget Mike Judge’s return to the big screen: “Extract,” starring Jason Bateman, a bearded Ben Affleck and Mila Kunis in this most welcome comeback from the creator of “Office Space” and “Beavis and Butthead.” MTV Movies Editor Josh Horowitz will moderate the panel, putting your own questions to stars Judge, Bateman, Kunis, and Kristen Wiig.

For a little more booty-kickin’, there’s also “Ninja Assassin” from “V for Vendetta” director James McTeigue. Don’t believe you need to see some ninjas assassinating folks? Take a look at MTV’s exclusive trailer and then get back to me.

MTV will be rolling out a ton of interviews over the next few weeks from pretty much every big name in attendance at the ’Con, so stay tuned!