2011 Comic-Con Picks

It's that time of year again! Either the happiest or most frustrating place on Earth, otherwise known as Comic-Con International, the biggest comic book convention in the world. We're here to help you plan your schedule with our picks for panels, events open to the public, and floor exclusives.

Off Site

South Park Ultimate Fan Experience

405 2nd Avenue (at 1st Street and J Avenue). Opens Thursday, July 21 at 1PM, and Friday and Saturday at 10AM.

Trivia, food, karaoke, art - ALL South Park related.

NBC at Tin Fish

Every day the Tin Fish restaurant, across the street from the Convention center, will be taking on a new theme. Thursday, it's "The Playboy Club," Friday it's "Grimm" (sign me up!), and Saturday it's "NBC comedies" . . . does this mean paintball with the cast of Community? If it's paintball with the cast of Community, I'll come.


Zachary Levi is hosting his own mini convention for the second time in a row, and the Q&As are all with the geek elite, including Nathan Fillion, Felicia Day, and Seth Green. Plus -- there's a scavenger hunt!

Other options:

CNET Base Station

Bioware Base

IGN Oasis

Sprint Experience

Shark Night 3-D Experience

Xbox Lounge @ The Hard Rock

MOD Lounge

Syfy Cafe Diem


If you have entrance to preview night, use this as your opportunity to pick up all the exclusives you are dying to have. Also, keep an eye out for booths giving out tickets to Thursday night screenings and parties. Hint: To score tickets to a very cool party, I'd find my way to the WB booth or Spike booth during preview night or during the day Thursday. To get tickets to Attack the Block Thursday night at 10PM, make your way to the Sony booth. What will I be doing? The first 1,000 people to pre-order the X-Men First Class DVD or Blu-Ray get to pick a Team Charles or Team Xavier shirt. WANTS! Other exclusives that might pique your interest include an Arkham City Harley Quinn mimobot, a tweetie bird toy VW bug, a TARDIS bobblehead, and a Dark Phoenix Tonner Doll. And other fun booth experiences to take care of Wednesday before the lines get too long include snagging the awesome Marvel giveaways, signing up to win a Thundercats Sword of Omen, or inserting yourself into a cast photo at the CBS/Showtime booth. This is also your chance to scope out when signings you want to partake in are taking place over the weekend. I definitely recommend checking out the WB, Archaia, DC, Marvel, Lionsgate, and Dark Horse booths on that front. If you find yourself with nothing to do at night, you can find blogger meet-ups in the lobby of almost every hotel and Hammer Improv bringing the giggles at 4th and B.

Game of ThronesThursday

Rick Baker

Indigo Ballroom, 12:15 - 1

It's a chance to hear a living legend talk about his craft. And word is this'll be the only place to hear anything about MiB3, so if that gets you excited, this is where to be.

Animation Showcase

Hall H, 12:45-1:45

In a bizarre and intriguing move, this hour in Hall H features the first-ever showing from Aardman studios, the geniuses behind Wallace and Gromit, and in its second half a Q&A with Peewee Herman himself. Not Paul Ruebens. Peewee Herman. I don't know what exactly is going to go down, but it's going to be epic in any event.

Film District

Hall H, 2:00-3:00

Guillermo Del Toro talks about Don't Be Afraid of the Dark and we get a look at Drive, starring Carey Mulligan and Ryan Gosling, which A) I didn't know was considered genre and B) I hear great things about


Ballroom 20, 1:45-2:45

SMG at Comic-Con!!! SMG at Comic-con!!!

Game of Thrones

Ballroom 20, 3:00-4:00

The panel everyone wants to get into. It should be an absolute kick to see these actors in plain clothes talking about the show instead of killing and screwing each other. Clearly they can't show footage of season two and they better be careful what they say as the room will be filled with people who haven't read the books, so I'm very curious to see what will actually be discussed during this hour.


Hall H, 3:14-4:30

One of the biggest movie panels of the weekend. I love that Justin Timberlake and Andy Serkis will be on the stage mere minutes from each other. And that Andy Serkis, best known for not appearing in movies, will probably get more applause. This is also your first chance for a fingerscrossedpleaseplease Michael Fassbender appearance. After all, Fox is making Prometheus, starring the one and only Fassbenlivier....

Vampires v. Zombies

10:00-11:00, 25ABC

An array of vampire and zombie experts, including Wes Craven and Max Brooks, discuss the merits of zombies vs. vampires. I've often pondered this myself (including werewolves in the mix, of course), so this is a definite want-to-see for me.

Masters of the Web

4:00-5:00, 5AB

The biggest names in web journalism get to together to re-enact debates they've had on Twitter, but live, without the safety net of a computer! I would never be daring enough to partake in such a thing. But I am dying to watch it go down. Plus, audience members will receive $12 gift cards to AMC theaters and be entered in a raffle to win tickets to From Dusk Til Con, my favorite party of last year's Comic-Con.

Other picks

TV Guide: Fan Favorites

Oh You Sexy Geek

Evolution of the Web Series

DC Flashpoint

Epic Fantasy

Jo Chen

State of the Geek

Arkham City

Buffy and LGBT Comics Fandom (Tom Lenk alert!)

Inside the Voice Actors Studio

HP Lovecraft in Comics and Film


Torchwood: Miracle Day Episode 103

Dr. Horrible Sing Along Blog - Live!


WB Party

If you stop by the WB or Spike booth Wednesday or during the day Thursday, you can snag tickets to a 3-D Footage Event/Party being held off-site by Warners theatrical, from 5pm-8pm.


A "geek variety show" brought to you by Wil Wheaton, Paul & Storm, and Adam Savage. I've heard wonderful things about this event.

San Diego Symphony Martial Arts Trilogy

Oscar winner Tan Dun will be conducting the scores to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Hero and The Banquet, as scenes from the films play on giant screens.

Cirque Du Soleil: San Diego

One of the coolest off-site events happening during the entire convention. Cirque is performing KA FOR FREE at Petco Park. Arrive around 8 for the 9:30 show.

Attack the Block Screening

If you've managed not to see it already, here's your chance -- although it opens next week, so a part of me thinks you should just wait and pay for it then. It's a great movie and deserves a great showing at the box office.

Film District

Apparently Film District is having a meet up at the Hard Rock Bar with Guillermo del Toro and Tory Nixey from 9-11:30. It seems to be open to the public so, hey, go have a drink with Guillermo -- why not?!

True Blood


Walking Dead

Ballroom 20, 11:15-12:15

Another hugely anticipated panel of this year's convention. Expect the first footage of season two, along with a lively discussion and lots of comic book spoilers. I mean, come on, how could there not be? Quick, everyone read 86 issues of The Walking Dead right now!

Venture Brothers

Indigo Ballroom, 11:45-12:30

(In the style of SMG!) Urbaniack! Urbaaaniaccck!


Hall H, 11:00-12:00

Spielberg making his first appearance ever at Comic-Con to promote the upcoming Tin Tin movie. And with Peter Jackson also involved in the movie, I'd keep an eye on this panel for even more surprises...


Hall H, 12:15-1:15

This panel marks first-time appearances from John Cusack and Steven Soderbergh and is opportunity #2 to cross your fingers for Fassbender. Plus, Haywire stars a female mixed martial artist, Gina Carano, and I bet the footage is unreal.


6BCF, 12:45-1:45

In what is sure to be the craziest panel in all of the Convention, a slew of huge stars and directors are appearing in a room one-third the size of Hall H to talk about four highly anticipated films including Mass Effect 3. My advice? Don't be anywhere near it. And no, there won't be anything on Batman or Superman.

Falling Skies

6BCF 3:15-4:15

My #1 reason for wanting to see this panel? Colin Cunningham. He's awesome on the show and awesome in life, and I'm dying to see him kill it on stage. Also, get a sneak peak at Sunday's episode, which is a great one.


Hall H, 4:00-6:30

I CAN HAS SPIDER-MAN!?!!!? I can has marry Andrew Garfield? SPLOOODE I died. I forget what I was talking about. I love Spiderman, I love Marc Webb, I love Emma Stone. I love Andrew Garfield. This panel will win all of the prizes. Oh, also, there is Total Recall, Ghost Rider, and 30 Minutes or Less.

True Blood

Ballroom 20, 5:30-6:30

In which I ask how and why Eric and Sookie have the greatest chemistry since Buffy and Spike until I realize I answered my own question.

At the Drive In

Hall H, 6:45-7:30

A new space has been created this year for smaller films that may have otherwise fallen off of the geek radar where they belong. The films are a little darker, a little scarier, a little more left field, and as Hall H's first major evening programming outside of Kevin Smith, it's sure to be a good time. This year's films are Tucker and Dale vs. Evil, starring Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine, which I've heard described as the "the Citizen Kane of Hillbilly Zombie movies" and the found footage horror film Grave Encounters, which had a successful run at Spring's Tribeca Film Festival. Moderated appropriately by writer/director/producer Robert Meyer Burnett, I suspect this could be the beginning of an awesome new Comic-Con tradition.

The River

6A, 2:15-3:15

Screening and Q&A with the cast of ABC's new horror drama. It's been described as Lost meets Paranormal Activity, and one of its stars is Eloise Mumford, so duh.

Batman Year One

Ballroom 20, 8:00-10:00, 10:15-12:00

DC Animation always delivers, and I'm ecstatic for their take on Year One, one of my favorite graphic novels.

Totally Lost

5AB 3:30-4:30

EW hosts a panel reflecting on Lost, a year later, featuring special guests. This has ME written all over it.

Performance Capture Techniques of Uncharted & Today's Film Industry

25ABC, 4:00-5:00

Looking into the world of motion capture, with Uncharted at its core, featuring Nathan Drake himself, Nolan North.

Girls Gone Genre

25ABC, 6:00-7:00

A bunch of female professionals in the genre world get together to discuss making it to the top in a mostly male-dominated genre. The women on this panel, including Jane Espensen, Gale Anne Hurd, and Marti Noxon, are all inspirations. Moderated by the awesome Jenna Busch, it's sure to be fun, educational, and an all-around great experience.


Kurosawa Tribute

The awesome sounding Tr!ickster, happening across the street from Comic-Con all week, is throwing a one-night-only special gallery engagement in honor of Kurosawa, to raise money for the Japan Society Earthquake Relief Fund.

Don Glover/Childish Gambino

Don Glover brings the music and the funny to the House of Blues. Hopefully his stand-up routine will include some tidbits from his past Comic-Con experiences.



Ballroom 20, 10:00-10:45

Always entertaining, and entering into their last season this will be the final time to see the cast bouncing off of each other in the delightful way they do. Fingers crossed for a final performance by Jeffster.

Seven Spiritual Laws of Superheros

6A, 10:00-11:00

Deepak Chopra and Grant Morrison discuss the seven spiritual laws of superheros. What?! OK!


Hall H, 1:00-2:00

A) Director Tarsem Singh is a hoot and The Fall is one of my favorite movies of the last decade. B) This is your only chance to see your new Superman in the flesh. C) Moar footage!


Indigo Hallroom, 1:00-2:00

This cast rivals Chuck in terms of chemistry, snappy retorts, and all-around joy inducing. Although Alison Brie not being there comes as a huge blow (she didn't attend the Paley Center Q&A either), it's still poised to be one of the more hilarious hours of Comic-Con.

Knights of Badassdom

Hall H, 2:15-3:15

With a cast that includes Peter Dinklage, Summer Glau, Danny Pudi, and Ryan Kwanten, and a subject matter like LARPing, I'm already ecstatic to see this movie. Plus, I'm hearing the footage is fantastic. All you Hall H campers, here is your chance to get a taste of Thrones, Community, and True Blood all in one fell swoop!

Dark Horse: Joss Whedon

Indigo Ballroom, 3:00-4:00

Joss' panels are always fantastic, and this one should be no different. Last year saw a disguised Nathan Fillion asking a question, and although this year's panel is focused on Buffy: Season 9, how could Joss resist talking Avengers with a room full of the Whedon faithful?!


Ballroom 20, 4:30-5:15

Another cast with great chemistry, all of whom were robbed of Emmy nominations, all of whom I am obsessed with. Sneak peak of season four NOW PLZ!

Kevin Smith

Hall H, 5:45-7:30

The tide changed for me and Twilight when Kevin Smith said at a Comic-Con panel that we shouldn't hate on them, because they will grow up to be fans just like us -- that it's a gateway drug and we all need to calm down. For more fun pearls of wisdom like this and what you can't get from podcasts -- audience participation -- attend this panel. Such a good time.

The Last Airbender: Legend of Korra

6BCF, 4:00-5:00

I recently became obsessed with Avatar: The Last Airbender (THE TV SHOW, PEOPLE, NOT THE MOVIE) because it's one of the greatest things ever. I'm sosososo excited for this show, set 70 years in the future, because it will no doubt be just as amazing, even without my boyfriend Prince Zuko.

True Blood Presents the CCI Masquerade

Ballroom 20, 8:30-11:30

Used to attend this religiously. Wish I still did. Rock! Rock! Rock! #90scomicconinsidejoke

Other panels of interest

Once Upon a Time


Person of Interest



Motion Picture and TV Production Designers

Writing for Genre Television & Beyond

Composing, Horror to Animation

Good Vibes


Cowboys & Aliens Premiere

Jon Favreau is thrilled to be premiering his movie at Comic-Con and filling his audience with devoted fans. Smart move and sure to be an amazing event. Keep an eye on the Facebook page for details on how to attend yourself.

Warner Brothers Key Party

Some sort of interactive Middle-earth experience. Do I NEED to say anything else?


One on One with Nathan Fillion

6BCF, 11:45-12:45

It's called a "One on One with Nathan Fillion" but it says the cast of Castle will be there too, so ... is it secretly a Castle panel? Either way, Nathan is always worth listening to.

Star Wars Crafts

30CDE, 12:00-1:00

I want to make Star Wars crafts!! Can I? Can I?

Starship Smackdown

7AB, 3:00-4:30

A panel of experts puts starships piloted by various interesting folk against each other in the smackdowniest smackdown of all of Comic-Con. This panel is crazy fun; if you've never seen it before, you *must* check it out.

Buffy the Musical

Hall H, 4:00-5:00

In Hall H! Which means it's big enough for me to go?! YES! Bring on the Dawn hate!

Other panels of Interest

Dr. Who

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

How to Start a Collaborative Comic

Axe Cop

Watchmen: 25 Years Later

And don't forget to check out the L.A. Times' Girl's Guide to Comic-Con from last year, which I and a bunch of other swell gals contributed to, for great advice on how to approach the convention.