Think Comic-Con International in San Diego is the only comic book convention movie fans need to pay attention to? Well, think again, because New York Comic Con kicks off this Thursday -- and it's jam-packed with must-see events that will have movie fans on the edge of their seats.
Whether you're planning to attend in person or follow the event virtually (hint: We're going to have coverage right here, friends), New York Comic Con is one of the biggest movie events of the fall. So with that in mind, here are our picks for the can't-miss moments and personalities of the con.
- Mark Hamill isn't just beloved with fanboys for his role of "Star Wars" Jedi-in-training Luke Skywalker; he's also carved out a second career providing the voice of The Joker for DC's many video game and animation projects. He receives the spotlight treatment with his own panel on Friday night, then returns Saturday for a close-up look at his future projects.
- Director Kevin Smith and actor Jason Mewes are better known to their fans as the foul-mouthed hetero life partners Jay and Silent Bob, and on Friday night you can sit in on a live performance of their "Jay and Silent Bob Get Old" podcast.
- There are hardcore "Harry Potter" fans, and then there are the truly hardcore: fans who engage in real-life wand duels. Adults can test their prowess at the "Harry Potter" Wand Dueling session on Friday night, while kids can get in on the action during a special all-ages throwdown on Sunday.
- MTV Comics -- yes, MTV makes comics -- has teamed up with no less than comic book legend Stan Lee for a brand new series, and Friday afternoon you can hear about the epic results from Lee himself. Excelsior!
- Chad Michael Murray may be best known for his roles on zeitgeist-defining TV shows like "One Tree Hill," "Dawson's Creek" and "Gilmore Girls," but the popular actor has another career as well: comic book creator. Murray will be on hand all weekend to discuss his new graphic novel and provide autographs. Pretty cool.
- The biggest event of the convention takes place Saturday afternoon, when Marvel Studios holds its "Avengers" panel -- something it didn't do in San Diego, by the way -- and debuts brand-new footage along with surprise guest stars. Oh, yeeaaah.
- The legendary British comedy team Monty Python has reunited for one last movie, and on Saturday afternoon, fans can get their first peek as EPIX Pictures unveils "A Liar's Autobiography," an animated adaptation of the autobiography of the late Graham Chapman featuring voicework Chapman recorded before his death.
- Lucasfilm has left "Star Wars' behind to focus on another epic story from long, long ago: the real-life triumph of the Tuskeegee Airmen during World War II. "Red Tails" is the film, and fans can get a sneak peek of exclusive footage on Saturday.
- "The Hobbit" is one of the most anticipated films in years, so it's only fitting that one of the most anticipated events of NYCC is the "Hobbit" movie panel being hosted by the insiders from TheOneRing.Net.
- It's been a long wait for fans of "Ghost Rider" since the first Nic Cage movie came out back in 2007, but "Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance" is finally in full swing. On Saturday afternoon, directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor spill the beans on what you can expect when the movie hits theaters next spring.
- John Landis is a legitimate Hollywood superstar, so the chance to sit in and listen to the director of films like "An American Werewolf in London" talk about the history of monster movies is one any serious film buff won't want to miss.
- It may not be marked on your calendar, but trust us: Saturday is Resident Evil Day. Celebrate 15 years of "Resident Evil" by heading to NYCC dressed as your favorite "Resident Evil" character (seriously, the chance to see hundreds of people decked out like Milla Jovovich's Alice is reason enough to attend) and checking out the con's special "Resident Evil" anniversary panel.
- "Attack the Block" is already approaching cult status -- and once writer-director Joe Cornish shows fans everything they can expect out of the new "Attack the Block" Blu-ray release, the film is guaranteed to take off even more. Get in on the ground floor of the phenomenon now.
- "Conan the Barbarian" may not have conquered the box office, but it certainly captured the attention of fans, thanks primarily to star Jason Momoa and his huge pectoral muscles. Those will be on full display Sunday when he stops by the convention to discuss the new "Conan" Blu-ray release.
- Fans of the legendary Jim Henson are in for a special treat on Sunday as The Jim Henson Company opens its vault to present a unique look at "The Early Works of Jim Henson," which shows just how he developed his inimitable style. Then, as if that weren't enough, there'll be a preview of the new graphic novel "Tale of Sand," which is based on an unproduced Henson screenplay. Holy crow.