The biggest pop culture convention in the country will lumber its way into San Diego next weekend. Hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world will pour into Southern California to celebrate their obsessions with their like-minded peers. If you are one of those lucky people who will be making the pilgrimage to Nerd Mecca, here are 17 panels that you should not miss if you can help it.
We tried to keep these as franchise-agnostic as possible; if you are a Star Wars/Harry Potter/My Little Pony/whatever fan, then by all means, attend the Star Wars/Harry Potter/My Little Pony/whatever events. That's why you're there. But if you've got some time on your hands, these are what you should be spending it on. As a bonus, the more panels you attend, the less time you spend shopping, and the greater chance you will be able to pay August's mortgage.
Wednesday 6 p.m. Special Sneak Peek Pilot Screenings - Kick off your convention weekend watching world premiere screenings of the pilots of three upcoming WB series: Almost Human, The Tomorrow People, and The 100
Thursday 2:30 p.m. - The Sergio and Mark Show Sergio Aragonés and Mark Evanier created the comic book Groo the Wanderer in 1981, and have been stuck with each other ever since. They have the dynamic of a really funny old married couple, and their panels are always a good time.
Thursday 8:30 p.m. - Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog Sing-Along Cap off the first night of the convention with a sing-along to Joss Whedon's epic Superhero Musical Comedy web series
Friday 10 a.m. - The World's End: Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost Reunited The director and stars of the films Shawn of the Dead and Hot Fuzz return to ComicCon to promote their upcoming film, The World's End. These three are all funny individually, but together they turn into some kind of Comedy Voltron.
Friday 1:30 p.m. - Warner Archive Collection presents Attack of the Killer Bs George Feltenstein, Matthew Patterson, and D. W. Ferranti, Leonard Maltin, and Josh Olson take you on a trip through some of the strangest and silliest films that ever escaped from the Warner Archives
Friday 4:00 p.m. - The Thrilling Adventure Hour World Domination Tour The Thrilling Adventure Hour is a stage show and popular podcast that attempts to recreate the entertainment of the radio era with a modern sensibility. The creators and many of the players will be on hand to talk about the show and what is coming up next for it.
Friday 8:15 p.m. - Worst Cartoons Ever! - Animation historian Jerry Beck presents some of the worst, cheesiest, and most cringe-inducing animation ever to make its way to your television sets, and you will love it.
Saturday 11:30 a.m. - Spotlight on John Romita Jr. John Romita Jr. has a 30-year career in the comic book industry, drawing many of the greats, including Spider-Man, Iron Man, Captain America, and Kick Ass. Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso will be on hand to lead a discussion of John's storied life in comcs
Saturday 12:00 p.m. - Twilight Fan Fiction Panel Just kidding, don't go to this, it will be creepier than that 50 year old guy in spandex you saw on the way in. One of the tragedies of Comic-Con is that there are always two panels you want to see occurring at the same time. These are them:
Saturday 1:00 p.m. - Spotlight on Roy Thomas Roy has worked at both Marvel Comics and DC since 1965, and is probably best known for creating the fan-favorite Conan the Barbarian series, along with bringing Golden Age heroes from both companies back into the mainstream with his Invaders and All Star Squadron titles
Saturday 1:00 p.m. - The Tick 25th Anniversary Celebrate 25 years of insanity with the giant blue guy who is nigh invulnerable. Whether you are a fan of the original comics, the Fox Kids animated show, of the live-action show, you are guaranteed to be amazed by the insanity
Saturday 2:00 p.m. - Will Eisner and the Graphic Novel The life and legacy of comic book pioneer Will Eisner will be discussed by a panel of Comics legends, including Neil Gaiman, Scott McCloud, Jeff Smith, Denis Kitchen, and moderator Paul Levitz.
Saturday 3:00 p.m. - Spotlight on George Perez George has been working in comics for over 40 years, and has worked on some of the greatest titles from both major publishers, including The Teen Titans, Justice League, Avengers, and the Fantastic Four. In my opinion, he is one of the best artists working today, and one of the nicest men on the planet.
Saturday 4:00 p.m. - Oddball Comics with Scott Shaw! Cartoonist Scott Shaw! collects the weirdest comics that he can find, and displays them to the audience at this annual event. You will not believe some of the insanity that managed to pass through the comic code.
Saturday 8:30 p.m. - Masquerade This is the biggest event of the weekend, and one that definitely should not be missed. All of the best costumers from around the world demonstrate their finest creations. Don't despair if you can't get into the main hall, this will be simulcast at several overflow locations, many of which serve snacks and drinks.
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Sunday 12:30 p.m. - Doctor Who 50th Anniversary We don't get many 50th anniversaries, and this one is a biggy: the longest running science fiction television show in history, currently riding a wave of popularity. Stars Matt Smith and Jenna Coleman, lead writer and executive producer Steven Moffat, An Adventure in Space and Time star David Bradley, and award-winning writer/executive producer Mark Gatiss will be on hand to discuss the future of Britain's greatest export.
Sunday 3:30 p.m. Starship Smackdown Redux 3D: Ultimate Platinum Collector's Edition Six hand-picked spaceshipologists will randomly match up two spaceships from pop culture and discussion who would win in a fight, using entirely arbitrary criteria and a few surprises. This continues in the format of a single-elimination competition until one ship is crowned the winner. This is a great way to wind down the convention.