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Category: Pop Culture


Hobbit booth Weta SDCC 2014 Azog

We thought we’d share some of the best exclusives and other offerings scheduled to be available at San Diego Comic-Con International this weekend for those of you who just can’t decide what to spend your money on.  There’s too much to be able to see everything at the big Con, so we’ve listed booth numbers so you can make sure you don’t miss out on those toys, posters, and comic books that you simply must have.

But first, how about some early SDCC reveals, like this image of Roy Harper’s new Arsenal costume from CW’s Arrow:

Arsenal reveal at SDCC 2014

and this great new SDCC 2014 exclusive poster for the final installment of The Hobbit trilogy, The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies:

The Hobbit Battle of Five Armies SDCC 2014 poster

And what’s better than news of a new comic book series tie-in from IDW Publishing for Orphan Black?

IDW reveal SDCC 2014 Orphan Black comic book series

Now on to the exclusives:

From the Weta Workshop (Booth #3613) you can get this Smaug scales T-shirt inspired by The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies:

Smaug scales T-shirt Weta SDCC 2014

and a pre-release copy of the new book The Art of Film Magic, signed edition:

Art of Film Magic SDCC 2014 WETA booth

From Alex Ross Art (Booth #2419) pick up original comic book art or limited prints, or this great 10-print edition portfolio of some of Alex Ross’s Marvel Comics work:

Alex Ross Art Portfolio - 10 prints

BOOM! Studios (Booth #2229) will be selling several exclusive cover variant comic books, including RoboCop #1:

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SDCC 2014 app

WELCOME TO EARTH-4

A Weekly Column with J. Torrey McClain

First things first, I have no clue if the Comic-Con app will work during Comic-Con, as hundreds of thousands of people in such a small area tend to overload the capability of wireless networks.  However, this isn’t about this weekend.  It’s about now.  It’s about finding all of the cool stuff possible and figuring out how to maximize my visit to Comic-Con 2014.

Splash Page

When you open it, a big advertisement for Constantine or The Blacklist as NBC sponsors the app.  If the app has gotten this better, I for one am willing to submit to our Comcast overlords for this one brief moment and think about their TV shows.  I can live with this ad and not feel a bit of impatience.

Discovery

Once you watch the ad, or as soon as you hit skip after reflecting for the appropriate entertainment masters inspired time, you get to a page that lists venues, shows, awards and some of the highlights of the weekend.  There’s a square for Game of Thrones which gives the straight dope on an “immersive experience” at the Omni Hotel including authentic costumes.  There’s a square for the offsite Horton Square Theater venue where “Weird Al” Yankovic will appear on Saturday.  There’s a square for the Comic-Con International Independent Film Festival that lists the panels associated with CCI-IFF, but unfortunately doesn’t include the films to be shown.  However, if I may paraphrase what the kids were saying six years ago, there’s a feature on the app for that.

Comic-Con image 1

Schedule

Click on the drop down menu in the upper left of the screen and right below the discovery section of the app you’ll find the schedule, the most wonderful part of the app.  Do you want autographs?  Filter the schedule to where you just see the autograph sections.  Want to see the films of the aforementioned CCI-IFF?  You can see the whole list of movies playing at the Marriott.  For me, it’s all about the programs.  I can just filter those and check out what is happening day by day, as a menu bar at the top separates Wednesday from Thursday from Friday from you get the idea.  I can focus on any segment of the con I want.  What’s happening with anime panels?  Filter out everything but the anime programs.  Costuming?  Art?  Whatever you want, you can list, or you can just list it all and see how to fit together a puzzle of extracting all the juicy goodness from Comic-Con.  Then just tap the star next to what you want to remember and ta-da, presto, chango; we’ll get to it later.

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Tom Petty radio

If you miss playing tunes in your classic 1970s cruiser, with push buttons and a good ol’ classic tuner or the contemporary deluxe home stereo radio like the one above, then it’s time to dim the lights, crank the volume on your PC and kick back for the next half hour.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers are back, and Petty has waved his magic wand and transferred the magic of your car stereo to the Web and uploaded for your listening pleasure five new songs from his newest release Hypnotic Eye.  Yep, five tunes not yet released via a conventional album just for you, for free, courtesy of Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers.  What could be cooler than that?

And if you haven’t seen one of those contraptions before, click here to access Tom Petty’s radio, then turn on the radio by clicking the right knob.  Tune the radio with the left knob.

Hypnotic Eye album cover

You can listen to the entire tracks at the following frequencies:

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Koba socializing with humans

WELCOME TO EARTH-4

A Weekly Column with J. Torrey McClain

When I think about some of my favorite movies, they contain a sense of the dynamics of a family, whether it is by blood or by situation.  The Incredibles is a fantastic example of a family at the center of the story and how, when forced to confront his own mortality, at his core Mr. Incredible finds that family is the most important thing in his life.  Stalag 17 is about a family in a single room wooden cell in a POW camp and even though they argue and kid and get on each other’s nerves, they will risk their lives for each other.  The Philadelphia Story revolves around a family’s plan for a wedding one weekend on their estate.  Up is built on scrapbook glimpses of a life spent together as a family.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes contains what it means to have family and what a family is as one of its themes.  Humans as a family.  Apes as a family.  The family of Caesar and the family of the lead human Malcolm played by Jason Clarke.  Family by blood and new families after loved ones perish.

It is dealing with the idea of ape families that becomes problematic in my mind.  Scientifically, we know that chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans have familial bonds.  We can see those attachments as we stare at them through windows in zoos as the elders have learned to turn their backs to our prying eyes.  There are blood families and communities as families.  Yet, we don’t really care much about what happens to them because they can’t tell us how separation from their family feels.  We hope they forget if they ever get sent to a new zoo or study facility.  We hope that any new introductions into a community will forget the families left behind in the wild or their previous place of captivity.  It would be different if our apes, the ones that we see, could scream at us like Caesar and tell us that we won’t threaten or separate their family.

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comic-con-logo-image

It’s less than two weeks until 2014 San Diego Comic-Con International will host more than 150,000 fans of sci-fi, fantasy, superheroes and other pop culture, and SDCC has now released the entire panel schedule for this year’s big show.  If you haven’t been to the modern-day Greatest Show on Earth, it should at least be on your bucket list, but beware:  if you attend the show once you’ll want to keep going back.

Tickets as usual were sold out months ago, but for those attending this year’s show, we have some quick links to the event list so you can start planning your days now.

This year’s panels prove yet again that you shouldn’t listen to the naysayers who claim SDCC doesn’t focus on comic book artists and writers.  Even more events are occurring this year focused on the comic book medium, including benchmarks like Batman’s 75th anniversary.  Yet there are also all of those big panels planned full of this summer’s movie blockbusters and big-name casts and the casts and creators of your favorite television series.

Comic-Con image b

First and most importantly you’ll want to download to your smart phone the SDCC handy My Schedule app here.  We’ve used it before and it’s a great help when you’re in the crowd and can’t get into one panel but you want to try the dash for another one or you just get tired of walking the main hall with Artists’ Alley and the dealer booths and you want to sit down and see something new for an hour.

Having trouble choosing from all the panels?  We think the biggest event and best bang for your buck will be the Warner Bros. panel we previewed a few days ago here with pilots and previews of DC Entertainment series The Flash, Constantine, Gotham, and Arrow.  After the break we pulled some other panels you might like if you follow borg.com regularly.

Here are the quick links to each day’s panel events for SDCC 2014:

Wednesday, July 23, 2014 Preview Night

Thursday, July 24, 2014 Panel Schedule

Friday, July 25, 2014 Panel Schedule

Saturday, July 26, 2014 Panel Schedule

Sunday, July 24, 2014 Panel Schedule

SDCC 2014 banner

Here are some panels to consider (after the break):

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Amell oliver queen emcee

CW Network’s Oliver Queen, Arrow star Stephen Amell will be the emcee for the big Warner Bros./DC Entertainment crossover event at San Diego Comic-Con International, only two weeks away.  Warner Bros. announced their line-up for their Saturday night event and it looks to be a great show.

As master of ceremonies, Amell will be presenting three hours of content in Hall H between 8:00 and 11:00 p.m. July 26, 2014.  Called “A Night of DC Entertainment,” Amell will reveal content from three new DC Comics-based TV series and his own Arrow.  Sure to share some of Oliver Queen’s billionaire playboy image, first Amell will present a screening of the world premiere of the new Fall 2014 TV series Gotham for thousands of SDCC attendees in the big hall.

Gotham TV series

Next up will be the complete pilot screening of The Flash starring Grant Gustin as Barry Allen.  The Flash will be followed by exclusive footage from Constantine.

Flash at SDCC 2014

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Sharknado 2 poster

Sharks in New York City?  Sharks in the subway?

The crazy phenomenon from last July that took America by storm, of the shark-filled tornado variety, is back (already?).  Sharknado, the latest of the over-the-top mash-ups that have helped define the lowest common denominator of the Syfy Channel, was so absurd and yet fun for all of us to laugh at, that it “darned near broke the Internet,” jumping to a trending Twitter topic and the stuff of non-stop posts by tweeters and bloggers like Wil Wheaton.

By now almost everyone has seen it who has cable or a streaming service–it’s hard to avoid, and even harder to turn away.  The scene of Ian Ziering of Beverly Hills, 90210 fame, taking his chainsaw into the mouth of a shark diving on him from a tornado is the stuff of legend in the annals of campy TV.  It just brings tears to the eyes.

'Sharknado 2: The Second One' TV on set filming, New York, America - 19 Feb 2014

And in only two weeks we’ll meet Ziering and Tara Reid again in–wait for it–Sharknado 2: The Second One.  How will it fare against the original, or against past Syfy Channel original movies, like Alien Apocalypse, Snowmageddon, Mega Paranha, Sharktopus, Pteradactyl, Jersey Shore Shark Attack, Piranhaconda, Frankenfish, Swamp Shark, Dinocroc, Supergator, Megasnake, or Triassic Attack?

Co-starring Judd Hirsch from Taxi and Independence Day and Mark McGrath from the band Sugar Ray.   Say what?

McGrath and Ziering Sharknado 2

After the break check out a sneak peek of Sharknado 2:

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Scarlet Witch by Frank Cho

As part of its programming for San Diego Comic-Con International 2014, Marvel Entertainment is offering a new online video series about cosplay.  Providing a beginner’s guide for one way to put together a superhero costume, the episodic series of approximately 6 minute segments launched yesterday at Marvel.com and on Marvel’s YouTube channel.

Similar in concept to the Syfy Channel’s Heroes of Cosplay, the Marvel series is slowing things down a bit and going step-by-step, beginning with selection of character by a cosplayer heading to SDCC later this month.  That character is the Scarlet Witch, and cosplayer Lorraine Cink, host of Marvel’s online series The Watcher is the cosplayer who will wear the final costume.  The show is put together by Judy Stephens, associate producer of The Watcher.

Episode 1 sets up the series and has Cink and Stephens enlisting the work of a professional Broadway production costumer, Carly Bradt, to design the costume.  Her method may be more or less elaborate than those used by some cosplayers, beginning with a design sketch and translating that to a dress form and creating the costume from a pattern.  A lot of cosplayers may get the same effect by using a commercial pattern as a starting point and adjusting for the character requirements from there.  Still, with two episodes per week leading up to SDCC 2014, the show is bound to contain some tips cosplayers may find useful.

Future episodes will feature wig expert, Katie Hondrogen and professional cosplayer, Yaya Han, one of the stars of Heroes of Cosplay.

After the break we have the first episode of the new series, titled Marvel Method: Cosplay:

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Jell-O pudding pops ad Bill Cosby

It’s summer.  It’s hot.  Back in the late 1970s and early 1980s, there was hardly anything better than Jell-O pudding pops in the summer.  The first time I had one was at a vendor cart at Adventureland Park.  They only sold banana flavor and they were awesome and, because it was at an amusement park, fairly pricey.  I remember going back each year looking for these.  They sold them there for only a few years near the bumper car rides then they went away.  After their release as a specialty product you could buy them in grocery stores for years.

Then, like lots of awesome things from our youth, like Wacky Wafers, like Seven-Up bars, like the original chocolate and peanut butter Oompas, and like the original Marathon bars, they went away.  You’d think there would be a market for these treats of frozen goodness–their flavor was unique as frozen pops go.

You remember the Bill Cosby ads, right?  Like this one:

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Forbidden Planet by Laurent Durieux    Birds Laurent Durieux

A 42-year-old graphics artist and illustrator from Brussels has taken a new look at some American film classics and transformed them into his own collection of movie posters.  Laurent Durieux’s retro movie poster designs will be a welcome sight to fans of Juan Ortiz’s style of Star Trek retro-style poster art and Art Deco posters.

Many of the artist’s posters were created for Mondo limited film prints and Alamo Drafthouse releases, including King Kong and Die Hard.  He’s covered everything from Alfred Hitchcock films like Rear Window, Vertigo, Psycho, and The Birds, to classic Universal Studios monster movies like The Creature from the Black Lagoon, Dracula, and Frankenstein (for an Austin Mondo show).  He also has created a selection of science fiction classics, including Metropolis and The Day the Earth Stood Still.  Steven Spielberg reportedly purchased 25 poster prints of Durieux’s Jaws to give to friends as gifts.

Jaws by Laurent Durieux     Die Hard Laurent Durieux

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