Comic-Con is just a couple days away — and if you're still trying to wade through the mountains of panels, activities and off-site adventures, we've got you covered. Here is our list of can't-miss events that are worth waiting in line for. Check out our complete guide to the best of Comic-Con 2012 right now.
Top image: Collection of all six Batmobiles, as featured at Comic Con (and in the CW's Batmobile special airing Monday at 8 PM.)
See It First!
The preview night screening is a tradition of getting to see all the genre goodies before the rest of the world. You can be the first! And this year, the greatness hasn't been restrained to one single night. True, the CW's new comic book hero show Arrow and the hotly anticipated post-apocalyptic J.J. Abrams series Revolution are both showing on Wednesday night in Ballroom 20. But plenty of other panels for new TV shows are showing the entire pilot episode, such as Beauty and the Beast (which we're hearing fun things about). Want to see a whole movie? Fine. Then get your butt in line early for the free screening of Karl Urban's Dredd at 10 PM on Wednesday.
Go to Genre Trade School
Want to learn how to pitch a TV show, find an agent, write a comic, design a monster, write a screenplay, break into TV, Comics, Video Games, and Comics? Consider Comic-Con your genre trade school. There are panels upon panels of intelligent human beings all in the business you want to break into. Go! Listen! Then apply the teachings to your craft. Here are a few of our favorite "how to" panels:
- From Script to Sculp hosted by concept designer Neville Page on Friday. Room 7AB (4:00-5:00 on Thursday).
- From Fanboy to Filmmaker: A Case Study on How to Make a Successful Animated Film with the team behind the short Cadaver at the Marriott Hall 2, Marriott Marquis & Marina (1:15-2:15 on Friday).
- The Write Stuff V. A bad ass line up of talent including: Javier Grillo-Marxuach (The Middleman, Lost), Ashley E. Miller (Fringe, Transformers, The Sarah Connor Chronicles), Steve Kriozere (NCIS, Femme Fatales), Steve Melching (Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Transformers: The Series), Gabrielle Stanton (Haven, The Gates), Dave Simkins (Grimm, Human Target), Jose Molina (Firefly, Terra Nova), Amy Berg (Eureka, Leverage), and Mark A. Altman (Femme Fatales, Necessary Roughness). Room 24ABC (3:00-4:00 on Saturday).
- Building Props for Sci-Fi in the 21st Century: Andy Gore (QMx), Jack Kenney (Warehouse 13), Andy Siegel (Avatar, The Amazing Spiderman, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), John Eblan (Star Wars Episodes II and III), and Nick Robatto (Doctor Who, Torchwood) will teach you how the prop sausage is made. Plus lots of 3D printer talk. Room 24ABC (7:00-8:00 on Saturday).
Attend Firefly's 10 Year Reunion
The whole crew, together again. Plus Joss Whedon. There shouldn't be a dry eye in the house. Don't believe us? Watch this old video of the last time this crew gathered at Comic Con, for Serenity. This panel will bring down the house and it's being hosted in Ballroom 20, so get there early! (12:30-1:30 on Friday).
Get Out Of The Convention Center
There are zombie obstacle courses to run, all six Batmobiles on display, and giant post apocalyptic wastelands to play in. Here is a giant map of every single off site activity you can romp around in (thanks to Gaslamp Quarter).
Can't Miss Movie Panels
- Frankenweenie, Oz The Great and Powerful, and Wreck-it Ralph. The Disney panel might not have a collection of movies you've heard much about (yet) but you're certainly aware of the directors behind it. Tim Burton (Frankenweenie) and Sam Raimi (Oz) will take the stage to talk about their new movies, and no doubt be asked five questions each about the status of Beetlejuice 2 and the Evil Dead remake. Plus we'll also get a look at Wreck-it Ralph, which honestly looks kind of adorable. Hall H (2:05-3:05 on Thursday).
- ParaNorman: Behind the Scenes. Get ready for the adorable little zombie movie that could. If you like beautiful things, you're going to like this movie. Plus there will be never-before-seen footage screened in Hall H. (10:45-11:45 on Friday).
- Total Recall, Looper, and Elysium. Can director Neill Blomkamp beat the sophomore slump with his second science fiction feature, starring Matt Damon? Check out a first look at Elysium and decide for yourselves. Plus new footage of the mind bendy time travel mob story Looper. All in Hall H (4:35-6:35 on Friday).
- Guillermo Del Toro and Peter Jackson are going to be presenting awesomeness from Pacific Rim and The Hobbit back-to-back. Maybe if we all collectively hold our breath and slam our fists on the ground they will agree to do a project together that doesn't get canned. Plus fingers crossed for a little look at the first ever footage from Zack Snyder's Superman movie. Hall H (2:30-5:00 on Saturday).
- The Iron Man 3 panel lists only Producer Kevin Feige and "special guests" for their Iron Man 3 panel — but we're betting the special guest is Robert Downey Jr. Have you seen this man take the Hall H stage? He's basically the King of the Con. If you haven't seen RDJ in real life doing what he does best — pandering to a giant crowd of crazed fans — go and enjoy. Also, if Edgar Wright is going to show up and flash some Ant-Man at the fans, this is when that would happen. (6:00-7:00 on Saturday).
Can't Miss TV Panels
- Game of Thrones Panel
Moderated by the man himself, George R. R. Martin, this panel will be talking horse decapitation and White Walkers with Alfie Allen (Theon Greyjoy), Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen), Michelle Fairley (Catelyn Stark), Kit Harington (Jon Snow), Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister), and Richard Madden (Robb Stark) in the mighty Hall H. Thank goodness the actor who plays Joffrey isn't there, as we would be scared for his safety. Instead, just throw things at that awful Theon Greyjoy! Hall H (2:45-3:45 on Friday)
- The Walking Dead The whole cast of the undead drama series on AMC will join together to show off new footage. Fingers crossed it's all about the Governor and Prison life! The panel will take place in Hall H. (1:25-2:25 on Friday)
- Community Panel. The class of Greendale will take the stage at Ballroom 20 sans show creator Dan Harmon, for the final time. It will probably be a bittersweet farewell to an excellent and astoundingly funny series. And we wouldn't miss more Chang time for the world. (10:00-11:00 on Friday)
- Legend of Korra Do yourself a huge favor and catch up on Korra before heading to Con. It is the most buzzed about show on television right now and the storytelling is just amazing (except for that damn cliffhanger!) Then head over to Ballroom 20 and give each cast member, writer and producer a standing ovation because they deserve it. (11:15-12:15 on Friday)
- Doctor Who Not only are Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill going to be there — but so is Stephen Moffat, the showrunner who hasn't been to Comic Con since 2008. Here's a chance to get all your tricky River Song questions answered. Maybe. (12:30 to 1:30 PM on Sunday)
Can't-Miss Comics Panels
- Before Watchmen - Grab your popcorn, because this panel might get really entertaining, really fast. The polarizing comic series, made against comic creator Alan Moore's wishes, has made some serious waves in the comic world. Head over to Room 6DE and gauge the fans reaction to the comic no one wanted... but some people are starting to fall for. (12:45-1:45 on Saturday).
- Spotlight on Kate Beaton- Artist Kate Beaton, the mind behind Hark! A Vagrant, is getting her very own panel in Room 5AB. Why? Because she's rad. Go and support the arts and overall radness. (1:30-2:30 on Friday)
Participate in ONE ARG
Don't run around willy nilly, trying to participate in all the random Virals and ARGs that creep up at the Con. Pick one, with a high pay-out, and go for it. We suggest the Avengers Initiative. While we don't know the end game, Marvel has the most material to dish out for such an elaborate event. It's free, and loaded with lots of Avengers goodies.