Fans oohed, aahed, screamed and at times cried on Saturday afternoon in San Diego Comic-Con's famed Hall H.
It wasn’t a swoon-worthy "Twilight" panel causing all the ruckus though.
The long-awaited "Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" was one of several upcoming movies being teased with appearances by cast and crew. Hall H lived up to its reputation as a place where nerd dreams come true, if the reaction of the crowd - many of whom had been in line for hours - was any indication. Both Sir Ian McKellen and surprise guest Elijah Wood received standing ovations.
In the case of the J.R.R. Tolkien classic, the fans’ reactions - and dogged faithfulness to the characters - often go back to their early years.
"I've been a huge fan of 'The Hobbit' since I was 5 or 6, when my dad read it to me," said Antonio Cazzato of Santa Cruz, California.
"I love 'The Hobbit,'" said comic book artist Holly Golightly. "I remember reading in our class. … It changed my life. Those books are the reason that I'm a comic book artist. To see a glimpse of something that might inspire me and give me a lift - I think 'The Hobbit' (film) is going to be one of them."
George R. R. Martin, author of the "Game of Thrones" book series, was similarly inspired by Tolkien.
"I'm a huge fan of Peter Jackson. I love the 'Lord of the Rings' movies," he said. "I love what I've seen of 'The Hobbit' so far, so I'm looking forward to that one enormously." FULL POST
As some of the earliest attendees arrived and checked into their hotels, the areas surrounding the San Diego Convention Center were full of workers, tirelessly finishing displays, exhibits, banners and other preparations needed to kick off San Diego Comic-Con.
The annual event, which draws hundreds of thousands to downtown San Diego, has overtaken the area. Local businesses, movie studios, TV networks and video game companies are competing to take their piece of the Comic-Con pie.
CNN Geek Out's cameras were there to capture the scene and the finishing touches, as denizens of the business community did anything they could to welcome many new potential customers.
Are you at San Diego Comic-Con? Share your photos and video of the sights and sounds.
Here's a quick look at some of the most important numbers in San Diego Comic-Con's 40-plus year history, according to the Con organizers:
300: The number of people who attended the first Comic-Con in 1970. That first Con took place in the basement of a hotel. Among those who remember some of those early days: "Star Wars'" Mark Hamill (who grew up in San Diego) and former "Walking Dead" executive producer, Frank Darabont.
130,000: A conservative estimate of the number of people (including exhibitors, panelists and others) who attended the convention in 2011.
600: The hours of programming officially offered at Comic-Con (there is no way to see everything unless you've perfected cloning, so don't try). That's not counting events near the convention center like Nerd HQ, w00tstock, the Nerdist podcast and more.
460,000: Square feet used by exhibitors in the San Diego Convention Center during the Con.
6,500: Number of seats in the hallowed Hall H, where many of the highest profile panels take place.
2008: The year that Comic-Con was first invaded by Twi-hards. That particular panel in Hall H was the first clue that this movie franchise was going to be huge. Also screened in Hall H: test footage of a sequel to "Tron," which built buzz around that movie over two years before release and "Iron Man" made its wowed the crowd in 2007.
180,000,000: The estimated economic impact, in dollars, of Comic-Con on the city of San Diego each year.
75,000,000: Direct spending, in dollars, by Comic-Con attendees within the convention center in 2011.
14,663; 10,311; 8,160: Hot dogs, bottled water and sandwiches or salads purchased at Comic-Con from food vendors within the convention center alone.
One: Number of eyes in the official Comic-Con logo.
This is my fifth year attending San Diego Comic-Con (or SDCC, as fans know it). Of course, it's not the only con I have ever attended. I have also gone to Otakon, Tokyo Game Show, Anime Expo, E3, Dragoncon, Wonder Festival, and a host of smaller cons I am probably forgetting. In the con world, five years isn't much - there are veterans with decades of con-going under their belts.
Even after only five years, I am sure of one thing: every time I go to SDCC, something is missing. That's because when it comes to San Diego Comic-Con, the otaku classes are treated like second-class citizens.
I know what you're thinking: Comic-Con is for comics, not anime, or otherwise it'd be called Anime-Con. And since there are literally hundreds of different anime series screening throughout Comic-Con weekend that you can watch, and plenty of anime cosplayers running around in between all the Batmen and Spidermen, that SDCC gets anime just as well as it gets every other nerd they cater to throughout the weekend.
I don't agree. FULL POST
SPOILER ALERT: If you're new to this whole anime thing and you have not watched "Neon Genesis Evangelion" in any of its iterations, beware: We need to discuss some plot points in order to understand why this franchise continues to affect fans.
Seventeen years after this influential anime series' original run, fans are still just as excited about it as they were in the beginning.
In addition to showing off rare sketches, drawings and collectibles at the pop-up museum, The J-POP Summit Festival is one of the hubs for the first ever "Neon Genesis Evangelion" worldwide stamp rally - a beloved Japanese summertime tradition that challenges attendees to collect stamps from different locations. This rally intends to be the longest-distance stamp rally in history.
But a stamp rally bent on a world record is only one of many events celebrating "Evangelion," as it's known to fans, that happen year-round.
For example, there was a pop-up Evangelion Gallery Cafe late last summer in Tokyo's Harajuku district. Dozens of American fansites such as EvaGeeks are anticipating the release of the third film in the "Rebuild of Evangelion" series, coming to Japanese theaters this November. Fans can practically depend on finding new fansites, cosplay groups, giant statues of the characters and Evangelion fan fiction whenever the mood strikes.
"Neon Genesis Evangelion" tells the story of an apocalyptic event that destroys a large portion of Earth in the year 2000. In the aftermath, a research organization erects a militarized civilian city and invents giant mechanized robots piloted by teenagers called Evangelions.
These mechs (a Japanese colloquialism for mechanized robots as well as the related genre of sci-fi) are Earth's main line of defense against an enemy force called Angels. "Evangelion" was an early example of a genre that's known as "sekai-kei," which interweaves apocalyptic themes with human lives in order to make them relatable, personal events.
" 'Evangelion' was the first show that questioned how creator and creation coexist on a grand scale," said Andres Cerrato, a mecha expert and longtime "Evangelion" critic. "When fans tired of the archetypes of 1990s anime, it offered engaging relationships, complexity and mythos."
"Evangelion's" characters are the main focus of the story, Cerrato said, but the way fans relate to the characters is part of the show's enduring strength. FULL POST