After Aurora shooting, a nerd braces for impact
Signs for "Dark Knight" are removed in Paris, France. The movie's French premiere was cancelled in the wake of the attack.
July 20th, 2012
07:26 PM ET

After Aurora shooting, a nerd braces for impact

A man opened fire in a crowded theater during a midnight showing of the latest Batman movie, killing 12 people and wounding 59. Along with the alleged shooter’s family and the NRA, I expect nerds and other outcasts will get some unwanted attention today.

My stomach dropped when I heard news of the mass shooting for the same reasons everyone else's did.

But as a nerd and CNN's resident expert on geeky subcultures, I readied myself for pointed questions which I expected to get from outside the geek community: "Why 'Batman'?" "Is the shooter a nerd?" "Why is it always the loner?"

There's a precedent for labeling people considered nerds or geeks or outsiders as potentially dangerous individuals who might snap. After the Columbine shootings, Goths were given a wider berth than usual. Post school shootings, video gamers get to field a slew of weapons-related questions. Now my gut tells me comic book fans and movie geeks might face closer scrutiny even though there's no evidence the alleged shooter was either. FULL POST

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Digital comics work it in San Diego
Artist Dave Gibbons signed autographs and promoted his digital comic book at San Diego Comic-Con in the Madefire booth.
July 19th, 2012
01:48 PM ET

Digital comics work it in San Diego

Editor's note: Rob Salkowitz is a business analyst and consultant specializing in the future of entertainment, media and technology. His latest book, "Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture" (McGraw-Hill, 2012) focuses on the nerdy audience at the largest comic book trade show in the Western Hemisphere. Follow him @robsalk.

Last year at Comic-Con, digital comics were the headlight approaching in the dark tunnel. This year they are the train bearing down on the industry at full steam. Amid estimates that nearly 30 million Americans now use iPads or tablet devices of some kind, comics and graphic novels have emerged as the killer app for this hot new platform and everyone from the industry’s top publishers to feisty startups and independents are looking for a way to get in on the action.

Against that backdrop, even with all the various entertainment, movie and videogame news pouring out of San Diego this year, it was the announcements coming from digital publishers and platforms that has the greatest potential to shape how we enjoy the stories and characters we love in the months and years to come. Here’s a roundup of some of the top stories in digital from this year’s show: FULL POST

What’s next for Joss Whedon?
Joss Whedon at Entertainment Weekly's Comic-Con party on Saturday.
July 17th, 2012
04:00 PM ET

What’s next for Joss Whedon?

After directing the most successful movie of the year – not to mention the third most successful movie of all time – where does one go next?

In Joss Whedon's case, it's not Walt Disney World, but San Diego Comic-Con, where he was ubiquitous this year. Whedon hit up the parties (social media lit up with tales about his dancing prowess) and spoke on several panels, even getting mentioned In a panel for the web series "Husbands," on which he will guest star.

Whedon was a perennial presence at the mega-convention, hyping TV’s "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Firefly," among others, for many years prior to his box office success.

Whedon wasn't at the convention to tout the success of "The Avengers," though. His first panel celebrated the 10th anniversary of "Firefly," – in conjunction with an upcoming special on the Science Channel – and his second was to discuss the continuing adventures of "Buffy" in comic book form.

Lately, though, Whedon has been pondering his post-"Avengers" plans.

“I’ve just been trying to be with my family and trying to figure out who I am and what to do next," he told CNN Geek Out at Comic-Con. "It’s kind of an exciting time right now but it’s an exciting time of me waiting to make sure I don’t get so excited that I do the wrong thing."

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Filed under: Comic Longbox • Comic-Con 2012 • Fandom
So you want to go to Comic-Con 2013?
July 16th, 2012
08:57 AM ET

So you want to go to Comic-Con 2013?

After hearing so much about San Diego Comic-Con, you may be considering attending next year. If so, here are a few helpful pointers:

Start planning early - like, now:
No trip to Comic-Con can be spur of the moment. Tickets go on sale months ahead of time–and usually sell out instantaneously. Once you have those tickets, you will want to lay out your plan of attack for the time you're there, not to mention figure out your accommodations, a separate battle.

Lines, lines, everywhere a line:
The lines at Comic-Con, especially for Hall H, make theme park lines seem like a breeze. This year, the line-to-line-up for Hall H serpentined past the convention center and around the back of the gigantic hotel next door - at 6 a.m. People sleep out there. Unless you have no interest in any major panels, you will wait in line seemingly endlessly. See this as a chance to get to know your fellow Con-goers.

Bring along a Con-veteran:
It can be a tremendous help if you have a friend with you who has been there and done that. It can get difficult flying blind. Especially with rumors of crowds pushing the 200,000 mark, if you don't know where you're going you may have no choice about where you end up.

Plan your day wisely:
"Never do anything before 11," said Geek and Sundry's Felicia Day. "And make sure you have dinner with the people you really want to catch up with. You can go from thing to thing and be so frenzied about it. Make your Con about things you really love, because there's so much to distract you."

Stake out specific panels:
The nichiest of niche panels exist at Comic-Con, such as the "Ball Jointed Doll Collectors Group" or "The Chilling Archives of Horror Comics 'Zombies' Panel." Look hard enough and you may find one for you, with a much shorter line to get in.

Prepare to geek out:
"You get to meet your heroes. It doesn't matter if you're here or if you're Peter Jackson," remarked "Doctor Who" star Matt Smith. "I bet Peter Jackson saw someone and said, 'Wow, you're here, too. Cool.' "

Whether it's going to a panel for something you like or finding a toy or comic book you've been looking for, prepare to squee.

See you at Comic-Con 2013!

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Filed under: Brainiac • Comic Longbox • Comic-Con 2012 • Fandom • Master User • Otaku
'Hobbit,' 'Iron Man,' 'Godzilla' wow fans at Comic-Con
The Iron Man-gloved Robert Downey Jr. made a memorable entrance in Comic-Con's Hall H on Saturday.
July 15th, 2012
11:18 AM ET

'Hobbit,' 'Iron Man,' 'Godzilla' wow fans at Comic-Con

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

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