SAN DIEGO — Every year, Comic-Con: International is a window to a new world of gods and monsters — and this year was perhaps even more so.
While the convention was marred by an on-site stabbing incident, the parade of conventiongoers was overall friendly and outgoing. San Diego itself seemed more enamored of Comic-Con this year. With the convention having the option to move in the near future, downtown businesses seemed to be more welcoming to fans, perhaps realizing the value of the 126,000-plus attendees. For instance, an upscale hotel restaurant had tweaked its interior by covering its framed artwork with superhero posters, and clerks at the downtown grocery hot spot were wearing comic-book shirts to show support for the event.
Marvel Comics debuted its latest god, Thor, the god of thunder, who will be played by Chris Hemsworth in both the “Thor” movie and the superhero team-up film “The Avengers.”
And Marvel also has a new monster: Mark Ruffalo was announced as Bruce Banner, aka the Hulk, for the “Avengers” film, replacing Edward Norton in the role. Also set for “The Avengers” is Chris Evans as Captain America; he’ll star in “Captain America: The First Avenger,” which fans also got a brief glimpse of in a Comic-Con panel. Assembling all these “Avengers” will be Joss Whedon (“Serenity”), who was confirmed as the film’s director.
Con-goers got their first look at Ryan Reynolds as the emerald space warrior Green Lantern; Reynolds received an ovation for his recitation of the oath of the Green Lantern Corps for a young fan.
“In brightest day, in blackest night; no evil shall escape my sight,” Reynolds said to feverish crowd cheers. “Let those who worship evil’s might, beware my power! Green Lantern’s light!”
Another green hero, the Green Hornet, was on hand, as Seth Rogen promoted his film based on the former radio hero, also known as Britt Reid, in a Comic-Con panel. A nearby former factory was reworked into “Britt Reid’s Garage,” where con-goers received rides in Black Beauty, the Green Hornet’s famous car.
“Scott Pilgrim vs. the World,” Michael Cera’s comedy/drama about a 20-something slacker who discovers he must battle his new girlfriend’s seven evil exes, was a Comic-Con hit, with multiple screenings delivering good buzz. The sixth and final volume of the Scott Pilgrim graphic novel series, “Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour,” went to a second printing over the weekend, after selling 100,000 copies in its first week of release.
Proving that Comic-Con is still about comics, Stan Lee announced he was working on three new titles with Boom! Studios (see sidebar), as well as new projects with Archie Comics and Viz.
Geoff Johns of DC Entertainment announced that Wally West, the popular Flash of the 1980s and 1990s, would again star in an ongoing series, tentatively titled “Flash: Speedforce.”
Grant Morrison will write a new “Batman” title, called “Batman, Inc.,” starring Bruce Wayne.
John Constantine, who stars in the “Hellblazer” comic and was the focus of the “Constantine” film, will attempt to get married in an upcoming issue of the series.
IDW announced new comics from the popular 1980s series “The Rocketeer,” which will be worked on by an array of all-star talent. “John Byrne’s Next Men,” a 1990s science-fiction series, will also return from IDW.
Jonathan Hickman (“Fantastic Four”) will write “Ultimate Thor” for Marvel, and Mark Waid (“Irredeemable”) will write a Captain America miniseries called “Man Out of Time.”
In television news, Bruce Campbell excited fans by announcing a prequel TV movie for his “Burn Notice” character, Sam Axe. And DC’s Johns announced that superheroes Booster Gold and Blue Beetle would guest-star in the final season of “Smallville.”
- By Matthew Price
From Friday’s The Oklahoman