Man, it's been a crazy, well, month and a half. As you've probably noticed, my blog postings of late have been far fewer and farther apart than usual. Things have been hectic - new apartment, lots of shakeups at work, etc. That said, after several weeks of insanity ... it is time for my annual trek to San Diego for COMIC-CON, the mecca of all things pop-culture, the center of the universe for fans of movie, TV, comics, and all things geeky-cool each July. This will, incredibly, be my FIFTH consecutive Comic-Con - hard to believe. And I'm in the midst of packing and prepping as I type this. But -- I do want to get down a few pre-show thoughts before heading out. So, without further ado, here are ...
DANNY'S TOP 50 QUESTIONS FOR COMIC-CON 2011:
50. THE WALKING DEAD proved that zombies can come alive on TV. Will the AMC hit maintain momentum as it begins building the hype for Season 2? Will we see any new, fan-favorite characters from the comics introduced on the show?
49. Can the new SPIDERMAN film successfully revive and reboot the franchise, or is it, depsite a great cast, simply too soon to get audiences re-hyped for Spidey?
48. GAME OF THRONES may well be the new king of Comic-Con - will this be the biggest, craziest panel of the show?
47. One of the best comic book writers of the last decade, BRIAN K. VAUGHAN, is supposedly announcing a new project at the show after a lengthy absence from the world of comics. What's BKV been up to? And will he unveil a new title to continue the legacy of books like Y: The Last Man and Ex Machina?
46. Will Ridley Scott show footage from PROMETHEUS, his quasi-Alien prequel, in Hall H? Will it rule?
45. Rumor has it that CONAN O'BRIEN will make an appearance to promote some animated superhero shorts ("The Flaming C"). Will Comic-Con embrace Team Coco, and vice versa?
44. Holy reunions, Batman! Adam West, Burt Ward, and Julie Newmar will be appearing together to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the 60's BATMAN TV show. What shenanigans will ensue?
43. Fans of FRINGE have been desperately waiting to hear word of what's in store for next season, following this past season's head-turning cliffhanger ending. Will there be clues as to what's next?
42. Speaking of which, will fans rally around JOHN NOBLE, who was once against robbed of an Emmy nomination despite kicking huge amounts of ass on Fringe?
41. Which of the new FALL TV shows will hit hardest? Will fanboys come away from the Con buzzing about Terra Nova, Grimm, The River, Awake, Alcatraz? None of the above?
40. Will the war between the true-blue geeks and the TWIHARDS die down this year?
39. Will the war of words over the place of geek-girls in geek culture reach a fever pitch? Female fandom seems to be one of, if not THE hot topic at this year's show.
38. What will the reaction be to TIN-TIN? Will Steven Spielberg's first-ever Comic-Con appearance be a legendary moment or a "meh" moment?
37. What mystery movie will ROBERT RODRIGUEZ reveal at his panel. Everything from Red Sonjia to Sin City 2 is rumored.
36. How will DC Comics deal with negative reaction to the reemergence of once-crippled Barbara Gordon as Batgirl? With Babs back in tights and Oracle no more, what becomes of fan-fave Stephanie Brown in the DCnU?
35. What will CHUCK have in store as it goes to its final Comic-Con? Will the geek-friendly show reassure fans that it will go out with a bang?
34. Even though Warner Bros.' film division is not holding court this year in Hall H, will we get any new info on Dark Knight Rises or Superman Man of Steel? Could any surprise reveals be in the works, or will WB keep mum?
33. What does Grant Morrison have in store for the reboot of Superman and Action Comics #1? Will lawsuits force DC to radically reinvent the Man of Steel?
32. Speaking of which ... Superman and Lois Lane: divorced? Say it ain't so! How will DC explain the planned separation of comicdom's most famous couple in their relaunched universe?
31. In fact, DC will have many questions to answer. For example, in their new universe, how will they explain the fact that books like Batman and Green Lantern will keep decades' worth of continuity intact, whereas Superman and Justice League will essentially start from scratch?
30. ATTACK THE BLOCK - is this the new Shaun of the Dead?
29. CAPTAIN AMERICA premieres this weekend - will fanboy buzz have Comic-Con attendees running to nearby theaters to see Cap in action, or is this one summer superhero film too many?
28. COWBOYS AND ALIENS is another soon-to-be-premiering genre film. With Comic-Con serving as the location of the movie's premiere, will all signs point to this being a sleeper hit of the summer?
27. CONAN THE BARBARIAN is also looking to make a last-minute push at the show. By Crom, will this movie see the box office competition driven before it, or will it cause lamentations from de men and de women?
26. Digital distribution will be a big buzzword at the show as far as comics go. Will DC's decision to go day-and-date digital also be adopted by Marvel and others?
25. What will be the go-to cosplay costume of the show? Past years have seen The Joker, Ramona Flowers, and Hitgirl claim Most Popular Costume of the show. This year - will be interesting to see what's hot. Personally, I say you can never go wrong with Harley Quinn.
24. The Twilight Saga is winding down, so what other female-friendly franchises will attract the attention of the con's resident fangirl population? True Blood, Dr. Who, Vampire Diaries, and Snow White And The Huntsmen will all be vying for geek-girl cred (though I have to say, I love me some True Blood).
23. What videogames will rule the show? Hot hits from E3 will be playable on the show floor - from The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim to Uncharted 3 to Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom -- what games will be must-haves for the fanboy set?
22. What do Geoff Johns and Jim Lee have planned for the crown jewel of the DCnU - the rebooted JUSTICE LEAGUE? If nothing else, the new launch means super-sweet Jim Lee renderings of all the iconic DC heroes.
21. Will THE AVENGERS assemble? No Marvel panel in Hall H this year, but will the House of Ideas emply other viral marketing techniques to hype up its uber-epic?
20. Is SWEET TOOTH the best comic book on the stands today? With his own spotlight panel, writer/artist Jeff Lemire has a chance to up his status to stand side by side with the likes of Morrison, Johns, and others as one of today's biggest creative forces.
19. Will anyone be stabbed in Hall H this year? Let's hope not!
18. What effect will DISNEY's absence have on the show? Is Disney saving all of its big announcements for its own D23 Expo in Anaheim, set for August? Or will the House of Mouse have some surprises in store for San Diego?
17. Speaking of which, GUILLERMO DEL TORO is everywhere at the show. Might we get any first looks at his upcoming Haunted Mansion? What info will he have on the mysterious project PACIFIC RIM?
18. What's next for GREEN LANTERN? WB committed to a sequel despite lukewarm reception at the box-office for the recent comics-to-film adaptation. Will there be any word on the potentially epic Part 2? And what do Geoff Johns and co. have in store for the GL comic book, following the recent reveal that the rebooted comic will now star the villainous Sinestro?
17. Do TV comedies still have a place at Comic-Con? Fans of Community, The Big Bang Theory, Children's Hospital, Eagleheart, and more would argue "yes!" What hilarious moments will occur during these shows' sure-to-be-memorable panels?
16. Will the Q&A sessions at the panels feature some semblance of intelligent questions and non-annoying question-askers? Odds are ... nope, it'll be more of the same lamebrained mouthbreathers at the front of the lines.
15. BEAVIS & BUTTHEAD are due for an animated comeback over on MTV. Has their time passed, or will a whole new generation know the glory of Cornholio?
14. BATMAN YEAR ONE - a new animated movie, will be premiering at the show. Will this be the definitive adaptation of Frank Miller's classic tale?
13. Where the party at?
12. What will be the must-have T at this year's show? We've seen shirts bearing the logos of Blackest Night, Flynn's Arcade, and others be the attire of choice for attendees in the past. This year, what will it be? Flashpoint? Avengers? The Flaming C?
11. Can JJ Abrams recapture the magic of Lost? JJ's got two new shows he's producing that will be at the 'con - Persons of Interest and Alcatraz. Both feature Lost alumni in the cast. Will either get the kind of buzz that Lost generated at Comic-Con back in the day?
10. Is this the end of an era for Comic-Con? With WB and Disney sitting things out this year, has Comic-Con lost some of its importance to the studios? Does this signal a more back-to-basics approach for the years ahead?
9. Will comics once again take center stage at Comic-Con? The biggest buzz this year from fanboys is not a movie or TV show, but the relaunch of DC's entire line starting in September. Will the typically-tame comics panels in fact be this year's hottest ticket?
8. Where do superhero movies go from here? With all of the A-list characters already-exploited, what B-listers might get a shot at the big time? Have we hit superhero overload?
7. Will 2012 be the biggest geek year ever? With The Avengers, Spiderman, Dark Knight, Man of Steel, The Hobbit, and many more huge films set for next year, is this year's Con a Calm before the Storm?
6. What's next from Warner / DC? We've got Batman and Superman ... and then ...? Will Wonder Woman ever make it to the bigscreen? The Flash? Green Arrow? Booster Gold? Or will the relatively disappointing reception to Green Lantern make WB less aggressive in exploiting the DC library?
5. Who's a real geek? With geek culture now more mainstream than ever, are we all just one nation of geeks? Even Ms. USA says she's a geek. So yes, there's an identity crisis of sorts going on at Comic-Con. And the question is - has Comic-Con become too cool for its own good?
4. What beloved geek property will finally get its due in movies or TV? We've seen Game of Thrones a huge success on HBO, but we also just saw Universal put the kibosh on its ambitious Dark Tower plans. So what's next? Will there ever be a Preacher movie or TV show? Fables? Y: The Last Man? The Sandman?
3. On that note - are TV shows the new movies? Typically, Hall H has been the home of big movies. But the hottest tickest at Comic-Con this year are things like True Blood, Game of Thrones, Fringe, and The Walking Dead. TV seems to increasingly be the star of Comic-Con, and the #1 source of high-quality geeky goodness. So ... when might more TV series migrate to the primetime real estate that is Hall H?
2. How is the new generation going to consume media, and what does that mean for Comic-Con? Will DC's reboot and digital distribution efforts legitimately allow kids to enjoy comics again? Will the old icons of Comic-Con stay relevant to a videogame and anime obsessed gen of kids and teens? Or is Comic-Con doomed to increasingly become geezerville? Last year I was encouraged to see a new gen of fanboys and fangirls going gaga for movies like Scott Pilgrim -- but sometimes, in an industry that constantly banks on nostalgia, you have to wonder what if anything is new under the sun?
1. What will be "the" big moment of Comic-Con 2011? Last year we saw the Avengers assemble in Hall H, heard Ryan Reynolds recite the Green Lantern oath, and saw Harrison Ford make his Comic-Con debut. What will be this year's big surprise - the thing that will get everyone buzzing? I have no idea -- and that, my friends, is the reason why this weekend is going to be a hell of a lot of fun.