Pop Culture Playground
Every July, thousands of comic book and sci fi fans descend on San Diego, California, for a yearly ritual they call Comic Con. Despite the name, the gathering is about much more than comic books.
At Comic-Con fans can sit in on panels with their favorite TV stars, see previews of the hottest new movies, play pre-release video games and collect tons of free swag from the hundreds of media-related booths.
Add to that the 125,000 visitors, most of whom are on site all four days, and you've got one of the biggest, wildest pop culture events of the year.
What began decades ago as someone's idea of a way of networking comic book authors has become an institution.
Here's just a small sampling of what Comic Con 2008 had to offer.
From the stars walking the convention center floor to the costumed attendees, Comic Con 2008 was unforgettable.
Heroes is always a big draw at Comic Con with fans lining up hours in advance to get the latest scoop from the cast and crew. It appears the strike-shortened season of last year had little affect on the passion for this show.
Hayden Panettiere and Milo Ventimiglia both showed up dressed to the nines! Milo donned a suit for the occasion while Hayden wore a rather revealing dress with a tight, red bodice and gauzy pink skirt.
Ali Larter was dazzling as well (see photo above).
One of the perks of attending is getting first crack at collectibles made especially for the Con. NBC released this Hiro two-faced bobblehead from Heroes and a Battlestar Galactica toaster that imprints the face of a Cylon into your toast.
Retro TV fans got a huge kick out of the unveiling of the brand new KITT car from the Knight Rider series remake.
Executive producer Gary Scott Thompson was on hand along with stars Justin Bruening and Deanna Russo to talk about how the show has evolved since the pilot that aired last winter.
Critics and pop culture watchers may have been surprised by the show's returning numbers. But never underestimate the power of a pop culture phenomenon to return to its glory. As for the new season?
Watch for darker themes, a cool new KITT cave and a plot-twisting reveal regarding Michael's military past. Color us interested!
Another perk of Comic Con is the chance to get let in on the secrets of a new season. Chuck's Zachary Levi was on hand along with the rest of the main cast and series creators. They reveal that there will be more than a few kisses in the coming episodes, we'll learn more about why Chuck is in the pickle that he's in, and there will be a "catastrophic" event that will drive the show in a new direction.
Many studios use Comic Con as a testing ground for new shows like Fox's Dollhouse which stars Eliza Dushku (seen here at an after party with Bones star David Boreanaz). The new series, from Buffy creator Joss Whedon, won't hit TV until January of next year but that didn't stop 1,000 of people from attending a panel with Whedon and his young star.
Heading to the Fringe
Fox also used the Con to create a buzz for their new X-Files-ish series Fringe. Con visitors were given clues upon arrival which led them on a scavenger hunt for items such as Fringe water and fruit.
The final clue led them to a rooftop showing of the brand new series which stars Dawson's Creek alumni Joshua Jackson, Anna Torv and John Nobel.
Up next...24 smiles for SheKnows, Dominic Purcell signs autographs and Supernatural rocks our world.