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Posted at 10:17 AM ET, 07/20/2010

Comic-Con 2010: The stars coming to San Diego

By Jen Chaney

Comic-Con is hardly a glittery affair. During the four-day span when pop culture creators from film, television, comics and other realms assume command of the San Diego Convention Center, the scene looks decidedly more cargo-shorts-and-Wookie-T-shirts than high glamour.

Nevertheless, there will be plenty of celebrities in attendance, as always, when Comic-Con 2010 officially blasts into dizzyingly high gear on Thursday. Who will be there? Here's a partial rundown of the famous names expected, broken down into various categories of Comic-Con Celebrityhood.

The Ultra A-Lister: In recent years, there's usually one major star who pops in semi-expectedly at Comic-Con and almost immediately departs, thereby elevating him or herself into the Ultra A-Lister category. In 2008, it was Hugh Jackman, who made an unannounced appearance to promote "X-Men Origins: Wolverine." Last year, Johnny Depp came, captivated and left. This year the not-so-big celebrity surprise looks to be the Comic-Con debut of Angelina Jolie, who will appear Thursday to promote "Salt." Unless, of course, someone completely unexpected surfaces and trumps her.

The A-Listers: Each year, there seem to be more and more of these at Comic-Con. We're talking everyone from recent Academy Award winners and nominees -- see Jeff Bridges ("Tron: Legacy"), Helen Mirren ("Red"), Christoph Waltz ("The Green Hornet") and Anna Kendrick ("Scott Pilgrim vs. the World"), all coming this year -- to past Oscar winners and nominees -- Natalie Portman and Kenneth Branagh (both promoting "Thor"), Mark Wahlberg ("The Other Guys") and Peter Sarsgaard ("The Green Lantern"). And don't forget above-the-marquee names like Will Ferrell and Tina Fey (both promoting "Megamind"), Bruce Willis ("Red"), Sylvester Stallone ("The Expendables"), Seth Rogen ("Green Hornet") and Ryan Reynolds ("Green Lantern").

The Objects of Geek Love: Really, everyone at Comic-Con is an A-lister. At least it seems that way, since virtually every star who attends gets to feel the warm embrace -- sometimes literally -- of the admirers in their niche fan base. Expect to see people like Zachary Levi ("Chuck"), Simon Pegg and Nick Frost ("Paul"), Jim Parsons ("The Big Bang Theory"), Seth Green ("Robot Chicken") and even William Shatner -- who's on the RSVPd list for Friday's Tweet House party, one of the roughly 8 zillion soirees taking place in and around the Con over the weekend --basking in the glow.

The Pop Culture Visionaries: At Comic-Con, the creators are as admired -- actually, make that often more admired -- than the traditional movie and TV stars. You could easily walk right by Joss Whedon on a standard bustling city street. At Comic-Con, he's a sun god. He'll be there, of course, along with people like Kevin Smith, Guillermo del Toro, Seth McFarlane, J.J. Abrams and others too numerous to mention.

The Comic-Con Legends: These are the Comic-Con stalwarts, the elder statesmen who are revered and often stopped by flashbulbs and autograph requests on the Convention Center floor. We're talking guys like comic artist Neal Adams, voice master Stan Freberg, writer and panel moderator extraordinaire Mark Evanier and, of course, Stan Lee. Because it's impossible to have Comic-Con without Stan Lee.

By Jen Chaney  | July 20, 2010; 10:17 AM ET
Categories:  Comic-Con, Pop Culture  
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Dang. If I'd known Stan Freberg came to Comic-Con, I would have actually tried to go there one of these years. He is like a god to me.

Posted by: MaxineofArc | July 20, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Maxine, I am so with you re Stan Freberg.

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | July 20, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Maxine, I am so with you re Stan Freberg!

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | July 20, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Tom Welling would be feeling my warm embrace, as well as those from a multitude of other women .............. if there weren't such things as restraining orders.

Posted by: Lori-M | July 20, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Oh, I am soooooooo glad I am going to be out of town on vacation starting tomorrow. No offense, Jen -- you are of course welcome to our fair city, as are the stars -- I just don't want to be around the mayhem!

Posted by: Californian11 | July 20, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Nosy: Lots of Stan's fantastic ads from the 70s and 80s are available on Youtube... every time my day is getting too dang serious, I go watch a few. :)

Posted by: MaxineofArc | July 20, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Maxine, did you also like Bob & Ray, and Nichols (yes, the future Mr. Diane Sawyer) & May? Good times...

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | July 20, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Nosy, I came to Frebergiana via my dad, who had a lot of his old releases on LP. One day when I was in junior high and home sick with the flu, Dad decided to entertain me with his LP of "Gray Flannel Hat Full of Teenage Werewolves," and even though I probably didn't understand most of the satire, I was hooked. We ended up with all of Stan's radio show on tape as well, and when Rhino released the Stan Freberg Collection a few years back I was first in line. That was the first time I got to see a lot of those classic ads- and though I'd picked those Encyclopedia Brittanica ads out as a Freberg production, I hadn't realized The Encyclopedia Kid was his son... who I think does porn now. Go figure.

Dad wasn't as into Bob and Ray/Nichols & May, but I've started picking them up myself over the years. Good times.

Posted by: MaxineofArc | July 21, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

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