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Posted at 3:00 PM ET, 07/10/2010

COMIC-CON: Saturday's schedule is here -- and so, too, our early picks

By Michael Cavna

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By the time Saturday programming rolls around, geekdom at San Diego Comic-Con 2010 will reach a fever pitch of camping out and costumes and more lines than an R. Crumb crosshatch.

Hollywood will unveil such projects as "Green Lantern" and "Sucker Punch" and "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" (though apparently with no Potter lead actors in tow). TV animation will span Matt Groening to Seth MacFarlane to SpongeBob. Great "spotlight" sessions will include Peter Bagge and Carla Speed McNeil and the perennial presence of Ray Bradbury (who was at the very first Con). And if you see someone who looks old enough to be Luke Skywalker's father -- yes, that really is Mark Hamill.

From the jam-packed schedule of riches, we spotlight Twelve Highlights (will a new Hulk be announced for the Avengers? See below) that are particularly catching our eye this minute (all text below is direct from the schedule):

1. Mad about MAD!
MAD magazine has established itself as the original and most imitated and influential satirical publication across generations. This fall, MAD returns to TV screens with a new show for the next generation! MAD magazine editor John Ficarra, MAD art director Sam Viviano, legendary MAD artist Sergio Aragon├ęs, current MAD artist Tom Richmond, MAD story editor/producer Kevin Shinick, and your host, Warner Bros. Animation senior VP Peter Girardi offer a light-hearted look at the future of an American institution.

2. Scott Pilgrim Vol. 6: Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour vs. The Fans:
It's been six years and six volumes spanning over 1,000 pages, and you've been there since the beginning! But there's always been one burning question itching at the back of your brain that you thought would never be answered. Think no more! Ready your Q's, mind your P's, and join Scott Pilgrim creator Bryan Lee O'Malley for a battle royale as he quibbles the quips of his worst enemies...his fans!

ksmith2.jpg 2010 file photo / Getty Images

3. Kevin Smith:
He's back! Spend a quiet, refined evening with the one-and-only Kevin Smith [above], who will no doubt solve all the bad things in the world for you or, at the very least, make you laugh a few hundred times.

4. With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story:
"With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story" is a feature-length documentary on Marvel Comics icon Stan Lee, the co-creator of Spider-Man, Iron Man, X-Men, Hulk and over 500 other comic book characters. Learn how Stan rose from his humble Brooklyn beginnings to co-creating many of the world's most well known characters! Following the screening will be a brief panel with Stan "The Man" Lee himself, executive producers Michael Uslan (The Dark Knight) and Tom DeSanto (X-Men, Transformers), actor Lou Ferrigno (The Incredible Hulk TV Show), illustrator Jim Lee (Marvel, DC), writer Paul Levitz (former president and publisher of DC Comics), Jack Kirby biographer Mark Evanier, and the With Great Power producing team of Terry Dougas, Nikki Frakes, and Will Hess.

5. Marvel Comics Writers Unite!:
The third in Comic-Con's series of "Year of the Writer/Comics Writers Unite!" panels focuses on Marvel Comics and includes Comic-Con special guests Brian Michael Bendis (Avengers, New Avengers, Ultimate Spider-Man), Matt Fraction (Invincible Iron Man, Thor), and Chris Claremont (X-Men Forever, X-Women) in a discussion with writer Mark Waid (Amazing Spider-Man, Irredeemable).


6. The Black Panel 2010:
The focus will be on empowerment, education, real-world networking, and finally but never last, fun. The panelists include entertainment attorney Darrel Miller, novelist Nnedi Okorafor, artist Denys Cowan, and writer/producer/director Reggie Hudlin [pictured right], with moderator Michael Davis. Once they answer life's burning questions, they'll chill with a salute and Q&A from the audience with actor/writer/director Bill Duke.

7. Spotlight on Jillian Tamaki:
Comic-Con special guest Jillian Tamaki has taken both the illustration and comics worlds by storm. Her graphic novel Skim was a New York Times Best Book of the Year, and also was nominated for a Governor General Award and for three Eisner Awards. Her drawings can be found in the New York Times, Oprah, New Yorker, and Esquire. Tamaki will discuss the process of Skim, collaborating with a writer, and the difference between comics and illustration.

8. Will Eisner, The Dreamer:
Will Eisner played a central role in the first seven decades of comics history. Many times during his career, he reinvented sequential art and himself to overcome new challenges. He was a true dreamer, and these panelists hope to show you that side of him: Denis Kitchen (artist, author, publisher, and Will Eisner's agent and longtime friend), Scott McCloud (artist, author, and theoretician about comics and sequential art), Dennis O'Neil (comic book writer and editor for Marvel Comics and DC Comics), Paul Levitz (writer, former president/publisher, DC Comics), and Michael Schumacher (bestselling author and Biographer with a new biography of Will Eisner due out this fall). This is your chance to learn more about the "Father of the Graphic Novel."

9. Comics Across all Media:
Paul Feig (creator of Freaks & Geeks), Chip Kidd (Shazam!: The Golden Age of the World's Mightiest Mortal), Whitney Matheson (USA Today's Pop Candy blog), Brad Meltzer (The Inner Circle), and Michael Uslan (The Dark Knight) are five superstars who make headlines in television, the graphic arts, journalism, novels, and film. But they all have comics in common. As they reunite for another visit, join them for a discussion of all things nerd. It'll be like a 21st century Breakfast Club -- but with even better references. Moderated by audiobook star Scott Brick (The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant).

10. The Guild:
Now in its fourth season, The Guild is a multi-award-winning independent web series that started on YouTube and has grown into a worldwide phenomenon with over 50 million views, a groundbreaking distribution deal with Microsoft, a chart-topping song and music video, and a comic book from Dark Horse Comics. Writer/producer and Comic-Con special guest Felicia Day, producer Kim Evey, director Sean Becker, and the cast of The Guild including Wil Wheaton are on hand for a discussion and Q&A, along with the debut of never-before-seen content and other surprises.

11. Partners in Image Comics:
Image Comics partners Robert Kirkman (The Walking Dead, Invincible), Erik Larsen (Savage Dragon), Todd McFarlane (Spawn), Marc Silvestri (Witchblade), and Jim Valentino (ShadowHawk) get together for a boisterous discussion of all things Image. Join the partners as they talk about ongoing and future projects, and become part of the discussion during a Q&A session.

AND of course, the session that will be met with a crescendo of fandom:

12. Marvel Studios: Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger:
Producer Kevin Feige and special guests give you an inside look at the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe. (In related news: This weekend brings word that a recast Hulk will join "The Avengers" -- buh-bye, Ed Norton.)

By Michael Cavna  | July 10, 2010; 3:00 PM ET
Categories:  San Diego Comic-Con  | Tags:  San Diego Comic-Con 2010  
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