The Power of the Con: Comic-Con and LoneStarCon

The 130,000-plus people who attended this year’s San Diego Comic-Con international were treated to never-before-seen film footage and quite literally hundreds of celebrity appearances. A convention that started thirty years ago in a small San Diego hotel has now become the most famous pop-culture convention in America, and the place all major studios, video game producers, and comic book publishers go to generate interest in their upcoming releases.

One way they all attempt to generate such interest is via Big, Important Announcements, and this year did not disappoint in that regard. Perhaps the biggest Big Announcement was the news that a Batman vs. Superman movie will finally make it to the big screen. “Man of Steel’s”‘ Henry Cavill will reprise the role of Superman, and, as we learned recently, Ben Affleck will play a new incarnation of the Caped Crusader.

In the midst of all this DC Comics mania, Marvel had plenty of news as well. They introduced “Guardians of the Galaxy”, a new sci-fi film featuring John C. Reilly and Karen Gillan. Riding high on the head-spinningly gargantuan success of the first “Avengers” movie, director Joss Whedon appeared to announce that the sequel to that film will be subtitled “The Age of Ultron”. The titular character, a deranged and powerful sentient robot, will be the movie’s chief villain. The folks at Marvel also unveiled footage from a new “Avengers”-related TV series, “Agents of SHIELD.”

On the video game front, Fox Digital Entertainment announced an online role-playing game inspired by the cult classic “Firefly” TV series. And, of course, there was plenty of comics news as well. Author Chuck Palahniuk will write a sequel to “Fight Club”””in graphic novel form. Harley Quinn, famed femme fatale and “Batman” fan favorite, will be getting her own series. Scooby-Doo, inquisitive puppy dog and Cartoon Network favorite, will be featured in a special “Scooby-Doo Meets Batman and Robin” series.

 Of course, Comic-Con isn’t all announcements. Each year is packed with  panels and surprise guests. This year, Tom Hiddleston, Loki from “The Avengers,” showed up in character to pelt audience members with insults. The cast of “How I Met Your Mother” filmed a gag video. The cast and creators of “Game of Thrones” showed up to console fans after season three’s bloody finale and  George R.R. Martin, who writes the books on which the series is based on, staged a hilarious faux attack on fans who dared to poke fun at his glacial writing pace.

While you won’t see either Joss Whedon or Scooby-Doo in San Antonio any time soon, it may be possible to see Mr. Martin. He will be appearing at LoneStarCon, an event hosted in San Antonio from August 29-September 2. LoneStarCon will also feature the annual Hugo awards for sci-fi and fantasy literature, an interview with “Guardians of the Galaxy” director James Gunn and even a “Firefly”-themed dance party. It may not draw all the major studios, but it will be, just as Comic-Con always is, a place for grateful creators to come together with loyal consumers.