Thousands Expected Downtown For Day One Of Comic Con - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Thousands Expected Downtown For Day One Of Comic Con

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Thousands of superhero and sci-fi fans are streaming to the convention center Thursday for the first day of Comic-Con.

Industry insiders and a lucky few got a taste Wednesday night of what's in store at Comic-Con International before the sold-out comics and popular culture convention begins a four-day run at the San Diego Convention Center.  Festivities at Comic-Con's preview night include appearances and premier screenings for the upcoming television shows "Target," "V" and "The Vampire Diaries."  Preview night was open only to pre-registered, four-day pass holders and industry professionals.

About 125,000 people annually attend Comic-Con, which features hundreds of exhibits, celebrity appearances, film screenings and industry panels during its Thursday-Sunday run.

In recognition of Comic-Con's 40-year history and its $42 million annual direct economic impact on the region, the Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to declare it "Comic-Con Week" in San Diego County.

"This is one of those things that's become synonymous with San Diego during the summer," Supervisor Greg Cox said of Comic-Con.

The event began in 1970 with a one-day convention at the U.S. Grant Hotel in downtown San Diego, featuring monster writer Forrest J. Ackerman and science fiction writer Jack Kirby as the first guests.

Looming big on this year's schedule is a panel discussion Thursday featuring film director James Cameron -- along with actors Sigourney Weaver and Sam Worthington and producer John Landau -- to discuss his upcoming alien-planet saga "Avatar" -- Cameron's first full-fledged film project since the wildly successful 1997 blockbuster "Titanic."

Also scheduled at this year's convention, Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage will discuss their show "MythBusters"; Seth McFarlane will take questions on his series "Family Guy"; and "The Simpsons" creator Matt Groening and David X. Cohen will discuss whether the animated series "Futurama" will return.

Peter Jackson, the filmmaker behind "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy and "King Kong" remake, will attend Comic-Con for the first time to support TriStar Picture's "District 9."

Film directors Robert Zemeckis and Tim Burton will make appearances, as will science fiction and fantasy author Ray Bradbury; Steve Epting, the artist behind "Captain America" and "Avengers"; veteran voice artist June Foray ("The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show"); and MAD magazine cartoonist Sergio Aragones.

Cast members from the film "The Twilight Saga: New Moon," the sequel to last year's box office hit "Twilight," will answer questions from attendees and show never-before-seen footage.
Danny DeVito, Robert Downey Jr., Woody Harrelson and Jennifer Love Hewitt are among numerous Hollywood stars rumored to be attending this year's convention to promote new films and television shows.

The 35th annual Comic-Con "Masquerade" extravaganza will be held on Saturday, featuring a costume contest, stage shows, presentations, simulated battles and displays on four large video screens.

The convention runs from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.
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