Ah summer. Can you feel it? Movie studio ledgers are cracking a billion, there’s nothing left to see at the theatres and you can’t step outside for a moment without sweat drenching your clothes. July is winding down which means it’s time for another Comic-Con out of San Diego — the once annual event that brings nerds and public relations pros to the seaside town in southern California.

What once was a refuge for indoor kids has become one of the hottest entertainment markets around. Yet, this year feels different. Studio big bets at Comic-Con have not been paying off in recent years. The schedule was too bloated, the audiences' presumed tastes proved too niche and, worst of all perhaps, the fanboys and fangirls in attendance have gotten hip to Hollywood’s game. This year's big showpieces appear to be more understated, more interesting and less surefire hits than in past. In other words, the Con is re-establishing itself as a breeding ground for new concepts instead of fading into oblivion. Let’s see what people will be talking about over the next week.  

DC Reboot 

DC Comics has caught the reboot bug that bit Hollywood long ago. Starting August 31, every DC series will be starting over at issue No. 1.

Yup, every single hero, including Superman, Batman, The Flash and Wonder Woman among many others, will be starting over from the beginning. Details have slowly been coming out as Comic-Con gets into gear, but the covers for all forthcoming issue numero unos have already appeared online.

Other tidbits gave been trickling out as well, like the fact that Superman will once again be a bachelor in these new iterations. Expect a torrent of such illicit factoids throughout the convention and for the rest of the summer.  


Francis Ford Coppola is currently enjoying a brilliant third act as an independent auteur. In his first act he changed Hollywood, in the second Hollywood changed him, and for about the last decade he has been unapologetically making films outside of the system (sort of) that meet his aesthetic needs. Tetro (2009) was a wildly inventive film that showed how spry the 72-year-old filmmaker is, so who wouldn’t be excited to see him bring his latest film, Twixt, to Comic-Con? Details are currently scant, but his session will apparently show off scenes from the film which is still in production. Apparently Coppola will also “involve the audience in a dress rehearsal of the completely unique and innovative way they plan on performing it.” In many ways, Coppola helped define what independent filmmaking was in the U.S. way back in the 1970s. It sounds like he’s still having fun and coming up with new ways to invigorate his audience. The crowd will definitely be buzzing.  

Amazing Spider-Man 

Sony has been building audiences up for a preview of next summer’s The Amazing Spider-Man, a reboot of Sam Raimi’s series of films which ran from 2002 to 2007. This time around Marc Webb ([500] Days of Summer) takes the reins as director with Andrew Garfield (The Social Network) filling Peter Parker’s web-slinging shoes. Early on Tuesday, a blurry, dark version of the film’s teaser trailer leaked on the web, only to be (mostly) snuffed out by Sony’s people. Expect the real deal to come online soon, with a premiere used to gauge nerds’ reactions to the new Spidey.  

I was able to watch the leaked teaser before it disappeared, and the film is definitely a complete reboot. As we have known, Sony has decided to redo the entire origin of the character. This, I think, will be a tough pill to swallow for most Spidey loyalists as Raimi’s original dealt with the complexities of super-powered pubescence and the awesome weight of heroism. Webb’s challenge will be to establish himself above the high water mark for superhero filmmaking while still basking in the shadow of a film that came out only nine years ago. Let’s see if his presentation this week ignites the kind of excitement that this cycle enjoyed the last time around.  

Spielberg Cometh 

Steven Spielberg will make his first ever Comic-Con appearance this year to promote his Adventures of Tintin film, due out this Christmas. It’s unclear if this is a good sign or not. Perhaps Spielberg, who I imagine is still mostly beloved around Comic-Con even for his transgressions (I doubt anyone in attendance will give a thumbs up to the War Horse trailer,) is attending to pump up audiences for a film that may not otherwise find favour among this set. The truth is that the animated feature looks like some good, dark fun. Tintin is, after all, based on the wildly popular comic book by Belgian artist Hergé. Spielberg should be right at home with this audience, but expect conversation to turn to his wide reach this movie season, including Super 8, Cowboys & Aliens, Transformers: Dark of the Moon and yes, maybe even his other Christmas film, War Horse

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