4 Things to Keep an Eye on at Comic-Con

inky12 1 4 Things to Keep an Eye on at Comic ConIf you hear Comic-Con and think “Ain’t It Cool talkbacker,” then it might be time to recalibrate that air of superiority. The ‘Con — as some nerds call it; ahem — has become a mid-summer Mecca for all things pop culture. Put it this way: James Cameron screened 25 minutes of Avatar there last summer and the throngs of geekery ate it up with spoon. Which films and television shows should you follow through this year’s festival of Star Wars reference and Spock ears? Allow The Observer to let you know.

All Those Marvel Films

OK, so Iron Man 2 was slightly disappointing — though really, it was just as good as the first one, but with the added weight of expectation — but that doesn’t mean Marvel properties won’t rule the box office roost for the foreseeable future. Thor, Captain America and The Avengers — Marvel’s superhero super group — will all have big presences at Comic-Con, but The Avengers offers the most interesting subplot. That being: Is Mark Ruffalo going to replace Edward Norton in the role of The Hulk? Expect some sort of announcement either way before Comic-Con closes.

The Walking Dead

As AMC continues to branch further out into the world of original programming — based on the pilot, August’s twisty conspiracy thriller Rubicon is already a winner — it goes to reason that the prestigious network would find themselves a genre show to sink their teeth into. Enter The Walking Dead. From the graphic novel by Robert Kirkman, Dead is one of those “last group of people on earth fight zombies” stories and judging from the initial images, expect enough gore to make George Romero proud. Also, expect some good storytelling: Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption) is the executive producer and directs the pilot which airs this fall.

Tron Legacy

Don’t worry: we barely remember Tron either. But that didn’t stop Disney from spending millions of dollars (and man-hours) creating a sequel. Jeff Bridges returns, as do those cool-looking motorcycles and the “futuristic” color palette. This is coming out on the same weekend that Avatar did, so clearly anything less than $3 billion in grosses will be a disappointment.

The Event

Without Lost to confound, delight and excite Comic-Con attendees, what television series will step up to fill the mysterious, Dharma Initiative void? NBC is hoping it’s The Event. The generically titled series — co-starring Blair Underwood as the president and Jason Ritter as the everyman on the trail of…the event — combines the sprawling conspiracy and cliffhangers that are de rigueur in a post-Lost landscape. For NBC’s sake, though, let’s just hope this one turns out better than last year’s Comic-Con sensation: FlashForward.