Jan. 09, 2014 | 5:00 a.m.

Marvel Experience first look: Touring attraction to feature ride, games

Concept art for the touring attraction The Marvel Experience. (Hero Ventures / Marvel)
Marvel Entertainment has unveiled a first look at its upcoming touring theme park attraction, The Marvel Experience. The concept art (check it out above) reveals a maze of connected dome structures, designed to resemble a mobile command center for S.H.I.E.L.D., the Marvel Universe espionage and law enforcement agency, recently popular thanks to “The Avengers” and the TV series “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” The touring dome complex, which will span two acres and reach more than six stories high, will offer superhero fans a 4D motion-based ride featuring an original adventure, exclusive 3D animated features, digitally projected animation, motion-comic book origin stories, holographic simulations and an array of interactive games. “Our guests will be interacting directly with multiple Marvel superheroes, as well as members of S.H.I.E.L.D., as they take their place in the Marvel Universe,” said Doug Schaer, COO of Hero Ventures, the live entertainment company […]
Dec. 03, 2013 | 1:08 p.m.

‘The Hobbit’ premiere: Peter Jackson, Orlando Bloom, Luke Evans talk Smaug

Actor Orlando Bloom arrives for the Los Angeles premiere of "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug."  (Robyn Beck / AFP/Getty Images)
Middle-Earth’s denizens journeyed to Hollywood on Monday night for the world premiere of “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” the second of Peter Jackson’s three films based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s 1937 novel, “The Hobbit.” The film’s stars hit the shrub- and leaf-adorned black carpet in front of the Dolby Theater in Hollywood to fête the latest adaptation of the mystical realm where hobbits, dwarves, elves, orcs and goblins dwell. The carpet was designed to echo the sylvan realm of Mirkwood, which plays an important role in the new film, set to open in theaters Dec. 13. Dwarf-prince Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) and his company, which includes Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), travel through the forest on the next leg of their quest to reclaim Erebor, the treasure-filled city under the Lonely Mountain that was usurped from Thorin’s ancestors by the dragon […]
Nov. 28, 2013 | 11:01 a.m.

Disneyland’s holiday tweaks twinkle with seasonal magic

A woman sports Christmas-colored Mickey Mouse ears as she awaits "A Christmas Fantasy Parade" on Main Street U.S.A. at Disneyland. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
The scattered nature of Southern California’s expansive urban grid is never more noticeable than during the winter holidays. While lights festoon certain streets and artistically ambitious homeowners create over-the-top front-lawn tableaux, Los Angeles still lacks the central pedestrian thoroughfares that make Christmas so enchanting in cities like New York and Chicago, London and Paris. This means that, as with so many other things, we have to drive to Christmas. Or at least Anaheim. The new trend in open-plaza shopping may offer more local town-square seasonal activities — the Grove and the Americana have tree-lighting ceremonies and nightly “snow” fall, while Pershing Square and Nokia Plaza host skating rinks. But none of them beats the faux Main Street that started it all. At the resort the mouse built, Walt Disney’s nostalgic imagining of Americana has become more crazy festive with each […]
Nov. 12, 2013 | 1:05 p.m.

WonderCon 2014: Comic convention returning to Anaheim April 18-20

WonderCon is returning to Anaheim for a third year in 2014. The pop culture expo is slated for April 18-20. WonderCon is run by the organizers of San Diego’s Comic-Con International, which announced the WonderCon dates on its blog Tuesday morning, and is in many ways a smaller version of that mega-convention. More than 56,000 sci-fi, fantasy, horror and comics fans and professionals descended on Anaheim for this year’s event, which offered panel discussions for blockbuster films, popular television shows and comics creators, not to mention portfolio reviews for aspiring professionals, book signings, a cosplay masquerade, video game demonstrations and geek-friendly shopping on the convention floor. Next year’s expo, to be held over Easter weekend, marks WonderCon’s third engagement at the Anaheim Convention Center after renovations and scheduling conflicts at San Francisco’s Moscone Center forced the convention from its Bay […]
Nov. 06, 2013 | 11:32 a.m.

Thor invades Disneyland with new Treasures of Asgard exhibit

The God of Thunder himself, Thor, was on hand to greet us as we walked through a passageway to Asgard in a new exhibit at Disneyland. (Jevon Phillips / Los Angeles Times)
In time for this weekend’s release of “Thor: The Dark World,” Marvel is bringing the magic of Asgard to Disneyland in a new exhibit fit for the gods. Thor: Treasures of Asgard is now open as part of the park’s Innoventions display. The exhibit features “artifacts” from Asgard, including the helmet of Loki, the swords of Heimdall and Lady Sif, the mask of a dark elf and even the book that contains the history of Yggdrisil, the world tree that unites the nine realms of Asgard. See photos of some of the artifacts in the gallery above. We assume that Thor needs his hammer Mjolnir, and other famous objects like the Casket of Ancient Winter may be too dangerous to be on display. As part of the experience, participants are told by Odin, ruler of Asgard, about the joint undertaking […]
Nov. 04, 2013 | 9:01 p.m.

‘Hobbit’ fan event: Jackson unveils ‘Desolation of Smaug’ footage

Tolkien enthusiasts show off their Middle-earth costumes at a fan event for "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" in Los Angeles on Nov. 4, 2013. (Eric Charbonneau / Warner Bros. / Associated Press)
Director Peter Jackson showed off nearly 20 minutes of “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” — the second installment in his planned trilogy based on the J. R. R. Tolkien novel — during a worldwide fan event Monday afternoon. After the film’s notable absence from San Diego’s Comic-Con International earlier this year, Warner Bros. is beginning to drum up hype for the sequel, which is due out Dec. 13. The event, held in satellite-linked theaters in New York, Los Angeles, London and Wellington, featured the new footage, a look at Jackson’s most recent production blog video, a preview of the upcoming film’s closing song, a peek at a new scene from this week’s “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” extended edition release and a live Q&A session with Jackson and cast members. Richard Armitage, who plays dwarf Thorin Oakenshield, and Orlando […]
Nov. 03, 2013 | 10:10 a.m.

Stan Lee’s Comikaze cosplay: Thor, Loki, Disney, Batman and more

Des Grisham, of Los Angeles, works on the finishing touches for her Wonder Woman costume in the women's restroom at the Los Angeles Convention Center during Comikaze on Saturday. (Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)
Thor, Loki, Captain America and Iron Man cosplayers mill around the escalators in the Los Angeles Convention Center lobby on Saturday morning during Stan Lee’s Comikaze. A group of X-Men gather on the stairs, and a dozen people dressed as “Star Wars” bounty hunter Boba Fett pose together, wielding their blasters for the cameras. Thousands of sci-fi, fantasy, horror and comic book fans gathered in downtown Los Angeles this weekend for Comikaze, the homegrown pop culture expo that wraps up Sunday. The convention, now in its third year, featured panels, screenings, game tournaments, merchants and guest speakers from the genre entertainment world. Comikaze began as a passion project for Regina Carpinelli, chief executive of Comikaze Entertainment, and her siblings after ticketing complications kept them from attending San Diego’s Comic-Con International. “We were terribly bummed,” Carpinelli told Hero Complex. “We thought, ‘There needs to be a show that […]
Oct. 25, 2013 | 2:48 p.m.

‘Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug’: Peter Jackson plans fan celebration

“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” director Peter Jackson has announced plans to preview footage from the new film at a “global fan celebration” that will be simulcast in theaters and feature interviews with cast members including Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lilly, Lee Pace and Luke Evans. The event will take place Monday, Nov. 4, with Jackson and cast members gathering at satellite-linked theaters in Los Angeles, New York, London and Wellington to screen footage from the Dec. 13 release and answer questions in front of a live audience. CNN anchor Anderson Cooper will host the event from New York, where actors Richard Armitage, who plays dwarf Thorin Oakenshield, and Bloom, who is set to reprise his “Lord of the Rings” role as Legolas Greenleaf, are set to appear. Lilly, who plays a new elf named Tauriel created for the film, […]
Oct. 14, 2013 | 7:00 a.m.

NYCC: Shows like ‘Walking Dead,’ ‘S.H.I.E.L.D.’ are major draws

Andrew Lincoln, left, Danai Gurira, Steve Yuan and Lauren Cohan attend "The Walking Dead" panel at New York Comic Con at Jacob Javits Center on Oct. 12, 2013. (Laura Cavanaugh / Getty Images for AMC)
NEW YORK — At the Javits Center in Manhattan this past weekend, the Frodos and Jokers were easily outnumbered by the Heisenbergs and Khalesis. Reflecting television’s place on top of the pop-culture food chain, the lineup at New York Comic Con was dominated by the small screen, with panels about shows such as “Game of Thrones,” “Sleepy Hollow” and “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” proving a major draw among the estimated 130,000 attendees. Although it began as a more narrowly focused celebration of comic books and anime, like its behemoth West Coast rival, San Diego’s Comic Con International, NYCC is increasingly dominated by pop culture — particularly television. “I definitely have seen a really strong increase in the TV presence over the past couple of years,” said Kim Mueller, content and talent director at ReedPOP, the company that produces the 7-year-old […]
Oct. 11, 2013 | 7:58 a.m.

NYCC: Manga artists, online fans team up for Wikia writing project

Iconic manga artists teamed up with an online community to take fan fiction to a new level. Throughout September, manga and anime legends Takashi Okazaki (“Afro Samurai”), Masao Maruyama (“Trigun”), Hiro Ikegami (“Space Battleship Yamato 2199″), Yoshitaka Amano (“Vampire Hunter D”), Kazuo Koike (“Lone Wolf and Cub”) and Shin-ichi Hiromoto (“Hells Angels”) teamed up with the Wikia community for a collaborative writing project dubbed the Masters of Animanga. The artists provided a jumping-off point — illustrations and character descriptions — for three stories. Wikia members then contributed to the story, one paragraph at a time. “More and more new characters appeared,” Okazaki said through a translator. “It was unexpected and surprising how the story moved so fast.” Okazaki created characters for a story called “Red Bat” (along with producers Ikegami and Maruyama), about a world in which humans and vampires coexist, and a corporation called Red Bat sells artificially engineered blood to the vamps. Other stories created during Masters […]
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