Comic books slowly getting squeezed out of Comic-Con?

July 28, 2008 | 10:25 p.m.

Comic-con has come and gone but the stories are still filing in. Mostly roundups showing you what you missed, what the convention missed, what was hot, what wasn’t hot.

This morning Geoff Boucher wrote an interesting piece, "Comic books overshadowed by the embrace of Hollywood," about what was being nudged out at the convention this year – namely, the comics:

"There does seem to be some random booths here which don’t have
anything to do with comics," said Jaime King, the starlet who came
south to promote the December comic-book film "The Spirit." "Slowly
but surely the entertainment community is taking over to promote their
projects here even though they have absolutely nothing to do with
comics. What’s next? A panel for ‘Deal or No Deal’?"

The art of the deal is just as important as superhero sketches,
especially after "The Dark Knight" began breaking box-office records.
This year Keanu Reeves, Hugh Jackman and Samuel L. Jackson were some of
the movie stars who came to connect with the most hard-wired of
pop-culture consumers. Hall H, the 6,500-seat main hall here, was the
site of full-house panels with sneak previews of films still a year
from release.

"This is madness. I love it," British actor Bill Nighy said as he
wandered around. "I saw a fellow with a stake through his chest and
blood splattered on his shirt, a woman dressed as a hunchback, a
Terminator, some superheroes. . . . I feel quite at home here. I’ve
been a zombie, a vampire and a squid on screen. All considered, I’m
quite legitimate here at Comic-Con."

There’s actually a small segment of the huge San Diego Convention
Center still reserved for people in the comic-book trade. Robert
Beerbohm, who has been a merchant at every one of the Comic-Cons since
its start in 1970, said he is worried about the future for the true
believers.

"All the Hollywood directors say that they loved comics as a kid, but
now they are being pushed off the floor. Where are the next generation
of directors going to come from?" he wondered.

Probably from Hall H. Fans waited in lines for hours to get a spot in
the thunderous hangar-sized hall to see "sizzle reels," early footage
from upcoming films put into slick montages.

- Tony Pierce

photo of Tracie Hunnewell as The Joker by Spencer Weiner / Los Angeles Times 

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