We're in the final stretch before Comic-Con International kicks off in San Diego this Thursday, and while it probably goes without saying at this point, there's a lot going on: Over fifty million panels, signings, and events -- and three or four of them are even about comic books!

Okay, okay, that's an exaggeration, but not by much: According to the official event schedule, there are eighty-six events on Thursday... before noon. So how do you figure out what to go to and what to skip out on? Well, as always, ComicsAlliance has your back! I've gone through the entire schedule to pick out the highlights -- and the lowlights -- of this year's convention events!

Here's what to check out when you're not waiting in line for a Sgt. Slaughter exclusive figure or trying to casually mention your "Guild" fan-fiction to Felicia Day:


9:20 PM - El Cazador de la Bruja:
While the convention doesn't officially start until Thursday, there are "Preview Night" events that start the ball rolling on Wednesday, and one of them is a screening of "El Cazador de la Bruja," an anime about an amnesiac girl and a bounty hunter.

I mention this because there's actually a typo in the program (which I suspect has something to do with "Cazador" getting auto-corrected in someone's spellcheck), and Comic-Con International attendees should be aware that it is not, as I thought at first glance, a rare screening of the recently rediscovered "El Santo contra Las Brujas Del Pecado" (English title: "El Santo vs. The Witches of Sin"), in which the famous luchador must resist the temptation of three succubi using only his shirtless manliness and the then-newly discovered Fujiwara armbar.

I know. I was disappointed too.THURSDAY

10:00 AM - Signing: Kynt & Vyxsin: You may have heard a few gripes here and there about how San Diego's not really about the comics anymore, but a quick glance through the convention program shows that... well, that they're pretty much right. Take, for instance, "Kynt and Vyxsin," whose names I'm pretty sure I would've remembered if I'd run across them before.

According to a quick Google search, Kynt (at left) and Vyxsin (at right, so goth that she's wearing two pairs of stockings at the same time) were contestants on "The Amazing Race" (they didn't win), which I didn't know because, being under 65 years old, I don't regularly watch CBS. But if you did, well, here they are, signing autographs. For some reason.

10:00 AM - Magic: The Gathering Elder Dragon Highlander Convention League: There'll be a ton of gaming at the convention, starting with this Magic: The Gathering event where, in order to separate the serious players from the mere dilettantes of Planeswalking, contenders must cosplay as either a chromatic dragon as depicted in the "Monster Manual" (minimum age: Young Adult) or Sean Connery in a Renaissance Faire feathered beret.

You know, I got out of card games because I just couldn't keep up with all the rules changes.

11:15 AM: Tron Legacy: In order to build some hype for the upcoming "Tron" sequel, most of the cast will be in attendance at a panel moderated by comedian Patton Oswalt, which sounds like a pretty fun time. Unfortunately, "Tron" star Jeff Bridges will not be in attendance...

...as he has accompanied Daft Punk back to their home galaxy of Interstella, where they will battle the robot uprising and discover if they truly are human after all.

11:30 AM - Mattel and WWE: The Ultimate Tag Team: I'm a life-long wrestling fan and this actually seems like a really interesting panel, not because they've got wrestlers talking about their action figures, but because the panel will feature WWE Senior Vice President of creative writing Brian Gewirtz and lead writer Ed Koskey. Even though it's been more-or-less known for years that wrestling is scripted, it's always interesting to me to see high-profile public acknowledgments of that fact aftter so many decades of kayfabe.

I will say, though, that no matter how good the toys are, Mattel and WWE are hardly the ultimate tag team, an honor that belongs, of course, to the Mega Powers (1988 - 1989) and the Dudley Boyz (1996 - 1999). Mattel's never even won the belts!

12:00 PM - X-Play LIVE: A Show On Television: I'm torn between thinking this is the best name for a panel at the show and wanting to pat Adam Sessler on the shoulder and tell him that surely some of the people at Comic-Con would know what X-Play is without you having to tell them.

1:00 PM - CBLDF Master Session: Rob Liefeld: Designing Iconic Characters: From the convention program:

Learn what it takes to design a character that's lasting, iconic, and cool. Using his legendary creations Deadpool, Cable, and Youngblood as examples, Rob Liefeld shows you the values that go into creating a character who can leap from the comics page and into games, film, television, and merchandise.

There is nothing funnier or more informative that I could possibly add. But it's for a good cause, so get out there and support the CBLDF!

2:30 PM - A Decade of Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Squidbillies and More: The Animated Insanity of Radical Axis Studios: This is one of the TV-related panels that I'm actually really excited about, because I've been a fan of "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" since day one -- in fact, since their all-but-unrecognizable first appearance on "Space Ghost Coast to Coast." The fact that they've been able to get so much out of such a strange premise is -- wait.

This show's been on for ten years?

Oh my God I am old.

2:30 PM - Magic: The Gathering: Standard Swiss Format: In this tournament, players are allowed to augment their decks with a nail file, corkscrew, scissors, toothpick and tweezers.

Alternate Joke: I'm not sure how they can play with all those holes in the cards.

Alternate Alternate Joke: The goal this time is to declare neutrality before the guys playing "Axis & Allies" annex your table.

5:00 PM - Look Around You: I don't have any jokes for this one, I just think "Look Around You" was absolutely fantastic television, and this is probably going to be a pretty entertaining panel. Now if only they were all in character and welcoming you to Comic-Con 1982...

6:00 PM - Abusing the Sci of Sci-Fi: In this panel, a bunch of folks sit around talking about ways in which movies and films fail to present accurate depictions of science. Boy, I bet these guys are real fun at parties!

Seriously though, don't tell them where any of the parties are. And they will ask.

6:20 - Street Angel: Jim Rugg and Brian Maruca's "Street Angel" is one of my favorite comics in recent memory, and I've been interested in the short film version that was made for an Australian film school ever since the trailer showed up online a year or so ago:

I'm not sure if they'll be able to pull off the first issue's famous upside-down skateboard jump double-katana throw, but what's in the trailer promises a pretty good translation of what's in the short flim, and I'm looking forward to checking out the whole thing.


10:30 AM - Batman: The Brave and the Bold Screening and Q&A: If you come to this panel and see someone with a digital voice recorder and tears in his eyes trying to get Diedrich Bader to say "Chris, you're my best partner... and my best friend" in his Batman voice, come over and say hi. It'll be nice for me to meet some ComicsAlliance readers.

12:00 PM - Archie Comics: Cooler Than Ever!: I don't want to make fun of Archie too much because they actually are doing a pretty great job with their forward-thinking digital comics initiative, the barrier-breaking Archie and Valerie Brown romance storyline, and genuinely awesome comics like "Jughead" #200, but seriously, guys. Saying that you're cooler than Archie comics have been in the past is sort of like saying that you're more fun to listen to than the last four Creed albums.

1:30 PM - Magic: The Gathering: Solid Gold Draft: In this format, players must compete while dancing in sequined gold lamé shorts to Culture Club, Hall & Oates, and the other hits of the '80s. In the event of a tie, a winner will be chosen via Soul Train dance-off.

3:30 PM - MTV's Teen Wolf: I probably haven't been keeping my finger on the pulse of the entertainment world like I should have, but reading this program was the first time that I'd heard MTV was developing an hour-long drama series based on "Teen Wolf," the movie starring Michael J. Fox as a teenage werewolf. Hour. Long. Drama. Seriously.

Guys, I know I've said it before, but this whole "Twilight' thing is really starting to get out of hand.

8:30 PM - Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards: Out of all fifty million events at San Diego, this is the only one that I'm personally invested in, as ComicsAlliance is up for an Eisner in Comics Journalism. Assuming they base it entirely on jokes about Magic: The Gathering tournament formats, I think we're a shoo-in, but wish us luck anyway.


10:00 AM - Twilight Fan-Fiction Author Fangroup: As much as the Eisners might be the highlight of the weekend for me, ac lose second would be this: A panel about writing "Twilight" fanfic hosted by someone named "Icedragon." I'm not even making a joke here. This is a thing that is actually happening. And that is magical.

11:15 AM - Spotlight on Gerard Way: At this point, the program has listed something like 800 events, so I'm pretty sure that this description...

Comic-Con special guest Gerard Way, writer/creator of The Umbrella Academy, is joined by guests in a 60-minute deconstruction of the comic book industry, featuring helicopter rides and Jonesy the Human Ferret.

...is just in there to see if anyone's still paying attention. But if not, oh snap, helicopter rides!

12:00 PM - The Venture Bros.: You don't know it, but by attending this panel and asking questions to the creators, you are pretty much writing 21 and 24's scripts for next season.

12:30 PM - You're Probably Going to be Pretty Hung Over At This Point: Drink a lot of water, try to find somewhere quiet to hang out until the headache goes away, like the signing table for wrestling superstar Virgil.


10:00 AM - Jack Kirby Tribute: No joke for this one, I just think seeing Kurt Busiek, Marv Wolfman and Mark Evanier talk about Jack Kirby for a while seems like a pretty good way to spend an hour. In fact, I'm pretty sure it's from the lost fourth verse of "Sunday Morning Coming Down."

10:00 AM - Smallville Screening and Q&A: As much as fandom has a hard time letting things go, it's occasionally nice to take a look back at one of the more popular media versions of Superman that ran for -- wait, what?

It's still on? For how long?

And he's still not Superman? Seriously? Huh.

1:30 PM - Glee: At first glance, this might seem like yet another example of Comic-Con International getting away from the comics, but I have it on good authority from reliable and slightly imaginary sources that the "Glee" cast's second visit to CCI will be tying in pretty closely with comics.

From what I've been able to piece together, the show's second season not only reveals that Quinn and Rachel possess the mysterious X-Gene that bestows mutant powers, but that their adventures will be chronicled in an all-new monthly comic series that incorporates the latest in greeting card technology so that it sings the hits of Swedish pop band ABBA every time you open an issue.

(Seriously guys, call me. We can make this work.)

2:00 PM - "The Batman Dreams of Hieronymous Machines"
: According to the schedule, this is a panel where "Iron Man" and "Casanova" writer Matt Fraction will perform "a weird spoken-word history of comics, art, and his own experiences with both and how comics -- and art -- can save your life." It does sound a little weird (and the presence of SNL's Bill Hader on the panel only adds to the strangeness), but if you've ever heard Matt Fraction talk for a few minutes, you probably know to expect that this will be pretty awesome.

And that just about covers it! But there are plenty more events going on all weekend in San Diego, so if something caught your eye, let us know about it in the comments, and hopefully we'll see you there!