Fan boys, and girls, gear up for Comic Con

Mon Jul 19, 2010 1:03pm EDT
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By John Gaudiosi

RALEIGH, North Carolina (Reuters) - When the giant Comic Con convention begins previewing this year's show in San Diego this coming Wednesday, Hollywood will be there in force hyping new movies and television series.

In recent years, Comic Con has helped launched films like "Iron Man," "Twilight" and "Avatar" to tremendous box office success, and the number of movies and TV shows being promoted in 2010 seems larger than ever for what, once upon a time, was merely a gathering of comic book fans.

Major studios and TV networks are showing reels from movies such as alien invasion "Battle: Los Angeles" or "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" and TV series like AMC's zombie horror "The Walking Dead," hoping to tap into an influential group of pop culture watchers, so-called 'fan boys,' primarily males between 18- and 34 years-old.

Stars on hand include Bruce Willis and Sylvester Stallone. 3D movies are big this year, as are films and TV programs that appeal to young women, which are among the gathering's fastest growing audience, organizers say.

"If fans go to Comic Con and they see something about the new Marvel movies 'Thor' or 'Captain America' that they like, and they suddenly start texting or Twittering about it, before you know it, it's like a prairie fire," said comic book legend Stan Lee, who is the subject of a new documentary debuting at the convention, "With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story."

"It's all over the country and eventually all over the world," said Lee.

Around 126,000 pop fans of comics, movies, video games and TV are expected to descend upon the San Diego Convention Center for the annual show, which starts with a preview night on Wednesday, July 21, and runs through Sunday, July 25.

"TRON Legacy" film director Joe Kosinski knows first-hand the power of "The Con," the name regulars use for the show.   Continued...

<p>Visitors dressed as DC Comics' (L to R) Hourman, Atom and Flash walk during the 40th annual Comic Con Convention in San Diego in this July 24, 2009 file photo. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni/Files</p>