July 23, 2009 / 5:18 PM / 10 years ago

Iron Man multi-tasks at annual comic convention

SAN DIEGO, California (Reuters) - Iron Man is in the spotlight at this year’s comic book convention Comic-Con, getting a grip on fans not just of comics and movies but also video games.

A life size "Iron Man" is on display in the Marvel booth at the 39th annual Comic Con Convention in San Diego July 24, 2008. REUTERS/Mike Blake

Video games have taken center stage alongside Hollywood as marketers take advantage of the 126,000 attendees traveling to San Diego for the annual multi-genre fan convention that began in 1970.

“Videogames are getting bigger and more important every day,” said Iron Man’s creator Stan Lee, publisher emeritus of Marvel Comics.

“Many are based on movies and/or comic books. In fact, the line of demarcation between movies and comic books is getting slimmer and slimmer. Today, when a comic book — or a movie — is being planned, one of the first questions asked is would it make a good video game?”

Lee was on hand with Activision Blizzard on Wednesday to showcase “Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2,” a game that allows players to choose from 24 superheroes and take part in a civil war between Captain America and Iron Man.

Iron Man is also on display at Japanese video game maker Capcom’s booth, where he’s a featured fighter in the new Xbox Live Arcade game, “Marvel vs. Capcom 2.”

While Paramount Pictures’ “Iron Man 2” movie director Jon Favreau and his cast won’t unveil footage of the much-anticipated sequel until Saturday, Sega started showing off the “Iron Man 2” game at its convention booth during Wednesday’s preview night.

But as the game features the actors and scenes from the film, it was a case of the virtual world trumping the movie world.

Comic-Con is no longer relegated to superheroes. There is plenty of convergence going on across the film and game mediums.

Walt Disney Pictures first merged the film and game worlds with its 1982 film, “TRON.” The new 3-D sequel, “TR2N,” was unveiled at Comic-Com to a world where video games have become mainstream entertainment.

“I’m sort of humbled by the fact that both the film creative people and the creative people in the videogame world really love “TRON,”” said Steve Lisberger, who co-wrote and directed the original film and is a consultant on the sequel.

“It really means something to them. Much of what they do to me feels like an homage to the first film.”

Lionsgate is tapping into the video game press that attends Comic-Con from around the globe with its upcoming September release, “Gamer,” which stars Gerard Butler as a death row prisoner controlled by a young gamer in a real-life, massively-multiplayer online game.

More game publishers are also getting involved in panels at the show. Microsoft and Epic games are offering a cross-genre look at the “Gearsiverse” panel, which includes “Gears of War” creator Cliff Bleszinski, as well as Ken Levine (“Live Free or Die Hard”), the director of New Line Pictures’ upcoming movie based on the game.

Editing by Belinda Goldsmith

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