Comic-Con 2014: What We're Geeking Out Over

The annual migration of geeks, fan-boys and -girls, collectors, aficionados and cosplayers is about to commence: Comic-Con International kicks off Thursday in San Diego.

The mega-convention of almost everything pop culture runs July 24 through 27, and the Southern California city will be awash with outrageous costumes, A-list stars, informative panels, limited-edition merchandise, fan-based art and yes, of course, aisles of rare and hard-to-find comic books.

From its humble beginnings as a one-off comic book event in 1970 in the basement of San Diego's U.S. Grant Hotel, the event now now attracts more than 130,000 people to the San Diego Convention Center and adjacent Gaslamp Quarter area.

This year's fest offers sneak peeks of highly-anticipated big-screen fare including "Avengers: Age of Ultron," "Mad Max: Fury Road," " The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies" and "Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice," as well as hot TV properties such as "Constantine," "The Walking Dead," "Game of Thrones," "Supernatural," "The Blacklist" and "True Blood."

Remember to check back regularly during the convention for a daily list of what's hot, recaps from the biggest panels, in-depth features and all the news straight from San Diego. And don't forget to download the official NBC 2014 Comic-Con App.

Here, a few of the things at Comic-Con 2014 we're already geeking out over:

"Star Wars Rebels"

Lucasfilm is promoting its latest offering from a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. "Star Wars Rebels" is a new animated series which will air on Disney XD in the fall. It's set five years before the events of "Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope" and tells the story of the Rebellion’s beginnings while the Empire spreads tyranny through the galaxy.

Fans can get on the inside track with this new show at The Heroes of "Star Wars Rebels" panel at 6:00 p.m. in Room 6BCF on Thursday.

Unfortunately, the highly-anticipated "Star Wars: Episode VII" will not be present at this year's convention, but fans can already start getting excited over the new film's appearance at 2015 Comic-Con.  

NASA's Next Giant Leap

To honor the 45th anniversary of the moon landing, NASA is making its first official landing at Comic-Con with panel featuring Buzz Aldrin (Apollo 11 astronaut), moderator Seth Green (actor, writer, director and producer), Dr. Jim Green (NASA's division director of planetary science), Mike Fincke (NASA astronaut), and "Mohawk Guy" Bobak Ferdowsi (Curiosity and Europa Missions).

Join the queue early Thursday for the 3:00 p.m. panel in Room 6A to hear real-life tales from orbit, as well as NASA's future far-out plans, including the Orion multi-purpose crew vehicle and the Space Launch System rocket, which are designed to carry humans beyond low-earth orbit to asteroids and ultimately Mars.

Batman Turns 75

The caped crusader is marking a milestone anniversary in 2014 and serving up a plethora of panels and sneak peeks in celebration. Fans of Gotham's Dark Knight and his adversaries can get their fill of all things Batman, including Warners Bros. official preview at their Hall H gathering (Saturday, July 26, 2014, 10:00 a.m.), DC Comics: Legends of the Dark Knight (Thursday, July 24, 2014, 3:30 p.m. - Room 6BCF), Batman in the 1970s (Thursday, July 24, 2014, 1:00 p.m. - Room 5AB), Batman in the '80s and '90s (Friday, July 25, 2014, 12:30 p.m. - Room 5AB), Batman '66 featuring TV franchise icons Adam West, Burt Ward, and Julie Newmar (Thursday, July 24, 2014, 6:00 p.m. - Hall H), DC Comics-Batman: The Eternal Dark Knight (Friday, July 25, 2014, 1:45 p.m. - Room 6DE), World Premiere of "Batman: Assault on Arkham" (Friday, July 25, 2014, 7:00 p.m. - Ballroom 20), LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham (Sunday, July 27, 2014, 1:00 p.m. - Room 6BCF), and DC Entertainment: Batman 75th Anniversary (Saturday, July 26, 2014, 4:00 p.m. - Room 6BCF).

"Constantine"  Pilot Screening and Q&A

John Constantine is a man waging war against the forces of darkness — from both within himself and the outside world — in the new series "Constantine" coming to NBC.

A working-class con man and occult expert, he's voluntarily checked himself into an asylum and sworn off investigating matters of the supernatural after a tragic accident. But when a cryptic message arrives, he is called out to resume his old life and battle the gathering forces of darkness.

Based on characters published by DC Entertainment ("Hellblazer"), the series stars Matt Ryan ("Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior"), Harold Perrineau ("Lost") and Charles Halford ("True Detective"). The actors and show producers will take questions at the panel on Saturday, July 26, 2014, 5:15 p.m. - Room 6BCF. "Constantine" will premiere on NBC at 10/9C on October 24.

HBO Presents the Comic-Con International 2014 Masquerade

2014 marks the 40th Comic-Con Masquerade, and Ballroom 20 becomes cosplay central. Attendees will strut their fabulous original and re-created costumes in front of a panel of guest judges. Awards will be handed out in front of an audience of more than 4,000 for Best In Show, Judges’ Choice, Best Re-Creation, Best Original Design, Best Workmanship, Best Presentation, Most Beautiful and Best Young Fan.

Doors will open for audience seating at 7:45 p.m., but the line will start much earlier. Tickets for seating will be given out free to those lining up near Ballroom 20 beginning at 2:00 p.m. Saturday, with overflow seating available in Rooms 5AB, 6A and in the Sails Pavilion (tickets not required). Saturday, July 26, 2014, 8:30 p.m. - Ballroom 20.

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