For those keeping score, this marks my EIGHTH year as the “Designated Survivor” of Team Beat. [Yeah, I just pictured myself on a Tiger Beat cover. It was not flattering.]

This year, I’m going with a simple format. I’ll copy the headlines from various websites, with the link in the headline (the green words below), then a pull-quote and my comments below.

We’re extra-careful with running photos from other sites, so instead, expect YouTube videos and Twitter embeds, and maybe some pics from Getty Images.

So… what’s news?

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I believe that’s Trina Robbins in the middle, which makes this even more awesome!

5 Reads for Comic-Con Fans

Whether or not you’re in San Diego for the convention, which takes place from July 19 through July 23, you can get into the Comic-Con spirit by exploring these travel options. Check out the best the host city has to offer, live out your “Game of Thrones” or “Star Trek” fantasies, or ask Thor what to do.

…plus New York and Los Angeles host walking tours of movie and television locations.

Comic-Con: This Year’s Convention Comes With a Judge’s Gag Order

With articles out there comparing the San Diego Comic-Con to Superman’s nemesis Lex Luthor, the judge heard a demand that the other side be stopped from making certain kinds of statements lest the prospective trial be tainted.

Battaglia rejects a move to stop Farr and Brandenburg, and those associated with them, from making any false or misleading statement about San Diego Comic-Con or the merits of the dispute. That would be an unconstitutional prior restraint, the judge concludes.

However, accepting evidence that “the venire is being influenced through social media dialogue,” the judge is preventing both sides from making statements accusing, suggesting or implying that San Diego Comic-Con lied or committed fraud. Additionally, the parties aren’t allowed to discuss the alleged genericness of the term “comic con,” how the mark may or may not be descriptive, and whether San Diego Comic-Con abandoned its trademark rights.

The parties are being allowed to post court papers, but only in full and without further comment. The judge is also warning that violation of the order will warrant strong sanctions.

Comic-Con’s unofficial beer festival returns

Beer-Con!  One, near the county building. The other two listings are brew pubs further afield.

Exclusive LEGO DC Justice League poster at San Diego Comic Con

…and Thor!

The poster is being given away for free at the LEGO booth, with artist Tom Whalen signing copies on Saturday, July 22 from 3pm until 4pm.



Judaism at Comic-Con

Comic-Con is upon us, so we can expect hotels to be booked solid and the trolleys to be filled with an assortment of Jedi, droids, cyborgs, mutants, monsters and aliens. Like most nerds, I was a great fan of fantasy and science fiction in my youth, captivated by the creative visions and moral lessons they convey. My grandmother thought comic books were a waste of money. But if you read them carefully, you can find the whispers of our Sages within….

[Insert “Wonder Woman as golem” meme here.]

You’ll soon be able to buy your kids a $500 Luke Skywalker Landspeeder

That has changed with the coolest Star Wars toy for younglings unveiled here at Comic-Con — the first officially licensed kids’ size Star Wars Landspeeder, coming this September from Radio Flyer (and available for pre-order here).

The $499 toy, to be sold at Toys”R”Us, won’t break any land speed records; it has a top speed of 5 mph in its two forward gears (and 2 mph in reverse).

Comic-Con: Starbucks Transforms Into ‘Harry Potter’-Themed Wonderland

The Hilton Bayfront Starbucks has completely transformed into a Harry Potter-themed wonderland in honor of the pop culture massive in San Diego. Just steps away from the convention center, customers in need of a caffeine boost enter the Starbucks attached to the hotel through a brick wall reminiscent of the entrance to Platform 9 3/4 on the way to the Hogwarts Express. And the magic doesn’t stop there.

Once inside the coffee shop, there are enough decorations and Easter eggs to please any Harry Potter diehard fan. From a boggart hiding in the trash can, to a jug of gillywater next to the pickup counter, the amount of detail that went into decorating the Starbucks is a complete joy for the Comic-Con weary.

Comic-Con 2017: For Cecil Castellucci a lifelong love of comics led to a career as YA novelist and as the writer of DC’s ‘Shade, the Changing Girl’

Just a little before Cecil Castellucci turned 4 years old she remembers falling hard for Batman. Adam West’s Batman. And so when it was time to send out invitations to her birthday party at home in New York City she insisted her parents invited Gotham’s Caped Crusader, too.

Batman was a no show – crime fighting usually left little time for social engagements – but she devoured the Batman and Superman comics her parents gave her, and the Tintin books by the Belgian cartoonist Hergé after that.

“And then I had this pillow case that was the Peanuts characters,” says Castellucci, an acclaimed young adult novelist and now the writer of DC Comics’ “Shade, the Changing Girl,” under its Young Animal imprint.  “I remember that was the first time I knew I could read because all of the characters had word balloons like, ‘Good grief!’ and I would read my pillowcase at night.

Yes, I had those sheets as well.

Have Fans Finally Won the War for Comic-Con?

The hard-working hospitality workers of San Diego have donned their Sheldon Cooper–esque “geek attire,“ and the blocks of the Gaslamp District have been conquered once again by events, promotions, costumes, and interactive experiences. Yes: once again, it’s time for Comic-Con. No longer confined to the giant convention center on the edge of San Diego Bay, S.D.C.C. has long since stopped belonging to the comic-book artists and vendors who started it. But with TV networks and movie studios continuing to bring ever-more elaborate promotions to the streets of San Diego, while also hesitating to break any news or debut any exclusives, a funny transformation has occurred in recent years: Comic-Con has started belonging to the fans again, after all.

[…]

For media outlets that wait in endless lines to cram themselves into Hall H, Comic-Con has become a frustrating scramble to create some kind of newsworthy headline around panels that no longer contain any news and are eventually posted online for anyone at home to see anyway. But for the fans who are excited enough to simply share the same air with their favorite stars and creators—and then get to venture to the convention floor to buy some Star Wars merch or have an Outlander star sign their poster—it’s working out just fine. And isn‘t that the original point of Comic-Con to begin with?

‘Shazam!’ Is Next DC Movie to Shoot (Exclusive)

David F. Sandberg, the filmmaker behind upcoming Annabelle: Creation, is directing the feature that hails from Warner Bros.’ sister division, New Line. The project is looking to go before cameras in January or February 2018 with a likely release in 2019, according to sources.

Peter Safran, who worked with Sandberg on the Annabelle sequel and is also producing Aquaman, is in negotiations to board Shazam! as producer.

It is unclear whether Dwayne Johnson, who has long been attached to play Shazam! villain Black Adam, will be involved with Shazam! But he is attached as star and producer of the Black Adam spinoff being developed concurrently to Shazam!

MATTEL REVEALS JUSTICE LEAGUE BARBIES (EXCLUSIVE)

When Zack Snyder’s Justice League movie finally hits the big screen in November, it’ll feature not just one of DC Comics’ royal women, but twoWonder Woman, warrior princess of the Amazons, and Mera, queen of Atlantis, and wife of Aquaman.

Now the folks at Mattel are revealing brand new Barbie dolls based on the badass ladies of the League, with the royal warriors featuring the likenesses of actresses Gal Gadot and Amber Heard.

WWE and Mattel’s girls toy line launches with first ever Superstar fashion dolls

Mattel and WWE are launching a girls’ product line that features the first-ever fashion dolls of Nikki and Brie Bella, Sasha Banks, Natalya, Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, Alicia Fox and Eva Marie, to leverage the popularity of WWE’s female Superstars and give its sizable girl fan base a new way to connect with their favorite brands.

The new WWE Superstars product line, which was revealed today at San Diego Comic-Con, offers fans an original way to play and includes the following:

Who will complain first about their childhoods being ruined? WWE fans, or Barbie collectors?

Given the soap-operatic nature of classic WWE storylines, this kinda makes sense. Plus, Netflix’s GLOW is popular…

DC Launching Female-Focused ‘Gotham City Garage’ Comic in August

Set in an alternate version of the DC Universe where Governor Lex Luthor has transformed the traditional dystopia of Gotham City into a contemporary paradise known as The Garden, Gotham City Garage centers on those who don’t believe in his program of keeping all citizens locked in to one networked mindset that he controls. And these members of the resistance just happen to be versions of familiar DC heroines.

Gotham City Garage is an anti-fascist anthem for the open road, starring reimagined takes on DC’s great female characters through an outlaw lens,” Collin Kelly, who will co-write the series with Jackson Lanzing, said in a statement. “We’re bringing Big Barda, Steel, Catwoman, Harley Quinn, Silver Banshee, Hawkgirl and the first Kryptonian this world has ever seen — the mysterious girl named Kara Gordon — into a world of bikes, outlaws and elaborate tattoos.”

The next “bombshells”?

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By the way, if you need to recover from San Diego, there’s a comic con in Palm Springs at the end of August! It’s got a decent guest list, headlined by Stan Lee and Lynda Carter!