Well, the capuchin monkeys at Stately Beat Manor remembered who I was, so I didn’t have to run that gauntlet again.  (Stately Beat Manor is situated on an island in the Hudson, near Croton.  Back in the 1940s, when organ grinders were eradicated from the streets of New York, Gerhard von Fulano Zutano Mengano y Perengano, the inventor of the mechanical clapping monkey, offered his island estate as a nature preserve for the numerous orphaned capuchin monkeys.  Since then, they have become quite protective of the grounds, discouraging any boater foolish enough to get in range of their catapults.)

The tree octopi enjoyed the fresh crabs I brought them from Hunts Point.  I’ll play with them during the weekend, in the garden fountain pool designed by Tiffany and Bartholdi.  Since I have seniority over the other Beat Elite reporters, I’ll be sleeping in the Kirby Room in the north wing.  It has a private balcony, and the ceiling is painted in fluorescent paint, so that it glows like a trippy black light poster!  (Yeah, the women love it… it’s better than a mirror!)  The Beat’s working library is just a few doors down the hall.  (The archives in the sub-basement hold most of her collection, and she likes visitors to peruse specific shelves, so nothing gets too musty or dusty.  Last summer it was Soviet Russia and the Warsaw Pact comics.  This year, it’s sub-Saharan Africa.  Can’t wait to read me some Powerman!)

So, Wednesday marks the beginning of Comic-Con International: San Diego, with Preview Night.  There’s not much news streaming on Google, aside from the Twilight tragedy from Tuesday (which hit #1 on Yahoo! News earlier today).  There will be some excitement tomorrow, when the paparazzi and bloggers invade.  So today is kinda laid back, going with the flow, remembering where Heidi hides her secret stash of chocolate.  Here’s some interesting links I’ve discovered, and hope you enjoy!   Not much in the way of pictures, but I’ll try to find some to keep things interesting.

Putting the “international” in CCI is this early report from a Russian reporter, filed yesterday.  You’ll need a browser to translate it, or you can just look at the pictures.

For those of you stuck on the outside, looking in, here’s a handy interactive map of various events happening in the trolley circle north of the convention center.  If you look on the right, there’s a menu, which includes listings of food trucks!

How inclusive has Comic-Con become?  Well, venerable Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group will be at Booth #1515.  In addition to science fiction and fantasy authors, there will be two notable authors: E.L. James (she of Shades of Grey fame) and Margaret Atwood.  Atwood is one of those authors who writes frequently in the realms of fantasy and dystopia, and has a new book titled In Other Worlds: SF and the Human Imagination due in August.  They also publish Pantheon books, and will have graphic novels for sale, as well as previews!

Can’t make it to their booth?  They have an online sweepstakes running through July 24th!  Win signed copies!  Advance reader copies!

Need someplace quiet to escape from the Comic-Con chaotic cacophony?  Try the Frankenweenie garden!  Yup… it’s a goth garden delight, with fog, dark plants, tombstones, and a pet cemetery (note the spelling).

Two LEGO links!

  • Rolls Royce commissions a scale LEGO model of their Trent 1000 engine, used to propel the new Boeing Dreamliner, for display at the Farnborough International Airshow this week.
  • LEGO announces their convention programming, with each day dedicated to a different franchise!  Thursday is Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit!  (You did know about those new LotR sets, right?)  Friday: Superheroes, Saturday: Star Wars, Sunday: Ninjago.  There’s also a LEGO LotR contest!

The excitement continues with a hands-on Hobbit-themed scavenger hunt to build Bilbo Baggins in LEGO minifigure form.  Attendees may pick up the first piece of Bilbo along with a special Middle-earth map at the LEGO booth, which will lead them on a show floor journey to collect the missing pieces to complete the Bilbo minifigure.  The reverse side of the map includes instructions for a LEGO THE LORD OF THE RINGS contest that challenges fans to build any scene from THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy for a chance to win a trip to LEGOLAND® California along with a Warner Bros. studio tour. For those not attending the show, instructions can be found at http://thelordoftherings.lego.com. LEGO Systems will also host a raffle to award one lucky winner a custom 5-inch model of Bilbo made completely out of LEGO bricks.

Since this is The Beat, we are obligated to present beef/cheesecake at least once a week.  Here’s a limited edition print from Frank Cho, courtesy of CBR! “Canon.”  You might want to try that line the next time you dress up as Kirk and spot a lithesome Uhura across the floor.  Make sure she’s seen “Plato’s Stepchildren”…

Marvel and Disney are teasing their new Avengers short film, “Item 47”.  There’s a scavenger hunt Friday morning (geeze… as if it wasn’t hard enough to navigate the Con floor!) for a chance to watch a free screening.  Oh, the plot?  A couple grab one of those alien laser rifles left over from the Battle of Grand Central, and engage on a crime spree.  SHIELD, of course, must retrieve the armament.  You can watch it when the DVD ships in September.

And… add “automobile designer” to Robert Kirkman’s resume!  In collaboration with Hyundai, Kirkman has designed a zombie-proof Elantra.

Kirkman’s design for the Zombie Survival Machine includes a front-end custom zombie plow cow catcher with spikes, slatted armored window coverings, a roof hatch to allow passengers to shoot at the undead, an electric rear trunk to house weapons, all‐terrain tires, weapons storage compartments, and a CB radio/PA system.

There will also be an Elantra GT wrapped in artwork from hundredth issue of the Walking Dead, to be raffled off.  The contest runs until July 31.  More info at http://www.hyundaiundead.com/

And, just in case you missed the memo, The Onion reminds us:

Comics Not Just For Kids Anymore, Reports 85,000th Mainstream News Story