“So are you going to the Con this year?,” a bright and ascerbic fanboy asked me a couple of days ago. Naah, I replied. I think it would be wrong…well, dishonest of me to go. How can I fantasize one minute about strafing the ComicCon faithful and then turn around and drive down to San Diego and say, “Hey, I’m here…read my coverage!”?

We kicked that one around a bit, and then he said that the Big Question, parroting what was written in the N.Y. Times on 6.13, is “who’s going to get hurt? Someone always does and distributors know that, and some of them are afraid. They show their footage in Hall H and bring out the talent and it doesn’t work and the chatter starts and sometimes it backfires.

“I’m wondering about Lionsgate and Hunger Games. They’ve been shooting for…what, a couple of months now and they’re saying that scheduling an appearance is too tough and they don’t have decent footage?”

Scheduling a Comic Con appearance is always tough while shooting a film, but if you grim up and decide you’re doing to do it come hell or high water…

“They need to be there. They need to be there. They’re grooming this franchise to be the inheritor of Twilight‘s shadow and they need to sell that. I don’t think anyone believes them anyway. If somebody says they’re going into rehab for painkillers I figure they’re probably a heroin addict. Everything is always one step down, you know that. If they say they aren’t far enough along, it means they’re concerned with what they have. They never say what’s going on.”

So no Hunger Games

“No Hunger Games, no Man of Steel footage from Zack Snyder and the cast, no Dark Knight Returns, no John Carter of Mars, no Marvel presence.

“What they have are Cowboys & Aliens, the finished film, and there’s no way they’re not gonna have Indiana Jones and James Bond take a bow on-stage. And they have The Amazing Spider-Man and Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Tintin…there’s a chance that Spielberg could show up for that…Shark Night 3D, Immortals, Bill Condon‘s Twilight: Breaking Dawn and The Raven…some Edgar Allen Poe thing with John Cusack.”

“But the real story and the big Comic-Con competition is D23 (8.19 to 8.21).

“Three years ago Disney created this project called D23, a high-end promotional event that caters to mega-Disney freaks. That Rocketeer showing at El Capitan was a D23 event. They put on expos and D23 is catering to the hardest of the hardcore, and they’re at the Anahiem Convention Center within spitting distance of ComicCon, and they’re growing their own convention. Devin Faraci wrote that D23 is why Marvel isn’t doing ComicCon, and that he thinks D23 is ‘going to compete’ with ComicCon.”