GALLERY: Click to view more images of celebs coming to Comic-Con-2011.
Comic-Con — the annual pop cultural extravaganza that brings a host of movie and TV stars, authors and, yes, genuine comic artists to San Diego each year — long ago became a magnet for celebrities. .
As such, the usual well-known Comic-Con suspects — your Stan Lees and Kevin Smiths — will descend on the South California city starts July 21, as will famous people that one does not typically associate with Comic-Con’s nerd herds — Justin Timberlake , Ryan Gosling , Carey Mulligan, Bradley Cooper , Colin Farrell, Charlize Theron and Stephen Soderbergh, to name a few. (View the gallery above to see photos of even more.)
And then there are the stars with previously established geek cred — the geekarati, if you will — who will promote new projects at the Con but are already revered for their involvement in past pop cultural phenomena.
Which of those phenomena boasts the most star power at this year’s event? I chose four key geek-friendly movies and/or TV shows and did a completely unscientific, admittedly silly data comparison in the hope of finding an answer.
Note: all superhero-related films and shows have been omitted; at a convention where some fans need a valium to stay calm while discussing the next Spider-Man movie, that seemed like the only way to keep this pseudo-competition fair.
“Lost”: Numerous alumni from the island drama that its admirers can’t forget — there will be two “Lost” fan-related panels at Comic-Con, depite the fact that the show ended more than a year ago — are heading to the event. Co-creator Damon Lindelof (“Prometheus,” “Once Upon a Time”); stars Jorge Garcia (“Alcatraz”), Michael Emerson (“Person of Interest”) and Nestor Carbonell (“Ringer”); and stars whose characters were killed on the show — Ian Somerhalder (“Vampire Diaries”) , Dominic Monaghan and Tania Raymonde — will all be there to promote their respective TV and movie projects. “Lost” Comic-Con star count: 7.
“Lord of the Rings”: It doesn’t appear that there will be a Comic-Con panel about the much-anticipated next ”Rings”-related film, “The Hobbit.” But several alumni from the first trilogy will be present, including current “Wilfried” star Elijah Wood; Andy Serkis, the actor behind Gollum, who will be seen in “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” “The Adventures of Tin-Tin” and, eventually, “The Hobbit”; and the aforementioned Monaghan, who played Merry in the three Oscar-nominated films and is participating in a panel about multimedia entertainment. An animated film called “The Pirates! Band of Misfits” will be presented at the Con and happens to feature the voice of Martin Freeman, who plays Bilbo Baggins in “The Hobbit.” So far, it appears Freeman won’t be there and neither will director Peter Jackson. LOTR Comic-Con star count: 3, perhaps 4 0r 5 if some surprises happen.
“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”: This show has been off the air even longer than “Lost,” but that hasn’t dimished its cult following. At Comic-Con this year: Buffy herself, Sarah Michelle Gellar, soon-to-star in TV’s “Ringer”; Angel David Boreanaz, now on “Bones”; Eliza Dushku; Seth Green, who played Daniel “Oz” Osbourne on “Buffy”and is now best known for “Robot Chicken”; and semi-regular Nathan Filion, who, to the delight of geek-girls everywhere, is hosting a Sunday discussion entitled “One-on-One with ‘Castle’ star Nathan Filion.” Then of course there’s show creator Joss Whedon, who will attend, which adds fuel to the rumors that his upcoming comic-book movie “The Avengers” will have some presence at Comic-Con. ‘Buffy’ Comic-Con star count: 6.
“Star Trek”: Would a convention full of geeks be complete without a healthy dose of “Star Trek”? Of course not. Naturally, William Shatner will be there. So will Patrick Stewart, aka Capt. Jean-Luc Picard, and Wil Wheaton from “Star Trek: The Next Generation”; and Anton Yelchin, who played Pavel Chekhov in the 2009 “Star Trek” movie and is on the docket with the remake of “Total Recall.” Also, Jennifer Morrison, who was Capt Kirk’s mother in that film, will promote her new series, “Once Upon a Time,” which is produced by Lindelof, who also is writing the next “Star Trek” movie ... and that doesn’t even take into account the many “Trek” types who may be signing autographs or hanging out elsewhere in the San Diego Convention Center. ‘Star Trek’ Comic-Con star count: Anywhere from 6 to 100-plus.
Technically “Trek” wins, though if I had included “Robot Chicken,” whose voice talent has included at least half of the Comic-Con geekarati, it would easily triumph.