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From Oregonlive.com

Comic-Con International in San Diego is a powerful (whedonverse mention)

Wednesday 20 July 2005, by Webmaster

Even more popular than Singer was Peter Jackson, director of "The Lord of the Rings" films. Jackson’s still at work in New Zealand on post-production for his remake of "King Kong," due out in December. Looking much thinner than in his "LOTR" days, Jackson appeared in a special taped greeting for Con attendees. "I’ve been dying to make this film for years and years," Jackson said, then showed a fascinating work-in-progress sequence in which Kong battles a T. rex. Then stars Adrien Brody, Naomi Watts and Jack Black came out, to thunderous applause.

Whither the Fanboy? With "Star Wars" finishing its feature-film saga, the last "Star Trek" spinoff going off the air and the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy completed, the big question was: what’s next? What else can stir this kind of long-term devotion? It definitely helps to have geek-cred, as the Singer-Jackson receptions indicate. Another example: the ever-popular Joss Whedon, who created "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." Whedon’s little-seen, short-lived 2002-03 Fox series "Firefly" — a futuristic tale about the colorful crew of a spaceship — built such a fervent cult that it has spawned a feature film, "Serenity." Whedon and his cast of not-that-well-knowns were greeted like conquering heroes at the Con. The film opens Sept. 30, and "Firefly" is getting a second run on the Sci Fi Channel, starting Friday.

Meanwhile, a panel discussion called, "Is It Dead, Jim? Star Trek: 1966-2005, R.I.P.," drew a packed room of passionate "Star Trek" fans who blamed latter-day stewards of the franchise, Brannon Braga and Rick Berman, for running the Enterprise into the ground. By contrast, the new version of "Battlestar Galactica" on the Sci Fi Channel was applauded for its politically themed plotlines and complex characters.

Politics and Tough Babes: Politics surfaced as a surprising story line in some comic-and-anime-derived movies, as well. Bolstered, of course, with gorgeous dames who know how to fight, kill and look good in tight black leather. Natalie Portman showed up to talk about "V for Vendetta," adapted from the graphic novel by Alan Moore and David Lloyd (though Moore has withheld approval of the project). "V for Vendetta" deals with issues of vigilante actions in the face of a fascist government.

Charlize Theron was promoting "Aeon Flux," a live-action version of the MTV anime-style series about a sexy secret agent in yet another corrupt futuristic world. (Spin-off alert: Dark Horse is launching an "Aeon Flux" comics series, and a video game’s coming too.) Beauties like Theron invariably get awestruck adoration from fanboys, like the one who asked, "How do you juggle being so sexy while remaining such a classy starlet?" But Eva Mendes, promoting "Ghost Rider," got the best come-on of all, from a little boy who asked if her character was called Roxanne or Roxy. "You ought to be called Foxy," the kid said, as Mendes cracked up and said, "You really need to come see me in 10 years!"

Portland Connection: Mike Richardson, CEO of Dark Horse Entertainment, took part in "The Black Panel," a discussion of African-American comics. Looking at his fellow panelists, Richardson jokingly said, "I’m flashing back to my college days when I was playing basketball and I was the only white guy on the team."

Out on the exhibit floor, Portland native and "Simpsons" creator Matt Groening was buying a copy of Alex Robinson’s graphic novel, "Tricked." Groening has been a Con regular since it started small in the 1970s. "I showed up with my little Xerox’d, hand-stapled ’Life in Hell’ comics," he recalled, only to be roundly ignored. "Then ’The Simpsons’ hit, and everybody loved me!" Groening still loves being surrounded by so many talented colleagues. "These," he said, "are the greatest cartoonists in the world."