Pop culture from Southern California and beyond.

WonderCon recap Part 2: 'Prometheus' and 'Abe Lincoln: Vampire Hunter' impress, 'Community' returns and Batman isn't crazy

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"Sound of My Voice" writers Zal Batmanglij and Brit Marling at WonderCon 2012.

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"Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" author Seth Grahame-Smith holds up a Twitter hashtag after a surreal video of a darkly comic Tim Burton allegedly dying, at WonderCon 2012.

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A fan dressed as the "Young Justice" version of Batman sidekick Robin at WonderCon 2012.

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Kids get geeked up young at WonderCon 2012, dressed as Spider-Man and Iron Man.

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A fan dressed as Batman villain Bane tweaks the idea of "free hugs" with a "FREE SHRUGS" sign at WonderCon 2012.

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WonderCon 2012 fans dressed as Ghostbusters.

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Fans dressed as Pokemon characters, including Pikachu, at WonderCon 2012.

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A WonderCon 2012 attendee dressed as Big Bird of "Sesame Street."

You can check out the first part of our WonderCon coverage here.

Batman isn't crazy and DC Comics commits "story genocide"

As part of WonderCon, they put on the Comics Arts Conference, which means smart people offering fancy opinions about comic books. It's kind of great. I had the chance to see a few of these sessions, including "Batman vs. Iron Man: Can Biology Best Technology?" (Answer: Probably not), "What's the Matter with Batman?" (Nothing diagnosable, apparently) and "Story Genocide, Fanboy Tears: The Moral Questions of DC Comics' 'New 52' Project" (Yup, genocide!).

To elaborate a bit more on some of this, the Batman versus Iron Man looked at what circumstances each could win a fight in, and while Iron Man generally had the edge, Batman's intelligence, planning and sheer drive left him with some hope. As for what's wrong with him, they ran down potential disorders he could have from depression to post-traumatic stress disorder, and ultimately concluded that the character has experience trauma but doesn't suffer from any of these disorders. As a fan of this stuff, it's nice to see it being treated seriously (or, as seriously as it's possible to take it).


WonderCon recap Part 1: YouTube banks on geek, '21 Jump Street' stars hit Anaheim and Marvel Comics hearts digital

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Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum Jonah Hill speaking at the 2012 WonderCon in Anaheim, California.

The second biggest pop culture event of the year (next to San Diego Comic-Con), with tens of thousands of fans in attendance, is in the books, so let's take our first look back at some of the new and notable to come out of the convention:

"21 Jump Street" stars hit on married woman

In one of the convention's shortest panels, "21 Jump Street" stars Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum showed footage from the film on its opening day, as well as appearing live and answering fan questions. Oh, and they appeared in their movie police outfits.

The fan-friendly marketing looks to have worked, helping the movie hit a number one opening weekend with $36 million.

In one of the panel's funniest moments, a woman asking a question referenced her husband, leading Tatum to say that her husband deserved "major points" and Hill declaring her the hottest wife at WonderCon.


Why WonderCon is the best pop culture convention and you should all be there

2011 WonderCon - Day 2

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Fans at WonderCon 2011 at Moscone Convention Center on April 2, 2011 in San Francisco.


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Fans in Stormtrooper costumes eat at WonderCon 2011 at Moscone Convention Center on April 3, 2011 in San Francisco.

2011 WonderCon - Day 3

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Fans dressed as Power Girl and, um, a male version of Poewr Girl at WonderCon 2011 at Moscone Convention Center on April 3, 2011 in San Francisco.

Warner Home Video

Superman in animated film "Superman vs. The Elite"

"The Amazing Spider-Man" Panel - Comic-Con 2011

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Actress Emma Stone speaks at "The Amazing Spider-Man" Panel during Comic-Con 2011 at the San Diego Convention Center on July 22, 2011.

2011 WonderCon - Day 2

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A group dressed as Star Wars characters pose during WonderCon 2011 at Moscone Convention Center on April 2, 2011 in San Francisco.

Everyone talks about San Diego Comic-Con International, the ultimate spectacle in pop culture extravagance where devotees of all kinds can let their fan flags fly. Well this weekend is WonderCon, making its Anaheim debut due to construction at its San Francisco home, and you should get in on this while you still can.

It's run by the same organizers who put together Comic-Con, and while there is slightly less to do, there's still plenty to pack the weekend (as you can see on the official schedule) and it's still star-studded. It has the rep as being what Comic-Con used to be before it became impossible to get tickets, overcrowded and overrun by Hollywood, though you'll still find at least a bit of Hollywood encroachment.

I'll be there all weekend, tweeting the experience at @MikeRoe and @WithoutABlog. Until then, come with me as we tour some of the highlights of the convention:


Watson's a lady, Twitter won't keep your secret identity if you threaten violence & Jimmy Kimmel gets more meta

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Warner Bros.

Robert Downey, Jr. as Sherlock Holmes

  • Jimmy Kimmel offered a pretty spectacular post-Oscars video, a trailer for "Movie: The Movie" starring a cavalcade of stars including George Clooney, Charlize Theron, Tom Hanks, Cameron Diaz and many more. Well, now he's managed to get one more level of meta with "Making the Movie: The Making of Movie: The Movie."

  • Everybody loves Sherlock Holmes, with a hit movie franchise and a BBC TV show, so CBS is making a new modern American take on the character called "Elementary." Except it takes place in New York and now Watson is a lady played by Lucy Liu.

  • Looking for something to do in a couple weekends? Well the WonderCon comic convention, run by the same folks who do the ultra-famous San Diego Comic-Con, is moving from San Francisco to Anaheim for this year, and they just released their full schedule. (You can see my tentative schedule here, which will change 58 times by the time the convention rolls around.)

  • OK, we know that none of us probably saw most if any of the Oscar-nominated shorts, so here's your chance to see the winner for Best Animated Short, "The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore." (Hat tip: Vulture)

  • Hey everyone who wants to be anonymous on Twitter: Maybe don't threaten to violently rape political candidate Michele Bachmann? A judge says Twitter has to reveal the mystery tweeter's identity, even though the judge didn't believe the person was an actual threat.

  • Greendale Community College is back in session; two weeks from Thursday, "Community" returns to the airwaves. Before that, check out this interview the Daily Beast did with the female stars of the show, as well as writer Megan Ganz.

  • Oh great, another way for comic books to take my money: Now there's a comics section in the iTunes bookstore.

  • A shoutout to one of my favorite blogs, the Mary Sue, offering geek girls a voice; they're celebrating their one year anniversary.