INFINITE IMPROBABILITY: Your Wizard World Philly Comic Con agenda

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First Posted: 6/17/2014

My summer can’t really begin until Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con gives me the chance to escape to the City of Geeky Love for a weekend of shaking hands with pop culture icons and stockpiling discounted comic books. It’s a little later this year, but so is the warmer weather, so I’ll forgive them, especially after seeing the lineup of entertainment they have at this year’s event.

Here are just a few of the highlights:

• On Thursday at 5:30 p.m., there’s a screening of “The Karate Kid” that is followed by a Q&A session with Ralph Macchio. How many chances will you get to watch “The Karate Kid” with the actual karate kid hanging around?! Not many, I assure you, as I’m sure Ralph is probably sick of watching it, even if you aren’t.

• At 9 p.m. at the Trocadero Theatre nearby, you can also watch a special screening of “Revenge of the Nerds” with stars Curtis Armstrong and Brian Tochi and comedian Doug Benson, who will be interrupting the movie with live jokes and banter. Armstrong and Tochi will also be part of a Q&A at the con the next day at 5:30 p.m. “What are you looking at, nerd?”

• On Friday at 1:30 p.m., there’s a Q&A with legendary comic creator Marv Wolfman, known for co-creating Blade the vampire hunter, his work on “The New Teen Titans,” and so much more for Marvel and DC. He’s being interviewed by fellow Marvel editor Danny Fingeroth, so this should be one of the most informative panels of the weekend.

• Have you ever wanted to be Batman? Who hasn’t?! Local comic scribe Scott Beatty, along with Brandon T. Snider, Rob Prior, and Aaron Sagers, will be discussing what it would take to become the Dark Knight on Friday at 2:30 p.m. Wolfman, Beatty, Fingeroth, and Joe Caramanga will later talk about writing comics at 6:30 p.m.

• Also at 6:30 p.m., Ming Chen, Bryan Johnson, and Michael Zapcic of AMC’s “Comic Book Men” will be participating in a panel moderated by Troma Entertainment’s Lloyd Kaufman. That is so ridiculous that it has to be good.

• While this is a paid event, Saturday kicks off with a Q&A by “Doctor Who” stars Matt Smith and Karen Gillan at 10 a.m. I probably won’t drop a few extra bucks to attend this, but just knowing that they’re in the same room again (with the opportunity to meet them later in the day) makes me want to wear my best bow tie.

• Sean Astin of “Lord of the Rings” fame (though I’ll always associate him with “The Goonies”) will be answering fans’ questions at noon. Frodo will be strangely absent.

• Whoopi Goldberg may seem like an unlikely comic con guest, but people tend to forget her important role on “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” Considering she’s such a great storyteller, I want to hear what she has to say about Patrick Stewart and her other co-stars at 1 p.m.

• It’s been off the air for years, but “Firefly” continues to be a fan-favorite topic of conversation, so who better to remember it with than Nathan Fillion and Alan Tudyk at 3 p.m.? Christopher Lloyd’s panel is also at 3, but you can just jump in the DeLorean to catch both of them.

• “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” was easily the best superhero film of the year so far, so I can’t wait to hear what Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan have to say about it at 4 p.m. If that room is filled up, I may stop by John Carpenter’s Q&A held at the same time.

• I said “so far” because “Guardians of the Galaxy” may just usurp the “best superhero film of the year” title, and stars Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, and Michael Rooker will be talking about it as best they can without Marvel snipers taking them out for revealing too much.

• James O’Barr will talk about creating the Crow at 6 p.m., followed by a screening of the first (and easily the best) film. Even if it rains, you’ll at least be inside.

• On Sunday, Rob Paulsen and Sean Astin will talk about the surprisingly great “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” cartoon on Nickelodeon before Michael Bay sullies our heroes in a half shell forever with his unsurprisingly awful movie.

• As if there hasn’t been enough talk of amazing superhero movies already, Evan Peters and Daniel Cudmore will brag about being in the second-best superhero film of 2014, “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” at 2 p.m.

Mind you, this is just all I could fit in this week’s column. I skipped the indie film festival running all weekend, the cosplay fashion shows, the other awesome guests (James Marsters, Jason David Frank, etc.), and all the general sights and sounds of comic con. I’ll file a full report next week, but for now, I have a lot of strategizing to do just to fit all this in. Maybe Matt will let me borrow the TARDIS for an hour or two.

-Rich Howells is a lifelong Marvel Comics collector, wannabe Jedi master, and cult film fan. E-mail him at