Confab becomes 'ShoWest for sci-fi, fantasy world'

Comicbook fans and creators who gathered over the weekend in San Diego for the annual Comic-Con got a look into the ever-increasing partnership between their colorful heroes and Hollywood.

Given its usefulness as a place to promote upcoming genre projects for film and TV, the confab has grown to become, as one booth staffer called it, “the ShoWest of the sci-fi and fantasy world.”

Indeed, stands this year by DreamWorks and the Sci-Fi Channel rival those of comicbook giants Marvel and DC.

DreamWorks devoted a huge space to its upcoming pic “The Time Machine”; fans could view video on the making of the movie, meet director Simon Wells and makeup guru Stan Winston and gape at props like the 3.5-ton time machine itself.

Fox, Warner Bros., Sony and New Line were on hand to variously plug “Planet of the Apes,” “Lord of the Rings,” “Spider-Man” and “Harry Potter.”

Matt Hawkins, president of publishing for Top Cow Prods., said the success of its “Witchblade” property on TV has boosted interest in the comics, and the label now has a line of comics written by “Babylon 5″ creator J. Michael Straczynski.

And while comicbook sales as a whole are down, publishers and Hollywood producers continue to mine comics for source material.

Writer Ross LaManna (“Rush Hour”) announced comics projects with actors Brent Spiner (“Star Trek: The Next Generation”) and Russell Wong (“Romeo Must Die”) that will complement and create buzz for planned TV and film projects.

Comic-Con ends today.

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