You may recall the story of Moses, who was allowed to gaze upon the holy land, but never to enter it.” ~ Ra’s al Ghul, Batman: Son Of The Demon (1987)

Clearly, these cosplayers don’t realise the seriousness of SDCC. ©http://supahcute.com/2011/07/15/sdcc-2011-guide-for-myself/

Clearly, the San Diego Comic Convention isn’t the Lazarus Pit, let alone sacred ground. But as far as true believers are concerned, it might as well be. I’m flying to San Diego from San Fran in a few hours for my first pilgrimmage, and already I can feel the buzz and the energy of the place online. For six months now, my head has been filled with recurring fantasies of meeting people I admire, and  proceeding to gush about them/take pictures with them/generally fawn all over them/burst into tears at the mere mention of their accomplishments/come *this* close to getting hauled away by security. And there are so many I’d love to meet: Ed Brubaker, Joel McHale, Nathan Fillion, JRJR, Andrew Lincoln, Stan Lee, Joss Whedon…

Andrew had seen me coming from afar ©AMC

Just like the real Holy Land though, there will be plenty of land disputes between believers of different stripes and denominations. The fear we all suffer from, is that after coming so far for SDCC, there is a very real possibility that we may still miss out on our favored panels. The  fact that convention organizers issued guidelines on camping out for panels three days before the event even starts, should give you an idea as to why. And it is a well-known fact that a fan hoping to attend say, the Dexter panel at 5pm, will likely hole up in the venue from 9am onwards. Clearly, only the strongest among the faithful will be rewarded. On my part, much as I admire him for his devotion, I have little desire to emulate Moses. Cue the XX am wake up calls, bleary eyes and parking myself in a panel venue and refusing to move come hell or high water. Well, high water may work, given that I am unlikely to pee in public.

I come from Singapore, a tiny island state of five million. With no natural resources, the only way we’ve survived almost 50 years of statehood is by planning far, far ahead. The ruling party is the People’s Action Party (PAP), and there’s a reason that people like to call them Plan And Plan. Such a mentality naturally filters down to its citizens, so this is the survival kit I’ve gathered for SDCC. In case you’re wondering why my kit has everything but food, don’t worry, I do plan on eating. I just haven’t bought my groceries yet, in the process putting generations of Singaporeans to shame.

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On a more serious note, most of you will have heard by now about the Twilight fan who tragically died in a car accident whilst attempting to preserve her place in line for the Thursday Twilight panel. As important as the convention is to all of us,  I do hope we can all remember that we are just here to have fun, and it should not be a matter of life and death.

Besides the sketching and autograph sessions, here are the panels I’m excited about, where I will be joining our fellow devotees in hopes of getting a precious, precious spot. I won’t get into all of them, of course, but hope springs eternal.

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My (hopeful) SDCC schedule

Wednesday, July 11 – Preview Night

Special Sneak Peek Pilot Screenings – Ballroom 20, 6-945pm

666 Park Avenue — At 666 Park Avenue, anything you desire can be yours…for a price. Lost’s Terry O’Quinn and Desperate Housewives’ Vanessa Williams headline this scary, seductive drama from Alloy Entertainment as the owners of a Manhattan apartment building who recruit an idealistic young couple to manage the historic site with a dark history. The series also stars Rachael Taylor (Charlie’s Angels), Dave Annable (Brothers & Sisters), Robert Buckley (One Tree Hill), Mercedes Masohn (The Finder), Helena Mattsson (Iron Man 2), and Samantha Logan (Law & Order: SVU).

Arrow — Hard-hitting action series Arrow reinvents the DC hero. After being marooned for five years on a remote island, billionaire Oliver Queen returns home with a mysterious agenda and a lethal new set of skills that he uses in a war on crime. The series stars Stephen Amell (Private Practice), Colin Donnell (Pan Am), Katie Cassidy (Supernatural), David Ramsey (Dexter), and Willa Holland (The O.C.), with Susanna Thompson (Dragonfly) and Paul Blackthorne (The River).

The Following — Golden Globe winner/Emmy nominee Kevin Bacon (Mystic River) and Rome‘s James Purefoy star in The Following, a cat-and-mouse thriller from Kevin Williamson (The Vampire Diaries), about a diabolical serial killer (Purefoy) and the psychologically scarred ex-FBI agent (Bacon) called in to stop him. The Following also stars Natalie Zea (Justified), Jeananne Goossen (Alcatraz), Shawn Ashmore (X-Men films), Valorie Curry (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn-Part 2), Nico Tortorella (Scream 4), Adan Canto (Amar No Es Querer), and Kyle Catlett (Unforgettable), with Maggie Grace (Lost) recurring.

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Thursday, July 12: Day 1

Comic-Con How-To: Building The Foundation To A Page-Turning Story – Room 2, 10-11am
Before you start writing your story, you need a clear idea of where your story is going. Award-winning author Maxwell Alexander Drake gives you insight into how to create a structure that will become the foundation for your story, as well as provide you with several tools to help you stay organized. From plotting in reverse to a three-act play, this seminar will help you understand how to set the “beats” of your story and how to insure that you hit them, leaving your readers hungry for more.
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The Walking Dead – Room 6A, 345-445pm
Join creator/writer Robert Kirkman and series artist Charlie Adlard for a rare sit-down, where they will discuss the past, present, and future of the decade’s most talked about zombie phenomenon. A Q&A will follow the conversation between the visionary collaborators.

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Friday, July 13: Day 2

Community: School Is Back In Session – Ballroom 20, 10-11am 

Joel McHale (The Soup), Gillian Jacobs (The Box), Danny Pudi (Chuck), Yvette Nicole Brown (Family Guy), and Alison Brie (Mad Men) from the hit Sony TV comedy have graduated to the Convention Center in advance of their fourth season. Join your favorite Greendale study group for a panel and Q&A to find out firsthand what surprises are in store for the show’s return to NBC this fall.

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Firefly 10-Year Anniversary Reunion – Ballroom 20, 1230-130pm
It has been 10 years since the crew of the Serenity took flight in the now infamous show Firefly. Science Channel will reunite, for the first time ever, Captain Mal Reynolds and the crew from the ship. Join Joss Whedon, Nathan Fillion, Adam Baldwin, Alan Tudyk, Sean Maher,Summer Glau, and many more for a trip down memory lane, some special surprises, and exclusive Science Channel giveaways. SHINY.
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AMC’s The Walking Dead -Hall H, 125-225pm
Andrew Lincoln, Sarah Wayne Callies, Norman Reedus, Laurie Holden, Steven Yeun, Lauren Cohan, and introducing Danai Gurira as Michonne and David Morrissey as The Governor join executive producer and showrunner Glen Mazzara, executive producer Robert Kirkman, executive producer Gale Anne Hurd, executive producer Dave Alpert and special effects makeup supervisor and co-executive producer Greg Nicotero in a panel moderated by Chris Hardwick (The NerdistTalking Dead). The panelists will discuss the wildly successful second season of The Walking Dead and what to look forward to in season 3, debuting this fall on AMC. Join the panelists for a one-on-one Q&A session and an official sneak preview of season 3.
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Game Of Thrones Panel and Q&A Session – Hall H, 245-345pm
Based on the bestselling fantasy book series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin, some of the cast featured in the second season and appearing on this panel are  Alfie Allen as Theon Greyjoy, Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen, Michelle Fairley as Catelyn Stark, Kit Harington as Jon Snow, Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister, and Richard Madden as Robb Stark.George R. R. Martin, who also serves as a co-executive producer and writer on the series, moderates with executive producer Carolyn Strauss.

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Saturday, July 14: Day 3 a.k.a Day of Days a.k.a Holy Awesomeness Day, Batman! a.k.a. Park Myself In Hall H In Perpetuity Day

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Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained – Hall H, 1130am-1230pm
The Weinstein Company presents a sneak peek at the highly anticipated new film from acclaimed director Quentin Tarantino. Fans will get to see exclusive footage from Django Unchained and take part in a special discussion with Tarantino and the cast.
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Warner Bros Pictures and Legendary Pictures Preview Their Upcoming Lineups – Hall H, 230-5pm
Sneak peeks at Man Of Steel and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Supes. Peter Jackson. Hobbits. Need I say more?
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Marvel Studios: Iron Man 3 – Hall H, 6-7pm
Again, do you really need me to give you a reason to attend this panel?
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What are you excited about at SDCC, and which panels will you be queuing up for? Tell me!