Cartoon Network is bringing an out-of-this-world fan experience at Comic-Con (July 19-22) with an overall immersive Steven Universe experience, an homage to Adventure Time, along with additional signings, panels, and exclusive product offerings.
Inspired by the illustrious mythology of Steven Universe, this year’s booth (#3735) will greet fans with large, iconic figures of the Crystal Gems above a crystal landscape. A screen embedded in the crystal will show what’s waiting inside – the chance to be in an epic parallax scene with their favorite characters!
Kicking off Thursday, July 19, Grammy winner and voice of Steven Universe’s Garnet, Estelle, joins show creator Rebecca Sugar and her friends from the Dove Self-Esteem Project for a conversation about the importance of inclusion and body positivity that the series has been so celebrated for.
Adventure Time fans can grab their friends and gear up for the Ultimate Adventure Friday, July 20 as the cast and crew come together in the Indigo Ballroom for its final panel. Come along and celebrate Cartoon Network’s longest-running series with live music, special guests, and a few mathematical surprises.
On Saturday, July 21, meet back in the Indigo Ballroom for Cartoon Network’s official Steven Universe panel, complete with musical performances, never-before-seen clips and appearances from your favorite Gems! Cartoon Network is also bringing together its hottest new creators for its inaugural Drawing on Inspiration panel, featuring creators from OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes, Craig of the Creek, We Bare Bears, Summer Camp Island and Victor and Valentino. Exclusive signing posters will be available at each panel’s respective signings. Capping off the weekend is the return of Cartoon Network’s annual Best Summer Ever Costume Ball where kids of all ages will have a chance to dress up as their favorite show character. Other series featured at San Diego Comic-Con include Unikitty! and DC Super Hero Girls.
Cartoon Network has partnered with key licensees to offer attendees official SDCC-exclusive consumer products featuring characters from beloved franchises Steven Universe, Adventure Time and The Powerpuff Girls.
Below is a list of all panels, fan events, screenings, signings and exclusive product offered Thursday, July 19 – Sunday, July 22. Events, as well as series producers and talent scheduled to appear, are subject to change.
Cartoon Network Panels
THURSDAY, JULY 19
SUPERHEROES OF BODY POSITIVITY: A CONVERSATION WITH STEVEN UNIVERSE’S REBECCA SUGAR AND FRIENDS
4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. | Horton Grand Theatre
Calling all Crystal Gems! The Dove Self-Esteem Project and Cartoon Network’s Steven Universe have partnered to educate young people on body confidence through the Emmy®-nominated hit series’ celebrated themes of inclusion and empowerment. Join Steven Universe creator Rebecca Sugar and experts from the Dove Self-Esteem Project for a conversation on the importance of body positivity in both the real and animated world.
FRIDAY, JULY 20
10 a.m. – 11:15 a.m. | Hilton Bayfront Indigo Ballroom
Cartoon Network invites you to come along with us to celebrate 10 seasons of this most mathematical show! We don’t want to spoil too many of the surprises but, we can promise you a live musical performance featuring some of your favorite tracks from the series along with special guests and an exclusive series finale trailer! Grab your homies and don’t miss this epic celebration before The Ultimate Adventure.
SATURDAY, JULY 21
10 a.m. – 10:50 a.m. | Hilton Bayfront Indigo Ballroom
Did you hear that Cartoon Network is bringing Steven Universe back to Comic-Con? You’d better believe it! Estelle (Garnet), Michaela Dietz (Amethyst), Deedee Magno Hall (Pearl), Zach Callison (Steven), and the true Diamond Authority, series creator Rebecca Sugar will share insights about the show, epic announcements and we’re pretty sure Rebecca is bringing her ukulele. Our future-vision tells us this is a panel you won’t want to miss!
CARTOON NETWORK CREATORS: DRAWING ON INSPIRATION
2 p.m. – 3 p.m. | Room 25ABC
Meet the creators of Cartoon Network’s most beloved and exciting new shows! This talented group of creative leaders will share why they were inspired to get into animation, highlights of their paths to becoming show runners and insights on what it takes to bring stories to life. They’ll also reveal some exciting news about… well, you’ll have to come to find out! Join Matt Burnett and Ben Levin from Craig of the Creek, Daniel Chong from We Bare Bears, Diego Molano from Victor & Valentino and Julia Pott from Summer Camp Island, moderated by Ian Jones-Quartey from OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes.
Cartoon Network Screenings and Special Events
THURSDAY, JULY 19
THE HER UNIVERSE FASHION SHOW: CARTOON NETWORK JUNIOR DESIGNER SHOWCASE
6 p.m. | Manchester Grand Hyatt – Harbor Ballroom
The 5th annual Her Universe Fashion Show is a design competition where 24 designers compete with their original “geek couture” designs for the chance to win the ultimate prize – the opportunity to design a Her Universe fashion collection for Hot Topic. Cartoon Network has sponsored the junior designer contest, where youth ages 5-17 had the opportunity to submit designs inspired by The Powerpuff Girls in celebration of the 20th Anniversary. Four winners were chosen and they will reveal their designs during the Cartoon Network Junior Designer showcase during the Her Universe Fashion Show. Hosted by actress and Her Universe Founder, Ashley Eckstein, the show will once again be held at the Manchester Grand Hyatt on Thursday, July 19th. Doors open at 5:15 p.m.
SUNDAY, JULY 22
CARTOON NETWORK BEST SUMMER EVER COSTUME BALL
11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. | Hilton Bayfront Indigo Ballroom
Kids, get ready for the Best Costume Ball Ever! Cartoon Network is throwing the hottest party of the season and we want you to join us. Kick off your flip-flops, ditch the bathing suit and show off your most chill, most creative costumes. Oh, and did we mention guest judges from some of your favorite Cartoon Network shows? We’ll play games, share exclusive never-before-seen clips and hand out some sizzling prizes. Parents, turn up the heat by getting in on the action with a family costume. Make your Best Summer Ever complete with a party you’ll remember all year long!
Steven Universe Sketchbook (Insight Editions, Booth #3721)
Let the colorful characters of Steven Universe inspire your creativity with this gorgeous sketchbook. Available as a limited-release early preview at SDCC, the sketchbook features an exclusive foreword from show creator Rebecca Sugar along with whimsical drawings from her and the show’s other artists. This sketchbook invites Steven Universe fans to bring out their inner artist within its blank pages.
Steven Universe Zagwear Exclusive Plush (UCC Distributing, Inc., Booth #5610)
Zagwear is premiering Steven Universe exclusive plushies featuring Lars of the Stars, Yellow Diamond, Blue Diamond, Pink Diamond, Sparkle Cookie Cat, Peridot, Night Lion and Sitting Pink Lion.
Steven Universe Cookie Cat Original Print T-Shirt (For Fans By Fans, Booth #1316)
The adorable Cookie Cat Steven T-Shirt in charcoal by Steven Universe fan and illustrator Shelby Chin is a San Diego Comic Con exclusive available only at For Fans By Fans Booth # 1316. ForFansByFans.com is a community that bridges the gap between fans, artists, and the worlds that inspire them.
Adventure Time 7” Vinyl (Mondo, Booth #435)
Mondo is debuting an SDCC 2018 Adventure Time exclusive vinyl featuring tracks “Friends Don’t Fight” (both with vocals and instrumental) and “Manlorette Party.” The vinyl cover artwork is custom created by artist JJ Harrison and they will be sold at the Mondo booth for $12 +tax. Supply is limited, so make sure to get them before they’re gone!
Adventure Time: Beginning of the End #1 (BOOM! Studios, Booth #2229)
When Finn breaks a promise he can’t remember making, Chronologius Rex, the lord of Hours and All Time, confronts him. Journey with Finn and Jake as they work to save Finn before he is erased from every reality! Honoring the series finale of Cartoon Network’s longest-running series, Adventure Time: Beginning of the End #1 will be sold exclusively at the BOOM! Studios Booth.
Adventure Time Coloring Book (Dark Horse, Booth #2615)
Dark Horse and Cartoon Network are teaming up for a SDCC 2018 exclusive early preview Adventure Time coloring book! Bring Finn and Jake’s adventures to life in this official coloring book, featuring 45 original images by various artists. They are also adding a little color to the lives of Cartoon Network fans with a 59”x59″ coloring wall featuring illustrations from the network’s longest-running series Adventure Time and fan-favorite Steven Universe. Comic-con attendees can stop by their booth starting Thursday to color in the gigantic coloring book pages and get a chance to purchase new products.
The Powerpuff Girls Titan Figures 3-Pack (Titan, Booth #5537)
Titan Entertainment is bringing their first EXCLUSIVE The Powerpuff Girls Glow-in-The-Dark 3″ TITANS three-pack to SDCC 2018! Celebrating 20 years of Cartoon Network’s The Powerpuff Girls, this set features Blossom, Bubbles,
and Buttercup straight outta Townsville – ready for action with super glow-in-the-dark highlights.
Cartoon Network Signings
FRIDAY, JULY 20
3 p.m. – 4 p.m. | AA02
INSIGHT EDITIONS STEVEN UNIVERSE DELUXE HARDCOVER BLANK SKETCHBOOK: REBECCA SUGAR EDITION SIGNING WITH REBECCA SUGAR
12 p.m. – 1 p.m. | Insight Editions Booth #3721
SATURDAY, JULY 21
12:50 – 1:50 p.m. | AA06
CARTOON NETWORK CREATORS: DRAWING ON INSPIRATION
5 p.m. – 6 p.m. | AA06
Midnight Mass: The Blood of Life
The isolated island community of Crockett receives a mysterious new head priest, full of secrets and a brand new testament under a very unusual Messenger of God.
Meet poor Riley Flynn (Zach Gilford), freshly released from prison and wracked with guilt over what got him there, a stupid drinking accident that caused the death of his ex-girlfriend. The last thing he wants to do is go back to Crockett and the judgment of the mostly religious community there, his disappointed family, and the nightmares of his ex’s death that plague him. But where else would have him? Resignedly on the ferry, he goes.
Riley’s dad Ed (Henry Thomas) isn’t the kind of man who talks very much at all, much less about his feelings, or his very real disappointment in his elder son. Riley’s teen brother Warren (Igby Rigney) has no idea what to say to him either, and just generally keeps mum. Riley’s mom Annie (Kristin Lehman) is accepting and loving, hesitant in how to help her eldest son but never wavering in her faith in the help of our lord Jesus. Mom seems to think a good heaping dose of the Church would set Riley right but is surprised to learn that the old priest of the Parish, Pruitt, has taken an extended leave of absence from the island, and his newcomer replacement Father Paul (Hamish Linklater) is young, charismatic, and bursting at the seams to tell the whole island about the gifts he brought them, most especially what he claims as a new testament under a messenger of God.
We’ll get back to that whole ball of issues in a moment, the other interesting characters of Crockett Island. Bev Keane (Samantha Sloyan) is the nightmarish overly polite and gently, almost lovingly condescending neighbor Christian woman you’ve ever loathed, the kind of person who explains away every last thing her Church may do wrong or contradictory because, after all, God works in mysterious ways. Pfft. Of course, Bev immediately ingratiates herself as the second to the new Father Paul in their services and is the first to start covering up his transgressions as they become more rampant.
Newcomers to Crockett Sheriff Hassan (Rahul Kohli) and his son Ali (Rahul Abburi) present a burgeoning problem to the plans of Father Paul and his shadowy companion, for they are both practicing Muslims. The practical side of investigating these so-called ‘miracles’ and strange happenings falls on Hassan’s shoulders, as he already struggles with barely-concealed racism and suspicion from his fellow islanders, and of course his son is being wooed away from him by the promise of actual, tangible miracles, but from a different whole faith and God. Father Paul definitely does not practice a traditional Christian faith and relies far too much on making use of the eucharist, the ceremony of the blood and flesh of Jesus Christ turning into bread and wine and, well, consumed.
Wade (Michael Trucco) and his wife Dolly (Crystal Balint) are lifers of the island and both in general interested in one thing, the advancement of their own family, specifically their daughter Leeza (Annarah Cymone), who happens to be in a wheelchair. And that happens to be the canny Father Paul’s first real miracle-with-a-cost that he demonstrates to the astonishment of the parishioners, after a heartfelt and rousing sermon, Father Paul commands Leeza to rise, to stand, and to walk. And lo, she does. What parents wouldn’t wholly dedicate themselves to a cause after seeing this happen to their beloved precious daughter? The fringe benefits of healing, and power, the ones that come at a mighty, currently unnamed, cost, are simply a nice bonus.
Joe Collie (Robert Longstreet) is the town drunk, and while his reasons for drowning his sorrows in the sauce might be understandable, absolution wears a very different face when it comes from Father Paul. While Leeza might be willing to forgive Joe, and even as Joe begins attending the newly-formed Al-Anon meetings on the island of course hosted by Father Paul, redemption might’ve been better sought from medical professionals, and not this newfound method of religious worship.
Dr. Sarah Gunning (Annabeth Gish) is the islands’ kind of all-around medic, and this is how she and Riley’s old friend Erin (Kate Siegel), also newly returned to the island, a few months pregnant but traveling quietly alone, met when Erin comes to the Doc for obstetrics. Sarah’s older mother Mildred Gunning (Alexandra Essoe) has many medical and mental issues, and Sarah struggles in their shared home, to take care of her addled mom and balance her own life. Then Father Paul takes it upon himself to visit one of his oldest parishioners, bringing the sacred host and wine with him to give directly to Mildred, who starts looking and acting so much better under his loving care.
The show is very much a slow slow burn, with a lot of the actual action taking place in the last two episodes. Much of the beginning and middle episodes feature two people just sitting alone, having quiet and seriously in-depth conversations about heavy subjects – grief and repentance, what happens when we die, the disasters that come as a result of addictions, how our actions’ consequences reverberate to those we love around us, faith and the foibles of man, and of course, the giving of oneself over to a higher power, for strength, and guidance, and love.
Except, for the higher power that Father Paul brought back with him, to share with his beloved flock of Crockett Island, while it may be extremely powerful and full of what could be considered miraculous magic, everything comes at some kind of a cost. And when the Messenger of God is finally revealed to the shocked denizens of Crockett at Easter Mass, with Father Paul rapturing on about rebirth as the bloody massacre begins in earnest, it’s faith, not in any kind of God or religion, but faith in each other, that may save a few hardy souls.
Question the wisdom of your religious leaders along with the rest of us in a fine slow-burn addition to the Flanaverse, Midnight Mass is on Netflix now!
Saw X: It ain’t brain surgery!
Legendary executioner Jigsaw returns to exact revenge on a cadre of scam artists who promised him a bogus cure for his cancer!
First off, be aware, that this is what I call an interleaved sequel, a movie set between previous films in the franchise. In this case, Saw X occurs after the events of the very first Saw film, and before Saw II. Everybody got where we are? Good! Into the madness, we dive!
So, as we all know, John Kramer’s been diagnosed with cancer, very aggressive brain cancer, and likely doesn’t have much time left. And he’s tried everything under the sun, doing a ton of meticulous research, we’d expect nothing less from our master of the art of murder, and not one thing has worked. Yet one man from the support group for cancer sufferers, Henry (Michael Beach), offers an off-the-books supposed miracle cure, and John jumps at the chance.
Why does this nonsense always sound too good to be true? Because it is. Deleted scenes from the first Deadpool movie already told us why traveling to Mexico for any kind of medical cure is a sublimely stupid move, but Kramer is desperate. And while he might be sick and dying, John Kramer has never been what anyone could call stupid. So the villa out in the Mexican countryside, the affable cab driver Diego (Joshua Okamoto) professes surprise at Kramer being highjacked for his good, the nervous muttering from assistant Valentina (Paulette Hernandez), the side-eyeing from little housekeep Gabriela (Renata Vaca) and her tequila, and most especially the smooth and smarming reassurances of head “doctor” Cecilia Pederson (Synnove Macody Lund), all leave a kind of sour taste in John’s mouth.
The whole cluex4 scene is done in the style that the Saw films are known for, where we the audience are treated to cut-together explanatory scenes in a flip-flash fashion of usually about two minutes, for poor John when he realizes he’s been hoodwinked and just how badly, seems a little contrived. But then it’s entirely possible that we the audience truly expected our genius mastermind of the infamous Jigsaw murders to have realized what was happening sooner, and got enraged along with Kramer. And cheered as he prepared to take his bloody and ultra-violent revenge!
First up in our grand guignol of executions is the return of Jigsaw’s first protégé, Amanda (Shawnee Smith). And despite her avowed reverence for Jigsaw and his proven “therapy”, Amanda does waver a bit when the scammers are put through the paces of their specially-made Saw traps, and they shriek and blubber and bleed out. The appearance of the ringer of the bunch, Parker (Steven Brand), doesn’t even slow our beloved engineer of the damned down, because we knew Jigsaw would have his other apprentice waiting just off stage, the deliciously vicious Detective Hoffman (Costas Mandylor). Even the monkeywrench of involving little-boy soccer fan Carlos (Jorge Briseno) in the traps, is just another cog in the machine that is the brilliantly plotting mind of John Kramer.
A fine addition to the Saw legends, showcasing a return to the beloved style and panache of the original Tobin Bell-starring Jigsaw films, Saw X is splashing gore and gallons of blood in theaters now!
Scott Pilgrim Takes Off
“Scott Pilgrim Takes Off,” Netflix’s latest series, is a rollicking journey through the world of video game culture, blending nostalgic references with a fresh narrative twist. Centered around Scott Pilgrim, portrayed with magnetic charisma by Michael Cera, the show skillfully integrates gaming elements into its storytelling, creating a delightful homage to the video game subculture.
The series cleverly employs pixelated graphics, power-up animations, and game-like sound effects to bring the virtual world to life. These visual cues, reminiscent of classic video games, enhance the storytelling and resonate with audiences familiar with the gaming landscape. The attention to detail in recreating iconic gaming moments is commendable, creating a visual and auditory treat for enthusiasts.
The exploration of video game culture goes beyond mere aesthetics; it becomes an integral part of the characters’ identities and interactions. The script intelligently weaves gaming terminology and tropes into the dialogue, effectively blending the real and virtual worlds. The series navigates the challenges and triumphs of the characters through the lens of gaming, making it a unique and engaging experience for both gamers and general audiences.
The ensemble cast, including standout performances from Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Ellen Wong, and Chris Evans embraces the gaming theme with infectious enthusiasm. The chemistry between the characters is palpable, adding emotional depth to the series.
“Scott Pilgrim Takes Off” successfully taps into the zeitgeist of video game culture, offering a nostalgic yet contemporary take on the gaming phenomenon. It’s a must-watch for those who cherish the pixelated roots of the gaming world while providing an accessible and entertaining narrative for a broader audience. The series takes off not only in its title but also in its ability to soar within the ever-expanding realm of Netflix originals.