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Pow! Bang! Batman Takes Center Stage At Comic-Con On Thursday

April Del Rosario and Lester Del Rosario pose with their son during preview night at the 2014 Comic-Con International Convention in San Diego, July 23, 2014.
Associated Press
April Del Rosario and Lester Del Rosario pose with their son during preview night at the 2014 Comic-Con International Convention in San Diego, July 23, 2014.

"Batman" will take center stage Thursday as the 45th annual Comic-Con International celebration of the popular arts opens in downtown San Diego.

Several events are on tap for the popular franchise that started 75 years ago as a dark comic strip, became a children's television show and later spawned a hugely successful series of films on the big screen.

"It's a lot of fun," Citali Marshburn said while waiting to get into the "Teen Wolf" panel with her friend, Drew Jarrett. "You get to talk to people that like the same shows as you, not your regular every day of the week friends, and it's a fun experience."

Her friend Jarrett had some advice for first-time attendees.

"Attention all newbies: wear comfortable shoes! And if you can, pack your own snacks," Jarrett said. "And water."

At 3:30 p.m., DC Comics will host a panel called "Batman 75: Legends of the Dark Knight." Comic creators who helped shape the character are scheduled to participate.

At 6 p.m., television series stars Adam West, Burt Ward and Julie Newmar will gather for a panel in Hall H, the San Diego Convention Center's 6,500-seat arena. The three will promote a boxed set of the series' episodes that Warner Bros. Home Entertainment is set to release in November.

An area near the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel, meanwhile, has been transformed into the Gotham Interactive Fan Zone. "Gotham" is a television series that will run on Fox beginning in September that is based on DC Comics' characters, but not necessarily Batman.

The zone will be the location of a kickoff news conference at 9:30 a.m. Organizers say Mayor Kevin Faulconer and City Council President Todd Gloria will ride a 200-foot-long zipline to the podium.

Also scheduled for the first day are a panel on the popular television thriller "24," with actor Kiefer Sutherland set to appear; a world premiere screening of the upcoming CBS television show, "Scorpion;" and a forum on the television show "Hannibal."

Organizers are also staging events at the Indigo Ballroom at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel, the Grand Ballroom at the Omni San Diego Hotel, and the Horton Grand Theater.

Pre-paid parking at the convention center and Hilton Bayfront is sold out.

Free shuttles will run between the convention center and hotels in downtown, Mission Valley, Shelter Island and Harbor Island. Shuttle service will run 24 hours a day until Sunday at 7 p.m.

Organizers encourage attendees to use the San Diego Trolley and the North County Transit District's Coaster train. The Metropolitan Transit Systems says the Green Line trolley to the convention center and Gaslamp Quarter will run every seven and a half minutes — twice as often as normal — during Comic- Con.

The trolley system will also offer paperless tickets on its new mticket mobile application. A spokesman for the agency said the trolley carries an additional 215,000 passengers during the convention.

KPBS arts and culture reporter Beth Accomando contributed to this report.

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