The annual pop culture explosion that is Comic-Con opens in San Diego tomorrow (New Zealand time) and the event comes with a big Kiwi presence ranging from the unveiling of new Hobbit footage to a movie made by an Auckland animation school.
NZ actors are invading too, to sell their shows to the convention's hordes of fans - 130,000 go through the doors each day - and that includes Rose McIver who will be making her first official appearance for upcoming CW show iZombie, which will screen here on TV2.
Adapted from the DC comic book, the series from Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas stars McIver as a medical student, who after turning into a zombie gets a job at a coroner's office to feed her cerebral dietary requirements. (Cue "NZ actor joins brain drain" joke here).
Rose McIver in iZombie. Photo / Cate Cameron
Fellow CW Network Kiwis Daniel Gillies (The Originals) and Manu Bennett (Arrow) will also do the Comic-Con rounds, while Outrageous Fortune alumni Grant Bowler and Antony Starr will return to promote forthcoming seasons of their shows, Bowler's Defiance and Starr's Banshee.
Alan Dale will debut his upcoming supernatural drama Dominion, and Sir Peter Jackson will unveil footage from his final Middle-earth instalment, The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies.
Other parts of the Jackson empire are also making the journey to Comic-Con.
The Weta Group is celebrating its 20 years of existence with a starring role at the convention where they'll be "showcasing New Zealand creativity, talent and artistry to industry media and thousands of fans".
Weta will also be at the satellite events in Denver, New York and Utah.
"Comic-Con is hugely influential in the entertainment industry," says Weta Workshop boss Sir Richard Taylor.
"Weta has become a hugely popular stop for enthusiasts of the characters, creatures and worlds we have created including those from the Middle-earth movies, science-fiction and fantasy projects and our film collectibles."
Weta Digital Senior Visual Effects Supervisor Joe Letteri says fans want to understand the digital effects that make up so much of what is seen on screen. "It's great to see fans relating to the characters we create, from Koba and Caesar in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes to Gollum and Smaug. We enjoy sharing the artistry and the technology we use to bring these characters to the screen."
Artists from Weta will be on site at Comic-Con to answer fan questions and talk about their work.
The Weta stands will also feature appearances from Taylor, artists and authors Greg Broadmore, Daniel Falconer, Aaron Beck, Clare Burgess and Luke Hawker.
Weta Digital and Weta Workshop have a two-volume book The Art of Film Magic - 20 Years of Weta coming out in October tracing the parallel history of the two companies.
Meanwhile, Auckland's Media Design School has its latest animated short film, Over The Moon, screening as part of Comic-Con's International Independent Film Festival.
The short, which is also a finalist in the New Zealand International Film Festival's short film competition, was directed by James Cunningham, a senior 3D lecturer at the Auckland-based school and he and writer/creator Karl Wills are attending as invited speakers.
The film used the talents of 15 Media Design School students working 23 weeks and 18,000 hours to complete the film about cult comic book heroine Connie Radar "in an intergalactic battle of the sexes complete with robots, astronauts and lots of guns".