Storm troopers, zombies, cowboys & aliens gather

July 26, 2011 

'Nerdy stuff' draws 120,000

Storm troopers cavorted with zombies, Steven Spielberg chatted with Peter Jackson, and the stars of "Cowboys & Aliens" swooped into San Diego, making for an action-packed Comic-Con.

The 42nd annual fan festival closed Sunday after four days of pop-culture indulgence.

More than 120,000 people attended the event at the San Diego Convention Center, which spilled over into downtown San Diego. Costumed characters strolled the streets, and empty storefronts were transformed into special attractions such as the Sega Arcade and Monstergeddon, which mixed Marvel characters with monster trucks.

Inside the convention center, comic books, toys and splashy displays touting upcoming games, movies and TV shows packed the exhibition floor while panels for various artists, programs and films continued nonstop in dozens of ballrooms and meeting halls.

"This is a place for people who aren't embarrassed to celebrate all this nerdy stuff," said Blair Herter, a host of the G4 Network's pop-culture program, "Attack of the Show!" "These people have a harder time being this excited about this stuff in their everyday lives, so this is just a giant well of acceptance we're bathing in."

That level of excitement is what makes the Comic-Con audience a valuable one for entertainment companies, and the entire convention and its surroundings were awash in marketing.

Local trains were wrapped with images of Batman and the Joker, elevators were decorated inside with images of "True Blood," and promoters passed out free buttons, magazines, sunglasses and other souvenirs to fans on their way in and out of the convention.

Conventioneers collected free T-shirts and tote bags. There were "True Blood" drinks to try and even a cosmetics collection inspired by the show. Stars and producers of the hit HBO series shared secrets from the upcoming season, but that was only part of the vampire action at Comic-Con. Associated Press

Winehouse's autopsy is inconclusive

An autopsy on the body of Amy Winehouse revealed no cause of death Monday for the 27-year-old retro-soul singer, leaving fans and family to wait for the results of toxicology tests due in two to four weeks.

A funeral for Winehouse will take place today.

Winehouse, who had last spoken to members of her team around 10 a.m. Saturday, may have been dead for several hours before she was found by security guard Andrew Morris in her home that afternoon.

"She was in her bedroom after saying she wanted to sleep, and when (Morris) went to wake her, he found she wasn't breathing," Chris Goodman, her representative in Britain, told the Sun. "He called the emergency services straight away. He was very shocked.

"At this stage, no one knows how she died. She died alone in bed."

The frail singer had been getting regular doctor checkups, the Sun said, most recently the night before her death. Her family said Monday that reports their daughter had bought cocaine, ketamine and ecstasy hours before she died were "nonsense." Los Angeles Times

Judge bars Jackson rehearsal video

Jurors in the upcoming trial of Michael Jackson's doctor will not see unreleased footage of the pop star's final rehearsals, a judge ruled Monday.

The defense had conceded the raw video did not depict the singer as sickly.

Lawyers for Dr. Conrad Murray had reviewed 100 hours of outtakes from the documentary "This Is It" for video consistent with their theory that a desperate Jackson accidentally caused his own overdose from a surgical anesthetic.

But in comments last week that he reiterated in court Monday, defense lawyer Michael Flanagan said Jackson appeared healthy in rehearsals.

Murray faces a maximum of four years in prison if convicted. Prosecutors contend he gave Jackson the drug propofol and failed to monitor him properly. Jury selection begins Sept. 8.

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