A lot to report on from my time at San Diego Comic-Con, but Comics Guy would be remiss if he didn't mention Marvel's X-cellent X-book, "

X-Factor

," this week.

In a lot of ways, the good vibes from both are intertwined.

The overflow crowds in San Diego are a strong statement that the industry is healthier than it's been in a long time; likewise, the success of a book focusing on a team whose leader is Madrox the Multiple Man - and which also features lesser-known mutants Monet, Siryn, Rictor, Rahne and Guido - speaks volumes about the improving business climate for comics.

A large part of the credit goes to writer Peter David, who has made each of these characters interesting and explored each to greater lengths than those who have handled them before. Toss in David's trademark humor, fast-paced and intelligent dialogue, an exploration of the characters' past and offbeat tales in the present and you have one of the more entertaining books on the stands.

Both this book and "New X-Men" have done well through word of mouth, but still struggle to reach the sales heights of the other core X-books, "Uncanny X-Men" and "X-Men." Thanks to the "Endangered Species" backup that is appearing in all four books, more X-fans are discovering the "Factor."

As the book's most mysterious character might say about that development, "I'm Layla Miller. I know stuff - and I know that's a good thing."

Going, going Con


 
While it would be impossible for Comics Guy to attend all the things that interested him in San Diego - unless he had the powers of Madrox the Multiple Man and could duplicate himself - he was able to take in a lot.

Without further ado, here are the highlights:

Thursday


 
Rosario rocks: Got to see Rosario Dawson at a panel promoting her comic series "Occult Crimes Task Force," which just released a trade of its first mini, is being made into a film starring Dawson and will have further four-color adventures in the future.

At her booth, where she was signing copies of the trade, the gracious Dawson said she would see if she had time for a short interview after she got to eat. The interview didn't materialize - yet - but if Comics Guy had to choose between watching Pamela Anderson on "Baywatch" reruns or Dawson scarfing down pizza, Dawson would win. Easily.

CBLDF: There was a nice and fancy fundraiser for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, which fights against censorship efforts from both sides of the political spectrum. Peter David was among the notable guests and Comics Guy got to pick the brain of former Spider-Man editor Danny Fingeroth. Anyone who would like more info about the CBLDF should go to cbldf.org or call 1-800-99-CBLDF.

Friday


 
Yo Joe!: At the popular Cup O' Joe panel, Marvel Editor-In-Chief Joe Quesada had a boatload of announcements, including: artist Phil Jimenez becoming Marvel exclusive; plans to do more crossovers with Top Cow; C.B. Cebulski taking part in Chester-Quest!, one of the largest worldwide talent searches ever attempted; Terry Moore taking over "Runaways" after Joss Whedon, Charlie and Daniel Knauf (HBO's "Carnivale") will be writing a new "Eternals" ongoing, and Orson Scott Card is still attached to a second "Ultimate Iron Man" series.

'Shoot' scenes a success: Comic-Con has become a key part of Hollywood's promotion strategy, even for smaller films.

A perfect example is the upcoming Clive Owen actioner "Shoot 'Em Up," whose clips were so popular at its panel session they had to be shown three times.

"It's incredible how close the finished product is to the animated version," said Owen, who took the opportunity of a fan comparing his "Shoot 'Em Up" character to James Bond to refute rumors he was offered that role.

"I was never offered the part," he said flatly. But he's glad he landed this one. "It's a highly original, incredibly fresh and smart movie. That's why I wanted to do it."

Zack is back: Zack Snyder and Frank Miller returned to where the buzz began for their epic "300," to promote its DVD release.

When asked about the movie's historical accuracy and political themes, both men had ready answers.

"I used the graphic novel as the Bible," Snyder said. "As soon as you start going off on tangents, you lose Frank's voice."

"It's an eternal story." Miller said. "Sure, you can politicize it. But why make it boring?"

(More from Comic-Con tomorrow.)

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