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Comic-Con Wraps Until Next Year

Denzel Washington knew the moment he stepped through the doors of his first Comic-Con that this is unlike other festivals.

"People are actually having fun," said Washington, campaigning for his apocalyptic thriller The Book of Eli. "They're not critics. They're here because they want to like what we do."

Which may explain why Comic-Con, the premier pop-culture convention, continues to lure larger audiences and bigger stars. Sci-fi luminaries James Cameron and Peter Jackson made cameos, as did Johnny Depp, Robert Downey Jr. and Cameron Diaz.

"I've been coming here 10 years, and it's never been this big and crazy," said Dario Blankenship, 42, one of 125,000 movie, TV and comic book fans who gathered Thursday-Sunday. "There was almost more than you could get to."

Among the Comic-Con conquerors:

3-D. Cameron's Avatar, Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland and Robert Zemeckis' A Christmas Carol displayed 3-D advancements that impressed a crowd obsessed with technology.

Iron Man 2. You know you have made a good impression when the crowd demands to see your footage twice.

Clock watchers. Time-conscious convention stalwarts Lost and 24 had fans salivating over clues to next season. Lost creators teased that the Oceanic Airlines crash may have been undone. 24, meanwhile, may include an assassination plot against the Iranian president.

Hunks. Depp had the girls squealing when he dropped by to promote Wonderland. Robert Pattinson followed to promote The Twilight Saga: New Moon.

Kick-Ass. This Nicolas Cage adaptation of the violent comic book earned a rare standing ovation. How does it not yet have a distributor?

Plasma. Fanboys love the bloodthirsty, and True Blood creator Alan Ball gave them a literal treat when he announced that a Tru Blood drink, made of blood-orange soda, will be available Sept. 10. And serial killer Dexter (Michael C. Hall) will have formidable company: the prolific Trinity Killer, played by John Lithgow.

Inglourious Basterds. Comic-Conners waited in line more than eight hours to see Quentin Tarantino's World War II epic and left it promising to wage an Internet Oscar campaign.

The president. Barack Obama is cropping up as an action hero. In one comic, President Evil, he's a ripped, chain-saw-wielding chief executive whose administration faces zombies.

The comic carnival was almost enough to entice stars to mingle with regular people.

"I really want to get on the floor and see what the fuss is about," Washington said. "Maybe I can borrow a Star Wars mask and look around."

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