year after hosting the panel of the 2006 San Diego Comic Con (and two months after launching the biggest film to date of 2007), you’d expect Sony to cut back on their Spider-Man plans for this year’s big geek festivities (btw, Saturday is completely sold out, so tough luck if you were planning to register on site). And, in terms of "stars", they have: Raimi, Maguire, Dunst, Church, Howard… they’re all sitting this one out.

But, and maybe this is me being the sentimental sap who still pulls down his copy of Industrial Light & Magic: The Art of Special Effects book from time to time just to remind myself why I’m living in Hollywood, I think what Sony Pictures Imageworks has lined up for this year’s Comic Con is far more interesting. At 5:15 on Thursday in Room 6B, the Academy Award-winning f/x team of Scott Stokdyk (visual f/x supervisor), Ken Hahn & Peter Nofz (digital f/x supervisors) and Spencer Cook (animation director) will roll out a ninety-minute presentation of Spider-Man 3 outtakes, trial scenes and all manner of, yes, never-before-seen footage (some of which, when it comes to the mistakes, will be rather painful). Raimi may be the auteur, but these guys are the behind-the-scenes miracle workers, and, what’s more, all four of them have been with the franchise from the very beginning. Stokdyk, Hahn, Nofz and Cook are the authorities on the cinematic iteration of Spider-Man; if you want to know how the evolving CG technology has altered the course of the series and enhanced the storytelling, this may be your last opportunity to ask these guys in person (though it seems impossible to believe Spider-Man 3 will be the franchise capper). And if you’re a real nerd, you can ask them about creating CG characters "entirely composed of dynamically generated particles and fluids" (but you will be required to kick your own ass immediately afterward).

Provided I’m not bogged down with interviews (a distinct possibility), I’m going to make a concerted effort to check out this presentation. If you’re braving the Con this year, I’ll hopefully see you there.