Welcome to The Morning Read.

I'm going to try to make this a more compact edition of the column today, because I've got a huge schedule ahead of me for the afternoon, but before we get into things, I've got a very simple contest for you, and it's one I'm excited to explain to you.

HitFix is going to ComicCon this year in a big way, and we would love to find some HitFix readers who'd be happy to be part of that presence.  So I'm going to offer up something special today, our very first HitFix t-shirt, designed and printed specifically for the convention.  If you'd like to be one of the first fifteen people anywhere to own one of these shirts, designed by the very talented Kyle Cummings, it's simple.

There are two requirements to win the shirt:

(1)  You must be going to Comic-Con in San Diego in two weeks.

(2)  You must leave a comment here on this story.  Any comment.  Just leave "comment" if that's all you want to leave, although obviously, I'd rather you leave something more. 

I get mail from you guys, so I know you're out there, and I'd love to hear from you here as well.  There's a really interesting cross-section of people who seem to be reading, and I'd love to see that reflected in the kinds of conversations we could have here.  I like what Jim Emerson wrote (which was a response to earlier pieces by both David Poland and Roger Ebert), and I think one of the reasons Ebert's blog is so great is because of the community of commenters he's attracted.  And you guys who do comment here so far are all welcome additions.  I'm just hoping to add some new voices as well.  I mean, no less than David Puttnam recently called for the entire British film industry to get better at engaging the online community in dialogue.

The t-shirts come in grey for guys and light blue for girls, and the design on each shirt is just a little different, paying homage to different comic icons.  That's it, the graphic at the top of this story, and I love it.  The design is inspired by a certain 1980s superhero lunchbox, and if anyone wants to post an link to that image, I'm sure I can come up with a little extra something for you as a reward.

We want to meet you in San Diego, too, and you can follow me on Twitter at @DrewAtHitFix to find out where we might be over the course of the convention.  It's going to be an exciting test of the HitFix team working together, and I think it's going to be a big week overall.

So come on... leave a comment.  Face down the dreaded Captcha beast and respond to something from today's read, or something about Comic-Con (like what you hope to see), and let's hand out some shirts.

[more after the jump]

Edgar Wright is a genuine movie freak.  I've seen filmmakers talk a good game, but when it comes down to it, they don't really watch movies.  They don't really even seem to like movies.  But Edgar... he's an addict.  Only a guy who really has the itch would program a mini-festival during production on his film, especially a film as tricky and complex as "Scott Pilgrim" seems to be.  And it's not like he's just going to sit around when this movie's done.  He's still got "Ant-Man" as a possibility.

I got this in the inbox last night:

On July 26th, 2009 filmmaker Edgar Wright (Spaced, Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz) will bring his famed screening series The Wright Stuff back to the Bloor Cinema in Toronto for a special night to host an "In Conversation" with cinematographer Bill Pope (Darkman, The Matrix Trilogy, Spider-Man 2 and 3). The evening will also include a double feature of Pope's work personally selected by Wright as well as an in-depth discussion with the cinematographer himself.

Wright is one today's true auteur filmmakers while Pope is among the most sought-after cinematographers. The two are currently collaborating on Wright's film Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (based on the graphic novels by Bryan Lee O'Malley). In honor of this pairing, Wright selected Sam Raimi's Army of Darkness and the Trey Parker/Matt Stone satire Team America: World Police.

Tickets for the double bill are $18 and will be available online and at the Bloor box office starting July 17th. Single movie tickets are $10 and will only be available 30 minutes before each screening. No Bloor Cinema membership is required.

I wish I were going to be in Toronto.  That's right after Comic-Con, which I have to assume Edgar is going to attend.  I mean... please tell me we're seeing "Scott Pilgrim" footage at Comic-Con.  It only makes sense.

And speaking of Comic-Con, it is no longer secret that Hayao Miyazaki will be attending this year.  That's crazy.  This is not one of those things that happens over and over.  I met him in '99, and he hasn't done any press in the United States since then.  Oh, crap... maybe it was my fault! I just put that together! I hope not, because I'm angling to get to talk to him again when he's here this time.

Today's the day you'll start to see concrete announcements about what's going to be at Comic-Con.  Wanna read Disney's announcement?

Animation greats Hayao Miyazaki and John Lasseter and directors Robert Zemeckis and Tim Burton will take part in their first ever Comic-Con at the San Diego Convention Center July 23-24. The filmmakers will be on hand to help Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures showcase a wide-ranging roster of upcoming films, including 3D juggernauts ALICE IN WONDERLAND, TRON and DISNEY'S A CHRISTMAS CAROL, and animated gems THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, PONYO and the TOY STORY trilogy.

Zemeckis, Burton, Miyazaki and Lasseter will take part in industry panels.

* COMIC-CON'S FIRST EVER 3D PANEL - Veteran directors Robert Zemeckis and Tim Burton join TRON producers Sean Bailey and Steve Lisberger on Thurs., July 23 at 11 a.m. for an unprecedented presentation featuring behind-the-scenes filmmaker insights about the highly anticipated 3D adventures DISNEY'S A CHRISTMAS CAROL, ALICE IN WONDERLAND and TRON. In addition to Q&A opportunities with each of the filmmakers, the 90-minute panel will feature never-before-seen concept art, trailers, actual 3D film footage and other Comic-Con-only footage debuts. In a groundbreaking technical feat, this is the first time ever that 3D footage will be shown at Comic-Con. Patton Oswalt will moderate.

* ANIMATION PANEL - Animation legends Hayao Miyazaki and John Lasseter join veteran animation directors Lee Unkrich, Kirk Wise, Ron Clements and John Musker on Fri., July 24 at 12:45 p.m. for an animation panel which will highlight upcoming animated films, including Disney•Pixar's TOY STORY/TOY STORY 2 double feature, Disney•Pixar's TOY STORY 3, Walt Disney Animation Studios' BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, Walt Disney Animation Studios' half-hour holiday TV special PREP & LANDING, Walt Disney Animation Studios' THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG and Miyazaki's PONYO. John Lasseter will host the panel and Patton Oswalt will moderate a group Q&A following the presentation, which will include filmmaker insights, trailers and select film sequences.

Wow.  Just plain wow.  Both events sound great.

Great piece about 15 movies that almost became TV shows.  I am always fascinated by terrible TV adaptations of hit movies, and some of these sound deliciously rancid.

Craig Robinson is a wise man when it comes to matters of the heart, and it's a good thing, too, 'cause I need some advice:

 

 

Thank you, sir.  I can already feel a change in my life.

Have you see the teaser trailer for "Cemetary Junction," the film that Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant are co-writing and co-directing?

 

<a href="http://video.msn.com/?mkt=en-GB&from=sp&vid=c88c1f12-a2fa-45ec-90b5-7395f3a20bab" mce_href="http://video.msn.com/?mkt=en-GB&amp;from=sp&amp;vid=c88c1f12-a2fa-45ec-90b5-7395f3a20bab" target="_new" title="Cemetery Junction - Exclusive Teaser">Video: Cemetery Junction - Exclusive Teaser</a>

 

I love it.  They just punish Ralph Fiennes.  "Schindler's List" jokes.  Great.  Here's my $14.

Whichever way this trial turns out, it's a fascinating and sad story.  "Rope," anyone?

Some mornings, I see a series of articles, and they seem somehow all tied together, even if I can't quite articulate how at first.  There's this piece about movies and TV shows where people have fired back at critics.  There's this excellent piece about how conventional critics or journalists or even bloggers are no longer as influential as someone who simply rocks the social media the right way

It's true.  It's a seismic shift in the way information can be spread.  There's this funny but true observation about how people will willingly seek out the awful, and there's nothing that we can say to dissuade them.  And then finally, there's this piece, where "Dancing" Matt Harding discusses how his famous online videos were all part of an elaborate, expensive hoax.  Which they weren't.  It's sort of amazing, and I'd never seen or heard about this appearance by him:

 

 

How does that all tie together?  I'm not sure.  I guess it all feeds into the idea that there's nothing inherently influential in what I do anymore, whether at Ain't It Cool or here... and that the only value is if I make sure to give you content that has real depth and substance.  And to have fun with it and not take it so seriously that I render all of this joyless.  I am, after all, writing about entertainment, and supposedly about things that excite and energize me.

I admire the honesty of this piece.  I think there are many of these experiences that sound fun but that are actually exercises in being seen rather than watching a film.

I'm excited about the idea of using digital theaters to show live events, and especially if we're talking about live theater shown on a movie screen.  That's awesome.

I was excited to find five more Trav McGee novels at the used bookstore yesterday, and part of the reason I'm enjoying tracking them down so much is because they're so hard to find in print.  I will admit it... I love having out of print books, multiiple copies sometimes, and I love being the only source of something for a friend.  So it does irritate me when something formerly rare and precious is suddenly available as a 99-cent download.  Which is dumb, I know... but it's true.  I get a little twinge.

Anyway... it's turned into a bigger column than I expected, so I'll wrap it up.  Back to "Star Trek" week when I get up today, and there's plenty of other things I should be doing right this minute for you as well.

The Morning Read appears here every day, Monday through Friday.  Except when it doesn't.

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