Top 5 Cartoon Series You Need to Watch Before San Diego Comic-Con

The Ice King from Adventure Time at SDCC 2011
The Ice King from Adventure Time at SDCC 2011
Shannon Cottrell

See also:

*14 Essential Items to Bring to Every Fan Convention

*5 Essential Cosplay Tips for Beginners

With two weeks to go until San Diego Comic-Con, news about panel appearances is just starting to hit the web. For animation fans, there's a lot in store from networks such as Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim and The Hub. Make sure you're prepared for Con by indulging in a few cartoon-watching marathon sessions.

Below are my five picks for the shows you need to see before the Con starts. These may not be the newest shows, but they have massive fan bases. Outside of the panels and exhibit hall booths, you're likely to see a lot of fans out on the street dressed as their favorite characters from these series. At least, you'll see a lot of superfan T-shirts.

Henchwomen spotted at SDCC 2011
Henchwomen spotted at SDCC 2011
Shannon Cottrell

5. The Venture Bros.

I've covered The Venture Bros. for the past several Comic-Cons for two reasons. It's a great show, one of my personal favorites, but more important, the fan community is amazing. You're likely to see a lot of people dressed as the Ventures, Henchmen, The Monarch and Dr. Mrs., and even a few obscure characters at the convention. Most of the costumed mega-fans will turn up on Friday, the day of the show's panel.

The Venture Bros. is in between seasons, but we know a few things already. Season five is in the works. Just a few days ago, James Urbaniak, the voice of Dr. Venture, tweeted that he finished recording for the season, which is anticipated to start airing in January. We also know that there's a Halloween special on the way. Whether this means there will be any announcements at the panel remains to be seen, but I still wouldn't miss it. At the very least, it will be funny.

Previous Venture Bros. coverage:

*The Venture Bros.: Convention Do's and Don'ts for Fans

*Doc Hammer, Jackson Publick and the Cult of The Venture Bros.

*Comic-Con 2009: Exclusive Photos and Interview with Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer of The Venture Bros.

Top 5 Cartoon Series You Need to Watch Before San Diego Comic-Con

4. Regular Show

Regular Show airs on Cartoon Network, but calling it a kids show would be wildly inaccurate. The show's central duo, blue jay Mordecai and raccoon Rigby, are 23. Their hysterical, weirdly relatable misadventures have captivated older audiences who tune in before Adult Swim programming starts.

This year, Regular Show is going to be the centerpiece of Cartoon Network's presence inside Comic-Con's exhibit hall. The network's booth will be designed to look like Mordecai and Rigby's living room and this display will be interactive. Also, they'll be giving away five different styles of Regular Show buttons. The panel for the show takes place on Friday, July 13. JG Quintel, who voices Mordecai, as well as Bill Salyers (Rigby) and Sam Marin (Benson, Pops), are confirmed to appear.


Top 5 Cartoon Series You Need to Watch Before San Diego Comic-Con

3. My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic

There's no doubt that the fandom surrounding My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic caught the world by surprise. Even Lauren Faust, who developed the show for television, noted that the MLP team wasn't expecting adults to become fans. But the Brony phenomenon has grown to such an extent now that they're holding their own conventions.

Meanwhile, in San Diego, fans will be able to check out the MLP panel and Q&A session on Friday, July 13, at 10 a.m. No doubt there will be plenty of fans at the Hasbro booth ready to purchase this year's Comic-Con exclusive.

Previous My Little Pony coverage:

*Top 5 Lessons for Adults From My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic

*My Little Pony Project brings Bronies and Pegasisters to Toy Art Gallery

*Lauren Faust: Let's Hear It for the Girls

*Lauren Faust on Her Favorite Childhood Toy and Pitching Animated Shows for Girls

Lumpy Space Princess at SDCC 2011
Lumpy Space Princess at SDCC 2011
Shannon Cottrell

2. Adventure Time

Over the past three years at San Diego Comic-Con, we've seen Adventure Time grow from the new kid on Cartoon Network's block to one of the biggest animated hits in recent memory. The show, which follows the adventures of a boy named Finn, his dog, Jake, and the other magical inhabitants of the Land of Ooo, isn't just a smash with the kids. We tend to see more teens and young adults cosplaying the show's characters.

Last year, we thought Cartoon Network had gone all out for Adventure Time with a themed pizza joint in the Gaslamp Quarter and daily costume parades. This year, it's going bigger. Aside from the Saturday, July 14, panel, which will feature live readings, Adventure Time is taking over the New Children's Museum in downtown San Diego. The exhibition, called "Adventure Time: Keyper Seeker," is named for a gatekeeper character on the show and will be an interactive experience. A second portion of the museum takeover, "Adventure Time Fan Art Exhibit," will showcase the amazing work inspired by the show's devoted fans.

Previous Adventure Time coverage:

*7 Reasons You Should Be Watching Adventure Time

*Adventure Time Is a Hit at San Diego Comic-Con

*Adventure Time Creator Pendleton Ward on Video Games, Zombies and Comic-Con


Top 5 Cartoon Series You Need to Watch Before San Diego Comic-Con

1. Legend of Korra

The hype around Legend of Korra was big long before the Nickelodeon series premiered this past spring. The sequel to Avatar: The Last Airbender, Korra revolves around the newest Avatar, a headstrong teenage girl who must master airbending in order to achieve her full potential. Last year at Comic-Con, fans were already buzzing about Korra. Now that the show has wrapped up its wildly successful first season, expect a large turnout of fans at this year's convention.

The Legend of Korra panel will take place at 11:15 a.m. on Friday, July 13, in Ballroom 20. Keep in mind that Ballroom 20 is the space reserved for the biggest TV shows of the Con. If you're a Korra fan, you will want to get in line early because you may be fighting for a seat against people who are waiting for panels later in the day. Good luck.

Follow Liz Ohanesian on Twitter and Facebook. Also follow @LAWeeklyArts on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

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