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Comic-Con: Django actors defend slavery aspects

Gail Choice | 7/18/2012, 5 p.m.

If you're a comic book fan and want to be the first to know what's going on in the world of science-fiction, fantasy, action-adventure and horror when it comes to films and television, then make sure you put Comic-Con on your events calendar for next year.

Comic-Con, now in its 43rd year, is the annual pop culture international convention held in San Diego over a four-day weekend that celebrates a world created out of man's boundless imagination through comic books, games, action figures (dolls), movies and television.

Along with panels, seminars, and workshops with comic-book professionals, there are previews of upcoming feature films, portfolio review sessions with top comic book and video game companies, and such evening events as awards ceremonies; the Masquerade, a costume contests; and the Comic-Con International Independent Film Festival.

Film and television producers, directors, writers, actors and actresses are on hand to promote their new films and returning television shows. This year's Comic-Con proved to be particularly exciting.

Panels for "The Walking Dead," "Game of Thrones," the final "Twilight" film as well as the HBO vampire drama, "True Blood," had people lining up the night before to get in.

Other popular events included previews of Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," Guillermo del Toro's massive-monsters-versus-robots adventure, "Pacific Rim," Marvel's "Iron Man 3" and a new "Godzilla" film is in the works.

Needless to say, the "Django: Unchained" crew was on hand to promote the upcoming film that debuts Christmas Day.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, director Quentin Tarantino downplayed "Django" as a slave movie, saying he set out to make a spaghetti Western. As the panel evolved, the director and others talked of the story as a fairytale with an evil king having taken over a kingdom, a princess in exile and princes who are coming to save her.

Kerry Washington (ABC's "Slander") stars as Django's wife who has been taken into slavery. And during the panel discussion, Washington defended her character, calling her tough saying, "It's in the humanity, when at that time in (the) eyes of the Constitution, they (Blacks) were only three-fifths of a human being. What makes her strong is her belief in love and that she is deserving of that love in a time where Black women weren't even afforded the luxury of that fantasy."

But "Django" star Jamie Foxx took on the race aspect full force, talking of how he used his childhood to inform his character. "In Texas, it was racially charged to be honest with you," he said of his formative years. "Being called ni---- as a young kid growing up, by grown people, it's something I had to deal with, coming from the South. Having that done to me, I was able to grasp that in the script."

But no matter how Tarantino tries to dress it up "Django" is going to make some folks mad on Christmas Day. It ain't gon' be no "Song of the South."

Update: From Slave to Superhero--Anthony Mackie ("Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter") is in negotiations to star alongside Chris Evans in the sequel to "Captain America: The First Avenger."

It is believed that Mackie will portray the Falcon, one of mainstream comics' first Black superheroes and perhaps its first American one.

The character, Sam Wilson, is Harlem-based and had many street adventures with Cap in the 1970s comics, when he served as his partner. He derives his powers from a suit that allows him to fly and enhances his strength. He can also telepathically talk to birds. In current comics, Falcon is a key player in many of Cap's espionage adventures. The film will be released on April 4, 2014.

Next year's Comic-Con International in San Diego is set for July 18-21, 2013.

Gail can be reached at gail@hollywoodbychoice.com.