"Star Wars: The Force Awakens" tickets go on sale tonight

Written by Maria Sciullo on .

These are the tickets you're looking for.

If massive British demand for "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" tickets earlier today are any indication, the web will be busier than a Mos Eisley cantina tonight. StarWarsPoster

Online sales begin after the first full trailer for the highly anticipated film airs tonight during halftime of "Monday Night Football" on ESPN. The seventh installment of "Star Wars" debuts to the U.S. public December 18.

In the U.K., unprecedented demand for December 17 tickets crashed at least three online sales sites, Odeon, Cineworld and Picturehouse. "We've had concurrent bookings in the thousands," said Gabriel Swartland, Picturehouse spokesman.

"The Force Awakens" brings back the original "Star Wars" trio of Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher.

Cue the John Williams theme music....




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"American Ninja Warrior" has a winner, at long last

Written by Maria Sciullo on .


On TV, Geoff Britten seemed OK with what happened at the Las Vegas finals of NBC's "American Ninja Warrior," last night, but still...

At least get the guy something that reads "I conquered Mount Midoriyama and all I got was this lousy T-shirt."

After six seasons of close calls, this was the year for the summer hit show. A cameraman nicknamed "Popeye" for his impressive forearms, Britten became the first competitor to get past all four stages. In the last, he had to climb a 75-foot rope in under 30 seconds, which he did with .35 to spare.

And then Isaac Caldiero (see photo) stepped to the line. Caldiero, a busboy who trains full-time and is an elite rock climber, also sailed through the first three stages of the final course. If Stage 1 was about luck and balance, Stage 3 was custom-made for those with grip strength.

He, too, made his way methodically through to the rope climb, which would decide who got to take home the $1 million prize for the first time in the NBC show history.

Wasn't even close; Caldiero dashed up the rope (if indeed it's possible to dash a rope climb) and hit the buzzer almost three seconds sooner than Britten's time. 

Britten @ninjageoff posted a photo of him atop Mount Midoriyama on Instagram after the show "See that yellow spec? That's me!"

Britten started his historic run at the ANW city course in Pittsburgh last May.


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"Walking Dead's" Josh McDermitt happy to hug it out for fans at Wizard World Comic Con in Pittsburgh

Written by Maria Sciullo on .


Josh McDermitt has been traveling a lot this summer, with Wizard World Comic Con Pittsburgh just the latest stop. By the looks of his time spent this morning signing autographs for fans of AMC's "The Walking Dead," the actor is genuinely having a great time.

"This is really a special thing for me," he said, having just created a 360-degree selfie video with some young fans. "You end up seeing people on the streets, and you take a picture and spend a few minutes with them, but to just experience the joy and excitement of people for the project you're on... look, I was a fan of 'The Walking Dead' before I started working on it, so if I wasn't on the show I would be right here in line with everyone else."

He wasn't about to merely sit behind a table, signing. There were selfies and handshakes and hugs and, had someone asked him to waltz with them, McDermitt would likely have done that as well. One of the David Lawrence convention center staff assigned to keeping everyone in line noted that on Saturday, McDermitt someone ended up on the floor for a photo.


At one point, he turned to where a woman sat, wearing a vest and shorts.

"This Halloween, you go dressed as Eugene. The mullet, the vest, the shorts -- boom, you've got it!"


"It's so fun to share the excitement and joy and the fervor and the rabid nature of these fans, it's just so exciting," McDermitt said. "It's our Super Bowl, in a sense."

His "Walking Dead" character had fallen into better graces by the end of last season. McDermitt plays Eugene Porter, a geeky guy with a mullet who pretends to be a scientist who could save mankind. Turns out, Eugene is just a geeky guy with a mullet who reads a lot, was probably great at "Jeopardy" before the zombie apocalypse and a great liar.

But he eventually proved his mettle in combat and seems to have found a place in the new world order of Alexandria. "The Walking Dead" returns October 11, having scored 15.8 million live viewers for its Season 5 finale in March.

McDermitt, who said at least six people stopped to ask for autographs when he went out for coffee Sunday morning, isn't taking the show's popularity for granted. Neither are his fellow cast members.

"We've all worked on other projects where that kind of stuff doesn't happen."





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Wizard World Con postscript: I am the villain

Written by Sharon Eberson on .

Excuse me while I smack myself around a bit. I returned to the Wizard World Comic Con at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center for its final day, this time with colleague Maria Sciulllo, and we stopped by where Sean Pertwee, aka "Gotham's" Alfred, was back signing autographs.

He straightened me out -- very nicely -- about the fact that he stayed up late to watch episodes of season two of "Gotham," but any tardiness at the autograph table Saturday was because the photos for signing were delayed. He would never keep fans waiting, of course.

He was still very gracious and we talked about all sorts of things regarding the "Gotham" bad guys and Jim Gordon and ... OK, I will not be a villain again and give anything away before season two premieres Sept. 21  on Fox. 

CapAmericaJessie Glover decked out as Captain America.I also was a villain to a couple of emailers who said I was wrong in a preview story that Lou Ferrigno had not played a security guard in Ang Lee's "Hulk" (he did; but he also was a guard in another Hulk film) and that Bill Bixby went by David Banner, not Bruce (as in the comic books), in the TV series. He did, but his name was revealed as "David Bruce Banner." It is seen that way on a tombstone shown at the beginning of every episode of the series.

You guys are tough! As you should be.

I didn't make it to panels this weekend because of other reporting duties, but I'd love to hear from those of you who attended about what you thought of the first Wizard Con at the convention center. Ballroom A that housed the vendor and artists booths and signings and photo ops had wide gaps of space that were nice when things got crowded but made the space seem sparsely populated compared to other cons I've been to, from Steel City Con in Monroeville to the biggie in San Diego. 

One of the costumes I was drawn to among cosplayers on Saturday was worn by Jessie Glover, 25, of Greensburg. He said his Cap costume was one of his most elaborate and expensive among several he has worn to other cons. He pieced things together to create the overall look, but the jacket, he said, was custom-made, one of a kind. "The shield I painted myself, the helmet I painted, most everything else is bought from various places," he said.

On the celebrity front, there were no-shows, dropouts and additions that shook up the original announcement -- Nathan Fillion and Colm Meaney were absent due to conflicts early on, and newlywed Ian Somerhalder was a later no-show, while David Duchovny and The Walking Dead's" Josh McDermitt and Eddie McClintock were more recent additions. I never saw William Shatner on the convention floor, but cheers went up and attendees seemed to have lots of fun because of the graciousness of celebs such as Pertwee, Ferrigno, Adam Baldwin, Jewel Staite, Dean Cain, Mitch Pileggi, James Marsters and more. 

TolinFXSeen at the TolinFX booth at Wizard World Con.On Sunday, Maria and I watched folks from Tolin FX help cosplayers look their grossest and explain how they make it appear that someone has taken a bullet to the head. We left before any "blood" was spilled.

I hope the timing is better next time for me to make it to panels such as "Superstar Artists Tell (and Show All!), with Mike McKone (Justice League) and Scott McDaniel (Batman) among others. And skipping from DC to Marvel, there was "Talkin' Spider-Man (& Spider-Girl) with Tom DeFalco, Ron Frenz, Patrick Olliffe and Danny Fingeroth. After all, these pop-culture conventions still call themselves "comic cons."

I would love to hear your experiences at this year's Wizard World Comic Con Pittsburgh I. Please send to and I will share them in this space (be civil to be counted). And let me know if you have some suggestions that would make WWCCP II a super experience. 

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Checking in with 'Gotham's' Sean Pertwee at first Wizard World Comic Con Pittsburgh

Written by Sharon Eberson on .


Spent the morning at Wizard World Comic Con before oh, in about a half-hour, heading to take in a little of the City Theatre Backstage Block Party. I didn't stay for any panels, just checked out the cosplayers, vendors and signings going on the David L. Lawrence Convention Center's Ballroom B, with just one person I wanted to talk with today: "Gotham's" Alfred, Sean Pertwee (above).

Having had the distinct pleasure of doing a video interview with James Marsters in the PG Studios Friday (who knew Spike was such a mensch?!), and because I was there as a fan, I wanted to talk to the screen Alfred who to me is closest to my favorite comic book Alfred — the kick-ass butler from Geoff Johns' "Batman: Earth One." It makes so much more sense to me than any other iteration. Plus, Pertwee's father, Jon, was the third Doctor Who. I mean, talk about geek creed!

So, of course, Pertwee was late, almost an hour past his scheduled autograph-signing time. At least that gave me the opportunity to talk with volunteer Rose, a horror fan from Beaver County who was keeping the lines straight for Marsters and Pertwee. A regular at any pop-culture conventions within driving distance, she said the Cleveland con she worked during a winter snowstorm dwarfed the one here in attendance, but this was Pittsburgh's first, and the day was young.

Cheers went up for Jewel Staite and then Adam Baldwin, arriving at their signing booths. Then Marsters came by and stopped to say hi.

When Pertwee did finally arrive, I of course had walked away for a bit, attracted by a nearby display of steampunk jewelry ...

JoeWosJoe Wos, former head of the ToonSeum, touting his book at Wizard World Saturday.When I returned, Rose brought me to the front of the line — we geeks are kind and no one complained — for a two-minute conversation, and I got to tell Perwee how his Alfred, with his military background and ability to both protect and teach young Bruce Wayne, had brought me back to "Earth One."

"It's kind of like that. We're going that way, aren't we?" he said with a twinkle in his eye.

Then I asked about the upcoming season of Fox's "Gotham," which I called "The Year of the Villains."

"Rise of the Villains," he corrected, but in the nicest way. "I watched the first three last night, that's why I'm late. I should have gone to bed earlier, really, but they are fantastic, phenomenal. There's a real sort of change in the pacing of it, a sense of confidence, and the scale is operatic. They are like stand-alone movies. Peter Roth, the head of Warner Brothers [Television], came on the set, and I've never seen him smile so much. They've really built on episode one and two to a huge episode three ... with the Joker, Jerome, played by Cameron Monaghan. It's a phenomenal episode. It blew me away."

And that final scene of season one, heading downstairs below Wayne Manor?

"It was a thrill," he said.

Then someone came over with a silver Sharpie ("A present from Mitch Pileggi") and the signings got back into full swing. I have to admit, I can't quite make out from my tape what he said before "... with the Joker ..." so that will have to remain a mystery -- for now. "Gotham" returns Monday, Sept. 21.Gamers



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