Wizard World Comic Con, other comic book events begin

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The 2012 Wizard World New Orleans Comic Con opens its doors tomorrow at 11 a.m. But tonight, the weekend comic rager begins with a meet-and-greet with Marvel Comics founder and nerd world demigod Stan Lee (6 p.m. to 7 p.m.), followed by a kick-off party at The District (177 Tchoupitoulas St.) from 8 p.m. to midnight.

But unofficially, the weekend also begins tonight at Crescent City Comics, where the shop hosts the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF), which aims to protect first amendment rights for comics creators. The shop will also feature appearances from comics artists and authors, and there are raffles for art, signed books and more to benefit the CBLDF. The party is 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Crescent City Comics (4916 Freret St.), and there's a free keg.

And the main event: the showroom-bursting, convention hall-style takeover of nerddom, with more than two dozen costuming and fan groups, comics vendors, 10,000 fans and a one-stop shop for the sci-fi and pop culture obsessed. (Read Gambit's preview here with Comic Con guest of honor Lou Ferrigno.)

Other pit-stopping celebrities include the William Shatner, and many others, from cult status heroes to pen-and-ink award winners.

Find the full schedule of events here — highlights? How about a lightsaber instruction masterclass (noon Saturday and Sunday) or a Q&A with hometown heroes Rob Guillory and John Layman of the Eisner award-winning series Chew, with Kody Chaberlain of the New Orleans-set Sweets (11 a.m. Saturday).

Check the full schedule of events here. Single-day tickets are $30 and weekend passes are $45.

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