Marc Bernardin
February 06, 2009 AT 06:00 PM EST

Let’s pretend that you’re going to the big New York Comic Con this weekend, held at New York City’s Jacob Javits Center (located in what I lovingly call the armpit of Manhattan). And let’s pretend that you’d like to see some stuff other than the rows of videogame companies, comics purveyors, and Jedi Knights — and you’re not, like I am, gonna be behind a table signing your comic books (the DC and Top Cow booths…tell ’em I sent ya!) — what should you absolutely, positively, not miss? Well, here are the five things I’d say you oughta put on your radar:

1. Terminator Salvation. Listen, you’ve gotta go to the Warner Bros. panel on Saturday at 11 a.m.just to hear what director McG has to say about the whole “Bale Cursing EveryoneOut” thing. (And there may be some Watchmen stuff, too.)

2. The first 50 minutes of Pixar’s Up. On Saturday at 6:30 p.m., the Fort Knox of animation houses — you know, where they keepall the gold — is screening a big honking chunk of their summerblockbuster. And, given that Pixar has NEVER MADE A BAD MOVIE, thesewill be 50 minutes well spent.

3. Joss Whedon + Tahmoh Penikett. Or, to put in another way, the king of the geekodrome and the prince ofsci-fi sexiness, on the same stage,talking about Dollhouse. Sunday at 12:45, yo. Maybe one of them will take his shirt off.

4. The Venture Brothers and Robot Chicken. It’s probably not fair to lumpboth awesome Cartoon Network panels together…but their awesomenessis like a compound fracture: It will break your face! Okay, I don’tknow what that means, but the whole Robot Chicken crew will be there –Seth Green, Breckin Meyer, Matt Senreich, et al — to crack wise on Saturday at 1:45 p.m., aswill the masterminds behind The Venture Brothers (Saturday, 6:45 p.m.),the best actual cartoon on the Cartoon Network.

5. Artists’ Alley. Don’t forget, this is a “comic book” convention. Andthis part of the con floor is where you’ll find the people who actuallymake the comic books. Old pros and talented upstarts will be lined upbooth-to-booth, selling their wares, doing sketches, signingautographs, and, in general, showing you what people look like when theylove their jobs.

5a. Yvonne Strahovsky will be in the hizzy on Sunday to talk about Chuck — and that one time I broke her heart on the road to Dushanbe.

addCredit(“Jonathan Fickies/Getty Images”)

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