The offical Comic-Con post game show

The comic book and pop culture gathering in San Diego every July called Comic-Con ended on Sunday. Over 100,000 people attended the four-day geekfest, drawing more bodies than a Nationals-Padres three-game series would’ve drawn – or any homestand involving the Padres.

Comic-Con has grown to be a important marketing vehicle for Hollywood studios – its now seen as an important way to reach fans of television shows, from The Big Bang Theory to Chuck; for upcoming action movies like the upcoming James Cameron thriller Avatar; and of course lots and lots of comic books and art on display.

While NATPE and Promax have become blah-like conventions (judging from their declining attendance figures), Comic-Con has grown in size and became the place to be for media and marketing. And you don’t even have to be an exec to get in (just have a lot of cash on you.)

Here’s what went down at the four day convention:

– There were plenty of panels galore for many popular TV shows. Many producers previewed their shows for the upcoming season by showing upcoming clips, while others even provided some entertainment.

– At the Lost panel, the producers vow to answer any questions that are lingering, with the series heading into its final season. One of the show’s stars (Jorge Garcia) asked a question posed to the panel – only to be interrupted by co-star Michael Emerson, with the two getting involved in a mock argument and people with their cameraphones capering the moment. Funny stuff.

– At the Futurama panel, there was high drama on whether or not the impasse between the voice actors and Twentieth Television would be resolved. It wasn’t, and none of the current cast showed up. Creator Matt Groening said at Comic-Con he hopes the impasse would be resolved soon. Comedy Central and Twentieth recently announced they were producing new episodes of the series.

While there were no signs of animosity toward the producers of the show at the panel, some fans got short-shifted in the merchandise department – when they ran out of Futurama stuff – they were giving out Family Guy boxer shorts.

At least they didn’t give out Judge Alex T-shirts.

– Despite horrid ratings, fan apathy, and critical reviews, the Heroes panel was filled to capacity at the Hilton across the street from the convention center. Most of the cast was there, including Jack Coleman and Hayden Panettiere. Given the circumstances, they were elevated to the “loverable losers” status The Chicago Northside Baseball Club usually attains. The only thing missing from the Heroes panel was beer and a billy goat.

Milo Ventimiglia tried to sing Take Me Out To The Ballgame during the seventh minute of the panel, but was mercifully stopped by Zach Quinto, when he threatened to kick him in the nads.

– On a more serious note, Ron Moore appeared at the Battlestar Galactica/Caprica panel and announced the Caprica series will premiere january 22 at 9 p.m. (CT) on SyFy. Caprica is the pre-quel to Galactica, which is set 58 years before hand.

Also, a Battlestar Galactica TV movie titled The Plan – which looks at events from the Cyclon point of view – premieres in Novemeber.

And you can own the entire series of the recently-concluded Battlestar Galactica series on DVD and Blu-Ray, as of today.

– Surprise hit Star Wars: The Clone Wars enters season two with a more darker tone to attract a more adult audience, according to the producers of the show. The program returns with new episodes on Cartoon Network this fall.

– Even shows who follow the nerd life for a living had panels. G4’s Attack of the Show reported at Comic-Con and was one of the more-attended panels – with 1,000 fans turned away. Who thought Olivia Munn would attract an audience? (well, duh…)

– Movies were represented here in a big way, with panels and trailers for new releases 2012, Avatar, and IronMan 2 (with Robert Downey Jr. and Garry Shandling – yes, Garry Shandling.)

– Other well-attended panels included those for Dexter, Burn Notice, Glee, Fringe, Family Guy, and Stargate Universe. One that was huge was for HBO’s True Blood, which is riding vampire mania this year (thank you, Twilight – whose New Moon had the girls screaming out of their seats.) Of course, nobody did it better back in the day – or worse – than Dark Shadows, with boom mikes making cameo appearances and all…

– There was also a packed panel for CW’s new Vampire Diaries, but the crowd reaction was decidedly mixed.

– While many panels had more than 2,000 people in attendance, there was one that didn’t even come close to drawing that many.

Only around 75 people showed up for a panel for The Middle, a new sitcom featuring Patricia Heaton, who was told by Warner Bros. not to even show up because of the low attendance. Asked why a ordinary sitcom not about sci-fi, fantasy, comics, or even animated is even there at Comic-Con, they responded by saying she was a “superhero” in a way.

Obviously, the reason why so many stayed away from the event because they thought the sitcom was about the San Diego Chargers.