SAN DIEGO – On-line Tolkien fans already know that is the center of all things LOTR, but on Comic-Con 2003 Day One, that reality became literal instead of just figurative. Inside the giant expanse that is the Comic-Con’s exhibit floor, the Lord of The Rings pavilion sits in the heart of it all. TORn has taken up residence in the middle of the middle, flanked by Sideshow Toys, New Line Cinema and EA Games.

Close neighbors include LOTR publisher Houghton-Mifflin, the Noble Collection’s of LOTR themed products, Decipher and Games Workshop. This collection of Tolkien-loving floor space stands as one of the most brilliant, if not the best part of the garganutan (and that is not hyperboyle) event.

Wednesday night, titled preview night, is a chance for fans registered for all four days to canvas the exhibit floor and canvas they did. A significant number of fans made a bee line for the TORn booth to hob-nob with friends and snag one of three TORn buttons specially produced for the event. Wednesday and Thursday feature the green “ is Hobbit forming” which fans gobbled up lightning fast, leaving only a handful for Thursday.

Also featured at TORn’s booth are three t-shirts which also miraculously disappeared as Tolkien fans took advantage of the $15 preview night price. Most popular was the green shirt with the following on the back:
chased from my house,
stabbed by a wraith,
assaulted by a mutant octopus,
speared by a troll,
stalked by a creepy little man,
drawn into a corpse-filled swamp,
poisoned by a giant spider,
rendered unconscious…
I even lost my RIng,

New Line Cinema, promoting its elite DVD’s, including LOTR of course, has a giant screen atop a faux-rock stand,flanked by Orthanc – as seen on the live web cam that updates from Con every 10 seconds. Many TORnados have stopped by with a cell phone to call friends and family at home and prompt them to logon to to catch a glimpse of them, smiling from Con. Meanwhile, the TORN staff watches “Austin Powers” highlights and moments from “Dumb and Dumberer” over and over and over – and this is but day one.

Also on playing at the TORn booth is “Sauron Speaks – Fat Beats From The Dark Tower,” which is a independantly produced record from Morgan Phillips knows as DJ “Supergenius.” Phillips produced the disc before he ever found but while promoting his record he discovered TORn and its dominance of Tolkien fandom on-line.

He describes his compositions as “slightly abstracted electro rock” which is an hour blended from Bashki, Rankin-Bass, Led Zeppelin and other Tolkien themed music. Who will like it? Phillips things there is quite a list.

“…hard core fans, fans of art, hip hop, classic rock, epic fantasy…it is a spin on a whole genre.”

Phillips has been a Tolkien fan since his childhood when his mother read the books to him. He is passionate about the books and for his taste, Jackson’s movies depart too far from the source. His works are available at

Neighbor Sideshow has its famous display stone troll head-and-hands up with its fantastic collection on display including its new “Bronze Gandalf,” a whole new level of spectacular by any standard. Thirty-six statues were made for the public but four of those were sold by early Thursday morning. Retailing at over $5,000, these amazing creations are sure to become legendary. We will post the image shortly but cover your ears, this is mind blowing. Sideshow trotted out a new life-size creation on Day Two to go along with its Day One Lurtz and Black Rider.

Day One was chaos and the friendly hoards descended on TORn’s Rohanian tent. If you haven’t made plans to be here, chide yourself, read and weep. If you are coming or haven’t decided yet (Californians) turn off your computer now and get a move on. Time and traffic are your enemy. WETA is in the house.