4am starts, hours of queueing in the California sun and claiming 'free hugs' from excitable Harry Potters and Hit-Girls are just three of the reasons that keep me coming back to San Diego Comic-Con every year. The TV and film panels are also quite fun, I suppose, and over the next week I'll be doing my best to bring you blogs live and direct from the very best of the bunch. So what's on the agenda? Here I run down the top ten panels guaranteed to get your Batman-print knickers in a twist.
10. Veronica Mars: The Movie (Friday 11.15am, Hall H)
A Veronica Mars movie with the entire cast on board? For a long while, the stuff of dreams. But then we all know what happened when creator Rob Thomas took to Kickstarter in March with his idea to bring back Kristen Bell's eponymous heroine for a big-screen outing. Fast forward a few months and it is actually happening, and the Comic-Con panel promises to offer up a veritable Smorgasbord of treats. I'm also going to start up a rumour right here that the panel will feature a Netflix executive.
9. Superior Spider-Man (Thursday 4.30pm, Room 6DE)
Well it is Comic-Con, after all. Marvel's panel for the Superior Spider-Man series will reveal what's next for Doc Ock... umm, Spidey, now that he's in charge of The Raft and the Green Goblin is back on the scene. No doubt there will be lots of time spent discussing the still-ongoing fan backlash to the entire premise of the series, in particular following the events of Superior #9. Could they perhaps get some positive news about Peter Parker in this panel?
8. Godzilla (Saturday 10.45am, Hall H)
One of the best surprises from last year's Comic-Con was an incredible teaser trailer for the new Godzilla movie. 12 months down the line and the studio are ready for a panel proper, with stars from the film (Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ken Watanabe, Juliette Binoche), footage galore, and (hopefully) some details about the actual plot. But could Godzilla himself (it's a he, right? has anyone checked?) be making an appearance at the panel? A viral website has suggested that a large "ocean anomaly" is heading for San Diego. In my imagination, this amounts to a stunt in which a giant Godzilla is going to literally emerge from beneath the water in the San Diego marina. Anything less now and I'll be disappointed, in fact.
7. Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Friday 1.45pm, Ballroom 20)
Marvel is hoping to capitalise on the incredible success of its big-screen franchises with a new series set at the S.H.I.E.L.D. organisation. The show - debuting on ABC in September - is being masterminded by The Avengers scribe Joss Whedon and will feature Clark Gregg in his role as Phil Coulson from the films. Footage from the pilot and the promise of "special guests" from the Marvel family make this panel one of the most fevered attractions at this year's Comic-Con.
Frustratingly for many fans though, the panel has been scheduled in Ballroom 20 rather than the more-appropriate venue of Hall H, meaning that they face a Sophie's Choice-style dilemma between SHIELD and the competing panel for Amazing Spider-Man.
6. Sherlock (Thursday 2.15pm, Ballroom 20)
Sherlock makes its Comic-Con debut ahead of the looooong-awaited third series. Sadly there's no Martin Freeman or Benedict Cumberbatch as they're currently filming the final episode, but exec producers Steven 'next question' Moffat and Mark Gatiss will be present to tease us silly about what's to come. Footage from the two episodes shot so far is likely to feature and hopefully we'll also get some sensible clues as to how Sherlock inexplicably survived JUMPING OFF A BUILDING AND SMASHING HIS HEAD OPEN.
5. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (Friday 4.05pm, Hall H)
The first sequel to the rebooted Spidey franchise is the highlight of a long Friday in Hall H. Andrew Garfield will be on the panel, while there are also expected appearances from Dane DeHaan (Harry Osborn) and Jamie Foxx (new villain Electro). As well as the usual clips, we're also likely to get some insight into the next two sequels (recently confirmed for 2016 and 2018) and possibly - pleeeeeeease? - the unused footage of Shailene Woodley's brief appearance as MJ.
4. Breaking Bad (Sunday 11.15am, Hall H)
Arguably one of the best shows of the 21st Century will celebrate its final ever Comic-Con panel a few weeks before the last tranche of episodes begins to air. The entire cast will turn out for the swansong, including creator Vince Gilligan and Bob Odenkirk (Saul), who will hopefully confirm that the spinoff rumours are more than just hearsay. As a special bonus treat for fans of the show, free meth will also be handed out to everyone who attends the panel.
3. The X-Files: 20th Anniversary Reunion (Thursday 3.30pm, Ballroom 20)
David Duchovny will take time out from humping his sofa to reunite with Gillian Anderson for a celebration of the late, great X-Files. Creator Chris Carter and heaps of writers will also be present to help them reminisce and possibly, hopefully, confirm plans to right the wrongs of the most recent big-screen outing with a new movie (or better still, a limited-run, 24-style TV comeback. Dreaming much?) The thing I'm most excited about though is finding out which accent Gillian Anderson will rock up with. My fingers are crossed for Johnny English-version Gillian Anderson.
2. Doctor Who (Sunday 12.30pm, Hall H)
Every year Steven Moffat is on hand at Comic-Con to serve up enigma-fried breadcrumbs about his latest Doctor Who superplot, but this year promises to be more preposterous than ever before. On the agenda just for starters: John 'The Dark Doctor' Hurt, the 50th anniversary and Matt Smith's replacement. Not forgetting the returns of David Tennant and Billie Piper. Oooh, surprise guests at the panel, perhaps? CAN YOU EVEN IMAGINE?!
1. Marvel (Saturday 6pm, Hall H)
Well, could any other panel be number one? It's hard to imagine this year's effort being able to top last year's ridiculous panel, featuring a campy, pitch-perfect OTT entrance from Robert Downey Jr, but Marvel never fail to pull out all the stops. Firstly, there's the barrage of fresh info (Phase Three films, Guardians of the Galaxy details), then the promise of heaps of footage (Captain America, Thor), as well as the star power (Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth, possibly Vin Diesel). And I wouldn't bet against RDJ gatecrashing the panel to upstage everyone and everything, either.