At Comic-Con, legends come a dime a dozen, and those are just the ones on the printed pages of the comics on the exhibition hall floor. But in Hall H, the epicenter of the convention's surprises, revelations and exclusives, true groundbreakers and history-makers are in comparatively short supply. This year, however, there were several, including James Cameron, Peter Jackson, Hayao Miyazaki, and Terry Gilliam; but even in such rarified company, Tim Burton stands head and shoulder above in terms of providing memorable, specific, and ongoing inspiration to the folks who like to look up at these filmmakers' latest projects.

Suffice it to say that a checklist of his most iconic films would be redundant, since virtually all of them qualify, either because of their source material, or his interpretation of it. But the filmmaker has two high-profile projects coming out in the next year or so, each of which applies his inventive style in different ways: first, there's 9, Shane Acker's computer-generated post-apocalyptic odyssey, which Burton is producing; and in 2010, there's Alice in Wonderland, his adaptation of the classic novel by Lewis Carroll.

In between Hall H panels, Cinematical caught up with Burton to discuss his work on 9 and Alice in Wonderland. In addition to talking about the technological opportunities and challenges presented on both films, he offered a few secrets about the forthcoming spectacle of Alice, and reflected on the filmmaking style – and substance – that has made his idiosyncratic body of work a happy home for outsiders and mainstream audiences alike.