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Comic-Con Preview 2011: What to Do Thursday

Between its hundreds of combined panels, parties, events and contests, Comic-Con can make for a pretty overwhelming week if you’re not careful. Have heart, though, ComicsAlliance readers! We’re here to help you make the most of your pending adventure into the heart of pop culture’s ultimate obstacle course. Kicking things off with a look at Thursday, July 21 schedule, we’ve got a rundown of where you’ll want to be, and where you’ll likely catch members of the ComicsAlliance crew. Hit the jump for our Thursday recommendations.

The Panels

11:30-12:30 DC: Flashpoint: Room 6DE
The end of Flashpoint may seem like a foregone conclusion given what we know about the DC relaunch, but this panel moderated by DCU Executive Editor Eddie Berganza with FP talent on hand could shed some additional light on the story and its implications.

12:00-1:00 Dark Horse: Fall Publishing Highlights:

Room 32AB
Dark Horse promises to reveal three new titles as announced by three secret guest stars. Given their ties to Joss Whedon and prominent videogame titles, Whedonites and gamers may want to start lining up early. Fans will also be able to pick up an exclusive print.

12:45-1:45 DC Comics: Grant Morrison: Room 6DE
Grant Morrison kind of sells any panel he’s on just by being him, but this panel will especially excite Superman fans trying to get a handle on what Action Comics #1 is going to read like. Morrison will also be discussing his nonfiction book, Supergods: What Masked Vigilantes, Miraculous Mutants, and a Sun God from Smallville Can Teach Us About Being Human, he and Sean Murphy’s Joe the Barbarian book from Vertigo. Grant Morrison talking about things he’s passionate about? Sold.

1:00-2:00 Marvel Digital: What’s Next?! Comics…and Beyond!: Room 7A
Now that DC has announced it will go same-day digital in the fall, we’re waiting patiently for Marvel to potentially follow suit. This panel hosted by unspecified Marvel Digital Media Group members may not answer that question, but it will give fans a look at the publisher’s wider digital endeavors online and on social media. Worth going to see Agent M alone (if he’s there).

1:00-2:00 SKYBOUND Panel: Room 25ABC
Robert Kirkman’s young Image imprint Skybound has mostly seemed like a haven for his Invincible, The Walking Dead, Super Dinosaur titles, along with he and Rob Liefeld’s upcoming The Infinite. That’s starting to change with the release of Brandon Seifert and Lukas Ketner’s Witchdoctor and Thief of Thieves writer Nick Spencer, though. This panel will likely shake things up even further with additional titles and creators announced. Robert Kirkman is also tastefully facetious at these kind of things, which is always entertaining.

2:00-3:00 DC Comics: The New 52: Room 6DE
With solicitations out for the first two months of relaunched titles, fans still have more questions than answers regarding the continuity overhaul that’s about to shakeup the entire DC universe. DC EiC Bob Harras and DCU Executive Editor Eddie Berganzapresent will be on hand to elaborate on what these changes will mean for the publisher’s line of titles and open the floor to what’s sure to be a curious crowd of fans. This is one of several relaunch panels, though, so don’t get in a fight with anyone while you wait in line. There’ll be plenty of opportunities.

2:00-3:00 Love and Rockets: Room 9
Even if you haven’t had a chance to delve into the admittedly dense (in a very good way) Love & Rockets stories by Gilbert, Jaime, and Mario Hernandez, you can soak up some serious inspiration from this panel and L&R’s 30 years of history. Fantagraphics co-founder and The Comics Journal EiC Gary Groth is moderating, which means the book’s cultural significance should resonate beyond the fan speak usually associated with these kinds of things. If you’ve got a free hour, we recommend investing in this panel and checking out L&R on the floor afterward.

3:00-4:00 Game of Thrones Panel and Q&A session: Ballroom 20
When we saw this panel announcement, CA EiC Laura Hudson immediately called dibs. When I confessed all I knew about the show was that it had tough dudes and a naked lady with white hair, I was berated severely. Provided you’re more of a “Laura” than a “Caleb,” you’ll be stoked for this likely packed panel. A Song of Ice and Fire author George R. R. Martin, who serves as co-executive producer of the HBO adaptation Game of Thrones will moderate a panel attended by Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen), Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Ser Jaime Lannister), Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister), Kit Harington (Jon Snow) and Jason Momoa (Khal Drogo). You’ll want to get there super early, even in the massive Ballroom 20. Just be sure to bring a camera with a good zoom if you want to take photos.

3:15-4:15 DC: Batman: 6DE

Of all the titles to get relaunched in-progress, one of the most controversial is the Batman family of books. If anyone can help fans sort out the transition from Batman, Inc. to what’s in store for the Caped Crusader and his cowled comrades in September, it’ll be Batman group editor Mike Marts, Grant Morrison, David Finch (Batman: The Dark Knight), Scott Snyder (Detective Comics), Peter Tomasi (Batman & Robin), Patrick Gleason (Batman & Robin), Gail Simone (Batgirl), Judd Winick (Batwing, Catwoman) and a few unspecified other guests. VP Marketing at DC Comics/Warner Bros will moderate.

4:00-5:00 Archer Screening and Q&A: Indigo Ballroom, Hilton San Diego Bayfront
While off-site events can be a bit of a drag to get to, Archer fans should be able to successfully partition some time in the afternoon to head to the FX animated spy comedy screening/Q&A. On hand will be creator Adam Reed and the voice cast of H. Jon Benjamin (Sterling Archer), Aisha Tyler (Lana Kane), Chris Parnell (Cyril Figgis), Judy Greer (Cheryl/Carol), Amber Nash (Pam Poovey) and George Coe (Woodhouse). Sadly, I don’t think the pug that can bark “Putting on the Ritz” will be on hand.

4:30-5:30 Marvel: Next Big Thing: Room 6DE
Marvel’s “Next Big Thing” panel is a bit of a misnomer at conventions, but usually in a good way. After all, most fans would favor hearing about several of the next big “things” rather than just one new item. On hand will be Marvel EiC Axel Alonso, Greg Pak (Incredible Hulks), Jonathan Hickman (FF), Jim McCann (Marvel Zombies Christmas Carol), Nick Spencer (Ultimate X) and more. Hulk, FF and zombie chat seems likely, but Marvel’s keeping its announcements under wraps as usual. Maybe fans will finally get some answers regarding those “It’s either in you or it’s not” promos that have been floating around all week? If not, keep an eye out on the publisher’s numerous other panels throughout the con.

5:00-6:00 Batman: Arkham City:

Indigo Ballroom, Hilton San Diego Bayfront
Probably the most anticipated videogame release of the year — superhero or otherwise — Batman: Arkham City has a panel to match. Definitive Batman and Joker voice actors Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill will be on hand, along with DC Comics co-publisher Jim Lee, writer Paul Dini and Arkham Asylum veteran Game Director Sefton Hill. The biggest deal? There’s yet another character reveal coming. With Catwoman and Robin already set as playable characters, who could it be? Nightwing? Batwoman? Alfred? Or has Oracle come out of retirement as Batgirl as in the relaunched DCU? You’ll want to hit this panel up to find out.

5:45-6:45 Vertigo Editorial: Room 6DE
As much as DC’s been pushing its relaunched line, it’s important not to overlook the steady stream of radness coming out of Vertigo. The creators of much of this radness will be on deck for the Vertigo Editorial panel, as lead by Executive Editor Karen Berger. You can catch Scott Snyder (American Vampire), Jeff Lemire (Sweet Tooth), Michael Allred (iZombie), Mark Buckingham (Fables), Les Klinger (Annotated Sandman), Rebecca Guay (A Flight of Angels), Colleen Doran (Gone to Amerika), Bill Willingham (Fables) and more creators in one convenient session to cap your afternoon.

6:30 – 7:30pm – Indie Comics Marketing 101, Room 8
Are you an indie comics creator, or an aspiring one, and want to know how to get the attention of publishers or the press? Hit up this panel featuring our own Editor-in-Chief Laura Hudson,
BOOM! Marketing Director Chip Mosher, Our Love Is Real writer Sam Humphries, Robot 6 Editor J.K. Parkin (managing editor, Robot 6 at ComicBookResources.com) and Choker writer Ben McCool.

The Parties

9:00pm – Super Late: BOOM!’s 6th Anniversary Drink Up
Hilton San Diego Bayfront Odysea Bar

Possibly the only major Comic-Con party open to everyone and not requiring an RSVP on Thursday night, the Boom! Studios party will likely totally be packed. Its convenient location means there’s a good chance that folks attending other shindigs around town will trickle in or at least pass through, almost cementing your chances of spotting some of your favorite creators and other folks from the industry. Just be cool, leave your portfolio at home and be ready to tip the bar’s soon-to-be completely exhausted staff. I’m not certain there’ll be dancing at this thing, but be sure to find a willing partner first should booze get your feet moving to the Boom! beat.

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