10 Must-See Panels at Wondercon This Weekend
WonderCon begins this weekend in San Francisco, and you can expect ComicsAlliance to be there, seeking out new scoops and looking for vintage French comics to devour. As with any convention, however, there are more panels scheduled than you could ever possibly want to see, so we sat down in ComicsAlliance HQ and figured out ten must-see panels, with a particular focus on paying homage to the creators who make the comics industry go.
Not only that: there is one ComicsAlliance-related panel each day of Wondercon, and we've got the details on those, too.
ComicsAlliance editor-in-chief Laura Hudson is on a panel about marketing comics this weekend, so indie creators looking to beef up their coverage can benefit from her sage advice on Friday afternoon.
Two of the leading comics media sites meet at WonderCon for the battle for ultimate comics supremacy. Watch as these comics pundits battle it out in a variety of challenges, ranging from their coverage of comics to opinions of comics and creators, and maybe even some trivia and chances for prizes for the attending audience members! Moderated by Ryan Penagos of Marvel Comics and featuring from iFanboy, Ron Richards, Conor Kilpatrick, and Mike Romo, and from Comics Alliance Laura Hudson, Andy Khouri, and David Brothers. You don't want to miss this battle of the comics media titans!
The highlight of the convention will be the big Saturday night showdown between iFanboy and ComicsAlliance in a no-holds barred deathmatch to the bitter end. Who will prove to be the dominant comics site? Who has the prettiest bloggers? (Please remember that ComicsAlliance has both David Brothers and David Wolkin, twin holders of the Intercontinental Handsome Blogger title, when answering that question.) Will the mysterious Chris Sims, also known as El Hijo Del Murcielago, make a surprise appearance on stage, metal folding chair in hand? Will his stalker and former understudy, El Otro Hijo Del Murcielago, make a run-in to take Chris's title? Visit us on Saturday to find out, while Ryan Penagos, Marvel's Agent M does his best to referee the free-for-all. ComicsAlliance hopes to survive the experience.
Friend of the site Eugene Ahn, aka rapper Adam Warrock, is featured on a panel about pop culture from an Asian American point of view. Check it out on Sunday afternoon!
And now... everybody else:
Sam Humphries moderates an hour-long conversation with WonderCon special guest Jeremy Love, award Winning creator of DC/Zuda's seminal web comics hit Bayou. Be there as Jeremy discusses the influences, inspiration and creative process behind the acclaimed series and previews upcoming projects!
Jeremy Love's Bayou was one of the most interesting titles to come out of DC's Zuda imprint, and definitely the most talked about title. His story of fantasy and race filtered through a child's eyes was great, and I must admit I've read little about how he came up with the story. If you're curious about his work, this is the place to be.
4:00-5:00 Spotlight on Adam Hughes:
WonderCon special guest Adam Hughes is the mega-popular artist of so many memorable covers on series such as Wonder Woman and Catwoman, and a fan-favorite for commission work in Artists' Alleys at conventions all over this great land of ours. He talks about his art and career with moderator Sara Lima (editor, ComicVine.com).
Adam Hughes is on the shortlist for being one of the best cover artists ever. He's got it all: great heroes, villains, composition, and creativity, as his recently released cover for Action Comics #900 shows. Hughes has been knocking our socks off for a couple decades now, and judging by his con sketches, he's got a great sense of humor. I imagine this panel will have some good jokes, anecdotes about working as long as he has, and some insight into just how he manages to make covers that are so dynamic.
10:30-11:30 Spotlight on Francis Manapul:
WonderCon special guest Francis Manapul helped bring back Superboy and now draws The Flash. Join him and his friends in a discussion about his art as well as his adventures on the TV show Beast Legends in a Q&A style fashion panel. Moderated by other industry stars such as artist Joel Gomez (The Authority), writer Sterling Gates (Supergirl), and Comic Vine's Tony Guerrero and Sara Lima.
Francis Manapul is the dictionary definition of a rising star. He got his start at Top Cow, migrated to DC Comics for a stint on Legion of Super-Heroes with Jim Shooter, and then blew up in a big way with his clean, ink wash-y style. You can currently find his work gracing the pages of The Flash with Geoff Johns, where that duo are making Barry Allen into a character worth reading about.
11:00-12:00 Spotlight on Bill Sienkiewicz: WonderCon special guest Bill Sienkiewicz is best known for his work on Elektra: Assassin and his creator-owned title Stray Toasters. The artist talks about his work across all media, including comics, painting, television, and movies, in this spotlight panel.
Hey, quick, name a comics artist who consistently blows minds. Did you say Bill Sienkiewicz? If you didn't, you should have. From Moon Knight to Elektra: Assassin to some of the best album covers of all time, Sienkiewicz (say it with me now: "sin-kev-itch") has so many styles that you never quite know what you're going to get when he shows up on a book, other than stellar work. With such a varied career, you know he's going to have some great stories to tell.
1:00-2:00 The Sergio & Mark Show- The "Sergio" is Sergio Aragonés, the world's most honored cartoonist and one of the "usual gang of idiots" in MAD magazine for over 45 years. The "Mark" is Mark Evanier, writer of comic books and TV shows, blogger, convention panel host, and Sergio's collaborator on Groo the Wanderer for more years than either will admit or can believe. They will tell you all about their partnership, about the forthcoming mini series in which Groo battles Conan the Barbarian...and anything else you want to know about.
I'm not saying that Sergio Aragones is the funniest man in comics... but really, it's either him or Kyle Baker, and Baker isn't at Wondercon. Advantage: Sergio. Aragones has been making your grandparents, parents, and you laugh for decades. Together with Mark Evanier, a creator and historian, you're guaranteed at least one good belly laugh, and maybe a couple guffaws. I think you're allotted one free snort-laugh per panel, too, so go on ahead and indulge yourself.
1:30-2:30 Spotlight on Frank Quitely:
WonderCon special guest Frank Quitely is one of the most popular artists working in comics today. The artist -- who provided the cover art for this year's WonderCon Program Book -- talks about his career in this special spotlight event.
It's Frank Quitely. Do I even have to explain this? Here are some key words: We3. Flex Mentallo. All-Star Superman. New X-Men: Riot at Xavier's. Quitely, along with Grant Morrison, has been behind some of the best comics stories ever, and has consistently pushed his art forward on each project. If you want quality comics, make yours Quitely.
3:00-4:00 Spotlight on Hope Larson:
A retrospective on the career of WonderCon special guest Hope Larson, from art school minicomics to original graphic novels (Mercury, Chiggers, Gray Horses) and her upcoming adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time. Oni Press's George Rohac moderates.
Hope Larson has been producing comics for years now, and has made quite a name for herself as an indie creator. You've probably read Gray Horses or Chiggers, but she has built up a respectable library of minicomics and short stories, too. The idea of a "retrospective" seems strange considering the length of her career, but let's be honest here: any excuse to gain some insight from a respected creator like Larson is a good one.
4:00-5:00 Spotlight on Amy Reeder:
WonderCon special guest Amy Reeder talks about her career as an artist on DC's Madame Xanadu and Batwoman titles and what's coming up next.
While Batwoman has been delayed a few times now, it has had the fortunate side effect of keeping Amy Reeder's name in the public eye. She's a rising star in the industry, from her early years at Tokyopop creating Fool's Gold to the past couple years she's spent drawing Madame Xanadu for Vertigo. Now's your chance to get familiar with her and her work.
12:30-1:30 Comics Arts Conference 7: A Brief Herstory of Gum Shoe Gals, Spy-Fi Sheroes, and Private Dick Chicks- Join comics herstorians, the legendary Trina Robbins and Jennifer K. Stuller (Ink-Stained Amazon), together on stage for the first time as they present an introduction to some of their favorite undercover women in comics. From Miss Fury and Senorita Rio to Honey West, Modesty Blaise, Ms. Tree, and more, come learn about the herstory of female detectives and spies in comics from the women who love them.
Crime comics are the best comics. That's the first rule of the Ten Comics Commandments. Private eyes, criminals pulling heists, or assassins taking out heads of state: it's all great. This panel sounds like a nice trip down memory lane for some, and a history lesson for others. There's a long tradition of female detectives in comics, but one that has sadly fallen by the wayside lately. I'd like to see that come back--Modesty Blaise and Ms. Tree have a lot of potential in today's culture.