San Diego Comic-Con is underway, bringing over 130,000 people to enjoy the pop culture extravaganza taking place inside and outside the convention center. There is a lot to see and do every day during SDCC. More likely than not, if you don't go in with a plan for experiencing the things that you most want to check out, you'll miss them!
To help any con-going readers with their convention plans, ComicsAlliance has put together this handy list of panels we recommend. Some are panels we think sound cool and some are panels where you can see CA contributors! You may not be able to experience everything (and probably not everything on this list!), but here's what we think are the best panels to attend on day two, Friday, July 10th!
10:00am-11:00am: 21st-Century CreatorsRoom 28DE
The 21st century has proven to be a time of great change for the book industry. With huge shifts in technology and the e-book industry transforming print media, Tracy Hurren(managing editor, Drawn & Quarterly) speaks to three cartoonists who began working after the year 2000 about the challenges and successes they've had working in a digital world. Michael DeForge (Ant Colony, First Year Healthy), Benjamin Marra (Night Business, The Terror Assaulter ), and Jillian Tamaki (SuperMutant Magic Academy, This One Summer) will also address how their comics' work has developed as online communities have grown and shifted.
10:00am-11:00am: Push Boundaries Forward: Gender, Diversity, and Representation in Comic BooksRoom 4
The face of comics is changing. A diverse panel examine what indie/web publishing has been doing right, how mainstream comics can catch up, and what creators and fans can do to be heard. Moderator Amy Chu (Girl's Night Out) leads panelists Maigrhread Scott (The Third Witch, Lantern City), IDW Publishing editor Sarah Gaydos, Derek Charm (The Powerpuff Girls: Super Smash-Up!), Dr. Andrea Letamendi (The Arkham Sessions podcast), Christian Beranek(Validation), and BOOM! Studios brand communications manager Christine Dinh and BOOM! Studios associate editor Chris Rosa in a sincere, thoughtful discussion on the topic of gender, diversity, and representation in mainstream comics.
10:00am-11:00am: The Black PanelRoom 5AB
This year's panel consists of Ne-Yo (Ghost: The God Killer, Non-Fiction), Joe Illidge (writer, columnist, The Ren), Karen Hunter (The Karen Hunter Show, Karen Hunter Publishing, Pulitzer Prize winner), Eric Dean Seaton (Disney Channel director, creator, Legend of the Mantamaji) and last but not least, Don McGregor (2015 Bill Finger Award recipient for Excellence in Comic Book Writing). The focus of the panel is the lack of unity among many in the Black pop culture space and opens the floor for ideas on how we can change that. Also, a sea change occurs as the panel realizes an end of an era. Moderated, as always, by Michael Davis.
10:30am-11:30am: Comic Book Law School 202: Selling the SizzleRoom 30DCE
While almost every creator will tell you their greatest joy is in the act of creation, none will argue that equally (or perhaps more) important is earning a living from their efforts. But commercializing creative works is fraught with peril unless you're prepared. This second stage of the case study focusing on fictional author Fitzgerald Scott will concentrate on Scott's efforts to commercialize his critically acclaimed new work, The Strange Situation of Benjamin "Button" Cabeza. Noted attorney Michael Lovitz, author of the acclaimed The Trademark and Copyright Book comic book, is joined by entertainment attorneys Mona Metwalli and Terri Lubaroff for an interactive seminar tackling a number of the more advanced issues facing creators (and the businesses that hire them) in marketing their properties and creative ideas, including licenses and transfers of rights; key things to know when Hollywood comes knocking; publishing, manufacturing, merchandising, and distribution agreements; understanding key terms in contracts, assignments, and licenses; and (time permitting) how your spouse may impact your contracts and licenses. With insights into a variety of options and opportunities for generating income from your creative endeavors, along with discussions focusing on the problems and pitfalls that go hand in hand with each decision, you'll agree this session shouldn't be missed. [Please note, the Comic Book Law School seminars are designed to provide relevant information and insights to practicing attorneys, as well as practical tips to creators and other professionals who may wish to attend. (This program is approved for 1.5 credits of California MCLE).]
12:30pm-1:30pm: Push Stories Forward: Rise of the IndependentsRoom 5AB
Rosy Press's Janelle Asselin moderates a conversation with some of the brightest minds in independent comics publishing, including BOOM! Studios editor Shannon Watters, IDW Publishing editor Sarah Gaydos, Oni Press senior editor Charlie Chu, and Fantagraphics director of publicity and promotions Jacq Cohen as they discuss what they are doing to expand the marketplace.
1:00pm-2:00pm: The Business of Geek FashionRoom 14A
Do you ever wonder how your Walking Dead T-shirt or Doctor Who dress was made? This panel of industry professionals will offer an inside look at the business of geek fashion. Moderated by Lisa Granshaw, panelists Jed Seigel (ThinkGeek Solutions), Ed Labay (Hot Topic), Ashley Eckstein (Her Universe), Sara Scargall (WeLoveFine), and Arthur Gibree(Sanshee) discuss the process behind creating pop culture apparel and accessories, how licensing works, how geek fashion has evolved over the years, what the current options are for women and men, and the latest geek fashion trends. Plenty of time will be left for audience members to ask questions and voice their opinions about what they'd like to see more of in the geek fashion market.
1:30pm-2:30pm: Women of TransformersRoom 8
From Windblade and Arcee to Strongarm and the brand-new Combiner making her debut at SDCC, female Transformers characters have finally gotten their due; but behind the page and in fandom, even bigger changes have been happening. Panelists include Transformers comics writers Mairghread Scott and Georgia Ball, artists Corin Howell and Sara Pitre-Durocher, Hasbro's Sarah Carroll, and special guests.
2:30pm-3:30pm: Secret Origins: How the Industry's Best and Brightest BeganRoom 8
All heroes have an origin story, the defining moment where they thrust themselves to greatness; and so do the comic industry's best and brightest. Join comiXology marketing maven Chip Mosher as he hosts a panel with comics luminaries and tastemakers Hank Kanalz (SVP, editorial strategy and administration at DC Entertainment), Michael Marts(editor-in-chief at Aftershock Comics), Allison Baker (director of operations at IDW Publishing, co-publisher, Monkeybrain Comics), Janelle Asselin (publisher, Rosy Press), Aroop Sanakkayala (co-founder and COO, Strange Turn Entertainment), for a look at the extraordinary events that transformed them from comics fan to comic industry heroes.
3:00pm-4:00pm: Spotlight on Katie CookRoom 32AB
Katie Cook (Gronk, My Little Pony) and guest moderator Andy Price (My Little Pony) talk about Katie's work as an illustrator, writer, nerd, crazy cat lady, and the plethora of other hats she wears*. Katie will be doing a rapid-fire Q&A with the audience while taking audience suggestions for drawings that she'll be doing live on stage. Be on hand for what promises to be a fun hour of discussion, drawing, cats, and Katie! (*Katie will not actually be wearing a hat.)
4:00pm-5:00pm: Spotlight on Jillian Tamaki and Mariko TamakiRoom 29AB
With their collaboration on graphic novels Skim andThis One Summer, as well as their independent works, Jillian's Indoor Voice, Supermutant Magic Academy, and Sex Coven, and Mariko's Emiko Superstar, (You) Set Me on Fire, and Saving Montgomery Sole, cousins Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki are creating inventive, innovative, stories that are both thought provoking and emotionally moving. Join them for a discussion of their creative process, as well as their upcoming and most recent works.
4:00pm-5:00pm: Spotlight on Michael DeForgeRoom 9
Michael DeForge (Lose, Ant Colony, First Year Healthy, Very Casual) reads selections from new and old comics and is interviewed by friend, bandmate and frequent collaborator Patrick Kyle (Distance Mover) about his process and career.
4:30pm-5:30pm: Beyond Fashion: Creating Kickass Action Figures for GirlsRoom 26AB
It's slim pickings for girls when it comes to action figures, and the majority of available options do not provide the positive role models young girls need. A study published by the Journal of Sex Roles found that girls who played with Barbie believed they had fewer career choices than those who played with Mrs. Potato Head. Research also found that the way fashion dolls are physically formed and dressed communicates messages of sexualization and objectification. There is a clear need for stronger, smarter heroines in our culture to encourage girls to envision themselves as bold and fearless ("You can't be what you can't see") and to create compelling, diverse female characters that defy gender stereotypes. In a panel moderated by CNET's Ashley Esqueda, you'll hear from Andrea Fernandez of GoldieBlox, Julie Kerwin of IAmElemental, Batgirl artist Babs Tarr, and Entertainment Earth's Jason Labowitz on creating kickass action figures for girls and why it's so critical to bring more positive female characters to light.
6:00pm-7:00pm: How Ultimate Marvel Changed EverythingRoom 7AB
Comics journalists Heidi MacDonald and Graeme McMillan join Vulture online's Abraham Riesman to look at the "Ultimate Marvel" line of comics that unexpectedly became a force that overhauled Marvel Comics, then became the most direct comics influence on the Marvel movies. But where did it go wrong?
6:00pm-7:00pm: Queer Representation in All-Ages and Youth MediaRoom 28DE
Many people have often dismissed queer content as adult content, inappropriate for kids. However, as we've seen in the popularity and successes of Legends of Korra, Steven Universe, and Lumberjanes, LGBTQIA+ and queer characters and storylines resonate with young audiences. Moderator Shannon Watters (Lumberjanes) and panelists James Tynion IV (The Woods, Memetic, UFOlogy), Noelle Stevenson (Lumberjanes), Dan Parent (Kevin Keller), and Kat Leyh (Supercakes) discuss how we can better include healthy representations and how to make them standard practice.
6:30pm-7:30pm: Building the Modern (Super)HeroineRoom 26AB
More and more, heroines are being positioned front and center on the page and screen-Katniss, Agent Carter, Tris, Furiosa, Wonder Woman, and Captain Marvel, just to name a few. What do creators and fans want out of a powerful female protagonist? How can you pay tribute to the heroines of the past while still looking toward the future? What's the difference between writing established heroines and creating your own? And how can one best position and support these characters to usher in a whole new era of totally bad ass (super)heroines across all platforms? This dynamic group of creators and expert commentators will discuss the challenges of building modern heroines in a variety of mediums. With Cecil Castellucci (Stone in the Sky), Sarah Kuhn (Heroine Complex), Andrea Letamendi (psychologist, Arkham Sessions), Jose Molina (Agent Carter), and Babs Tarr(Batgirl). Moderated by Amy Ratcliffe (Star Wars online).
6:30pm-7:30pm:Creative Communities and the Scenius of ComicsRoom 8
"Scenius" is what Brian Eno called the creativity that arises from communities; and it's brought about some of the best comics ever. Joëlle Jones (Lady Killer), Tula Lotay (Supreme Blue Rose), Jen Vaughn (Vertigo), and Jen Wang (In Real Life) talk about what brings creative scenes together and how being part of a closely knit network has affected their work. Moderated by Douglas Wolk (Reading Comics).
8:00pm-9:00pm: She Made Me Do It: FanGirls Lead the WayRoom 25ABC
As the demographics of the industry continue to change, this panel focuses on the impact off female fans (not female creators) and how they are changing comics from the ground up in surprising and positive ways. More than ever, their grassroots efforts can be seen everywhere, from comic shops to conventions, from cosplay to social media. Panelists include Kit Cox (Milkfed Criminal Masterminds), Portlyn Polston (Brave New World), Christy Black(More Than a Geek Girl), Jamie Broadnax (Black Girl Nerds), Autumn Rain Glading (Brave New World) and Rose Del Vecchio (co-founder of FanMail). Moderated by Ed Catto (Bonfire Agency).
8:00pm-9:00pm: Showtime Presents the Will Eisner Comic Industry AwardsIndigo Ballroom, Hilton San Diego Bayfront
The 27th annual Eisner Awards (the "Oscars" of the comics industry) honor comics creators and works in 29 categories. Presenters will include actors Edward James Olmos (Battlestar Galactica, Blade Runner), Shane West (Salem, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen), Tara Ochs(Selma), Megan Hayes (Hunger Games), J. Michael Trautmann (Shameless), Katrina Law (Arrow, Spartacus), Kandyse McClure (Battlestar Galactica, Smallville), and Tahmoh Penikett(Battlestar Galactica, Smallville); British talk show host/comics writer Jonathan Ross, nominees Michael and Laura Allred (iZombie, Silver Surfer); Milestone Media co-founder Michael Davis; Hall of Fame cartoonist Sergio Aragonés (Groo, MAD); and writer/artist Bill Morrison (Bongo Comics), assisted by hostesses Kayre Morrison and Anina Bennett, plus some special surprises! Other prestigious awards to be given out include the Russ Manning Promising Newcomer Award, the Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award, the Bill Finger Award for Excellence in Comics Writing, and the Will Eisner Spirit of Comics Retailer Award.
8:30pm-9:30pm: Surviving Conventions as an Indie CreatorRoom 8
Christopher Butcher (festival director of TCAF, Comics212, The Beguiling) moderates experienced exhibitors Daniel Davis (Steam Crow, Booth Bastards), Shing Yin Khor (Sawdust Press), Paul Roman Martinez (The 19XX), and Geoffrey Golden and Amanda Meadows (The Devastator) to discuss making a full convention calendar work alongside a heavy production calendar. They'll also answer questions raised by the 2014 Convention Survey: What should creators expect from conventions and how can we make the most of them?