San Diego Comic-Con has begun, 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 one, Thursday, July 9th!

  • 10:00am-11:00am: Spotlight On Maggie Thompson

    Room 32AB
    Maggie Thompson (Toucan columnist, 30-year co-editor of Comics Buyer's Guide) invites fellow Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards judges to share the delights and challenges they experienced in looking at the best comics of 2014; panelists include retailer Carr D'Angelo, scholar Susan Kirtley , and Comic-Con volunteer Ron McFee.
  • 10:00am-11:00am: The Buffy Effect: Teen Heroines Then and Now

    Room 28DE

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer revolutionized the paradigm of the teen heroine, especially in young adult books. Now, eighteen years later, Buffy continues to have an impact on the TV shows and books we read today. Hear your favorite authors discuss Buffy, the queen of the teen heroine, and how she single-handedly changed the game for strong and snarky female characters who are not the sidekicks. Panelists are Kiersten White, Rachel Hawkins, Rae Carson, Brittany Geragotelis, Brittany Geragotelis, and Valerie Tejeda. Moderated by Sarah Kuhn.

  • 10:30am-11:30am: Comics Arts Conference #1: Scholar #1: Lost (and Found!) Comics Studies of the Past

    Room 26AB

    Over the past year, a number of surprising (and stunning) lost comics studies have come to light. Carol Tilley (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) and Brad Ricca (Super Boys: The Amazing Adventures of Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster) present and discuss the 1942 comics thesis of Superman artist Paul Cassidy, newly discovered by Sean Howe. Tilley will reveal additional comics theses from the 1930s and 1940s that expand our understanding of comics production practices, readership trends, and practical applications. So who did the first real work on comics? What can we learn from them? What do we do with their work? And, most provocatively, is there more out there? This panel will debate why this question strikes such a nerve with scholars, fans, and readers. Why is it so important to find the first scholar, and does that tell us something about why comics studies started in the first place?

  • 11:00am-12:00pm: Peanuts 65th Anniversary Panel

    Room 5AB

    In 2015, Charles M. Schulz's iconic Peanuts gang celebrates not only their 65th anniversary but also two years of the current volume of the Peanuts comic book at BOOM! Studios' all-ages imprint, KaBOOM! Come celebrate Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the gang's birthday with moderator Douglas Wolk (Reading Comics) and Peanuts contributors Terry Moore(Strangers in Paradise), and Art Baltazar (Tiny Titans), Colleen Coover (Eisner-nominated BandetteI), along with Lex Fajardo, managing editor for Charles M. Schulz Creative Associates, and Cesar Gaellgos, archivist of the Schulz Museum.

  • 11:00am-12:00pm: Workshop with Kelly Sue DeConnick

    Room 2

    Wanna write comics? Don't know where to start? Eisner Award nominee for Best Writer Kelly Sue DeConnick (Bitch Planet, Pretty Deadly and Captain Marvel) takes you through a basic overview of comic scriptwriting including exercises, discussion of various scripting styles, and writing for artists. Bring your questions, bring your passion, and bring something to write on!

  • 12:00pm-1:00pm: CBLDF: Spinner Rack Revolution: The Secret History of Free Speech in Magazine Comics

    Room 30CDE

    In the 1960s and '70s, publishers fled from spinner racks to magazine stands to escape the bounds of the Comics Code Authority. While comic books continued to labor under the stigma of low-value, juvenile speech, the larger-format magazine comics broke out, giving artists a safe haven to openly deal with adult content, provide more horror and suspense, and be frank about sexuality. Magazines like Mad, Creepy, and Eerie paved the way for a generation of titles that included Heavy Metal, Vampirella, Epic Illustrated, 1984, and Savage Sword of Conan to break new ground for a general audience and loosen the reins on some of comics' top creators. CBLDF deputy director Alex Cox reveals the untold history of magazine comics, reviewing the impact of publications from Warren, Marvel, Heavy Metal, National Lampoon, and more!

  • 12:00pm-1:00pm: Breaking Into Comics Right Now

    Room 28DE

    If you're an aspiring comic book creator, this is a panel you don't want to miss! Some of comic book publishing's top decision makers and creators-including BOOM! Studios editor-in-chief Matt Gagnon, Oni Press senior editor Charlie Chu, and First Second Books' associate marketing and publicity manager Gina Gagliano, along with Ed Brisson (Cluster) as they give you the most up-to-date and practical advice on how to break into the comic book industry right now. Moderated by Jim Zub (Wayward).

  • 12:00pm-1:00pm: Editing Comics with Oni Press Editorial

    Room 9

    Join the Oni Editorial staff as they share their discoveries after two months of opening up submissions about the pitching process, making comics, and the importance of fostering diversity in creating comics accessible to everyone. Janelle Asselin (Fresh Romance editor) discusses comics editing and the future of the medium with editor-in-chief James Lucas Jones (Scott Pilgrim), editor Robin Herrera (Invader Zim), and associate editor Ari Yarwood(Rick & Morty).

  • 12:30pm-1:30pm: Return to Gravity Falls

    Room 6A

    Creator and executive producer Alex Hirsch (Grunkle Stan) and other special guests uncover the mysteries of Disney XD's hit series Gravity Falls. Find out what's next for the Pines Family after Season 2's shocking cliffhanger with an exclusive look at the upcoming episodes and an audience Q&A. The panel will also feature sneak peeks of Pickle and Peanut and Future-Worm!, two new animated shows coming to Disney XD!

  • 1:00pm-2:00pm: CBLDF: Why Are Diverse Books Banned?

    Room 30DCE

    When the American Library Association released their latest annual list of the most challenged books, a disturbing trend was noted: Books that increased the diversity of what is available to readers were more likely to be challenged. What is it about diversity that seems to encourage censors? Join CBLDF and library and education professionals Candice Mack(president, Young Adult Library Services Association), Erwin Magbanua (programming & special events coordinator, San Diego Public Library), Carla Riemer (librarian, Claremont Middle School, Oakland, California), Carol Tilley (associate professor, University of Illinois), and more for a discussion of why diverse books are challenged and how we can defend them. Moderated by CBLDF editorial director Betsy Gomez.

  • 1:00pm-2:00pm: Comics Are for Everyone: Helping Every Student See Themselves in the Medium

    Shiley Special Events, San Diego Central Library

    While the cultural footprint of comics has increased immensely, minorities, women, and the LGBT community have only recently begun to see an increase in representation in mainstream comics. This panel seeks to explore the cultural, societal, and educational ramifications of this recent shift and discuss possible future implications. Educators Ronell Whitaker (Dwight D. Eisenhower High School, Blue Island, IL), Eric Kallenborn (Alan B. Shepard High School, Palos Heights, IL), Adam Huggins (Miras International School, Almaty, Kazakhstan), and Dr. Katie Monnin ( Teaching Graphic Novels, Using Content-Area Graphic Texts for Learning), led by moderator John Shableski (Udon Entertainment), discuss the impact of diverse characters in comics.

  • 1:00pm-2:00pm: Historical Comics and Graphic Novels

    Room 29AB

    Not all comics are about superheroes. In fact, there are some amazing graphic novels, comics and web comics that deal with events from history. Some are personal stories, some are historical accounts and some are the creator's own take, but they all bring history alive. Creators Peter Bagge (Hate, Woman Rebel: The Margaret Sanger Story), Ed Piskor (Hip-Hop Family Tree), Matt Phelan (The Storm in the Barn), Sara Ryan (Escape From Alcatraz), and Lora Innes (The Dreamer), discuss their historical works with moderator Douglas Wolk (Reading Comics).

    The Storm in the Barn
    The Storm in the Barn
  • 2:00pm-3:00pm: Image Comics: Where Creators Own the Mainstream

    Room 23ABC

    The mainstream is whatever you want it to be. Killer robots, ghosts, absurdist comedy, and space adventures aren't niche, but in comics, they sometimes are treated like they are. In reality, they're as mainstream as anything else, thanks to their wide-ranging appeal and the astonishing execution from Kody Chamberlain (Punks), Keenan Marshall Keller (The Humans), Chip Zdarsky (Kaptara), Marjorie Liu (Monstress), Alex Grecian (Rasputin), and Michael Moreci (Roche Limit). Come find your new favorite comic.

  • 3:00pm-4:00pm: Dark Horse Originals: The New Mainstream

    Room 23ABC

    Comics literature is the new mainstream, and Dark Horse Originals covers it all, from post-Depression-era America in The New Deal to the return of Gabriel Bá and Fábio MoonwithTwo Brothers. Bá and Moon are joined by Matt Kindt (MIND MGMT) and Colleen Coover(Bandette) to discuss pushing the boundaries of what comics can accomplish in literature.

  • 3:00pm-4:00pm: What Do Women Want? Female Gaze in Manga

    Room 29AB

    What do women want to read? While comics in North America has been mostly a "boy" thing, in Japan, manga and anime for women have been a major force in the comics market for many years. From shojo manga to boys love manga to reverse harem "otome" video games and anime filled with delectable guys, these media have been catering to the tastes of female fans in Japan. These stories are reaching readers and inspiring comics creators worldwide more than ever. See what manga publishing pros Leyla Aker (senior vice president, publishing, VIZ Media), JuYoun Lee (editor-in-chief, Yen Press), Lillian Diaz-Pryzbyl (head of comics, Sparkler Monthly), and manga creator Jamie Lynn Lano (The Princess of Tennis, Denkiki) have to say about "female gaze" in manga, why it sells, and why it matters. They'll also share their picks for your next must-read manga that'll make you swoon. Moderated by Deb Aoki (Publishers Weekly, Manga Comics Manga)

    Sparkler Monthly
    Sparkler Monthly
  • 4:00pm-5:00pm: Spotlight on Rainbow Rowell

    Room 29AB

    Rainbow Rowell (New York Times bestselling author of Eleanor & Park, Fangirl, and Landline) sits down with Leigh Bardugo (New York Times bestselling author of the Grisha Trilogy) to talk about books, fantasy, "the last three words," and what Rainbow has planned for this year's Carry On, her much-awaited return to young adult fiction.

  • 4:00pm-5:00pm: The Forgotten Trio: Letterers, Inkers, and Colorists

    Room 9

    Comic book industry veterans discuss what it entails to be an inker, letterer and colorist, along with advice for those aspiring to be part of the comic book industry. Joshua Reed(letterer for Aspen Comics, SoulfireFathom), Dave Lanphear (veteran letterer for DC Comics/Marvel), Matt Batt Banning (inker for Superman/Wonder Woman, Batman), and professional colorists will be present to partake in an open Q&A session moderated by Jessica Tseang (comic book historian).

  • 5:00pm-6:00pm: Writing Transgender Characters

    Room 28DE

    As transgender representation in comics grows in the mainstream, the indie scene, and on the web, creators are bringing the triumphs and challenges of the trans experience to a new readership. What is the best approach to writing transgender characters? How should creators balance the demands of authenticity, advocacy, and entertainment when representing this diverse and often misunderstood community? Join Prism Comics and moderator Tara Madison Avery (Gooch, Prism Comics board member) for a lively discussion of these and other issues with panelists Knave Murdok (Transcat), Ronnie Ritchie (Gqutie), Kat Blaque (illustrator, animator, blogger), Dylan Edwards (Transposes), Dax Tran-Caffe(Falling Sky, 2015 Eisner nominee and Gillian Cameron (Calogrenant).

  • 5:30pm-6:30pm: Capturing Teen Angst in Comics

    Room 8

    These four cartoonists have written about a universal, dark side of adolescence: teen angst. Peter Bagge (Hate), Gilbert Hernandez (Bumperhead), Jillian Tamaki ( Supermutant Magic Academy), and Raina Telgemeier (Drama) talk about how they channel teenage frustrations and apathy in their comics and what this does to their characters, to their storyline, and to their page layouts. Michael Cavna ( The Washington Post) moderates.

  • 6:00pm-7:00pm: LGBTQ Geek Year in Review

    Room 28DE

    Media diversity is in the news now more than ever. The past year has been filled with key moments in comics, TV, movies, and animation that every queer geek should know about. Join Prism Comics and moderator P. Kristen Enos (Prism Comics board member, Web of Lives) as they discuss the significance of these key events to the greater LGBTQ community with panelists Diane Anderson-Minshall (The Advocate, Queerly Beloved), Amber Garza (Geeks OUT, Flame Con), Matt Kane (GLAAD), Chelsea Steiner (After Ellen), and Sean Z. Maker(Bent-Con).

  • 6:30pm-7:30pm: Comics Marketing & PR 101

    Room 8

    Need tips on how to market your comic? Have questions about building relationships in the comics industry? This is the panel for you! Sit in on this mind-blowing roundtable discussion, revealing all the secrets of doing marketing and PR for your comics, whether you're self-publishing or creating for a publisher. Comics marketing superstars Chip Mosher(comiXology VP of communications and marketing), Jacq Cohen (Fantagraphics Books director of publicity and promotions), Jen Vaughn (cartoonist), Janelle Asselin (publisher, Rosy Press), and Kirk Damato (creative manager at Buzzfeed) offer a wide-ranging discussion.

  • 6:30pm-7:30pm: Comics Journalism: It's About Ethics in Comics Journalism

    Room 24ABC

    Gamergate, cheesecake covers and the objectification of women, barking puppies at the Hugo Awards, punching down at Charlie Hebdo, diversifying the multiverse – ethics has become one of the hottest issues in pop culture today, and fandom has converged on comics news sites as a battleworld for debating who should win the culture wars. The Beat’s Heidi MacDonald, CBR’s Joe Illidge and Casey Gilly,’s James Viscardi, Hitfix’ Donna Dickens and other leading comics journalists discuss what, if any, ethical principles should shape news stories affecting the comics community. Attorney and ethics professor Jeff Trexler moderates.

  • 7:00pm-8:00pm: Hip-Hop and Comics: Cultures Combining

    Room 29AB

    Hip-Hop and comics intersect in many ways; rappers and graffiti artists utilize superheroic imagery and adopt larger-than-life alter-egos, while comic creators incorporate references to music, dance, and fashion, and draw on Hip-Hop's rich visual vocabulary. Patrick A. Reed(Depth of Field, ComicsAlliance) brings together a group of graphic artists and musical innovators to discuss the ties between these two creative cultures.

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