Wednesday might have been Image Comics' actual 20th birthday, but the publisher won't be throwing their party until later in the month, when the Image Expo kicks off at the Oakland Convention Center in downtown Oakland, California for a three-day celebration of the company, its comics, its creators and, according to official Expo PR, "independent creativity in comics" in general. With the full programming slate for the February 24-26 event announced last night, potential attendees can now get a better picture of just what Image Expo is all about.The event will kick off Friday night with a keynote address from Image Comics Publisher Eric Stephenson, who has proven himself exceptionally quotable over the course of the last few weeks (particularly when it comes to the state of Image's Big Two competitors). Image says to expect announcements of new exclusives in the address.

Saturday's events include panels on women in comics, writing comics and television adaptations, spotlight panels on Chew (with Rob Guillory and John Layman), The Walking Dead (with Robert Kirkman), Saga (with Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples) a screening of the upcoming film on Warren Ellis entitled Captured Ghosts and a "20th anniversary" panel with Stephenson moderating a discussion involving Kirkman and Image founders Erik Larsen, Rob Liefeld, Todd McFarlane, Whilce Portacio, Marc Silvestri and Jim Valentino.

Sunday's events include workshops on comics creating (with McFarlane), writing (with Layman), lettering (with Richard Starkings, J.G. Roshell and Layman), portfolio reviews (with Larsen and Portacio) and on design, covers and retailing. There will also be spotlight panels on Kirkman, Eric Shanower's Age of Bronze, Valentino, Top Cow and an "Image Introduces..." panel that features Image's newer creators.

Other creators set to attend include Matt Wagner (Mage), Nick Spencer (Morning Glories), Larry Marder (Beanworld) and Ryan Ottley (Invincible).

For the full list of programming, including details and schedules, you can visit Image Expo's site here, and for a full list of creators and exhibitors attending, visit the site here.

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