When it comes to the San Diego Comic-Con, the word is choice – there are hundreds of options when choosing which panels to go. (By our rough count there are more than 700 separate panels on the programming tracks.) But before you succumb to numbness in the face of such bounty here’s PW’s guide to the must see comics-related programming; and at the end you’ll find a list of where to find PW’s own Heidi McDonald and Calvin Reid at the show.
While these panels may not have the line-ups of the showbiz extravaganzas in Hall H, we still advise showing up at least half an hour early to make sure you get a seat.
Thursday, July 24
2:00pm – 3:00pm Jules Feiffer Goes Noir Room 9
Oscar-Pulitzer-Eisner Hall of Fame winner Feiffer is still breaking ground in his 80s, and historians Mark Evanier and Paul Levitz talk to him about his first full length graphic novel, kill My Mother.
3:00pm – 4:00pm Gene Luen Yang in Conversation with Scott McCloud Room 28DE
Two extremely lucid comics master in conversation? Where do we get in line!
3:30pm – 4:30pm DC Comics: Batman 75: Legends of the Dark Knight Room 6BCF
You’ll definitely need to get in line for this rare appearance of all the Bat-masters, Neal Adams, Greg Capullo, Geoff Johns, Jim Lee, Frank Miller, Grant Morrison, Denny O'Neil, and Scott Snyder.
7:30pm – 8:30pm The Lost 1978 Comic Book Documentary Room 26AB
John Siuntres (Word Balloon Comics Podcast host) and Mark Waid (Thrillbent Comics) present a rarely seen documentary from the 70s about comics…narrated by comedian Jonathan Winters?
Friday, July 25
11:00am – 12:00pm Where Is the Love? The Strange Disappearance of Romance Comics Room 28DE
Michelle Nolan (Love on the Racks), Colleen Coover (Gingerbread Girl), and moderator Douglas Wolk (Reading Comics) discuss the history of the once thriving romance genre. Is love on the way back?
1:00pm – 2:00pm CBLDF: Dr. Wertham's War on Comics Room 30CDE
Prof. Carol Tilley presents more information on her stunning research into the flawed methodology of the man who nearly killed comics in America.
2:30pm – 3:30pm Comics Arts Conference Session #8: Who Created Batman? Room 26AB
While Bob Kane’s name is on every Batman story, who really created all the mythology of arguably the most popular superhero of all times? Dr. Travis Langley (Batman and Psychology: A Dark and Stormy Knight) asks Tom Andrae (Batman & Me), Brad Ricca (Super Boys), Athena Finger (The Cape Creator: A Tribute to Bill Finger), Marc Tyler Nobleman (Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman), Denny O'Neil (Batman), Arlen Schumer (The Silver Age of Comic Book Art), Jens Robinson (CartoonArts International), Michael Uslan (The Dark Knight films), and Nicky Wheeler-Nicholson(granddaughter of DC Comics's founder). Expect some surprising answers.
3:00pm – 4:00pm Words and Pictures Room 9
This golden age of graphic novels is discussed by some of the best: moderator Lev Grossman talks to Michael Cho (Shoplifter), Faith Erin Hicks(Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong), Lucy Knisley (Relish), Jen Wang (In Real Life), and Gene Luen Yang (The Shadow Hero).
4:30pm – 5:30pm Humor in Graphic Novels and Illustration Room 26AB
What so funny about comics? Drew Friedman (Old Jewish Comedians), Lisa Hanawalt (My Dumb Dirty Eyes) and Mimi Pond (Over Easy) yuk it up with The Comics Reporter’s Tom Spurgeon.
Saturday, July 26
2:00pm – 3:00pm Benoît Peeters: Architects of the Obscure Cities Part 1 Room 4
Comic-Con has long presented some of the greatest cartoonists from abroad and Benoît Peeters and Francois Schuiten make a very rare appearance in the US, on a panel moderated by Stephen Smith (translator of Schuiten and Peeters's The Leaning Girl, publisher of Alaxis Press).
3:00pm – 4:00pm 30 Years of Usagi Yojimbo! Room 28DE
Stan Sakai, creator of Usagi Yojimbo, is a national treasure.
7:00pm – 8:00pm Best and Worst Manga of 2014 Room 23ABC
A yearly tradition, with occasional PW contributors Brigid Alverson, David Brothers, Christopher Butcher , and Deb Aoki dishing on what’s happening in the world of manga.
Sunday, July 27
11:00am – 12:00pm Middle Grade Extravaganza Room 25ABC
A who’s who of kids comics with: Paul Pope (The Rise of Aurora West), Dav Pilkey (Captain Underpants), Rachel Renee Russell (The Dork Diaries), Brandon Mull (Sky Raiders), E. J. Altbacker (Shark Wars), Pseudonymous Bosch (Bad Magic), and P. Craig Russell (The Graveyard Book) in conversation with David Mariotte of Mysterious Galaxy.
2:00pm – 3:00pm Cover Story: The Art of the Cover Room 25ABC
Getting into the nitty gritty of making comics, Mark Evanier talks with Mark Brooks (Amazing Spider-Man, The New X-Men), Amanda Conner (Power Girl, Harley Quinn), Jae Lee (Before Watchmen, Batman/Superman), Stan Sakai (Usagi Yojimbo, 47 Ronin), and Fiona Staples (Saga, Trick 'r Treat). Moderated by Mark Evanier.
And if these panels were not enough, come see the PWCW team at these panels:
Thursday, July 24
4:00pm – 5:00pm The 9th Annual All-Star Comic Book Podcasters Panel Room 28DE
Get ready for a no-holds-barred debate/discussion of the current state of the geek marketplace. Like sports reporters at the World Series or Super Bowl, these podcast hosts voice their opinions on their weekly shows, but what happens when they face each other, and may not get the last word on a subject? Featuring John Siuntres (Word Balloon), Heath Corson (The Nerdist Writers Panel-Comics Edition), Calvin Reid (Publisher's Weekly Comics World), Tim Beyers (The Motley Fool), John Mayo(Comic Book Page), and Glen Weldon (NPR Pop Culture Happy Hour).
Friday, July 25
10:00am - 11:00am Publishers Weekly: Behind the Digital Line Room 28DE
As digital comics have become a driving force of the medium, more publishers and creators have launched digital first lines of comics. How do publishers and creators deal with the unique properties of the web and tablet? How do readers react? Are they an evolution from webcomics or their own medium? And how will technological evolution affect storytelling as more choices arise? PW's Calvin Reid discusses the digital evolution with the people behind digital lines, including Aces Weekly's David Lloyd, Monkeybrain's Alison Baker, New Paradigm's Brandon Perlow, Black Mask Studio's Matt Pizzolo, and Sequential's Russell Willis.
1:00pm – 2:00pm The Future of Geek Room 28DE
Will comics' takeover of pop culture continue, or has geek peaked? Industry-watchers Heidi MacDonald (The Beat), Rob Salkowitz (Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture), and Tim Beyers (Motley Fool) follow the money in conventions, movies, and publishing to forecast the future of the fandom business. John Siuntres (Word Balloon podcast) moderates.
3:00pm - 4:00pm Walking the Line: An Investigation into Alternative vs. Mainstream Comics and Beyond Room 28DE
Calvin Reid (Publishers Weekly editor) moderates a panel with Nick Abadzis (author of The Cigar That Fell in Love with a Pipe, Titan's Doctor Who comic series, and the award-winning graphic novel Laika) Frank Cammuso (author of The Misadventures of Salem Hyde series), Kazu Kibuishi (writer and artist of the Amulet series, and editor of the Explorer series) and Gene Luen Yang (writer and artist of the graphic novel Boxers & Saints) about the overlap between mainstream and alternative comics, and the possibility of a greater collaboration between the two.
4:00pm – 5:00pm Brands Gone Geek: How Media and Marketers Are Harnessing the Might of the Superfan Room 25ABC
Geek culture is winning the war for the hearts, minds, and wallets of consumers. Comic book-inspired stories dominate both the box office and overnight ratings. Major brands are doubling down on their embrace of geek-centric content and its creators. Yesterday's nerds are today's key decision makers across all business sectors. What does this all mean for a marketplace that strives to remain relevant? How are producers and publishers of content responsible for turning you into a "superfan" reacting and responding to the challenge? And how are brands and advertisers working together with industry advocates-including your friendly neighborhood comic shop-to keep the "comic" in "comic culture"? Bonfire Agency and a diverse panel of pop culture professionals present a lively discussion and debate. Panelists include publisher Filip Sablik (BOOM! Studios), journalist Heidi MacDonald (The Beat, Publishers Weekly), entertainment marketer Jeff Dellinger (Hero Complex), author Rob Salkowitz (Comic Con and the Business of Pop Culture), comics retailer Joe Field (Flying Colors Comics) media strategist Kris Longo (Geek Riot Media), and Ed Catto (Bonfire Agency). Moderated by Steve Rotterdam, former senior VP of sales & marketing at DC Comics and founding partner of Bonfire Agency.
Saturday, July 26
6:00pm - 7:00pm Comics Journalism: The Hulk Takes a Butt Selfie and You Won't Believe What Happens Next Room 23ABC
It's the annual comics journalism panel, and despite what you may have heard, comics journalists are still alive. Are they well? You'll find out with The Beat's Heidi MacDonald, Bleeding Cool's Rich Johnston, and Comics Reporter's Tom Spurgeon, as they are joined by Eisner Award-nominated Matt Meylikhov of Multiversity, Joshua Yehl of IGN, and Jill Pantozzi of The Mary Sue to talk about what's new in comics and what's new in covering them.
Sunday, July 27
3:00pm - 4:00pm Fictionalized Nonfiction: The Art of Combining Fact and Fiction Room 32AB
The Beat's Heidi MacDonald will get today's best literary cartoonists to spill their guts on just how they use moments and memories from their lives with actual facts from the time period and how they combine everything into the art of nonfiction or the fictitious memoir. Gilbert Hernandez is the cartoonist behind Marble Season, Bumperhead, and Love and Rockets that touches on his childhood but never tells the full story of his life as one of the famous Hernandez Brothers. Mimi Pond's Over Easy tells the story of Madge, an art school drop out in the '70s when hippy met punk, a story close to her own life. David Lasky's The Carter Family is a biography of the first superstar group of country. MacDonald will ask: Do they draw likenesses from memories or from photographs? Do they take liberties with the facts to tell a more engrossing story? "Fictionalized Nonfiction" will peek into the creative process of today's leading graphic novelists.
4:00pm - 5:00pm Publishers Weekly: Creating Great Graphic Novel Events in Libraries Room 32AB
Librarians love graphic novels, and graphic novels make for great library events! LIbrary events create more opportunities for everyone by getting more people reading graphic novels, promoting comics to a lasting audience, and bringing the excitement of 21st-century pop culture events to the library setting. Join a spectrum of creators, librarians, and retailers who explain how these events are changing comics and how you can put one on at your own library. With Karen Green (Columbia University), Sven Larson (Papercutz), Jack Baur (Berkeley Public Library), Erwin Magbanua (San Diego Public Library), and others, with moderator Heidi MacDonald (Publishers Weekly, The Beat).