Comics are still a thing at SDCC, right?
With Comic Con bearing down on us like an 80-ton gorilla,* we've got a pretty complete list of the comic-focused panels that'll be happening next week. Jokes in the intro aside, Comic Con is the prime place to feel the crush of thousands of fellow comic fans from around the country. All of the toy, animation, video game, TV, and film coverage aside, Comic Con remains an institution to get excited about art in panels, about nearly a century worth of characters in print across publishers big and small among a vast array of beloved creators old and new. Not to get too sappy, but for all of the stress of actually covering a convention this size, I always have that core excitement about being in the big hall, surrounded by a bunch of people who maybe made the trip across the country or across the globe because they still like seeing Spider-Man swinging across NYC at Marvel or can't get enough of Batman putting the boot to dude's faces at DC.
All that out of the way, you can find the list of panels below, as well as a little bit of commentary on what I'm interested in checking out.
*What does that crazy moon talk even mean? I think Con craziness may have already set in. Still, if you see me, don't let that stop you from saying hello.
Planet of the Apes in Comics Present and Past— Planet of the Apes has come back to comics this year, thanks to BOOM! Studios. Current Planet of the Apes comics editor Ian Brill and writer Daryl Gregory talk about the new series, along with Tom Mason, who served as Malibu Comics' creative director and oversaw the last big Apes explosion. Learn what's next for Planet of the Apes and secrets behind the past of this comic franchise.
I'd really like to think that we're now in a ten-year cycle of PoTA boom and bust. Anyway, BOOM! isn't the only company in the Apes business with the new reboot/prequel coming out next month as well as the novel from Archaia. I'm hoping BOOM! gets some mileage out of the license that deserves to get dusted off every few years for a new batch of fans.
IDW and Hasbro: 2012 Transformations— What's coming up in IDW's Transformers, G.I. Joe, and Dungeons & Dragons titles? More important, who's taking over stewardship of Transformers and G.I. Joe? Find out as IDW's newest editor makes his presence known, alongside IDW's editorial team and creators such as Mike Costa, Livio Ramondelli, and more surprise guests! Also, get word of a new license being announced today!
Marvel: Breaking into Comics the Marvel Way— You have the talent. You have the imagination. You have the "Go get 'em Tiger" determination that would make the Bullpen proud. But where do you go from there? Discover the next step in your budding comics career with world-renowned talent scout C. B. Cebulski, artists Skottie Young (Ozma of Oz) and Humberto Ramos (Amazing Spider-Man), and Marvel SVP of brand planning & communications Mike Pasciullo, as they give you all the right pointers toward getting a foot in the door at Marvel Comics. Discussing all entry points across every department, this panel is must for all Marvel hopefuls!
DC: Talent Search— Join DC's Editorial Art Director, Mark Chiarello, for an informative orientation session that will explain how DC's Talent Search works and discuss the different needs of the DC Comics, Vertigo and MAD Magazine. If you want to learn what DC Comics looks for in artists and how to improve your chances of becoming a working professional, then this is the panel for you! In order to have your work reviewed, attendance at this orientation session is mandatory. (Please note: Not all attendees are guaranteed a one-on-one review.)
Spotlight on Joyce Brabner— Is she the glacial, humorless activist as portrayed in the film American Splendor or just the person who published the first comic on the Internet? Come hear Comic-Con special guest Joyce Brabner talk about her latest projects, including finishing the work of her late husband Harvey Pekar and dealing with his legacy.
When's the last time you saw the film American Splendor? You didn't? Hope Davis kills it in. Kills.
Bongo Comics Sneak Peek— Bongo Comics offers a mouthwatering preview of upcoming projects featuring The Simpsons and Futurama and a few other surprises. Managing editor Terry Delegeane and creative director Bill Morrison host the writers and artists who create the comics and books based on Matt Groening's phenomenal TV shows. Find out what's in the future for Futurama Comics, what to surmise about Simpsons Comics, and how to get more connected than ever before. And join Sergio Aragonés as he presents his new humor monthly Sergio Aragonés Funnies. This is a must-attend panel for all fans of The Simpsons and Futurama, and anyone looking for a place to sit down!
DC: Flashpoint— Everything you know will change in a Flash! Flashpoint, the blockbuster comics event of the summer, has turned the DC Universe inside out! Join DC Comics Executive Editor, Eddie Berganza, and some of the amazing talent behind Flashpoint for a panel that's sure to pose new questions about this explosive event even as it answers others!
Flashpoint is almost over. But good on DC for taking some time out of the con to get people psyched about the last issue before turning the lights out on the current incarnation of the DCU.
Spreading The Darkness: From Comic Book to Video Games and Entertainment— In a world of comic book icons, The Darkness has not only stood the test of time but flourished in various forms of media. Celebrate the upcoming 15th anniversary of The Darkness with the creators that know Jackie Estacado and his world the best. The Darkness creator Marc Silvestri (X-Men/Dark Avengers: Utopia) and team members from Digital Extremes and 2K Games discuss not only the comic but the upcoming video game, The Darkness II, arriving in October. Plus special surprise guests! And be the first to hear about an exciting announcement regarding The Darkness in other media.
Looking into my crystal ball, with no sources other than my active imagination, I'm guessing we might hear the announcement of a Darkness movie. Or maybe it'll join Witchblade as another Top Cow title with an animated series. Either way, I'm down to check it out.
Dark Horse: Fall Publishing Highlights— Three supersecret surprise megastars from the entertainment and publishing worlds (revealed on Preview Night at the Dark Horse booth) discuss their thrilling new comics at this special panel. Discover their spine-tingling new projects coming in fall 2011 and get an exclusive San Diego Comic-Con print, which you'll be able to see larger than life at the Dark Horse booth!
Dumbrella— Artists from Dumbrella, one of the most popular online comic collectives, discuss webcomics, independent publishing, and subverting popular culture. Feel free to quiz Andrew Bell (The Creatures in My Head), Meredith Gran (Octopus Pie), Jon Rosenberg (Goats), and Chris Yates (Chris Yates Studios) about anything your Internet heart desires.
DC Comics: Grant Morrison— Comic-Con special guest Grant Morrison, one of the most inventive writers in comics today, discusses his work in and out of comics, including the highly anticipated Action Comics #1, coming in September from DC Comics, his new nonfiction book, Supergods: What Masked Vigilantes, Miraculous Mutants, and a Sun God from Smallville Can Teach Us About Being Human, and recent acclaimed titles like Joe the Barbarian. Don't miss this chance to hear one of comics' most distinctive voices as he talks about his work from superheroes to the cutting edge of comics.
Marvel Digital: What's Next?! Comics...and Beyond!— Members of the Marvel Digital Media Group give you the first word on Marvel digital comics, casual games, original streaming video productions, social media outreach, and the future of Marvel's ever-expanding digital endeavors.
SKYBOUND Panel— It's been an amazing year for SKYBOUND, Image COO Robert Kirkman's imprint at Image Comics. The premiere original Witch Doctor has sold out nationwide, the all-ages hit Super Dinosaur continues to soar, and Kirkman's team-up with Rob Liefeld, The Infinite, is about to rock fans to their core. So what's next? Robert Kirkman discusses the future of the imprint with his stable of creators, including Thief of Thieves writer Nick Spencer, Witch Doctor creators Brandon Seifert and Lukas Ketner, and others. Expect loads of surprises, announcements, and most important: AWESOMENESS.
You know who the new Stan Lee is? Robert Kirkman. I'm not comparing the two guys in terms of creative output or legacy, but Kirkman seems to be the guy picking up the mantle of the modern hype man for comics. If even you don't read his books, you probably know about them, and he's not afraid to lob a few bombs the competition's way to keep people talking. You have to respect that.
Archaia Entertainment: Immortals, the Graphic Novel— Before you watch Relativity Media's epic 3D film Immortals when it opens on November 11, dive into Archaia's prelude graphic novel, Immortals: Gods and Heroes, coming in September! Featuring original tales that expand on the movie's characters and written and illustrated by some of the top names in comics, Immortals: Gods and Heroes promises to prepare you for the visionary film directed by Tarsem Singh (The Cell, The Fall). Editor Nate Cosby (Jim Henson's The Storyteller) and contributors Dennis Calero (X-Factor), F. J. DeSanto (The Spirit), David Mack (Kabuki), Ron Marz (Witchblade), Jim McCann (Return of the Dapper Men), Ben McCool (Captain America), and some surprise guests give you a sneak peek at the graphic novel, plus provide some cool behind-the-scenes info of its production. Meet the two winners of the "Become Immortal" contest, whose likenesses will be drawn into the book. Plus, everyone in attendance will receive a voucher for a cool Immortals: Gods and Heroes giveaway at the Archaia booth! Moderated by Archaia editor-in-chief Stephen Christy.
Stan Lee, Yoshiki, and Todd McFarlane— The worlds of music and comics collide, as legendary creators Stan Lee (POW! Entertainment) and Todd McFarlane (Spawn) join forces with rock superstar, Yoshiki (X Japan) to create a bold new hero, Blood Red Dragon. Lee, Yoshiki, and McFarlane are joined by renowned writer Jon Goff (Halo Evolutions) for a captivating panel and Q&A session.
AICN Comics: Horror on the Paneled Page— Mark L. Miller (Ain't It Cool News) hosts a panel focusing on horror with some of comic books' darkest writers and artists. The discussion will breach such topics as how to create successful horror comics, what causes chills, and what doesn't. Steve Niles (30 Days of Night), Joshua Hale Fialkov (DC's upcoming I, Vampire), David Quinn (Faust), Tim Seeley (Hack/Slash), Brandon Seifert (Witch Doctor), Matt Pizzolo (Godkiller), Brea and Zane Grant (We Will Bury You), Terrence Zdunich (The Molting), and a few surprise guests who will show you what makes them the best of the best in comic book horror.
The output at AICN isn't normally my thing, but if someone says they're going to get a bunch of horror comic creators together to talk shop, I'm in.
DC Comics - The New 52— DC Comics explodes in September with 52 new number one issues and one panel is not enough to cover it! With a "DC Comics - The New 52" panel each day, there's sure to be something for everyone! Join Dan DiDio, DC Entertainment Co-Publisher, Bob Harras, DC's Editor-in-Chief, and DC Comics Executive Editor, Eddie Berganza, for an up-close look at this unprecedented wave of new series, from the first-ever re-launches of Action Comics and Batman titles to the latest thrills from comics' cutting-edge!
Presentation preview: lots of enigmatic slides, some elliptical teases, and no real answers as to what the hay is going on with "The New 52."
Love and Rockets— Gilbert, Jaime, and Mario Hernandez converse with Gary Groth about 30 years of creating their landmark comic book series, Love & Rockets. Since 1982, Love & Rockets has virtually defined alternative comics and culture, launching from the punk rock scene in Los Angeles and growing into one of the most mature bodies of work ever produced in the medium
Sergio and Mark Show— It's that time again: The Eisner Award-winning folks who bring you Groo the Wanderer and other silly comics tell you what they're working on and why it isn't out yet. Sergio Aragonés and Mark Evanier, along with Stan Sakai and Tom Luth, answer your questions, tell strange stories, and reveal the dread secret of Sergio's mustache.
IDW Publishing Presents: The Greatest Panel of All Time— New creator-owned books? Ever-larger licensed titles? All-new creators, and even some major crossover events? How about prizes just for attending? Yep, you'll find all that and more, in The Greatest Panel of All Time. CCO Chris Ryall, editor Scott Dunbier, and creators Chris Roberson, Eric Powell, and Steve Niles, along with MC Dirk Wood, present a gamelike atmosphere as they spin the wheel on projects coming in 2011 and 2012. Come on down!
DC: Batman— Batman, Robin, Nightwing, Batwoman, and the rest of Gotham City's greatest crimefighters take things to the next level in September with new battles and new titles. Get to know the writers and artists behind these exciting new comics, including Batman Group Editor Mike Marts, Editor Bobbie Chase, Grant Morrison (Batman Incorporated), Chris Burnham (Batman Incorporated), David Finch (Batman: The Dark Knight), Scott Snyder (Detective Comics), Peter Tomasi (Batman & Robin), Patrick Gleason (Batman & Robin), Gail Simone (Batgirl), Judd Winick (Batwing, Catwoman), Kyle Higgins (Deathstroke), Paul Jenkins, Gregg Hurwitz and others answer your questions at this exclusive Bat-panel. Moderated by John Cunningham.
Pretty all-star panel there. I hope they come prepared with an answer as to how/when Morrison's Batman Inc. will be concluded.
True Stories— Chester Brown (Paying for It), Tom Devlin (art director of D&Q), Peter Kuper (Stop Forgetting to Remember), Leland Myrick (Feynman), and Thomas LeBien (publisher of Hill & Wang's Novel Graphics line) discuss the ins and outs of nonfiction graphic novel stories. What are the lines between truth and fiction when images are involved in a story? Moderated by Scott McCloud (Understanding Comics).
Avatar Press: Special News and Q&A— Here's your chance to meet the creative minds behind Avatar Press, the industry's most groundbreaking, risk-taking publisher! Hosted by editor-in-chief William Christensen, this panel includes Jacen Burrows, whose atmospheric artwork terrified readers of Garth Ennis's Crossed and Alan Moore's Neonomicon, and Brian Pulido, whose cult favorite Lady Death series provides the backbone to the sexy and action-packed Boundless Comics line. Find out what new terrors this rogue publisher will unleash in the months ahead, and get your questions answered.
Kodansha Comics— Representatives from the largest publisher in Japan discuss the exciting manga they'll be releasing in the coming months. Kumi Shimizu of Kodansha USA talks with Dallas Middaugh about the imprint's upcoming books, such as Bloody Monday, Cage of Eden, Love Hina, and, of course, Sailor Moon!
BOOM! Irredeemable/Incorruptible Panel— Mark Waid's bestselling, multiple sell-out Irredeemable has taken comic fans by storm, becoming one of the top-selling independent comics of the last several years. Mark Waid discusses Irredeemable's beginnings, the future of the series, and its sister series, Incorruptible. Big announcements will be made at this not-to-be-missed panel for any fan of these books!
You know what's nice-looking? That big Irredeemable omnibus.
Marvel: Next Big Thing— The Marvel Universe is where the biggest comic stories happen -- so wouldn't you like to be the first to know what Marvel has planned? Get the latest news on Marvel's plans for their biggest heroes and villains, with some surprises along the way. Panelists Greg Pak (Incredible Hulks), Jonathan Hickman (FF), Jim McCann (Marvel Zombies Christmas Carol), Nick Spencer (Ultimate X), editor-in-chief Axel Alonso, and others answer all your burning questions while giving you a sneak peek at the future of Marvel.
MAD Men— What's up with America 's most famous humor magazine (that is, if you don't count Newsweek)? Your genial moderator Mark Evanier quizzes the Usual Gang of Idiots: editor John Ficarra, art director Sam Viviano, writer Dick DeBartolo and artists Sergio Aragonés, Peter Kuper, Tom Richmond, and Keith Knight.
True story: as a kid I didn't like MAD I read Cracked, it's ugly, dumb cousin.
New Publisher Kickstart Comics!— An in-depth look at new and upcoming releases from Kickstart Comics, a discussion of TV and feature film plans with sister company Kickstart Productions, and Q&A with Kickstart Comic creators Jimmy Palmiotti (Jonah Hex), Mark Sable (Grounded, Unthinkable), Adam Freeman band Marc Bernardin (Monster Attack Network, Genius), Josh Williamson (Endangered, Mirror, Mirror), Phil Eisner (Event Horizon, Bad Guys), Matt Maiellaro (creator, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Knowbodys) and Jack Monaco (Pushing Daisies, Book of Lilah). Great giveaways, too!
Creepy and Eerie: Comics That Can Still Scare You!— Discuss the new Dark Horse Creepy series, the classic age of the Warren Creepy and Eerie magazines, and all the exciting things coming up in the Creepy universe with a bone-chilling panel including Jason Shawn Alexander (Abe Sapien), Overstreet's J. C. Vaughn (Doctor Solar), artist Nathan Fox (Haunt), and classic Creepy and Eerie cover artist Ken Kelly and writer Bruce Jones (Checkmate). Moderated by New Comic Company's twin engines Dan Braun (Creepy) and Josh Braun (A History of Violence). Plus, there will be Creepy trivia questions with extraordinary swag and prizes!
Vertigo Editorial— They come from the cutting edge of comics...and Vertigo has never been edgier, with thought-provoking titles from some of comics' most acclaimed creators. Don't miss this panel featuring Scott Snyder (American Vampire), Jeff Lemire (Sweet Tooth), Michael Allred (iZombie), Mark Buckingham (Fables), Les Klinger (Annotated Sandman), Rebecca Guay (A Flight of Angels), Colleen Doran (Gone to Amerika), Bill Willingham (Fables), and many others. This is your opportunity to learn more about the entire Vertigo line. Hosted by Vertigo executive editor Karen Berger.
Arcana Comics: A Look at One of the World's Largest Graphic Novel Publishers— Sean Patrick O'Reilly (Clockwork Girl), Josh Blaylock (Devil's Due), Erik Hendrix (SideShows), Mike Kalvoda (Banshee), Brooke Burgess (Becoming), Matt Wilson (Scrooge & Santa), and Ryan Colucci (Harbor Moon) take you through some of the amazing talent coming out of one of the world's largest graphic novel producers. With over 150 graphic novels released, find out what the publisher currently has coming in the near future and get a sneak peak at the 3D animated feature film Clockwork Girl, Arcana's slate of interactive apps, and more. See how independent publishers make their mark in the comic book industry and blur the lines between mediums, Arcana style. Attendees will get free comics and the first in a series of Arcana Universe posters.