The Racialicious Comic-Con Preview

By Arturo R. García

For the purposes of our site, the big difference between this year’s San Diego Comic-Con and last year’s edition is this: only one panel out of the hundreds being offered will deal specifically with racial issues.

That one panel, by the way, will be Reginald Hudlin’s annual “Black Panel,” scheduled for bright and early Saturday morning. TBP has developed a reputation for being, shall we say, free-wheeling. But the blurb for this year promises, “The focus will be on empowerment, education, real-world networking, and finally but never last, fun.”

And that’s it. Quite the disturbing trend, considering that last year’s con saw two diversity-related panels, featuring the likes of Secret Identities‘ Jeff Yang, Milestone Universe creator Dwayne McDuffie, Star Trek‘s Faran Tahir, among others. There’s also no spotlight for NBC’s new POC spy drama Undercovers. But as you’ll see below, this looks to be a banner year for the LGBT community at the Con.

Thursday
10:30 am: Divas and Golden Lassoes: The LGBT Obsession with Super Heroines. Dealing with gay fans’ “worship” of female superheroes. Given that premise, this looks to be an especially timely discussion, given Wonder Woman’s recent makeover. Room 8.
11:30 am – 12:30 pm: DC Nation Convention Kickoff! Attend this panel or another Asian character dies! Room 6CDE.
12 – 1pm: Gamera, The Invincible! File this under nostalgic kitsch for yours truly, as Japan’s second biggest G finally gets some shine – and his own DVD releases! Room 32AB.
3:30 – 4:30pm: Spotlight on Keith Knight. The first POC spotlight of the weekend goes to the “gentleman cartoonist,” who is marking the release of his first daily strip collection, The Knight Life: Chivalry Ain’t Dead. Room 3.
4:30 – 5:30pm: DC Comics’ 75th Anniversary. Attend this panel or a pink, green or blue character dies! Room 6CDE.
5:30 – 6:30pm: Manga: Lost In Translation. Given the manga industry’s recent slump, this panel takes on added significance. Room 3.
6 – 7pm: Writing Queer: Creating and Writing LGBT Characters. A primer on avoiding non-stereotypical gay characters. Room 32AB.

Friday
10:30 – 11:30am: Spotlight on Moto Hagio. The woman behind shojo (young girl) manga like The Poe Clan, They Were Eleven, The Heart of Thomas, and others makes her first U.S. trip for this event. Room 5AB.
1:30 – 2:30pm: SHIFTing Gears: Tim Kring & Zach Quinto. Either our old pal Mr. Quinto is exceedingly loyal, or … well, let’s not try to speculate here. Room 5AB.
5:15 – 6:15pm: True Blood. Yes, I will try to get into this one. Ballroom 20.
6:30 – 7:30pm: The Future Of Manga. A visual presentation of, perhaps, what those other panels might have mentioned by this point. Room 3.
7:00 – 8:00pm: America’s Greatest Otaku. Tokyopop seemingly tries to find the answer for the previous panel like any good brand would: with a reality show! Room 8.
Full disclosure: starting at 8:30pm, yours truly will be the house DJ for an event outside the convention center, a tweet-up sponsored by the Geek Girls Network. Please click the link and stop by – preferably with rum.

Saturday
10 – 11am: The Black Panel. As noted above, this year the event bills itself as something a bit more empowering. We’ll have to see      out that. Room 5AB.
11am – 12pm: Spotlight on Jillian Tamaki. She landed a nod from the New York Times for Best Illustrated Book for her graphic novel Skim. Room 3.
12:30 – 1:45pm: DC Universe: Event Horizon – Ian Sattler. I gotta admit, half of the draw here is wondering what inappropriateness Mr. Sattler comes up with here. Room 6A.
3 – 4pm: Avatar: The Last Airbender Fan Gathering. If you’re a fan of the show, this is a good support opportunity for you. Santa Rosa Room, Marriott Hotel and Marina.
5:15 – 6:15pm: Nikita Pilot Screening and Q&A. Here’s a chance to see Maggie Q spying it up … before her character, uh, I won’t spoil it, but she takes a turn. Room 6BCF.
5:45 – 7:15pm: Gays In Comics. Interesting to note here that DC Comics’ Chief Creative Officer, Geoff Johns will be on the panel, as will Marjorie Liu, whose work on Dark Wolverine spotlighted the X-Man’s villainous bisexual son Daken, who’s shown no hesitation to use his sexuality “on the job.” Panel will be followed by a mixer. Room 6A.
6:30 – 7:30pm: Ghetto Comics One On One. Seemingly the only panel devoted to a comic with a black lead character, in this case, The Adventures Of Captain Save A Hood and Peter Proper. Room 9.

Sunday
10 – 11am: Manga Drawing For Kids. The team from eigoMANGA helps prep the next generation’s creators. Room 30CDE.
11:30am – 12:30pm: Yoshitaka Amano. Dark Horse Comics welcomes the creator of Vampire Hunter D to discuss his newest work, Shinjuku. Room 8.

And … uh, that’s it. As ever, there’ll be more people to talk to on the floor, so look out for updates throughout the convention, as well as my own snarky commentary.

So, any of our readers making the trip out here?