By Arturo R. García
As mentioned last week, Racialicious is proud to join a bunch of other fine folks in presenting The Slants’ two-night stand in San Diego during this week’s Comic-Con.
But what about the rest of the convention? As it turns out, when it comes to POC-centric offerings, this year’s event is front-loaded compared to years past.
10 a.m.: Racebending: Creating Spaces for Diverse Characters and Representations
The team behind the Last Airbender boycott return with a panel looking at diversity from the standpoint of creators, featuring veteran TV writer and showrunner Javier Grillo-Marxuach, author and Marvel Comics standout Marjorie Liu, novelist Sarah Kuhn, video game writer David Gaider, Glyph Award nominee Brandon Thomas and Hugo and Nebula Award-nominee N.K. Jemisin, who will also be the subject of her own spotlight panel Thursday. Room 23ABC.
And because the Comic-Con schedulers have a rather cruel sense of humor, this panel is on opposite what sounds like a fascinating session. I’ll post the description from the program:
10:30 a.m.: Subaltern Counterculture and the Strengths of the Underdog
Antonio Chavarria (Museum of Indian Arts & Culture) and painter Mateo Romero, looking specifically at the “Comic Art Indigene” museum exhibition, discuss the appeal of the “marginal” art of comics to oft-marginalized indigenous people, arguing that, deposited in ethnic or cultural categories, comic and Native art are ethnographic texts, social commentary, commercial enterprise, and ultimately, “fine” art. Sam Cannon (University of Texas at Austin) looks at Daniel Muñoz’s detective series El Pantera, analyzing the textual and visual aspects of how Mexico City informs the actions of its own subaltern hero to show that the medium of the comic can uniquely portray the relationship between urban spaces, subaltern subjects, and heroes. Ayanna Dozier (Chapman University) examines the physical and racial identity of the X-Men’s Storm, arguing that Storm’s personification and physical appearances manage to be a cultural signifier throughout her near 40-year history and emphasizing the importance of what we can learn about our society’s cultural practices and traditions through the “body” of Storm. Kane Anderson (University of California, Santa Barbara) uses cyborg theory and questions of the posthuman to ask how cybernetics mediate race in superhero comic book stories. If comics rely heavily on the visual to communicate to the reader, then to what degree can a character half-black/half-chrome be considered black? Room 26AB
There’s another tough decision to make at noon:
12 p.m. How to Better Understand the Sociology Behind Cosplay
Professional costume designer and cosplayer Yaya Han delves into what should be a more thorough look at not just design tips, but cosplay as a scene unto its own within fandom. Room 2
12 p.m.: Spotlight on N.K. Jemisin
The Brooklyn native and author of the Inheritance trilogy gets some solo shine. And not only is she a novelist, she’s also a progressive blogger in her own right. Room 7AB.
1 p.m.: Street Fighter 25th Anniversary Celebration
Worth noting only so we can all feel our ages a little bit, together. Anybody got their Super NES handy? Room 6BCF.
6:30 p.m.: Lost in Translation
No, you won’t see Bill Murray doing karaoke (at least here; he’s known to turn up in the most random places); this panel will instead focus on helping freelancers figure out how to navigate the turbulent manga economy. Room 26AB
2:15 p.m: Dule Hill (Psych), Ballroom 20
3:30 p.m.: Kristin Kreuk (Beauty and the Beast), Ballroom 20
4:40 p.m.: Lucy Liu (Elementary), Ballroom 20
5 p.m.: Aisha Tyler (Archer), Indigo Ballroom, Hilton San Diego Bayfront
6 p.m.: Maggie Q & Lyndsy Fonseca (Nikita), Room 6BCF
10 a.m.: The Black Panel
After last year’s tribute to Dwayne McDuffie, Michael Davis’ annual panel looks to take on a different tone: not only will Shaquille O’Neal be on hand, but so will Reginald Hudlin and … Jamie Kennedy? Uh oh. Room 5AB.
11:15 a.m.: Nickelodeon’s Legend of Korra
The cast and creators of the fan-favorite show converge for a chat and a live reading of a scene from the show directed by Andrea Romano, who’s helmed several of the great DC Animated features. Ballroom 20.
1 p.m.: Jason Shiga Master Session:
Organized by the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, the creator of works like Bookhunter and Grave of the Crickets “showcases his working methods,” drawing pieces that will be auctioned by the CBLDF Saturday night. Room 11AB.
2 p.m.: Keith Knight’s Nappy Hour
Now in its third year, this has become one of my favorite panels at the convention, thanks to the simple set-up: Knight and his kitchen timer run through a melange of topics and trust both the panelists – journalist Calvin Reid, artist and academic John Jennings and comic creator C. Spike Trotman – to keep up. Room 24ABC
2:30 p.m.: Spotlight on Chew
The Image comic by Rob Guillory and John Layman has won multiple awards and could be heading to our televisions soon. Room 8
4 p.m.: Black Dynamite
Based on Michael Jai White’s blacksploitation film from three years ago, BD’s story moves to Adult Swim, and White will be joined by castmates Tommy Davidson, Orlando Jones, Kym Whitley, Byron Minns and Cedric Yarbrough, with Gary Anthony Williams (who you might remember as Uncle Ruckus on The Boondocks) moderating. Indigo Ballroom, Hilton San Diego Bayfront.
7 p.m.: The 99–The Controversy Continues
Comics’ first Islamic superteam continues to attract vitriol just for existing, which will surely be touched on at this presentation, which will also include a look at a new episode of the book’s animated adaptation. Room 23ABC
7:30 p.m.: Making A Living In Manga
The great Deb Aoki moderates this look at the job market for full-time manga creators in an American scene still dominated by superheroes (and polishing superheroes up for Hollywood). Room 8.
10 a.m.: Yvette Nicole Brown and Danny Pudi, along with the new showrunners for Community. I’m sure this won’t get awkward at all. Ballroom 20.
12:45 p.m.: Vanessa Williams (666 Park Avenue), Room 6BCF