It’s that time of year again! Arturo and I are headed out to Nerd Summer Camp –also known as San Diego Comic Con– on behalf of the R. From July 24-27 we’ll be live-tweeting panels, writing recaps, interviewing creators, and getting up to all sorts of general shenanigans. You may remember that Art posted last week, asking for creators of colour to get in touch. That still applies– we want to hear from you and provide as much signal boosting as possible.
In the meantime, we’ve got our panel recommendations for Thursday and Friday listed below. You’ll be able to find panel coverage and more from the con on twitter this week via @Racialicious, @aboynamedart, and @wriglied.
Science Fiction & Fantasy Literature (11am; Room 5AB)
With both Marie Lu and Jim Butcher, this panel is a bit of a catch 22. You can go and here Lu (who is Chinese-American) talk about her great YA Legends series, but you’re also going to have to hear Butcher talk about the Dresden Files which –with his white-washing of Chicago and choie of naming a character ‘Injun Joe’– hasn’t always gone so well. The panel also features Dr. David Brin (Hugo, Locus and Nebula Award-winning author of the Uplift trilogy), Rachel Caine(NY Times bestselling author of the Morganville Vampires series), Jason Hough (NY Times bestselling author of The Darwin Elevator series), and Jonathan Maberry (NY Times bestselling author of the Joe Ledger series) discuss writing science fiction and fantasy novels and their adaptation to TV and movies.
Masters of the Web: Comic Book Movies (11:30am, Room 24ABC)
We love Manu Bennett, who just got done with a stint on the CW’s Arrow, which is our sole reason for reccing this panel on upcoming major comic book movies. Also features: John Campea(AMC Movie Talk), Jeremy Jahns (YouTube film critic), Tiffany Smith (DC All Access),Kristian Harloff and Mark Ellis (Schmoes Know), and Jon Schnepp (AMC Movie Talk).
Dreamworks Animation (11:30am, Hall H)
Dreamworks hasn’t announced any details about their huge Hall H panel, but I’m hoping they serve up a few more details or some more footage for their new animated feature starring Rhianna:
This may not be worth waiting in the Hall H line, but definitely keep an ear to the internet that afternoon.
Female Heroes, Then and Now (1:00pm, Room 32AB)
The number of panels focusing on sexism, gender, and sexuality this year is promising. One of the first here doesn’t seem to be particularly diverse, but does promise an indepth discussion on sexism, science fiction, comics, and geek culture with Heartbreakers creators Anina Bennett andPaul Guinan, along with friends Jimmy Palmiotti (Painkiller Jane), Kiala Kazebee(Vaginal Fantasy), Allison Baker (Monkeybrain Comics), and Claire Hummel (Bioshock: Infinite).
Comedy Central: Key & Peele and Introducing Moonbeam City! (1:30pm, Indigo Ballroom, Hilton Bayfront)
Key & Peele at Comic-Con! Stars Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peelebe will the upcoming season of their show (of the same name) on Comedy Central, their new animated show Moonbeam City and their unique point of view, born from “their shared background and experiences growing up biracial in a not quite post-racial world”.
A necessary panel, because clearly creating female characters is hard. This panel promises discussion on the future of female character creation for film, TV, comics, video games, and novels and examine the traps of common tropes, clichés, and stereotypes, while discussing how content creators can create wonderful, relatable, and realistic female characters with moderator Michele Brittany (West Coast Bleeding Cool News correspondent), Neo Edmund (Red Riding-Werewolf Huntress, Kaijudo Rise of the Duel Masters), Charlotte Fullerton (My Little Pony, Ben 10 Omniverse), Clare Kramer(Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Geek Nation), Marv Wolfman (Teen Titans, creator of countless comic book characters), Andrew Robinson (Kaijudo Rise of the Duel Masters, Rescue Bots), and Mairghread Scott (Transformers Prime, Rescue Bots).
The Art of Big Hero Six (2pm, Room 7AB)
Big Hero Six marks the first animated feature from the melded Disney/Marvel conglomerate. Based on a Marvel comic that debuted in 1998, the film is a cute looking, if slightly white-washed, classic tale of a boy and his robot in the fictional city of San Fransokyo. The panel features Walt Disney Animation Studios presents director Don Hall, producer Roy Conli, production designer Paul Felix and character designer Shiyoon Kim who will share the visual development of Big Hero 6.
Greendale Forever: TV Guide Magazine’s Tribute to Community (2:15pm, Ballroom 20)
I feel as if I’m one of the few people who have no need for a sixth season of this show, and definitely not on Yahoo, but here we are. If you still care about what’s happening at Greendale, this panel is probably for you– even if site favourites Troy and Abed are noticeably absent.
Instead we get Community creator Dan Harmon, executive producer Chris McKenna, and cast members Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Jim Rash and Dino Stamatopoulos.
So many panels on female characters and women, so few panels on race and diversity. (Oops, did I say that?) This panel discusses powerful women in pop culture and features Action Flick Chick Katrina Hill (Action Movie Freak) has assembled a team of women and men dangerous in their own right: Lesley Aletter (professional stuntwoman), Jenna Busch (Legion of Leia founder), Adrienne Curry (host/model/Tolkien enthusiast), Jane Espenson(Husbands), Alan Sizzler Kistler (TheMarySue.com), Bryan Q. Miller ( Batgirl), and Jennifer K. Stuller (Ink-Stained Amazon).
I highlight these “how-to” panels not for their merits of diversity (but let’s give a major shoutout to panelist and Friend of the Blog, Erika Alexander) but because they do provide good practical and realistic advice from professional writers about getting into the industry. Thursday’s features Brandon M. Easton (ThunderCats , Transformers: Rescue Bots), Geoffrey Thorne (TNT’s Leverage, Ben 10), Jonathan Callan(Ben 10, Generator Rex), animation showrunner Charlotte Fullerton (Ben 10: Omniverse), veteran screenwriter Tony Puryear (the Schwarzenegger film Eraser), and actress/writer Erika Alexander (Maxine Shaw from Living Single and co-creator/co-writer of Concrete Park, a graphic novel from Dark Horse) dishing all the inside dirt.
Breaking Barriers: Transgender Trends in Popular Culture (5pm, room 28DE)
Our first LGBTQ panel of the year includes Tara Madison Avery (Dirtheads, Gooch, Prism Comics) present panelistsDylan Edwards (Transposes), Melanie Gillman (As the Crow Flies), J. D. Saxon (Mahou Shounen Fight!), Elizabeth Lain (F*** the Limits!: The 30-Day Art Project, This Is Where),Ashley Love (Trans Forming Media, journalist, transsexual advocate), and Comic-Con special guest, famed comics historian Michelle Nolan (Love on the Racks: A History of American Romance Comics). They’ll be discussing everything from coming out and transition to navigating gender politics in a world still struggling to understand, cartoonists, writers, and filmmakers are investing their work with unique personal experiences as their characters learn to live and love in new and unexpected ways.
LGBT Geek Year in Review (6pm, Room 28DE)
It’s a shame that so many of the panels I find the most interesting are so late in the day! I’m hoping I have the energy to get to this year in review panel with LGBT activist and columnist P. Kristen Enos (Active Voice, Creatures of Grace) leads a discussion with Diane Anderson-Minshall (The Advocate), Trish Bendix (AfterEllen.com), Matt Kane (GLAAD), and Sean Z. Maker (Bent-Con).
Showtime: Penny Dreadful (6pm, Ballroom 20)
I’m not gonna lie– the idea of Aisha Tyler moderating the Penny Dreadful panel threw me for a loop. It’s a left field decision that I love, even if I don’t quite understand it. Anyway, it’s enough to get the show’s panel on our list despite it’s rather white cast. (However, the show itself is masterfully done and Eva Green is upsettingly good, if you’re looking for a quick watch this August). Tyler will moderate show stars Josh Hartnett(Ethan Chandler), Reeve Carney (Dorian Gray), and Harry Treadaway (Victor Frankenstein
Hip-Hop & Comics: Cultures Combining (7pm, Room 23ABC)
I’ve been to this panel twice at NYCC, so won’t be attending again but do fully encourage that you go see Patrick Reed’s hip-hop panel. Guests haven’t been announced yet, but in the past he’s had names like Jean Grae and Run of Run DMC joining him on stage, so it’s likely to be worth checking out.
Gender in Comics (10am, Room 4)
This panel focuses as much on gender within the books as the business side of the industry. Panelists include comics editor Janelle Asselin, ComicsAlliance.com senior editor Andy Khouri, BOOM! Studios editor Dafna Pleban, comics writer James Tynion IV (The Woods), Image comics director of trade book sales Jennifer de Guzman, and WIRED writer Laura Hudson and IDW publishing editor Sarah Gaydos.
The Black Panel (10am, Room 5AB)
So this would pretty much be the panel of the con to be at. Arturo covers the panel every year, and this year we’ll be tag teaming for a supersized panel with Orlando Jones (Sleepy Hollow, MAD TV), Ne-Yo (actor, artist, writer, singer, etc.), J. August Richards (Angel, Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Kevin Grevioux (I, Frankenstein; Underworld), Cree Summer (Batman Beyond, Rugrats, A Different World), and Erika Alexander (Living Single, Concrete Park). The Black Panel is produced by Tatiana El Khouri and hosted by its founder, Michael Davis.
Writing for TV: From First Draft to Getting Staffed (10:30am, 24ABC)
I attended this howto panel last year and found it well run, informative, and extremely entertaining. Karen Horne is the VP of NBC programming talent development and inclusion, and she’s joined by Spiro Skentzos (Grimm), Keto Shimizu (Arrow), David Schulner (Emerald City), and David Slack (Person of Interest) to talk about breaking into TV writing with a large Q&A session at the end.
Nickelodeon: Legend of Korra: Book 3 (11:15am, Ballroom 20)
I’ve never seen an episode of Avatar or Korra, but people tell me it’s a thing I should be watching. Join Executive producer and creator team Bryan Konietzko and Mike DiMartino and Janet Varney(Korra), David Faustino (Mako), P. J. Byrne (Bolin), Seychelle Gabriel (Asami), John Michael Higgins (Varrick) and Mindy Sterling (Lin Beifong) for this panel which includes an exclusive sneak peek screening of a new episode for Book 3, “Change.” Moderated by Megan Casey (VP of current series for Nickelodeon).
Milestone @ 21 (11:30am, Room 5AB)
Come for the Black Panel, stay for Milestone! They’re in the same room, back to back, so you’ve really got no excuse not to come. The Milestone @ 21 panel is produced by Reggie Hudlin (Django Unchained, Django/Zorro) and hosted by Phil LaMarr (Static Shock, Mad TV) and features Denys Cowan, (Django Unchained, Green Arrow), Derek Dingle (Black Enterprise magazine), and Michael Davis (The Hidden Beach).
Not to drop any spoilers for the non-book initiated, but the following seasons should introduce the rest of the the now-deceased Oberyn Martell’s family. I’m hoping, if not absolutely expecting, that Friday’s panel might bring some Dornish casting announcements of a POC variety. If not, you’ll still get a full panel of GoT stars, including Gwendoline Christie as Brienne of Tarth, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister, Natalie Dormer as Margaery Baratheon, Kit Harington as Jon Snow, Rose Leslie as Ygritte, Rory McCann as Sandor Clegane (“The Hound”), Pedro Pascal as Oberyn Martell, Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark, and Maisie Williams as Arya Stark.
The Witty Women of Steampunk (2:30pm, 24ABC)
Friend of the Blog Ay-leen the Peacemaker (editor for BeyondVictoriana.com and Tor Books) joins Anina Bennett (Boilerplate: History’s Mechanical Marvel), Claire Hummel (Bioshock: Infinite), Robin Blackburn (The League of S.T.E.A.M.), Sarah Hunter (Steampunk model/performer),Sheyne Fleischer ( The League of S.T.E.A.M.), and moderator Dina Kampmeyer (Lady Steam Designs) to discuss a steampunk reimagining a history that never was. They’ll explore multiculturalism, science, sexuality, class politics, and much more.
Big Ideas for Movies: Crossing Borders with Mexican Animation (3pm, Room 23ABC)
If I’m reading correctly, this is a pretty packed panel. The creators and talent behind the new 3D animated film El Americano 3D are teaming up to bring the new face of Mexican animation to Comic Con. The panel features Mexican filmmaker Ricardo Arnaiz and his producing partnersEdward James Olmos (Battlestar Galactica), Phil Roman (The Simpsons), Verónica Arceo,Alex Flores, Gerry Cardoso, and Michael D. Olmos. Also joining them include the voice talent,Rico Rodriguez(Modern Family), Raul Garcia (Aladdin), Mike Kunkel (Tarzan), and Richard Pursel(SpongeBob Squarepants) and the voices of Gabriel Iglesias (The Fluffy Movie), Cheech Marin (Cheech and Chong), Kate del Castillo (Under the Same Moon), Erik Estrada (CHIPs), and Lisa Kudrow (Friends), among many others.
Top image by Ben Templesmith via Flickr Creative Commons