By Arturo R. García
Just like last year, we’ll be compiling our individual panels on Storify and posting them next week. For now, though, let’s look at the second half of the con!
Diversity in Genre Lit (10 a.m., Room 7AB)
Gene Luen Yang figures to have maybe the most momentum going into this discussion of creating diverse worlds in their work, since he’s coming off the release of The Shadow Hero, his new comic with illustrator Sonny Liew and letterer Janice Chiang. Joining him on the panel are Josephine Angelini (Trial by Fire), Adele Griffin (The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone), Lydia Kang (Control), Sherri L. Smith (Orleans) and the producer of the dearly-departed Young Justice animated series, Greg Weisman (Spirits of Ash and Foam: A Rain of the Ghosts Novel).
Avatar the Last Airbender: Legend and Legacy (10:30 a.m, Room 24ABC)
Well this could be awkward: Yang, who has written the comic-book adaptation of the popular animated series, is also booked for this get-together for fans.
Fantastic Females: Heroines in Paranormal Fantasy (10:30 a.m., Room 8)
While Marjorie Liu has made a name for herself for her work for Marvel Comics, she’s also a best-selling fantasy author. Her latest work, Labyrinth of Stars, was published earlier this year. In this panel, she’s joined by Deborah Harkness (the All Souls trilogy), S.J. Harper, (Reckoning), Tonya Hurley (the Blessed series), and the duo known as Christina Lauren (Reckoning, the Wild Seasons series).
Spotlight on Bryan Lee O’Malley (12 p.m., Room 28DE)
The creator of the Scott Pilgrim comics series previews his latest work, Seconds, a stand-alone graphic novel about a girl who gets more than one magical second chance, and the consequences of that kind of luck.
Kodansha Comics (12:30 p.m., Room 8)
Fans of Attack on Titan — the manga powerhouse that has spawned not only separate manga adaptations but a video game and a movie set for release next summer — will want to hone in on this one.
Comics Arts Conference Session #12: Poster Session (2 p.m., Room 26AB)
There’s quite a number of presentations scheduled for this 90-minute session, but here’s two that caught our eye:
- Allen Thomas (University of Central Arkansas) and Mara Whiteside (University of Central Arkansas) examine the relationship between readers and minority comic book characters, namely the connection a reader feels to a particular character, and discuss the future direction of comic books in regards to minority representation.
- J. Scott McKinnon (Henderson State University) identifies the factors that contribute to ethnic minority characters either succeeding or failing, examining online discussions, reviews, and published articles.
- Jake Talley (San Diego State University) compares the female and minority populations in the Marvel and DC universes at various points in their histories to illustrate how their race and gender makeups have evolved over time, and compares the Big Two with younger publishers to see if the lack of decades of continuity produces a more representative character population.
30 Years of Usagi Yojimbo! (3 p.m., Room 28DE)
Everybody’s favorite samurai rabbit is back after a two-year hiatus, and creator Stan Sakai is back to shed some light on Senso, the upcoming six-issue miniseries that promises to serve as the character’s personal Dark Knight Returns.
Spotlight on Willie Ito (3 p.m., Room 9)
The San Francisco native went from spending part of his childhood in a Japanese internment camp during World War II to a 60-year career as an animator that saw him work on everything from Lady and the Tramp to The Flintstones to the seminal Bugs Bunny animated story What’s Opera, Doc?
Drawing in a [+SM]Art Way: A Hands-on Workshop (5 p.m., Room 30CDE)
What does it say about the comics industry when maybe the most creative title of the whole weekend is from an academic panel? In this panel, Dr. Wei Xu will expand on his work in Drawing in the Digital Age, in which the mathematician and artist describes what he calls the “ABC Method” of working in both 2D and 3D art.
Best and Worst Manga of 2014 (7 p.m., Room 23)
Gays in Comics XXVII: Prism Comics Mixer and Auction (7 p.m., Room 6A)
In a year where marriage equality has picked up momentum across several states in the U.S., this year’s benefit event for the LGBT advocacy group Prism Comics should have an extra-celebratory air.
Teen Titans Go! Video Presentation and Q&A (11:45 a.m., Room 6BCF)
Okay, so the panel itself looks like it’ll be the usual preview for the upcoming season of the newest incarnation of the DC Entertainment comics series. But the highlight might end up being the appearance of Puffy AmiYumi, the Japanese pop duo behind the ultra-catchy theme song.
Comics Arts Conference Session #14: Strips and Pin-Ups, Race and Politics (12 p.m., Room 26AB)
Only three presentations scheduled for this session, and two of them look intriguing:
- Melissa Loucks (University of Florida) reminds us of the work comic strips do toward thwarting the distortions and suppressions of the dominant civil rights narrative, looking at the work of Oliver Harrington, George Herriman, and Jackie Ormes.
- Dwain C. Pruitt (University of Louisville) considers the roles that Matt Baker’s race and sexual orientation may have played in his work and in his most celebrated contribution, the “Baker Girl,” asserting that Baker’s work was shaped by the unique African-American expressive and visual culture of 1930s-1950s Harlem.
And speaking of intriguing, check out the description for these three presentation:
Recently, Afrofuturism has been making a global resurgence. Creators in all media forms have been producing speculative narratives that challenge the status quo, remix historical perceptions, and situate the black body as subject. John Jennings (University at Buffalo, SUNY), Stanford Carpenter (Institute for Comics Studies), Regina Bradley (Kennesaw State University), and Jeremy Love (Bayou) ask if the term Afrofuturism still remains the proper designation for invoking ideas of race and cultural production, examining the new notion of the “EthnoSurreal” and how it is comprised of the EthnoGothic and EthnoFuturism. This panel will also tackle the articulation of how these designations are defined and how they can possibly challenge and reimagine ideas around socially constructed ideas regarding racial identity, its visualization, and its consumption through the comics medium.
Superheroines! Power, Responsibility, and Representation (1:30 p.m., Room 23ABC)
Our colleagues at Racebending host this all-female discussion centering on “women in the superhero world.” Marjorie Liu will be on this panel, as will Batman and Earth 2 writer Marguerite Bennett, writer and illustrator Joanna Estep (Bold Riley), cartoonist Faith Erin Hicks, clinical psychologist and podcaster Dr. Andrea Letamendi and artist and animator Jules Rivera.
Fund My Comic (2 p.m., Room 29A)
The Battle for Multicultural Heroes (4 p.m., Room 28DE)
Letamendi returns to join panelists Linda Le and Andre Meadows along with host Tony Kim in the second edition of the panel. Interesting to note last year that, while the discussion did a good job covering what you’d call Race 101, none of the panelists expressed any familiarity with Racebending or sites that cover social justice issues in general, aside from Angry Asian Man. This year, Kim said he attempted to contact Racebending, to no avail.
[Top image by Christopher Brown via Flickr Creative Commons]