You can make the argument that Comic Conventions are just big Pop-Ups, designed to promote all manner of geeky and unexpected treasures. Or you may say that they are more akin to treasure hunts. After all you just know that that one old comic or exclusive toy is out there somewhere on the dealer’s floor. For so many entrepreneurial businesses, they are the ultimate trade show: commerce wrapped up in the showy fashion of focused nerd-dom. To others, comic conventions are a way to scoop up amazing bargains. (Nobody likes diving into the bargain boxes more than me.)
But there is a credible argument to made that the very best comic cons are like cocktail hours, or dinner parties, populated by the most interesting people passionately talking about the most interesting things. And that leads us to the modern-day comic con panel.
San Diego Comic-Con (the real name is Comic-Con International) officially starts today and is filled with exciting panels. Many panels are just hype machines, but a few are platforms for thoughtful conversations. Here’s just a few that are on my radar:
Max Allan Collins is one of my favorite writers, and Andrew Sumner is one of my favorite people. They’ll be onstage together in room 26AB at 5:30 on Thursday as they discuss Titan’s exciting new plans for one of my favorite detectives, Ms. Tree.
J.C. Vaughn (Gemstone, Vampire PA) is leading Crowdfunding Comics: An Inside Look that will be sure to provide ideas for creative entrepreneurs. This one will be held Saturday from 1:00 to 2:00 Room 28DE.
Last week, AHOY Comics debuted the controversial Second Coming comic. I read it and the world didn’t come to an end. In fact, I really enjoyed it. (And I’m a practicing Catholic.) The writer, Marc Russell will be speaking with AHOY’s Stuart Moore about this series and his other recent radical revamps (Flintstones, Snagglepuss) Thursday 6:00 pm Room 32AB. “Heavens to Murgatroid!”
Rob Salkowitz always has a lot to say, and that’s why I always read his insights in Forbes and ICV2. For the show, I’m especially looking forward to his panel with Dennis Kitchen, talking about 50 years of Kitchen Sink Press on Saturday 3:00 in room 25ABC.
This year at the show, I’ll be on four panels and I hope to see you for all 55 minutes of each one:
Our Captain Action Panel is Thursday at 4:00pm in room 32AB. We’ll be talking animation, toys, and revealing our plans for a very cool new, yet old, book! Harold Sipe and Meg Stivison of Small Monsters Games will be debuting the new Captain Action card set. And our panel of esteemed judges will be evaluating our annual customizer & fan art contest.
Licensed! Overstreet Looks at Licensed Comics is always too much fun. How could it not be when I’m onstage with folks like Chris Ryall (IDW), Mark Wheately (Jonny Quest), Andy Mangels (Wonder Woman ’77 meet Bionic Woman), Dave Olbrich (Tarzan) and “newbies” Dafna Pleban (Planet of the Apes) and Charlie Novinskie (Jurassic Park)? Moderator J.C. Vaughn tries to keep the train on track, but quite frankly, it’s an impossible task. The fun starts Saturday at 10:30 am in room 8.
Here’s an innovative panel with a fresh face: Ithaca College’s Naomi Hanson is the innovative researcher behind Pirates: Four Color Fact & Fiction. Scarlet Fever (from the old Topps’ Lady Rawhide comic) is one of my favorite comic book pirates, so we just might shanghai legendary writer Don McGregor (Black Panther) onto this one too. I’ll be there for sure, as will Krista Rozanski, straight from Syracuse University. This one sets sail Saturday at 6:00 pm in room 8.
How to Get News Coverage is hosted by journalist Rik Offenberger (First Comics News, Archie Comics). Each year he leads an all-star panel, of which I’m honored to be included, examining the tricky business of marketing geek-focused enterprises. Everyone is bright, but be sure to keep an eye out for panelist Holly Golightly (Broadsword Comics). She’s a fearless entrepreneur and her brazen moxie always shines through. In a classic “the first shall be last” manner, this one kicks off the show Thursday morning at 10:30 in room 8.
Look forward to seeing you. We’ll have plenty to talk about.