Continued After the Next Page #022: Planning Panels and Conventioning in the Windy City and Ithaca

In the “before times”, people would come to the gathering place and wander the concourse taking in the sights purchasing shiny wares with no fear of deadly disease. That was three years ago. Are we back to that point? Probably not, and probably not for a while still, but we are getting closer.

Comic convention season is back in full force. That break in con scheduling that we normally have from before the December holidays until late February didn’t really happen this year. Most people seems to be willing to return to the circuit with little concern for the pandemic creating coronavirus. The best part of this is that my social media feeds are not filling up with tales of infections or even the dreaded con-crud.

All of this has me even more excited to begin my 2023 convention season in a couple of weeks. Your intrepid correspondent will be part of the press contingent at the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo, more commonly known by its geek friendly acronym C2E2. I will be walking the floors all three days talking to exhibitors and fans and checking out some of the interesting panel programming.

However, the most exciting panels, in my not so humble opinion, will take place on Sunday April 2, 2023. I will be hosting two panels a Reed event for the first time in my career, and I am beyond excited.

World Building in Comics

The first panel will be at 11:15 AM on Sunday. We will start the day off right with some insightful discussion on the behind the scenes storytelling discipline of world building. This is a guest list filled with stars at every turn, and I can’t wait to get into it with these folks.

World Building in Comics
Sun, Apr 2, 2023
11:15 AM – 12:15 PM

How did your favorite character come to live in the city that they do? Comic creators spend countless hours developing the back story of characters and the environment in which they live so that the actions in the story make sense. Join us as we talk to creators about their experience with world building and character development. Find out what considerations need to be made in order for readers to suspend disbelief and disappear into their favorite stories.

Liana Kangas Booth W-10
Terry Moore Booth Z-11
Fred Van Lente P-07
Thomas Zahler Booth Z-02

First Comics 40th Anniversary Where It All Started

The second panel is the opening act on a season long road show. Forty years ago in March of 1983, a dream was realized and the first comic from newly minted publisher First Comics hit the stands. With Warp #1 in March and a relaunch of indie favorite E-Man #1 in April. First Comics was on its way to changing the face of comics history.

In honor of this momentous anniversary and because I was able to convince Mike Gold to travel west and show me his hometown, we are having the First First Fortieth Anniversary Panel in Chicago where it all started. (Technically Evanston for the first couple of years, but close enough.) We will have the founder, editor, President, and guy who invented the damn thing Mike Gold on the panel along with cartoonist and the inaugural art director for First Comics Joe Staton. Joining those two will be cartoonist Hilary Barta and colorist and art director Alex Wald.

Mike has promised Italian Beef, but I am not sure that we can get it in the show; so that will have to be an after show appointment.

First Comics 40th Anniversary Where It All Started
Sun, Apr 2, 2023
3:45 PM – 4:45 PM

The groundbreaking Indie Comic publisher was born 40 Years ago in the Windy City and we are bringing together some of the most important people responsible for the success of First Comics.

Founder and Editor Mike Gold
Art Director and Cartoonist Joe Staton
Artist Hilary Barta
Colorist and Art Director Alex Wald

More C2E2 News

Besides Mike and I, PCS Columnist and Maker of Stuff Marc Alan Fishman will also be at C2E2 with his Unshaven Comics brethren. I will be sure to swing by their location in the Small Press Area for some fist bumps and cool comicky stuff.

Also at C2E2, Zestworld, the creator-first digital comics platform, is sponsoring three tables for independent up and coming creators that we are huge fans of. Comic Creators Kat Calamia and Phil Falco, Liana Kangas, and Sean Von Gorman. There is an free pin giveaway for visiting there tables, and I am all for free stuff.  You can find information about pre-show commissions and merch offerings at

Ithaca on the Horizon

After a couple weeks of recovery from what is sure to be a memorable weekend in the Windy City, Mike and I will make our way to Western New York and attend the second longest running comic convention in America, ITHACON! Pop Culture Squad will be set up, and we will be participating in some of the programing for the student run convention on the grounds of Ithaca College. It is the weekend of April 22 – 23.

Tickets are on sale now and guest announcements are coming fast and furious. Stay tuned to Pop Culture Squad as that convention gets closer.

Programming Note: Women’s History Month is halfway through and we have competed two of our Women In Comics live SquadCasts, and there are two more to come.

You can find the first two on Pop Culture Squad and rewatch the feed. Legendary Ladies of Comics and Letters to the Editors.

Coming this week our Shade: The Changing Girl reunion is live on Wednesday, March 22, 2023. You can watch it on our YouTube channel. You will be notified when it goes live if you subscribe.

Next week, on Tuesday, March 28, 2023, our final broadcast with luminaries Trina Robbins and Mindy Newell will be available here.