Friday and Saturday are always the biggest days of San Diego Comic-Con. By Friday, ALL the crowds show up, all the brands are out to impress, and the funk is starting to spread. Fortunately, you won’t need worry about the crowds or the funk this year (except for your own).
Yesterday I shared some of my top picks for panels on Wednesday and Thursday. Below are the panels that stood out to me for Friday and Saturday. Again, all panel links and descriptions are taken directly from the Comic-Con International website. Hit me up on Twitter and let me know which panels you’re most excited about.
Friday is kind of an interesting day as there are all kinds of different panels. Truly something for everyone. There’s some horror, sci-fi, manga and interestingly, several panels dedicated to working in the industry itself. Though the industry panels don’t seem to feature many POC panelists (which probably reflects the industry itself), they certainly could be valuable for POC creatives trying to break in. I should note too that there’s a listing for a panel titled The 2020 Black Panel, which sounds epic, but doesn’t have a description. I can’t tell if the panel organizers are making a bold choice by letting the panel title speak for itself or if the panel might not actually happen. It’s supposed to happen at 10:00 AM so I’ll be curious enough to at least check it out. The highlight of the day for me is probably going to be Entertainment is Female: a Conversation with Hollywood Executives at 11:00 AM just because the topic sounds like it should make for fascinating discussion. A close second goes to the Lucasfilm publishing panel at noon which boasts a healthy list of POC writers like Preeti Chhibber, Greg Pak, and Alyssa Wong.
Reclaiming Indigenous History and Culture Through Comics
For hundreds of years, the history of the indigenous peoples of the Americas has been told by everyone but themselves, by people who often diminished and distorted it, and even suppressed their cultures and languages. Thankfully, this situation is changing, with indigenous peoples increasingly reclaiming their history, languages, and cultures. Comics and such visual technologies as augmented and virtual reality are ideal tools being used to accomplish this. Join our panelists Johnny Bear Contreras (Kumeyaay, public artist), Kilma Lattin (Pala Band, founder of OurWorlds.io), and Chag Lowry (Yurok/Maidu/Achumawi, graphic novelist) as they discuss their projects to reclaim indigenous history and culture.
Johnny Bear Contreras – https://ucsdnews.ucsd.edu/feature/when-the-world-comes-to-life Kilma Lattin – https://ourworlds.io/about/ Chag Lowry – https://greatoakpress.com/news
DC@Home Day One
UPDATED: Tue, Jul 14, 08:52PM
Whether its Batman’s final showdown with The Joker, Wonder Woman taking on new adventures, or the Man of Steel taking facing threats from Metropolis and across the cosmos, DC is the place to be for the best storytellers lending their talents to the World’s Greatest Super Heroes! Don’t miss your chance to hear first-hand from these comic book legends in the making as they give you the inside scoop on what’s in store for Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and other DC heroes and villains!DC talent to appear: Vita Ayala, Morgan Beem, Brian Michael Bendis, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Grace Ellis, Mitch Gerads, Clayton Henry, Mikel Janin, Tom King, Jim Lee, Ryan Sook, Maggie Stiefvater, Mariko Tamaki, Tom Taylor, Ram V, and Brittney Williams.
Entertainment is Female: a Conversation with Hollywood Executives
From the companies that brought you Transformers, the LEGO movies, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, The Walking Dead, Lumberjanes, and Star Wars: the Rise of Skywalker, women executives discuss how they are pushing for female representation in Hollywood while adapting comics and games to the big screen. Moderator Tiffany Smith (actress and presenter), along with panelists Jeannette Francis (Bad Robot), Mette Norkjaer (BOOM! Studios), Grey Cusack (Entertainment One), Aubrey Lee (Lord Miller), Nikki Baida (Lord Miller), and Sam Crawley (Skybound Entertainment) will partake in a talk about the film and television industry.
Marvel Comics: Next Big Thing
Marvel editor-in-chief C.B. Cebulski breaks down all the latest and greatest coming from the House of Ideas with some of Marvel’s most epic creators! Tom Brevoort, Al Ewing, and Dan Slott will dive into the cosmic calamity coming to Earth’s Mightiest Heroes in the pages of Empyre! An army is gathering in the latest X-Men crossover event, X of Swords, and Jordan White, Tini Howard, and Gerry Duggan have all the juicy details! Nick Lowe, Nick Spencer, and Mark Bagley will discuss the landmark Amazing Spider-Man #850 ushering in the return of the Green Goblin! Plus Nick Lowe rejoins the panel to discuss the return of the classic Marvel character, Werewolf by Night, with creators Taboo and Ben Jackendoff! Be there, True Believers!
Star Wars Audiobooks: Doctor Aphra
Get the inside scoop on the newest Star Wars Audiobook Original, Doctor Aphra, from inception to the incredible finished product performed by a full cast. You’ll hear from audiobook narrators Marc Thompson and Emily Woo Zeller, author Sarah Kuhn, and Del Rey editor Elizabeth Schaefer as they discuss this adaptation of the critically acclaimed Marvel comics series where Dr. Aphra teams up with Darth Vader, in a conversation moderated by audiobook producer Nick Martorelli.
Lucasfilm Publishing: Stories From a Galaxy Far, Far Away
Some of the biggest and best Star Wars authors talk about some of their exciting new projects set in a galaxy far, far away. Featuring Timothy Zahn, Alex Segura, Justina Ireland, George Mann, Preeti Chhibber, Tom Angleberger, Rebecca Roanhorse, Greg Pak, and Alyssa Wong. Moderated by This Week In Star Wars host Kristin Baver and Lucasfilm Publishing senior editor Robert Simpson.
First Look at Hulu’s Helstrom
Talk about some family drama! Join Helstrom showrunner Paul Zbyszewski and cast–Tom Austen, Sydney Lemmon, Elizabeth Marvel, Robert Wisdom, Ariana Guerra, June Carryl, and Alain Uy–for one hell of a sneak-peek look and conversation around bringing this terror-filled comic to life as Hulu’s next horror series. Moderated by IGN’s Laura Prudom.
Galaxy Grrls, or the Female and Non-Binary Authors who Bridge the new Frontier of Space Fiction
Authors Nicky Drayden (Escaping Exodus), Marina Lostetter (Noumenon Ultra), Jessie Mihalik (Chaos Reigning), Valerie Valdes (Chilling Effect), and K.B. Wagers (A Pale Light in the Black) eye the history of space fiction through an entirely new lens. This panel is focused on the legacy of female and non-binary writers who came before, and the trailblazing of modern authors who are re-defining sex, gender, and society against the tapestry of the stars.
As I mentioned above, Friday and Saturday are traditionally big days for SDCC. But Saturday is THE day. It’s Hall H day. Fans travel to SDCC and all they do is line up on Wednesday…for Hall H on Saturday. That’s how big Saturday is for this con. Sadly there’s no Hall H this year and admittedly the panels for Comic-Con@Home aren’t necessarily Hall H level. As a comparison, last year, Marvel Studios brought the house down with a breathtakingly awesome presentation that unveiled its Phase 4 and beyond plans. Yes I was in the building. Yes I screamed like a child. No I don’t regret it. Having said all that, what stood out to me about this year’s Saturday schedule is the wealth of excellent programming specifically featuring diverse and POC topics. I’ve picked 7 panels below that are explicitly diversity/POC related panels and there are certainly more on the full schedule. Highlights include From Wakanda to Numbani, Writing the Next Generation of Heroes at 11:00 AM, which is possibly the most POCCulture.com panel ever, and Women of Color in Comics: Race, Gender & the Comic Book Medium and Diversity and Comics: Why Inclusion and Visibility Matter, both of which disappointingly take place at noon. I assume however that given the format, we can just watch one and go back and watch the other later. Oh and there’s this small Constantine anniversary panel featuring some dude named KEANU REEVES who I’m not sure anyone has heard of.
DC@Home Day Two
Be sure to drop in on this panel to hear from DC’s hottest talent about their latest works and how they’re making DC and The World’s Greatest Super Heroes the home for fans of great superhero storytelling worldwide! The creative talent behind some of DC’s most popular characters are on hand to give behind the scenes details on their stories and how they put their own unique voices to the heroes and villains that DC fans have come to know and love (and hate)! DC talent to appear: Greg Capullo, Cecil Castellucci, Katana Collins, Kami Garcia, Jorge Jimenez, Daniel Warren Johnson, Dan Jurgens, Jim Lee, Sean Gordon Murphy, Bruno Redondo, Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, and Brad Walker.
From Wakanda to Numbani, Writing the Next Generation of Heroes
Through original novels, these authors expand the world of some of the newest pop culture heroes from Marvel and Overwatch. Featuring Preeti Chhibber (author, Orientation: Avengers Assembly), Nicky Drayden (author, Overwatch: Hero of Numbani), and Nic Stone (author, Shuri: A Black Panther Novel). Moderated by Michael Petranek (executive editor, Scholastic).
Constantine: 15th Anniversary Reunion
Keanu Reeves, director Francis Lawrence, and producer Akiva Goldsman reunite to reflect on the making of the 2005 DC Comics adaptation. Moderated by Collider’s editor-in-chief Steven Weintraub.
Diversity and Comics: Why Inclusion and Visibility Matter
The past year has witnessed the birth of transformational change in the social fabric. The Killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery (to name a few) has triggered a response to the structural racism that has caused the nation and the world to take stock of its institutions. The growth of more diverse faces on the pages of popular comic books and in feature films has proven to be essential to reflect the world in which we all live. And, despite the onset of an unprecedented pandemic, the inclusion of people of color, women, and persons with disabilities and the LGBTQ community not only better reflects today’s culture, it has also proven good for the bottom line. We will bring an award-winning panel together to challenge ongoing issues and push the conversation forward. Panelists include John Jennings (MFA: Professor of Media and Cultural Studies, UC Riverside, 2-time Eisner Award winner (2016, 2018), Frederick Aldama (PhD: The University Distinguished Professor, Arts and Humanities Distinguished Professor of English and University Distinguished scholar, The Ohio State University, 2019 Eisner Award winner), Christina Steenz Stewart (syndicated cartoonist, Heart of the City; 2019 Dwayne McDuffie Award Winner), Chelsea ‘Ché’ Grayson (MFA: Executive Director, Northern California Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Foundation), David Walker (comic book writer, Bitter Root, Image) (Legendary Films): 2020 Eisner Award nomination, Naomi (DC): 2020 Eisner Award nomination), and Stanford Carpenter (PhD: Comics and Pop Culture anthropologist and Chair, Black & Brown Comix Arts Festival) .
Women of Color in Comics: Race, Gender & the Comic Book Medium
The Women in Comics Collective International is an organization that focuses on the merit and craftwork of Women and Non-Binary People working in the comic book industry. They host comic book education events across the country, including their own convention, Women in Comics Con. In this segment of their ongoing panel discussion series, they will discuss the current state of the comic book industry and how it’s been impacted by the events of 2020; from COVID19 Pandemic to Racial unrest due to Police Violence. Panelists include, Jonita Davis (film reviewer, and pop culture journalist), Jules Rivera (comic book artist), Vanee Matsalia (writer, educator), Camilla Zhang (writer, editor, consultant), Marqueeda LaStar (tech & pop culture journalist), and moderator Regine L. Sawyer, (writer/publisher).
Latinx & Native American Storytellers
While only a minority of the characters in media are either Latinx or Natives, there are storytellers trying to change that. Prominent voices in comics, childrens literature and academia look back on their history and forward to what the future will hold for the stories told by Indigenous creators and the creators who are children of immigrants. Join moderator Henry Barajas, and creators Darcie Little Badger, Julio Anta, J. Gonzo, Theresa Rojas, Hector Rodriguez, Rhael Mcgregor, Luke Martinez, Frederick Aldama, and Sonya Ballantyne for this important discussion.
Gender, Race, and Comic Book Coloring
Did you know that comic book colors used to be hand-separated by an army of women in Connecticut? That “benday dots” are named after a real person? Or that there’s a technical reason African-American skin tones look wrong in old comics? Geek out on the hidden corners of comics history, from the Golden Age up to today’s digital era, and learn about the craft of coloring with color artist Marissa Louise (Amethyst), comics creator Mildred Louis (Astrea’s Nexus Studio), researcher and essayist Zoë D. Smith (University of Chicago), and master letterer/former DC production artist Todd Klein (Sandman). Moderated by author Anina Bennett (Boilerplate).
Women Rocking Hollywood 2020: Supporting Female-Helmed Film and TV
What is so great about working as executive producer and director on a Frank Miller/Tom Wheeler project? What is it like to direct Charlize Theron and Kiki Layne in complicated fight scenes? How does working with women above and below the line make a film with Kelvin Harrison Jr, Tracee Ellis Ross, and Dakota Johnson more nuanced and believable? What does a producing director on Queen Sugar do? Find out all this and more, including why supporting women in film is so vital to equality for all, and how fans can make a difference, on this exciting female filmmaker-focused panel. Watch Nisha Ganatra (director: Late Night, The High Note), Lauren Wolkstein (director: Cloak & Dagger, supervising director: Queen Sugar), Gina Prince-Bythewood (writer/director: Love and Basketball, director: The Old Guard), Zetna Fuentes (director: Jessica Jones, executive producer/director: Cursed), and Alison Emilio (director of ReFrame) as they share their experiences and insights. Moderated by Leslie Combemale (creator: Women Rocking Hollywood, freelance writer: AWFJ.org).
HBO’s Lovecraft Country
From showrunner and executive producer Misha Green, the new drama series Lovecraft Country follows the thrilling journeys of Atticus Freeman (Jonathan Majors), his friend Letitia (Jurnee Smollett) and his Uncle George (Courtney B. Vance) across 1950s Jim Crow America as they overcome the racist terrors and terrifying monsters ripped from an H.P. Lovecraft novel. Join cast members, Jurnee Smollett, Jonathan Majors, Michael Kenneth Williams, Aunjanue Ellis, Wunmi Mosaku, Abbey Lee, and Courtney B. Vance in a conversation moderated by Sarah Rodman, executive editor of Entertainment Weekly.
Afrofuturism – “Black To The Future 3(D): Real A.F.”
For decades, Daffy Duck was the only black actor getting any consistent work in Hollywood. Hiring practices that even Daffy would describe as, “Deth-picable!” Oh sure, we all MARVEL’d at “Black Panther” (the movie), but what has Hollywood done to promote diversity lately? Check out what Black developers of content have to say on this issue. Will Hollywood ever truly recognize that Black Productions Matter! We can’t go black to the future–until we RISE UP out of the past? It’s time to get real A.F.! Roll call! Panelists include Erika Alexander (Living Single), Tim Russ (Star Trek: Voyager), Denys Cowan (The Boondocks), Kevin Grevioux (Underworld), professor Ajani Brown (San Diego State University), and Rico Anderson (The Orville). Moderated by Jimmy Diggs (Star Trek: Voyager).
Ron is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of POC Culture. He is a big believer in the power and impact of pop culture and the importance of representation in media.