San Diego Comic Con 2012: creator panels worth checking out

San Diego Comic Con 2012 is just two days away!!!!!

While I won’t be attending San Diego Comic Con, it’s not because I don’t like the event. A small part of me wishes I was going. But the crowds and lineups and loudness and overpriced convention centre food are the complete opposite of what I like about comics. It’s the difference between sipping wine on my front porch on a hot summer day and pounding back beer and wings at a sports bar during the Stanley Cup playoffs. They both have their merits, just completely different experiences.


Alright, so Fantagraphics earns the lion’s share of my “most interesting” list, but can you blame me? Check out these panels:

Trailblazers of Comics
Lynn Johnston and Kate Beaton represent the best of contemporary cartooning. With beginnings outside of the traditional mainstream or indy comics industry, each built a loyal following of fans with serialized comics on their own terms. The Beat’s Heidi MacDonald addresses the origins of each artist’s career of these Reuben winners and the craft of a serialized comic. (Thursday @ 1pm)

An all-female panel. Two Canadians who do great cartooning. With Heidi moderating, it’s bound to be an interesting conversation among these three.

The Bookstore Crowd
The comics world looks at “mainstream comics” as the superhero crowd, the ones available in comic book stores every Wednesday. But the real mainstream comics and graphic novels are in bookstores and created by a whole different crowd, one that lacks, for the most part, capes, powers, and spandex. Comics journalist Tom Spurgeon ( talks to Comic-Con special guests Kate Beaton (Hark! A Vagrant!), Alison Bechdel (Are You My Mother? A Comic Drama), Brecht Evens (The Making of), Jennifer and Matthew Holm (Babymouse series), Nate Powell (Any Empire), and Jason Shiga (Empire State) about their popular graphic novels that appeal to a more diverse audience in bookstores all over the world. (Thursday @3pm)

I’m always interested to hear from insiders how the comics industry is adapting to survive this difficult business climate. I’m curious about this one because it’s an all-creators panel rather than the people who run the business. I wonder what will be the substance of the conversation?

Canada and Comics
With Kate Beaton, Jeff Lemire, Doug Savage, Calum Johnston of Strange Adventures/ Eisner judge, Jessica Campbell of Drawn and Quarterly, moderated by Chris Butcher of TCAF and the Beguiling. Over the past ten years, the Canadian comic scene has changed wildly and no longer plays second fiddle to its southern neighbor, and now boasts an equally vibrant coast to coast scene with major artists, major companies, major retailers and major festivals. Key players discuss how this change came about. (Saturday @ 12:30)

Canada rules comics, what more can I say?


Firefly 10-Year Anniversary Reunion
Calling all Browncoats to unite! It has been 10 years since the crew of the Serenity took flight in the now infamous show Firefly. Science Channel will reunite, for the first time ever, Captain Mal Reynolds and the crew from the ship. Join Joss Whedon, Nathan Fillion, Adam Baldwin, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk, Morena Baccarin, Sean Maher, Summer Glau, and many more for a trip down memory lane, some special surprises, and exclusive Science Channel giveaways. SHINY. (Friday @ 12:30)

I loved this short-lived series. This event is a hot ticket, I’m sure. It’s going to be wall-to-wall bananas.

Comic Book Entrepreneurs
Get a rare look behind the scenes as the comic book industry’s leading entrepreneurs share their secrets of building successful businesses around the love of comic books. Author and futurist Rob Salkowitz (Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture), CEO and co-founder David Steinberger of comiXology, Dark Horse Comics publisher Mike Richardson, Peter Levin of Nerdist Industries, and comics retailer Joe Field of Flying Colors Comics (who also founded Free Comic Book Day and helped run WonderCon for 15 years), offer a unique view of the business side of comics. (Friday @ 1:30)


Image Comics Presents
Some of Image Comics’ most exciting new creators assemble to talk about their new work and life as independent comics creators. Join these rising star creators for a lively conversation, and discover your favorite new creators and titles! Panelists include: Tim Daniel (Enormous), Jim McCann (Mind the Gap), Sina Grace (Li’l Depressed Boy, Not My Bag), Ales Kot (Wild Children), Michael Moreci (Hoax Hunters), and Kurtis Wiebe (Green Wake, Peter Panzerfaust, Debris).
Moderator: Sarah deLaine (Thursday @ 2pm)

The Writers’ Room with Jonathan Ross
Some of comics’ best writers will talk to the UK’s famed radio/television presenter and comic book writer Jonathan Ross (Turf, America’s Got Powers) about the challenges, triumphs, and idiosyncrasies of the comics creative process. Find out how Image Comics titles like Fatale, Chew,  and The Walking Dead are conceived, written, and brought to the printed page from the writers who knew them from “PAGE ONE, PANEL ONE.” Panelists: Ed Brubaker, John Layman, and Robert Kirkman.
Moderator: Jonathan Ross (Friday @ 4:45p.m.)

Top Shelf Productions

An all-star lineup of award-winning indie cartoonists are on hand as Top Shelf enters its 15th year of publishing. Chris Ross reports on Top Shelf’s groundbreaking digital program, Ed Piskor hacks into his book Wizzywig, Jeff Lemire plumbs the depths of The Underwater Welder, Eddie Campbell spins a golden yarn about The Lovely Horrible Stuff, Nate Powell makes a historic announcement about an unprecedented new project, and James Kochalka introduces exclusive footage from his upcoming animated series SuperF*ckers! Join moderator Leigh Walton for an unmissable hour with Top Shelf talent. (Saturday @ 1pm)


Publishers Weekly Comics World: Serious Pictures: Comics and Journalism in a New Era

What better way to bring information to the public than the judicious combination of words and pictures? Comics offer the ability to attract attention and focus it, while making a complex journalistic narrative both lively to read and, as studies have shown, easier for readers to comprehend. This panel offers historical and contemporary examples of the use of comics as a journalistic tool and shows how the wedding of comics and nonfiction reporting is a match made in media heaven. With Susie Cagle, Andy Warner (Cartoon Picayune), Stan Mack (Taxes, the Tea Party, and Those Revolting Rebels: A History in Comics of the American Revolution), Ed Piskor (WizzyWig), Dan Carino (Cartoon Movement), and Chris Butcher (The Beguiling.) Moderated by PW Comics World co-editor Calvin Reid.

And there is loads more going on. In fact, there is so much, I don’t know how anyone can navigate this beast.


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