The popular conception of the San Diego Comic Con these days is that it's all about other forms of media, specifically movies and television, with comics being pushed out to the wayside. While it's true that other media has muscled its way in big time to the Con...there are still TONS of comic book related activities going on, so many in fact, that in coming up with a list of twenty I had to leave literally dozens out. Here are some of the bigger comic book related panels going on at the Con this year, and some smaller, interesting ones that caught my eye as well. Of course, for more information, like which days and what time each panel is taking place, be sure to check the official Comic Con Schedule.
1. Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment: Superman's 75th Anniversary Celebration
Without Superman, there wouldn't even be a comic book industry, much less a San Diego Comic Con to go to. The Man of Steel is not only the star of a successful movie reboot this year, but it's also Big Blue's 75th birthday. Some of the biggest names associated with the history of Superman are at this panel, including Jack Larson, Jimmy Olsen from the classic Adventures of Superman television series; Tim Daly, the voice of Superman from the Bruce Timm Superman: The Animated Series; current Supergirl (from Superman:Unbound) Molly Quinn; and comic book legends Paul Levitz, Dan Jurgens (the man who killed Superman! The one who's not Bryan Singer!) and All-Star Superman's Grant Morrison. There's supposed to be some cool free Super-swag to all attendees of this panel, so this is a good opportunity to "steel" away with some Super-goodies to boot.
2. Star Wars Comics: Here and Now
With Disney buying Lucasfilm last year, many assumed the Star Wars license would go to Disney owned Marvel Comics. While that may eventually be true, right now the Star Wars license remains at Dark Horse Comics, its home for the past twenty plus years, ever since 1990's Dark Empire series. Currently, Brian Wood's new series, taking place in the immediate aftermath of A New Hope, has reinvigorated the line and gotten people excited again. Dark Horse editor Randy Stradley is joined by a host of Star Wars creators to talk about what's coming up in the galaxy far, far away for the rest of 2013 and going into next year.
3. Marvel: Ultimate Universe
Thirteen years ago, when comic book sales were at an all-time low, Marvel started the Ultimate Comics line, fresh reboots of classic Marvel brands, among them Brian Michael Bendis' Ultimate Spider-Man, Mark Millar's Ultimate X-Men and The Ultimates, all of which heavily influenced the big-screen versions in the following years. These books would go on to create a whole new generation of Marvel fans who then went out and starting sampling the regular Marvel Universe. While the Ultimate brand hasn't been as "hot" in the past decade or so, it's still going, and apparently big changes are on the way for the Ultimate universe, including a visit from the regular Marvel Universe's Galactus. Is Ultimate Earth about to get eaten?? Find out what's happening in when editor-in-chief Axel Alonso and writers Joshua Hale Fialkov and Brian Michael Bendis promise "a startling announcement about the future of the Ultimate Universe!"
4. Superman: The Post-Crisis Era
The mid eighties and early nineties were when some of the very best and most remembered Superman stories of all time were coming out. After John Byrne rebooted things in 1986, the Superman saga became a weekly serial between four titles, becoming one giant mega story about the Man of Steel and the citizens of Metropolis. Stories like Superman's exile into space, the death of Luthor and the arrival of his "son" Lex the Second, the long awaited reveal of Clark's identity to Lois Lane and their subsequent marriage, and of course, the Death and Return of Superman, all under group editor Mike Carlin. Comic Con special guests Jon Bogdanove (Superman: Man of Steel), Dan Jurgens (Superman), Jerry Ordway (Adventures of Superman), George Pérez (Action Comics), Louise Simonson (Superman: Man of Steel), and Mike Carlin talk to moderator Paul Levitz about what now can be looked back on as a second Golden Age for the Man of Tomorrow.
5. IDW: The Panel to End All Panels
With a name like "the panel to end all panels" this party bettah be good. IDW has become the home to quality licensed comics, from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to True Blood to Star Trek and Dr.Who, and if Marvel and DC are the "Big Two" (with Dark Horse and Image bringing up the rear) then IDW has come quite a long way in a very short time, as they are nipping at those other publishers' heels. On the panel will be CCO Chris Ryall, CEO Ted Adams, writer Marc Andreyko and other TBA additions. Now, let's see if this panel lives up to its name.
6. DC Comics Green Lantern: Recharged!
After leaving the Green Lantern title following nearly a decade at the helm, Geoff Johns is gone, and a new chapter in the Book of Oa begins. DC is making sure that just because Johns is gone from the Green Lantern universe, that doesn't mean the character is in bad hands with new writer Robert Venditti. But Green Lantern isn't just one book, it's a whole family of titles, all getting a relaunch this year, including Green Lantern Corps, Red Lanterns, Green Lantern: New Guardians and soon, The Sinestro Corps. Oh, and Larfleeze for some reason. To hear all the details of what's coming up for Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps, this sounds like the place to be.
7. Archie Comics: The Hottest Publisher in the Industry
Archie is the property that just. Won't. Quit. It's no wonder they're doing an Archie Zombies book soon (It's called Afterlife with Archie. Yes, this is a for-real thing.) as both Archie and Zombies are things that simply refuse to die, and not only do they not die, they thrive. The forever-adolescent characters from Riverdale currently have something like ten titles to their name, and have made headlines recently by having an out gay character in the form of Kevin Keller. There's also an Archie movie in the works. Everything's freakin' Archie, and you can hear all about the Archie mobile game, the Archie movie, the Archie marital aide, you name it (okay, I made the last one up.) from panelists like Archie Comics publisher/co-CEO Jon Goldwater, president Mike Pellerito, cartoonist Dan Parent (Kevin Keller) and moderated by Archie movie writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. Also, according to the programming schedule, all in attendance will receive a gift bag worth $100 bucks, so hey...what is Comic Con about if not free useless crap?
8. Marvel: Cup O' Joe
It's become a San Diego Comic Con tradition, with Marvel Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada taking to the stage for a bit of a Q&A with 4000 or so Marvelites out in the audience. More often than not, Marvel uses the opportunity to announce several new projects for the forthcoming year, so if you're a Marvel fan in any capacity, you might wanna be on board for this panel. Aside from Joey Q, also sharing the stage will be editor-in-chief Axel Alonso, talent scout C. B. Cebulski, and writers Rick Remender (Uncanny Avengers) and Brian Michael Bendis (Guardians of the Galaxy), and possibly some other Marvel luminaries.
9. Gender in Comic Books
One of the major debates raging in the geek world right now is the role of women in comics and comics fandom; just this past year alone, how many articles have been published about the "fake geek girl"? That topic, among others, is sure to come up when Professor Christina Blanch moderates a discussion on the topic of gender in comics with creators of both sexes, including Mark Waid, Grace Randolph, Meredith Gran, and George Pérez, who might know a little bit about women in comics, having successfully rebooted Wonder Woman in the eighties with a heavily feminist bent. For those of you who, like me, like to get all "high-brow" about your "low brow" interests, this could be the discussion for you.
10. The Tick 25th Anniversary
"SPOON!!" (Sorry, I had to, it's mandatory.) Superhero spoof The Tick went from being an indie favorite from New England Comics to a beloved Fox animated series in the early nineties, to a short lived live-action show all over the course of twenty-five years. Tick creator Ben Edlund, Chris McCulloch, Tick Karma Tornado artist/writer and Venture Brothers creator, and art director of The Tick comic series Bob Polio will be on hand to discuss the last quarter century in the life of The City's greatest super hero.