11. Marvel's INFINITY
Despite what they might be calling it here, this is really an Avengers panel. Before Earth's mightiest take on Thanos in Avengers 2 (or 3, depending on who you believe) writer Jonathan Hickman will have them taking on the ugly purple Titan in an all new six-issue event that brings in several Avengers characters from across the Marvel Universe . Aside from current Avengers universe architect Jonathan Hickman, also on the panel to talk about INFINITY (not to mention all the other Avengers books) will be Marvel editor-in-chief Axel Alonso, and writers Sam Humphries (Avengers A.I.), Rick Remender (Uncanny Avengers), Charles Soule (Thunderbolts), and Nick Spencer. (Secret Avengers)
12. Vertigo: The Sandman 25th Anniversary and Beyond!
Quite possibly the biggest story out of last year's Con was the return of Neil Gaiman to the Sandman universe, and the character of Morpheus after nearly sixteen years away. This year, Vertigo's flagship title The Sandman returns to comics in an all-new six part series called Sandman: Overture, which is a prequel that tells the story of how the King of Dreams was captured, right before we find him captive in the opening portions of the very first Sandmancomic, a quarter century ago. On the panel to talk not only about the new series, but the long lasting legacy of the original seventy-five issue run, will be creator Neil Gaiman, and joining him will be original series artist Sam Kieth, cover artist Dave McKean, and new Overture series artist J.H. Williams. Even letterer Todd Klein will be there to answer questions about one of the most legendary runs in modern comic book history.
13. X-Men: Battle of the Atom
Say what you will about the whole Avengers vs. X-Men saga last year, the post AVX Universe has been a more solid X-Men world than we've seen in several years. Brian Michael Bendis is killing it with both the Uncanny X-Men and All-New X-Men, Brian Wood's all female X-Men team is great so far, and Jason Aaron's Wolverine and the X-Men is usually hilarious and touching in that Joss Whedony way. So the upcoming Battle of the Atom is the first X crossover in years I've been super excited about. In Battle of the Atom, the time-lost original X-Men, stuck in the present, battle the future X-Men who have come to the present to demand they be sent back to their own time. X-Men group Editor Jeanine Schaefer, senior editor Nick Lowe, and writers Brian Michael Bendis (All-New X-Men), Paul Cornell (Wolverine), Gerry Duggan (Deadpool), Sam Humphries (Uncanny X-Force), and Brian Posehn (Deadpool) will be talking not just Battle of the Atom, but all things mutant. If you're an X-Men fanatic, you'll wanna be there for this one.
14. Spotlight on George Pérez
There are tons of "Spotlight" panels on particular creators every year at SDCC, and this year is no different. I'm choosing one spotlight panel in particular as a highlight, if only because this man's art, first on The New Teen Titans and later Crisis on Infinite Earths, Wonder Woman and Avengers, solidified him as my favorite comic book artist of all time. A true industry legend, George Perez has just signed an exclusive deal with BOOM! Studios. He's sure to talk about that, as well as his very rich legacy of work over the past four decades.
15. Avengers, X-Men, Dr. Strange and Sgt Fury 50th
There are a lot of comics celebrating big milestones this year; Superman, Sandman, the Tick even - but 2013 also marks fifty years of four of Marvel's most iconic properties, as created by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko: The Avengers, the X-Men, Dr. Strange and Nick Fury. Panel guests Brian Michael Bendis (Avengers and X-Men), Frank Brunner (Dr. Strange), John Romita, Jr. and Roy Thomas, a man who was there back in the day when these guys were all created, and went on to often be their most prolific chronicler.
16. March: The Graphic Novel by US Congressman and Civil Rights Icon John Lewis
Going through the Comic Con schedule, I discovered the existence of this panel; I gotta say, this panel is the reason San Diego Comic Con is still cool...for all the big Hollywood Studios coming in and taking over and what not, you get to sit down and hear stories like this one...From the official description:
Congressman John Lewis is an American icon, one of the key figures of the civil rights movement. His commitment to justice and nonviolence has taken him from an Alabama sharecropper's farm to the halls of Congress, from a segregated schoolroom to the 1963 March on Washington, and from receiving beatings from state troopers to receiving the Medal of Freedom from the first African American president. Now, remembering how a 1950s comic book helped spread the philosophy and tools of nonviolent resistance among his generation of activists, Congressman Lewis has a new project to do the same for today's youth. Together with co-writer Andrew Aydin and artist Nate Powell (Swallow Me Whole, The Silence of Our Friends, The Heroes of Olympus), he brings his incredible story to comics, in the graphic novel trilogy March. As we approach the 50th anniversary of the day Martin Luther King, Jr. said "I Have a Dream," meet the last living person who spoke from that podium, and see his incredible story come to life in a gorgeous graphic novel from Top Shelf Productions. I don't know about you, but to me this sounds amazing. And I really want to hear more.
17. Marvel: Superior Spider Man
When last we checked on our favorite wall crawler, Peter Parker had gone to be with Uncle Ben in the great beyond, while his arch-foe Doctor Otto Octavius made off with his body, becoming the "Superior" Spider-Man. While fans everywhere groaned loudly when this was first announced, they quickly began to sing its praises as one of the best Spidey titles in years. The panel for Superior Spidey will feature senior editor Steve Wacker, Chris Samnee (Daredevil), Nick Spencer (Superior Foes of Spider-Man), and more. Will Marvel announce the return of Peter Parker? It's only a matter of time, after all, but for now, fans might want old Dock Ock to actually keep the mantle of Spider-Man.
18. Anything That Loves: Comics Beyond Gay and Straight
As a member of the LGBT community, I can tell you that the B part (as in Bisexual, for the uninitiated) is often silent. Facing prejudice from both the gay and straight communities, bisexuals often have stories that remain untold. The new comics anthology Anything That Loves looks to change all that, and brings together 30 creators to write about "the complex world of nonbinary sexuality." Moderator Charles "Zan" Christensen and contributors to this anthology will talk about how this project came together, and why it's important to finally tell stories from the bisexual person's point of view.
19. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Featuring Kevin Eastman
It seems like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise is having a bit of a mini renaissance, with a new movie from Michael Bay coming out next year, a new animated show, and the continuing line of comic books, now at IDW Publishing. TMNT co-creator Kevin Eastman will be at a special discussion on all things Turtles, along with the current Ninja Turtles crew from IDW. The official description for the panel says it "promises to be one shell of a fun and informative time!" Ouch.
20. Integrating Comics into the Common Core
And finally, as someone who strongly believes that comic books are an art form (and an art form that was originally conceived of here in the United States to boot) I have always believed that they should be taught in schools at some point, in some form. This all-star panel of educators, creators and publishers discuss how comic books and graphic novels are slowly but surely being integrated into the Common Core Curriculum. This Q&A hopes to answer questions and raise some more, and as someone who longs to see comic books finally given their due as a form of art as good as any other, I'm looking forward to hearing what they have to say.