As I said before, we went to a lot of panels. And each panel was at least 45 minutes long. So, we spent a lot of time listening to and talking to some great, and not so great host. Honestly, though, I think we sat through almost every panel we attended—only skipping out on a couple that weren’t what we were expecting.
Our main goal with covering the panels was to attend the ones that are related to writing, publishing, or creating. This being a comic con, there were quite a few comic related panels as well. But nearly everything we sat in on dealt with art or writing in some capacity. Let’s get started.
As we split up and covered a lot of the panels individually, we’ll each be doing a write-up on panels we attended. SC will be the ones Spencer Church covered, and CJ are the ones I (Caleb James) covered. Both of us covered a few together as well.
The Creative mind: Top Artists Draw Comics
SC: this was the first panel on our list and it was held at the creative stage (above). It featured pencilers Joe Corroner (Star Wars), Steve Geiger (Spider-Man), and Thom Zahler (Love and Capes) as they shared with us their secret techniques and what it really takes to be a comic artists. Danny Fingeroth (How to Create Comics from Script to Print: Spider-Man) was the moderator.
I always like the artists panels; it’s interesting to hear about their process when it comes to their craft. The fun part of this panel was that artists were doing sketches that got raffled off at the end via Q&A. you also got to see some of their original work from past projects and what different techniques each one used to get their desired effect.
VIPS of Self-Publishing
CJ: This was also my first panel of the weekend and it was held in Event Room three. This panel was hosted by self-publishing creator, Victor Dandridge. Victor guided the attendees through the self-publishing process, comic book production, and the marketing and distribution of one’s work through his own experiences.
This was my introduction to Victor Dandridge, and I immediately could tell he was very good at relaying information in a fun yet educational way. Being one of the first panels of the night, there were only a handful of people (if that) in the room. Still, Victor was very personable and treated the panel as if he were lecturing a full house; very professional.
He also gave us a lot of valuable information about the publishing industry and how to put out quality work to the masses. What I’d later learn is that Victor has his hand in numerous work and seems to be constantly busy with projects. His experience in the comic world really showed through his presentation. I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it.
Kissin’ Cousins: Animation and Comics of The ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s
CJ: this panel was hosted by Tom Cook (He-Man), Phil Ortiz (The Simpsons), and Danny Fingeroth (Spider-Man). The panel went over the history of cartoons through the various eras.
SC: during this panel we got a look back in the history of animation from the ’70s to the ’90s. I had no idea of all the different, strange, short lived shows that took place in the ’70s and ’80s—but they did seem cool as hell and I would watch them if I could get my eyeballs on them.
When they got to the ’90s it got really interesting for me; with the talk of the Spider-Man and X-Men animated series which I grew up watching. We also got to see some early Simpsons designs for characters that have been around for almost three decades now. That was a real treat and Phil Ortiz told some funny stories about them.
Only Sheep Eat Rotten Tomatoes, a DC Films Discussion
SC: Victor Dandridge and his friends discuss how the recent lackluster DC films are actually setting the foundation to possibly the greatest franchise in cinematic history. This was easily my favorite panel on friday. Both Victor and Mike Watson made it a lot of fun by talking about how the DC movies aren’t as bad as you may think they are.
Now, I’m not going to get into everything that they brought up, but trust me, they made some very good points. And if you ever get a chance to meet either one of these guys at a show, I’m sure they’d be happy to give you their thoughts on the matter. But back to what made this such a fun panel. They did a really good job of making it an open discussion by letting everyone who had a point to make speak their piece. This wasn’t writing related, but it was an all around good time.
The Best of Japanese Horror Manga and Anime
CJ: an introduction to some of the best and scariest Japanese horror manga and anime on the market. Well, this was the first stinker for me. Some parts were kind of funny. But it didn’t really do much for me. I really hoped to enjoy this panel as I love horror manga and anime, but it was just some clips of anime and a brief overview of some personal favorites of the girl who was hosting. She did give me some good info on manga to check out after the panel finished up. So, that was cool.
Gender and Racial Diversity in Comics
SC: this panel was hosted by Bedford High School’s Comic Book Club. They talked about the state of diversity when it comes to comics and how they would like to change that.
After talking about that subject they showed us the different characters they created and the short film they made. Unfortunately, this panel wasn’t what I really hoped for so I bailed out a little early and joined Caleb for the NASA panel. Great decision! But I did enjoy the fact Wizard World let a local high school host a panel. I’d like to see more of that in the future.
NASA and The Science of Superman
CJ: NASA employees go over the science of Superman and discuss how his powers would work in the real world. I found this to be a very entertaining panel. I’m a huge science nerd and love NASA. So, to be able to speak with actual NASA doctors and engineers was a real pleasure. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw this on the panel list and made sure to attend it. I wasn’t disappointed.
SC: this was a pretty cool panel to sit in on. It started with the people from NASA talking about the science behind Superman and how all that would work. I was a little late coming in but I got to watch most of it. After awhile, the talk moved from Superman to just some really awesome NASA and space news like the new planets found 40 light years away. There was also a little kid there that knew so much more science stuff than I ever will. So, there’s that.
Superman: From Krypton to Cleveland
SC: This panel was talking about Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, the creators of Superman and them being from Cleveland. The other main topic is about a major project at the Cleveland library. Not as interesting as I hoped for. But as you know, I have a strange relationship with Superman.
God Complex: Building Realms, Worlds, and Universes With Creative Divinity
CJ: This panel was about building your own world from the ground up. It was moderated by Victor Dandridge and featured Dirk Manning. The “big” name on this panel was award-winning author, Laura Bickle. But for some reason, Laura just never showed up. So, I’m not sure if Dirk was actually supposed to be a part of this or not. But I’m glade he was.
We didn’t need Laura at all for this panel. These two did such an amazing job covering this topic. They gave very helpful information for writers and made the whole thing extremely humorous. I could’ve sat in on this panel for hours.
Words Into Pictures: How to Write Comics
CJ: this panel was hosted by Marc Sumerak (Power Pack), Thom Zahler (Love and Capes), and Danny Fingeroth (Spider-Man). I’m not even going to give a description because while I know for sure we attended this one, I can’t for the life of me remember anything about it. I must of just zoned out or something. I didn’t even record it. But I do know we skipped out after 30 minutes.
Write or Wrong: Creating Comics By The Numbers
CJ: this panel was hosted by Dirk Manning and it covered everything dealing with the numbers side of comics: page numbers, word counts, sales figures, book print copies, etc…
To be honest, I thought this would be very dry and super boring. Boy was I wrong!.This was by far one of, if not my favorite panel of the whole weekend. Dirk gave so much great information and really gave you what you needed to know about creating your own work. It was at times very somber and at other times side-splittingly hilarious.
SC: this was a really helpful panel that was hosted by Dirk Manning. It covered the things you need to do if you want to try to get into comics. If this is something you’re interested in, he has a book called Write Or Wrong that you should check out.
Two Centuries of Genius: Celebrating The Sprit’s Will Eisner and The Avengers’ Jack Kirby at 100
SC: two of the greatest artists to ever work in comics, Jack Kirby and Will Eisner, would both have been 100 years old this year. The overall talk was about their early life and how they were brought up. Danny Fingeroth, Brad Ricca and Al Wisner also discussed Eisner and Kirby’s differing experiences during their time in World War Two. they also talk about how being Jewish greatly influenced their work. Did you know The Thing was Jewish?
U Cre-8 Comics Presents: Character Crafters
CJ: Victor Dandridge was back again, this time with a fun, interactive panel on how to create your own comic book characters. I only attended this once I saw he was the host. And I don’t know how well Victor’s books sell, but he most certainly could be a teacher need be. He has a perfect presentation.
Victor handed out a pamphlet that has all kinds of ways to create a character from the ground up. I initially thought this was just going to be another drawing panel, but it was so much better. This panel was so good he actually ran out of time before he finished his presentation and everyone wanted to keep going. It was amazing.
SC: this was a real fun panel to go to for all ages. The adults and children in the room had an equally good time. The purpose of the panel was to show the importance of getting kids to read comics and what they can learn from it. You also got a packet that comes with all this information, and it helps you design and come up with your character origin. If you ever find Victor doing this somewhere near you, definitely check it out.
Self-Publishing: The Long But Satisfying Way of Playing With Yourself
CJ: I thought this was a strange name for a panel but I didn’t really look into it. I decided it was about self-publishing so we should just go. Turns out it was hosted by erotica authors. Sheesh.
Not that there is anything wrong with erotica authors. It’s just that they have a tendency to put out lots of work that isn’t always the greatest. The hosts had a good time, though. And some of the information was useful. But if we weren’t in the front row, we would’ve skipped out on this one. We could’ve hosted a better panel on writing, ourselves.
Batman The Animated Series 25th Anniversary Q&A With Kevin Conroy and Loren Lester
SC: this was such an awesome way to end this con for me. Both Kevin Conroy and Loren Lester are just great people. They were cool with everyone and you could tell they were having just as much fun as all of their fans. Stuff like this is why i come to these cons, and it was a blast. If you ever get a chance to meet either Mr. Conroy or Mr. Lester, I suggest you take advantage of it.
Spotlight On Ren and Stimpy’s Bob Camp
CJ: I’m a huge Ren and Stimpy fan. While Spencer grew up watching superhero shows, I was watching Ren and Stimpy. Danny Fingeroth moderated this, and for the first time all weekend he showed a good bit of humor. It was highly entertaining.
Bob Camp shared some clips of Ren and Stimpy, the gross old comics that influenced his style, and told a lot of hilarious stories about his life in the comic and animation industry. At the end of the panel he did live drawings and did a Q&A giveaway. I was a little bummed out I missed out on the Wilbur Cobb drawing, though.