In anticipation of the trip to Baltimore next weekend for the Baltimore Comic-Con, I thought I'd give a preview of a few of the panels I'm looking forward to.
Saturday, Oct. 10th
11:00 - 12:00 Kids Love Comics Presents: Comic Book Carnival for Kids - If you're not familiar with Kids Love Comics, you should be. They're an organization devoted to helping build the next generation of comics fans in an industry that has been downright woeful at gaining new readership over the last decade. In a nutshell, they fight the good fight. At this particular panel event, they'll have some of the industry's best kids book talent (John Gallagher [Buzzboy], Join Franco [Tiny Titans], Andy Runton [Owly]) on hand offering a workshop to children interested in learning to draw for comics. The folks at KLC take this job very seriously and they always present a lot of fun activities for kids and parents alike, so if you've got a little one with you next weekend in Baltimore, I highly suggest stopping by the Mansion for a little fun.
12:30 - 1:30 Spotlight on George Perez - An hour long retrospective and Q & A with one of the industry's most prolific illustrators? Sounds like a blast to me. Perez, the undisputed king of fitting an obscene amount of characters onto one page, will be discussing his years working for both Marvel and DC. That work includes iconic runs on The Avengers, Crisis On Infinite Earths and Wonder Woman. Most recently, Perez teamed up with Geoff Johns for the critical darling, Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds. This should be an hour well spent for any lifelong comics fan.
1:30 - 2:30 Comic Rewind: The 70s - Oh man, oh man, oh man! I am so excited about this panel I can hardly contain myself. In my opinion, the 1970s is a real high water mark for superhero comics. The decade that gave us the brilliance that was Denny O'Neil and Neal Adams must always be mentioned as one of (if not the) best decades in comics history. The 1970s gave us a better Bat, a roadtrip of epic (and very green) proportions, a new class of mutant and a shambling verdant mass that would become one of the most acclaimed characters in comics history. This panel will feature some of the creators responsible for this great shift forward, including Chris Claremont (X-Men), Len Wein (Swamp Thing) and Walt Simonson (The Mighty Thor). To cap it off, the panel is moderated by comic historian, editor and writer extraordinaire, Mark Waid. I'll see you there!
3:30 - 4:30 Spotlight on Wednesday Comics - Wednesday Comics was an ambitious project that met with a great deal of critical, as well as fanboy, acclaim. This panel will feature some of the creators from editor Mark Chiarello's latest success, including Andy Kubert (Sgt. Rock) and Mike Allred (Metamorpho). What I find most exciting about this panel though is the inclusion of editor Mark Chiarello as the moderator. Chiarello is one of the most exciting and talented people in comics. The projects he takes on are some of the most innovative in the business and I am fairly in awe of his talent. I might, just possibly, be considering approaching him with my The Question pitch. Am I crazy?
Sunday, Oct. 11th
12:00 - 1:00 Marvel: Your Universe - Tom Breevort puts his own head on the chopping block and turns the microphone over to the fans for a bit of lively discussion. In an interesting twist on the big company panel, the Your Universe panel is meant to act as a soapbox for fans to express their own opinions about the direction that Marvel is taking. Do you think Agents of Atlas deserves more attention? Let 'em know. Do you think that bringing Steve Rogers back was an awful idea (it was)? Let 'em have it! This hour of opinion slinging could be the most entertaining hour you'll spend all weekend. Better bring your gloves! Fanboys are a rowdy bunch.
11:30 - 12:30 DC Conversation w/ Ian Sattler - Do you prefer DC to Marvel? If so, maybe you'll want to wait till 11:30 and hit up the DC Conversation with Ian Sattler. The DC equivalent of the Your Universe panel from Marvel, Sattler will be on hand to field all your questions (and attempt to deflect your ire) about the current state of DC comics. I'm sorry, DC Entertainment. Unimpressed with Blackest Night? Think that Barry Allen should have stayed dead? Not digging Batman: Reborn? Well, here's your chance to let 'em know. On a related note, these discussions can also be used as a vehicle to express your positive opinions. Just putting that out there.
12:30 - 1:30 Spotlight on Jo Chen - This spotlight panel would be exciting enough if it were just Jo Chen. Add to it the fact that Jose Villarubia is the moderator and you've got a can't miss event. If you're a fan of either of these creators (and you should be a fan of both) then make sure you clear your lunchtime schedule. After all, that hot dog cart will still be there at 1:30.
Baltimore looks to be a great con. From what I can tell, it appears to be more about celebrating the people who make comics and the people who read them than creating a giant pop culture circus. As much as I loved NYCC this year, I'm more excited about Baltimore. Perhaps it's that my comics acumen (and my resume) is better now than it was back in February, and that's making me more confident about being thrust back into this environment. Whatever the reason, I'm very excited. This will be my first con ever where I'm trying to pitch things on the floor (or over beers) and (hopefully) getting editorial feedback in the process. Wish me luck, true believers! It's going to be a blast!