20 Must-See Panels From New York Comic Con 2014

From Batman's 75th birthday to the plight of women in modern comics, it's all available next week
DC Entertainment/ReedPOP

Next Thursday sees the beginning of the 2014 New York Comic Con, a four-day event that may only be a handful of years old — the first NYCC was held in 2006 — but is already approaching San Diego Comic-Con levels of attendance, importance within the comic book industry and overall insanity.

For those attending the convention, it might be overwhelming to look at the panel schedule for the show (to say nothing about the larger, related “New York Super Week” being held across the city by organizers ReedPop at the same time). In the spirit of making your lives easier, here are 20 panels — five each day — that you should strongly consider attending to get a well-rounded experience. Just remember to stock up on water and snacks before entering the Javits Center every morning.

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Thursday

Dynamite 10th Anniversary Celebration
The New Jersey-based publisher is celebrating its 10th year with the addition of some impressive properties and partnerships, including the Edgar Rice Burroughs estate, Ernest Tidyman’s Shaft and the fan-favorite Gold Key characters. Creators including Gail Simone, Greg Pak and Tim Seeley talk about their work for the publisher in addition to some new announcements. (2:00pm-2:45pm, Room 1B03)

Skybound’s The Walking Dead
Robert Kirkman and Sean Mackiewicz, editorial director of Kirkman’s Skybound Entertainment, talk about all things undead in this panel dedicated to the Image Comics/AMC TV property. (Worth noting; there’s an entirely separate panel devoted to the TV show with appearances by the cast on Saturday at 3:30.) (4:00pm - 5:00pm, Empire Stage 1-E)

Dark Horse Builds Characters
There’s a great collection of creators on this panel, including former Marvel and DC writer Fred Van Lente (talking about his new original series, Resurrectionists), American Vampire artist Rafael Albuquerque and Brian Wood, but expect Fight Club 2 artist Cameron Stewart — whose revamp of DC Entertainment’s Batgirl is released in the same week as the show — to get a lot of attention in particular. (4:15pm - 5:00pm, Room 1A14)

The SAGA Begins: A New Imprint from Simon & Schuster
Simon & Schuster launches its new fantasy, sci-fi and horror imprint next year, and this panel — which features authors Ken Liu, David Barr Kirtley, Lee Kelly and Navah Wolfe amongst others — will explain what to expect from its first titles and beyond. (5:00pm - 5:45pm, Room 1B03)

ComiXology Submit: The Future of Self-Publishing
Thanks to its Submit program, the Amazon subsidiary offers established creators and newcomers the chance to self-publish material onto what remains the biggest digital platform for comics in the U.S. This panel, moderated by ComiXology’s Chip Mosher, will explain more about how Submit works, and where it might go next. (6:00pm - 6:45pm, Room 1A21)

Friday

Marvel 75th Anniversary Day
Quite what the House of Ideas has in store for this almost-five-hour extravaganza isn’t exactly clear — it’s officially described as a “once-in-a-lifetime gathering of talent,” including creators from various eras of the company’s history, that will track Marvel’s growth from upstart publisher to the multimedia giant it is today. Given that the company is headquartered in NYC and many of its top creators are listed as appearing at the show, expect something fun. (11:00am - 3:45pm, Room 1A18)

"Marry, Do or Kill?" What Will it Take to Shatter Female Stereotypes in Comics?
A collection of writers, artists and editors — including Marvel editor Ellie Pyle, artist Dennis Calero and former IDW editor Andy Schmidt — tackle the thorny question of just why women are so badly served by the comic industry. Really, 45 minutes isn’t nearly long enough. (11:15am - 12:00pm, Room 1A05)

Spotlight on Bryan Lee O’Malley
O’Malley returned to bookshelves this year from his post-Scott Pilgrim absence with the wonderful graphic novel Seconds, and in this panel he talks to Cory Doctrow about where he’s been all that time (Spoiler: the answer may include a variation on the phrase “writing and drawing Seconds”). (3:00pm - 3:45pm, Room 1A21)

DC Comics – Batman: Gotham Rising
From Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s monthly Batman title to new projects like Gotham Academy and the revamped Batgirl, DC’s Batman franchise has been on the upswing recently as the character celebrates his 75th anniversary. A whole host of creators, including Snyder, Cameron Stewart, Babs Tarr, Peter Tomasi and many others, talk about the longevity of the character, their current projects and maybe which Robin is their favorite (No, really, just ask them). (3:15pm - 4:15pm, Empire Stage 1-E)

Dark Horse and Sega Present: 35 Years of Alien
Whether it’s the new videogame Alien: Isolation or the Fire & Stone series of comic books, 20th Century Fox’s Alien franchise is arguably more alive and exciting than it’s been in years. “Surprise guests” are teased as joining writers Paul Tobin and Joshua Williamson on this panel to explain why Ridley Scott’s sci-fi horror movie still inspires more than three decades later. (6:15pm - 7:00pm, Room 1A24)

Saturday

Jack Kirby! The Art and Characters That Inspired the Industry!
Following last week’s settlement between Kirby’s estate and Marvel, there might not be a better time to attend a panel about the creator who defined the superhero genre (and much, much more). With guests including Image Comics founder Erik Larsen and iconic writer and artist Walt Simonson, there might not be better people to listen to talking about Kirby, either. (11:00am-11:45am, Room 1A18)

Marvel Cup O’Joe
Marvel’s Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada takes to the stage flanked by a great line-up of creators (including Brian Michael Bendis, whose Avengers, Ultimate Spider-Man and now All-New X-Men runs have pretty much defined the publisher over the last decade) for his regular hour of Q&A, anecdotes and big announcements. The 75th anniversary celebrations may be happening on Friday, but if you only attend one Marvel panel all weekend, this is probably going to be the most entertaining. (12:45pm - 1:45pm, Empire Stage 1-E)

Image Comics: I is for Impact
One of many Image Comics: I is for… panels at the show, this one is getting singled out for its impressive line-up of talent, which includes artist Frank Quitely, writers James Robinson and Matt Fraction and Saga co-creator and former Lost and Under the Dome writer Brian K. Vaughan. (2:15pm - 3:00pm, Room 1A06)

A New Dawn — The Exciting Future of Star Wars Publishing
With anticipation for next year’s Star Wars: Episode VII already reaching uncomfortable levels, hardcore fans should consider showing up for this panel in which author John Jackson Miller, Lucasfilm senior editor Jennifer Heddle and Star Wars: RebelsVanessa Marshall talk about the new Star Wars canon and offer hints about things to come in a galaxy far, far away. (3:15pm - 4:00pm, Room 1A14)

Marvel’s Daredevil, Exclusively on Netflix
Likely the most attention-grabbing panel of the entire show, the cast of next year’s Netflix-exclusive Marvel series (and showrunner Steve DeKnight) will attempt to be men — and women — without fear while answering questions about Marvel Studios’ expansion into original online content. I know that I’d be afraid when faced with that many people desperate to see some footage. (5:15pm - 6:15pm, Main Stage 1-D)

Sunday

Reading with Pictures: Comics That Make Kids Smarter
The creators behind an anthology aimed at educating its readers in addition to entertaining them (including Fred Van Lente, Jim McCann, Janet Lee and Chris Giarrusso) talk about the potential for crossover between comic books and the classroom. (11:15am - 12:00pm, Room 1A01)

Survivors of the First Comic Con
2014 marks the 50th anniversary of the world’s first comic book convention, which took place in New York. It was attended by less than 50 fans, some of whom are guests of this panel alongside then-professionals including Marvel’s much-loved Flo Steinberg. Expect both nostalgia and an eye-opening history lesson about fandom half a century ago. (11:15am - 12:00pm, Room 1A14)

Dark Circle Comics: Building the Future of Superhero Comics
Having successfully — and surprisingly — proven itself as a horror publisher with the award-winning Afterlife with Archie series, Archie Comics turns to superheroes next year with the new Dark Circle line. Editor Alex Segura and creators including Dean Haspiel and Duane Swierczynski tease what to expect. (12:15pm - 1:00pm, Room 1A05)

DMC Presents: Boom! Bap! Pow! Hip-Hop & Comics! 2014 Edition
No, you’re not misreading that panel title; it really is DMC of Run-DMC fame who’s chairing this look at how comic book culture and hip-hop culture have informed each other throughout the years (Guests include producer Just Blaze and filmmaker Bobbito Garcia). (1:15pm - 2:00pm, Room 1A24)

Comics and Graphic Novels for All Readers
Creators including Emily Carroll and Paul Pope take on the issue of where (if anywhere) comics and graphic novels should fall in the literary canon of younger readers. Of course, given that everyone on the panel makes comics for younger readers, the likelihood of their saying “Well, maybe they shouldn’t belong at all” does seem just a little unlikely, admittedly… (2:00pm - 2:45pm, Room 1B03)

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