Comic-Con: 10 Must-See Comic Book Panels for the First Two Days

Learn the tricks of the trade and see the best of the best get recognized in the comic industry equivalent of the Oscars
David Aja/Marvel Entertainment

The schedule for this year's San Diego Comic-Con has been released, offering a genuinely dizzying amount of panels for the picking, including ones for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, The Hateful Eight, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and far, far more. For those who are looking for some comic book-centric programming across the weekend, here are ten panels from the first couple of days of the show that you might want to check out. (Highlights from the Saturday and Sunday programming will be posted at a later date.)

 

Thursday

In addition to publisher panels for DC, Marvel, Dark Horse, Image, 2000AD, ComiXology and Titan Comics, the first day of programming also includes spotlight panels for DC co-publisher Jim Lee, iconic artist Kevin Nowlan and  not one, but two  panels for Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman's Skybound. Not to mention the following:

Behind The Pages with David Aja

The artist who wowed audiences with his work on Marvel's Immortal Iron Fist and Hawkeye talks about the process of creating a comic book from initial idea to finished product, showing off design sketches and behind-the-scenes material. Considering that Aja's sketches can be as beautiful as other people's finished work, expect to be impressed as well as educated. Room 32AB, 11am-12pm

Workshop with Kelly Sue DeConnick

Sadly overlapping with Aja's panel is this writing workshop by the co-creator of Bitch Planet and Pretty Deadly, and the woman who made Marvel's Carol Danvers enough of a force to be reckoned with that there'll be a Captain Marvel movie in 2018. DeConnick has been an inspirational figure to a new generation of fans and creators, so it'll be interesting to see what she has to say when it comes to honing the craft. Room 2, 11am-12pm

Editing Comics with Oni Press Editorial

There's a running theme of "Editing Comics" panels on the first couple of days of this year's Comic-Con, with Boom! Studios offering an alternate take on Thursday and a multi-publisher "What Does An Editor Do?" panel on Friday. This gets the pick of the crop however, as it features the editorial team of Portland, Ore. publisher Oni talking about their recent call for open submissions and the need for creator diversity to widen the comic book audience. Room 9, 12:00pm-1:00pm

First Second: What's In A Page?

First Second publishes some of the best creators in the business, and this panel features four of them — including Scott McCloud and American Born Chinese's Gene Luen Yang — analyzing one page of their own work. Think of it as an informal master class from some modern masters. Room 4, 1:30pm-2:30pm

Vertigo: What's The Story

DC Entertainment's creator-owned line reveals plans for a post-Sandman: Overture and Fables future with a panel that promises to "defy all expectations." Or, at the very least, tease some new and exciting comic books. Room 5AB, 6:00pm-7:00pm

Friday

Both Marvel and DC step up their presence on the show's second day, with panels related to specific properties (Marvel has a Secret Wars panel that might offer hints of what comes next, in particular), while Image, Dynamite, Archie, IDW and Top Shelf are also represented with panels of their own. Amongst the creators with spotlight panels are DC CCO Geoff Johns, Katie Cook, Jackson Guice and Scott McCloud. The none-more-worthy Steve Lieber has a workshop panel that should be worth looking into as well. And then, there are these panels…

21st Century Creators

The comic landscape has undergone a number of changes over the last few years, with webcomics, digital comics and other technological advances altering the medium and market in untold ways. Three cartoonists who've started making comics since the turn of the century — Benjamin Marra, Michael DeForge and the amazing Jillian Tamaki — talk about their experiences working in an increasingly digital space. Room 28DE, 10:00am-11:00am

Push Stories Forward: Rise of the Independents

On a similar note, representatives from publishers IDW, Boom! Studios, Oni Press and Fantagraphics talk about the role of independent companies in a world where comic characters are some of the most well-recognized figures in popular culture, but indie works like Fun Home, Persepolis and even The Walking Dead are making serious in-roads into the mainstream. Room 5AB, 12:30pm-1:30pm

Hopey, Julio, Skim, Oafs and Beyond

Creators Mariko Tamaki, Ed Luce, Gilbert Hernandez and Jaime Hernandez talk about queer representation in alternative comics, focusing on their Skim, Wuvable Oaf and Love & Rockets titles. Room 28DE, 1:00pm-2:00pm

DC Entertainment: From Page to Screen

In addition to the Hall H panels for Warner Bros' multimedia plans for the DC characters, there's this panel talking about upcoming projects on the big, small and videogame screens, featuring some of those responsible for translating comics into new media. Room 6DE, 4:15pm-5:15pm

Showtime Presents the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards

The annual "Oscars for Comics" award ceremony will likely dominate Friday evening, with Grant Morrison, Batgirl artist Babs Tarr and The Walking Dead up for awards. Indigo Ballroom, Hilton Bayfront, 8pm-

 

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