Comic-Con: 5 Must-See Comic Book Panels From the Show's First Day

Guests doing the talking include Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez, Kieron Gillen and Lisa Hanawalt.
Jaime Hernandez/Fantagraphics Books

The schedule for the first full-day of programming at this year's  San Diego Comic-Con has been released, showing the wide variety of panels, presentations and talks available for attendees on the Thursday of the annual pop culture event, which is set to run July 21-24 at the San Diego Convention Center (with Preview Night on July 20).

While many will be drawn to the Hall H panels for Snowden and Luc Besson's Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, or the presentations for Marvel and DC's big comic book relaunches, characters and storylines, there is a wealth of programming to be explored off the beaten path. For those attending the show but without an idea of what they should be paying attention to, here are five panels that should be worth attending on Thursday.

Spotlight on Kieron Gillen

One of the most interesting mainstream creators working today, Gillen has taken on Marvel superheroes — his Young Avengers run remains a fan-favorite years after its conclusion — as well as Star Wars and creator-owned work such as The Wicked + The Divine without losing his voice. In a strong early-convention panel, he talks to long-term creative partner Jamie McKelvie about his career to date. Room 7AB, 10 a.m.-11 a.m.

Love & Rockets: Past, Present and Future

Ahead of the title's relaunch this fall, brothers Gilbert, Mario and Jaime Hernandez talk about the origins of, and road ahead for, the iconic independent comic series with publisher Gary Groth and celebrity fan Matt Fraction. Expect some art reveals and announcements, according to the program. For those who don't know what Love & Rockets is, this might help. Room 9, 11 a.m.-12 p.m.

Something for Everyone: Indie Comics

As if to prove that there's more to comics than superheroes and The Walking Dead, Andrew Farago, the curator of San Francisco's Cartoon Art Museum, gathers together a veritable Justice League of talent to discuss what else is happening in the medium, including Hot Dog Taste Test's Lisa Hanawalt, illustrator and webcomic creator extraordinaire Emily Carroll, autobio creators Jennifer Hayden and Keith Knight and Ed Luce of the amazing Wuvable Oaf. This lineup of talent is almost worth the cost of Comic-Con by itself. Room 29AB, 1 p.m.-2 p.m.

Comics and Animation Storyboards

The crossover between storyboards and comics might seem obvious, but they're far from the same thing. This panel examines the similarities and differences between the two, with guests from Walt Disney Animation who've also worked in comics — including Lissa Treiman (storyboarded Zootopia and Big Hero 6, draws the incredible Giant Days comic book) and Jeff Ranjo (storyboarded Moana, drew Marvel's Groot comic book) — talking about their experiences. Room 25ABC, 2 p.m.-3 p.m.

The Forgotten Trio: Inkers, Letterers and Colorists

Sure, everyone talks about the writers and the pencillers, but what about the other talent responsible for making comic books? (The difference lettering can make to a comic is one of those things that is rarely fully appreciated, in part because it's only obvious when you see a bad job.) Letterers, inkers and colorists for DC, Marvel and other publishers discuss their work and talk about how important it is to the final product, while also giving guidance to those who want to follow in their footsteps. Room 9, 4 p.m.-5 p.m.

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