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

Learn about comic book censorship around the world, and the comics that push the boundaries of the mainstream.
Nick Derington/DC Entertainment
Doom Patrol, part of DC's Young Animal imprint discussed Friday at 5:30pm.

Details for the second full day of programming of this year's San Diego Comic-Con have been released, and it's a day filled with panels and presentations worth attending, focusing on the past, present and future of comics — as well as the traditional panels for big movies, TV shows and video game properties.

In addition to a number of how-to panels (including lessons on how to make, promote and distribute comics), there are some great creator spotlights — Ronald Wimberly's 2 p.m. panel in Room 4 deserves special attention; he's a fascinating cartoonist and illustrator — and publisher panels including information on Marvel's upcoming superhero line relaunch Marvel Now, DC's Superman titles and Image Comics' creator-owned series. But if you're looking for five comic panels in particular to attend, here are the choices I'd suggest:

CBLDF: State of Censorship 2016

As much as everyone wishes it wasn't the case, censorship of comics remains an international problem, from the Charlie Hebdo attacks to fights over what material is allowed in school libraries throughout the U.S. Charles Brownstein, executive director of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, talks about current problems and how fans and readers can help, in this hourlong panel. Room 30CDE, 1 p.m.-2 p.m.

Dark Horse Originals

Indie publisher Dark Horse gathers together some of the finest voices in comics today — including Jonathan Case, Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba and Sandman cover artist and multimedia creator Dave McKean — to talk about the ways in which comic books can become (and, simultaneously, push the boundaries of) modern literature. Room 7AB, 3 p.m.-4 p.m.

Expanding Diversity in Kids Comics

In a special off-campus panel at the San Diego Central Library, three executives from publishers aimed beyond the traditional comics mainstream — Robin Herrera from Oni Press, Gina Gagliano from First Second and Sierra Hahn from BOOM! Studios — discuss the ways in which comics are changing in order to appeal to an increasingly diverse audience demanding increasingly diverse material. For those wondering where comics as a medium and a business might be going next, this might be the panel to pay attention to. Shiley Special Events @San Diego Central Library, 4 p.m.-5 p.m.

DC's Young Animal

While the Rebirth promotion is relaunching the big names of DC Entertainment's superhero line, Young Animal, the imprint led by former My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way is looking to play with the genre just a little bit (just look at the cover to his first issue of Doom Patrol at the top of this post). With appearances from fellow creators including YA novelist Cecil Castellucci and Way's co-writer Jon Rivera, expect this panel to reveal just where DC's weirder heroes are going next. Room 5AB, 5:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m.

Valiant's Faith

As if to tie the previous two panels together, Valiant's Faith has been the breakout indie superhero title of the year — this month's first issue of the ongoing monthly series is already the best-selling indie superhero comic of 2016 — in large part because it steps beyond the norm to offer an alternative to what audiences expect from superhero comics, in terms of both storytelling and lead character. Writer Jody Houser talks about her approach to the title and what's coming up to journalist Abraham Riesman. Room 29AB, 6 p.m.-7 p.m.

San Diego Comic-Con runs July 21-24 at the San Diego Convention Center, with the show's traditional Preview Night taking place July 20.

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