WonderCon@Home: Bob’s Friday 3/27/2021 Panels reviewed

I love the @Home comic convention format, mostly because my favorite part of conventions run by the Comic-Con International people are the EXCELLENT panels they put on. 

For people who go to conventions to hang around on the dealer floor, cosplay, or various other activities that hinge more on physical presence, I can see the @Home format being a pale comparison, but I am enamored by attending panels.  With the @Home format I can watch them when it’s convenient for me, not only when they are happening live.  If 2 panels I want to see happen at the same time I can see them both (like Thursday 5pm)!  It’s great!

I was unable to watch the panels on Friday as they happened, and the same for the Saturday panels (I had an appointment for my Covid vaccination on Saturday I wasn’t going to miss).  But starting Saturday afternoon I was able to start watching the panels from both days at my own pace and enjoy them fully.

You can find the entire panel schedule here:
(You may need to use the arrows directly under the word ‘Schedule’ to set focus to March 26-27, 2021)
The full list shows the tremendous variety of selections available. Even if there is nothing I talk about here that interests you, there should be something on the full schedule that will interest every fan of pop culture/movies/comics.

Bob’s Recommended “Must See” Panels from Thursday:

  • Jack Kirby Tribute Panel
  • The Groo Crew
  • Putting The Science In Science Fiction

More detailed information/reviews/links can be found below.

Fri 10am: Jack Kirby Tribute Panel

Panel Description: Mark Evanier (Kirby: King of Comics) talks about the man some call “The King of the Comics” with author Neil Gaiman (American Gods) and TV host and mega-Kirby fan Jonathan Ross. They will attempt to discuss what was special about the work of Jack Kirby and why, long after we lost him, he seems to be more popular than ever.

Very interesting to hear Gaiman (a died-in-the-wool DC fan) talk about how he initially couldn’t get into Kirby’s Marvel work but REALLY got into it when Jack came to DC to create the Fourth World.  Ross, on the other hand, was initially a Marvel fan and was digging Kirby there but his move to DC for Fourth World got him to start collecting and love that corner of the DC universe.

Beyond this there was a lot of great conversation about creator-owned/underground comics in the 70s and also Wally Wood’s Witzend… how Jack was totally enamored of creators being able to do whatever they wanted and owning it, while that wasn’t his cup of tea since he had an ingrained ethic of providing for his family that prevented him going off on his own, opting instead for the steady paycheck at that time.

RECOMMENDED?  9/10.  I’m a HUGE fan of Neil Gaiman and have seen some of Jonathan Ross’ work… it was great fun hearing these guys talk about how Kirby influenced their love for comics and storytelling.

Fri 11am: Comics Arts Conference Session #1: The Power and Responsibility of Comics Pedagogy

Panel Description: The field of Comics Studies is an ever-growing scholarly space involving a wide range of participants. Susan Kirtley (Portland State University), Antero Garcia (Stanford University), and Peter Carlson (Green Dot Public Schools) examine this space while reflecting on their recently published work, With Great Power Comes Great Pedagogy: Teaching, Learning, and Comics. As the panelists discuss their approach to gathering comic creators, scholars, and educators from various fields and settings to set out the stakes, definitions, and exemplars of contemporary comics pedagogy into one edited volume, they analyze how sources of personal identity, nostalgia, and history affect our evolving relationships to comics. As they share the discoveries uncovered in their editing process, the panelists will reveal the purposes for cultivating the three key areas of this volume: Foundations of Comics Pedagogy, Comics Pedagogy in Practice, and New Directions for Comics Pedagogy.

pedagogy [ ped-uh-goh-jee, -goj-ee ]
noun, plural ped·a·go·gies.
1. the function or work of a teacher; teaching.
2. the art or science of teaching; education; instructional methods.

This panel doesn’t seem like it’s something that will have a broad appeal, many people won’t care about this at all.  I found it interesting to hear about ways that educators are using comics in their teaching and teaching about comics.  Great for people who are educators or people who are just curious about education techniques.  Susan Kirtley uses an exercise to help illustrate some of what she is talking about.

RECOMMENDED?  6/10.  Interesting if you like this sort of thing.

Fri Noon: Taking it Personally: Comics and Politics in the Age of COVID

Panel Description: Is all art political? And should it be? Cartoon Art Museum Curator Andrew Farago discusses comics, politics, and productivity with an all-star panel of creators whose work combines the personal and the political. Featured guests are Derf Backderf (Kent State: Four Dead in Ohio), Darrin Bell (Candorville), Thi Bui (The Best We Could Do), and Nate Powell (The March Trilogy).

Nate Powell

The moderator had a flat undynamic presence, Derf Backderf was kind of in a bummer mood at the beginning but opened up later in the panel.  Darrin, Thi, and Nate were interesting throughout. 

I’ve read the featured work from all the creators on this panel and enjoyed them all, which is why I was so interested in seeing this panel.  The March Trilogy is probably my favorite non-fiction GN of all time.  Kent State: Four Dead in Ohio is one of the best things I read in 2020.

NOTE: I have determined I like the split screen mode for panels so you can see everyone at once and their reactions to one another talking (like at a live panel) as opposed to the swapping screen focus between each person as they were the featured speaker format used in this presentation. 

RECOMMENDED?  7/10.  Interesting if you like this sort of thing.

Fri 2pm: Image Comics: Bestselling Writers and their Comics Storytelling Techniques

Panel Description: Top tier Image Comics writers including Rodney Barnes (Killadelphia), Alex De Campi (Dracula, Motherf**Ker), Kieron Gillen (Die), Scott Snyder (Nocterra), and Pornsak Pichetshote (The Good Asian) come together to share their storytelling secrets, behind the scenes process, and tease upcoming projects. Moderated by Image Comics’ Talent Liaison, Marla Eizik.

Great stuff for people who are interested in the behind the scenes stuff that goes into the creation of the comics they like to read.  Fascinating to see the personalities of writers whose work you may like, love or even not care for.  The unifying element is they all seem passionate about what they’re doing, and they all give credit to the artists that they work with and talk about how they collaborate with artists.


Friday 3pm: Solving Hard-Case Crimes and Uncovering Secret Histories with Cynthia Von Buhler’s Minky Woodcock!

Panel Description: Forbidden Planet TV’s Andrew Sumner steps back in time with talented author/illustrator Cynthia Von Buhler (The Illuminati Ball) and Hard Case Crime editor-in-chief Charles Ardai (The Home Front) to discuss alternate histories, merged genres, the dark world of noir comics, and their release of the latest Hard Case comic-book adventure of Cynthia’s ever-cunning detective Minky Woodcock: The Girl Who Electrified Tesla!

I’m a big fan of Titan’s Hard Case Crime comics and have read Von Buhler’s work before so this was an easy choice for me, but a fascinating panel for anyone who likes the crime/mystery genres.  It’s always nice to hear about a writer/artist who puts vast amounts of research into their stories, as Von Buhler does.  For instance, she found the room where Tesla lived at the New Yorker Hotel, rented the room, and brought models there to use it as reference for art in the book.  Amazing!

Also fascinating/distracting was the fact that editor Charles Ardai worked with and knew Jeff Bezos at his job BEFORE he created Amazon and knew him while he was deciding to start Amazon.  Paths not traveled, as he didn’t get in on the ground floor with the guy who would become one of the richest people in the world because “selling books on the internet” didn’t seem like a million dollar idea.


Friday 4pm: Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes–Inside the Blockbuster Exhibition

Panel Description: Since its doors first opened at Seattle’s MoPOP in 2018, the Marvel: Universe Of Super Heroes exhibition has appeared at some of the US and Canada’s most prestigious museums, welcomed nearly 900,000 visitors, and brought fans a new way to experience the characters and legacy of Marvel, while also exploring the company’s long and storied history. Now, as the exhibition begins its fourth record-setting year, head curator Professor Benjamin Saunders (head of comics and cartoon studies, University of Oregon) and co-producer Brian Crosby (creative director, Marvel Themed Entertainment) bring you inside the galleries for a sneak peek at some of the priceless artifacts on display, discuss how they’ve brought Marvel to life in a museum medium, and consider the process of building an exhibition that can evolve and adapt to reflect the ever-changing Marvel Universe

Really short (clocked in just under 30 minutes), this would have benefited tremendously had they shared more pictures of past exhibits to give a visual representation of the things they were talking about as well as plans for upcoming cities where fans might be able to visit the exhibit.


Friday 5pm: Heavy Metal: Putting The Science In Science Fiction

Panel Description: Matt Medney CEO of Heavy Metal and writer for Dark Wing and Beyond Kuiper is joined by co-writer and aerospace engineer John Connelly and president and executive director of the Columbia Memorial Space Center Benjamin Dickow as they debate the science of science fiction.

This falls in the “awesome if you like this sort of thing” category… I definitely like this sort of thing.  These science guys geek out and nitpick science wins and failures in pop culture (and sometimes real life, as in talking about Elon Musk).  Their rant about the movie Ad Astra was worth the hour for me by itself.

If you like this WonderCon panel, these guys do a bi-monthly podcast (11 episodes so far) than can be found here: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/heavy-metal-presents-putting-science-in-science-fiction/id1539194165

RECOMMENDED?  8/10.  I’ll be checking out the podcast!

Friday 5pm: The Groo Crew

Panel Description: The four guys responsible for the comic book Groo the Wanderer—Sergio Aragonés, Mark Evanier, Stan Sakai, and Tom Luth—talk about how and why they create the adventures of the stupidest character in all of comics, and maybe we’ll get Sergio to talk about his 55 years with MAD magazine and Stan to discuss new and exciting new about his creation, Usagi Yojimbo.

Great panel for new fans, the guys recount the “Origin of the Groo comic” which is still fun to hear even for someone who has heard it before.  

They also caught up with Stan Sakai on his wonderful creation Usagi Yojimbo, where we got to hear about his kids comics ‘Chibi Usagi’ and his work on an upcoming Usagi Yojimbo animation project with Gaumont.

About 30 minutes in there was a good conversation about Mad Magazine followed by Serio showing off a lot of Groo original art he has recently completed for a book that won’t be out for a year or more. I’ll leave you with a fun photo of the crew from many years ago!


I’ll have another Blog covering the Saturday sessions I’ve watched in a few more days… I’m still watching those as I write this!

Opinion piece by: Bob Bretall
http://comicspectrum.com/ By Fans who Love Comics For Fans who Love Comics

Posted in Comic Con International, Comic Cons, Comics, Comics Creators, Image, Jack Kirby, Marvel, SDCC | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

ComicCon@Home: “Hollywood” Panels reviewed

I tried to keep my “live” viewing of panels focused on comic books, but there are loads of panels that focus on comic book adjacent projects in TV, movies, and animation.  A huge advantage to ComicCon@Home is that I was able to watch lots of panels (15 of them!) after the fact that I would have never stood in line with huge crowds of people to see as they happened in the larger rooms at con.

The was SO MUCH to enjoy about ComicCon@Home for me. I watched a total of 56 panels, 41 about comics (a couple of those were edge cases between comics/Hollywood) and 15 Hollywood panels that I talk about in this Blog below.

Bob’s Recommended “Must See” Panels for fans of comics, sci-fi, fantasy, and pop culture in other media:

Bugs Bunny’s 80th Anniversary Extravaganza (fun for anyone)

Harryhausen100: Into the Ray Harryhausen Archive (should be watched by any fan of classic sci-fi & fantasy film)

…basically any panels related to a show you watch & love (I’m clearly a fan of the shows that I watched the panels for below. There were LOTS of other shows that had panels on the full ComicCon@Home schedule that I didn’t watch but you may really love.)

More detailed information/reviews/links can be found below.

I’m not sure how long these will be viewable for free.  I’m guessing at least through the weekend and into next week, but I wouldn’t wait several weeks to watch any of these that you want to make sure you catch.

Star Trek Universe Virtual Panel (originally aired Thurs @ 10am)

YouTube: https://youtu.be/JDGNY8EosSI

Panel Description: Star Trek broke barriers when it first premiered more than 50 years ago, inspiring people of all walks of life by championing cultural diversity, scientific advancement, and the exploration of new frontiers. Today, this legacy carries on through the Star Trek series on CBS All Access, where Starfleet and new characters alike take on exciting missions and explore uncharted areas of the universe while keeping true to the ideals of “Star Trek” that society needs now more than ever. Join us as we virtually bring together the casts and producers from Star Trek: Discovery, new animated series Star Trek: Lower Decks and Star Trek: Picard.

Dominic Patten, Deadline’s senior editor, moderates the overall “Star Trek Universe” panels with an introduction and discussion with Secret Hideout executive producers Alex Kurtzman and Heather Kadin who give a glimpse of what’s ahead in the ever-expanding franchise.

The cast of
Star Trek: Discovery reprises their roles in a virtual table read of the season two finale “Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2.” Cast scheduled to appear, include Sonequa Martin-Green (Commander Michael Burnham), Michelle Yeoh (Philippa Georgiou), Doug Jones (Commander Saru), Anthony Rapp (Lt. Commander Paul Stamets), Mary Wiseman (Ensign Sylvia Tilly), Wilson Cruz (Dr. Hugh Culber), Mary Chieffo (L’Rell), Tig Notaro (Commander Jett Reno), Alan Van Sprang (Captain Leland), Jayne Brook (Admiral Katrina Cornwall), and the Discovery Bridge crew Emily Coutts (Lt. Detmer), Oyin Oladejo (Lt. J.G. Owosekun), Patrick Kwok-Choon (Lt. Rhys), Ronnie Rowe Jr. (Lt. J.G. Bryce), Sara Mitich (Lt. Nilsson), and upcoming Start Trek: Strange New World stars Anson Mount (Captain Christopher Pike), Rebecca Romijn (Number One), and Ethan Peck (Spock), alongside Star Trek: Discovery executive producer and co-showrunner Michelle Paradise and executive producer Olatunde Osunsanmi, who also directed the season two finale.Act one of the table read will make its world premiere at Comic-Con@Home followed by a brief cast Q&A.

Mike McMahan (
Rick and Morty, Solar Opposites), creator, showrunner, and executive producer of the upcoming animated comedy series Star Trek: Lower Decks, which premieres Thursday, August 6 on CBS All Access, will debut an exclusive extended first look from the premiere episode. McMahan also moderates a fun discussion with the Starfleet crew residing in the “lower decks” of the U.S.S. Cerritos, including “Ensign Beckett Mariner” voiced by Tawny Newsome, “Ensign Brad Boimler” voiced by Jack Quaid, “Ensign Tendi” voiced by Noël Wells, and “Ensign Rutherford” voiced by Eugene Cordero and the ship’s bridge crew including “Captain Carol Freeman” voiced by Dawnn Lewis, “Commander Jack Ransom” voiced by Jerry O’Connell, “Lieutenant Shaxs” voiced by Fred Tatasciore, and “Doctor T’Ana: voiced by Gillian Vigman.

Patrick Stewart and the lively cast of the hit original series
Star Trek: Picard, come together (virtually) for the first time post-finale to discuss the critically acclaimed first season. Cast members scheduled to appear includes Patrick Stewart (Jean-Luc Picard), Alison Pill (Dr. Agnes Jurati), Isa Briones (Dahj/Soji), Evan Evagora (Elnor), Michelle Hurd (Raffi Musiker), and Santiago Cabrera (Cristobal Rios) along with special guest stars Brent Spiner (Data/Dr. Soong), Jonathan Del Arco (Hugh), Jonathan Frakes (William Riker), Jeri Ryan (Seven of Nine), and Marina Sirtis (Deanna Troi).

I’m a fan of Star Trek, having watched most of the series over the years, except for Enterprise, which I only caught a few episodes of here and there.  Plus, all the movies, some of them multiples times (II, IV, First Contact).  BUT… I’m apparently not a big enough fan to pay for CBS All Access so I can watch all of the new series they’re putting out.

So it was nice to get a taste of the latest in Star Trek on this panel.  I really enjoyed the “table read” of the beginning of the Season 2 Finale of Discovery.  Classic feeling Star Trek action (that reminded me a lot of Next Generation), I think I’ll be checking this series out, especially since it’s available on Blu Ray.

The Animated “Below Decks” series didn’t really grab me, but I really enjoyed the part of the panel devoted to “Picard”.  It was great seeing “Sir Patrick”, Brent Spiner, Marina Sirtis, and Jonathan Frakes.  I loved seeing Marina Sirtis give Stewart shit about being old on the panel and telling people not to be too deferential to him since “It took us years to train him!”.  A lot of camaraderie between people from the “Next Gen” crew members.

Huge fun for Star Trek fans, whether you plan to subscribe to CBS AllAccess or  not.


A Look Inside “Marvel’s 616” on Disney+ (originally aired Thurs @ 1pm)

YouTube: https://youtu.be/_dqPLYpDoNs

Panel Description: Marvel’s 616 explores how Marvel’s rich legacy of stories, characters and creators exist within the “world outside your window.” Each documentary, helmed by a unique filmmaker, explores the intersections of storytelling, pop culture and fandom within the Marvel Universe. Join directors Gillian Jacobs, Paul Scheer, and executive producers Sarah Amos and Jason Sterman as they discuss the making of this Disney+ original anthology series with moderator Angélique Roché.

Gillian Jacobs was very engaging talking about how she read tons of comics as research for doing her documentary about female creators.  It was also nice to hear her say that having read so many comics recently as an adult she really wished she had discovered and read comics as a kid.  Paul Scheer’s documentary is about really weird/obscure characters in the Marvel Universe.  I’m a big enough Marvel Geek that I had read and knew about all the ones he mentioned (except Typeface, from Peter Parker: Spider-Man Vol. 2 #23).  I know I read this comic 20 years ago, but this character was not memorable enough for me to have any recollection of him.   But I was all in on remembering The Whizzer and US 1.

These documentaries look really interesting….but still not enough for me to give Disney $$ every month for a Disney+ subscription.  I hope to be able to see them one day somewhere.

RECOMMENDED?  8/10.  Worth watching for an overview of this project.

The New Mutants (originally aired Thurs @ 2pm)

YouTube: https://youtu.be/jGcU0JKAL5U

Panel Description: Writer/Director Josh Boone and the cast of Twentieth Century Studios and Marvel Entertainment’s The New Mutants, including Maisie Williams, Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Heaton, Alice Braga, Blu Hunt, and Henry Zaga discuss the upcoming original horror-thriller moderated by Ira Madison III.

We’ve been waiting for this movie for YEARS… it was nice finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel (hopefully, covid willing).  Good to see the short first scene with Dani Moonstar followed by trailer footage.  The characters look pretty darned good, particularly Anya Taylor Joy as Magik.

Bill Sienkiewicz (pronounced Sin-KEV-itch)

The bad: The moderator should really know how to pronounce Sienkeiwicz if he is hosting a New Mutants panel and must introduce the guy.  Heck, Bill’s Twitter handle is a phonetic pronunciation of his name: @sinKEVitch


Amazon Prime Video: The Boys Season 2 (originally aired Thurs @ 3pm)

Watch When Available: https://youtu.be/xOIqjCj-ADs

Panel Description: Executive producer Eric Kripke, along with series stars Karl Urban, Jack Quaid, Antony Starr, Erin Moriarty, Jessie T. Usher, Laz Alonso, Chace Crawford, Tomer Capon, Karen Fukuhara, and Aya Cash, with moderator Aisha Tyler, gather for a behind-the-scenes look at the upcoming second season of The Boys. Executive producers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg will also make a special appearance. Based on The New York Times best-selling comic by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson, The Boys is a fun and irreverent take on what happens when superheroes – who are as popular as celebrities – abuse their superpowers rather than use them for good. The even more intense, more insane season two finds The Boys on the run from the law, hunted by the Supes, and desperately trying to regroup and fight back against Vought.

I really enjoyed Season 1 and season 2 looks pretty good based on this panel and the material showed.  Great lineup of stars!  Wow!  Most at one time of any panel I’ve seen so far.  If you have not seen Season 1, it’s worth watching an episode BUT BEWARE!  NOT FOR KIDS!   Also, believe it or not, the TV show is a tamed-down version of the comic.  Not for the squeamish or for prudes.


Bugs Bunny’s 80th Anniversary Extravaganza (originally aired Thurs @ 4pm)

YouTube: https://youtu.be/2r-9T4z5D5s

Panel Description: Take a trip through eight decades of laughs and carrots when Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (WBHE) presents an all-encompassing look at one of the world’s most beloved and recognizable stars. Join three of the current voices of Bugs Bunny–Billy West (Space Jam, Futurama, Doug), Jeff Bergman (Tiny Toon Adventures, Our Cartoon President), and Eric Bauza (Looney Tunes Cartoons, Muppet Babies)–alongside Looney Tunes Cartoons executive producer Pete Browngardt (Uncle Grandpa), movie historian, author and TV personality Leonard Maltin (Entertainment Tonight), animation historian and author Jerry Beck (Animation Scoop), and Warner Archive senior vice president George Feltenstein as they cover the gamut of Bugs’ history from theatrical shorts to Saturday morning cartoons and the new HBO-MAX series. Actress Yvette Nicole Brown (Community, Avengers: Endgame, DC Super Hero Girls) will moderate the panel.

Great panel!  Awesome lineup of panelists and clearly professional job done by WB in putting this panel together.  If you like Bugs Bunny seek this one out and watch it…


Charlize Theron: Evolution of a Badass – An Action Hero Career Retrospective (originally aired Fri @ 10am)

YouTube: https://youtu.be/MeeH5s3U-bA

Panel Description: Actress and producer Charlize Theron reflects on portraying over two decades of action heroes, from Æon Flux to The Old Guard’s Andromache, Mad Max: Fury Road’s Furiosa to Atomic Blonde’s Lorraine Broughton. In a lengthy retrospective Q&A moderated by IGN’s Terri Schwartz, Theron discusses the evolution of the modern female action hero, the roles that inspired her and what drives her to constantly push her limits with fight training.

I’ve got a lot of respect for Theron as an actor, especially all the action stuff she has done including the recent “Old Guard”, but the moderator of this panel asked quite a lot of repetitive questions that tended to rehash the same movies/topics in the answers.  I’d have liked less “Mad Max Fury Road” and a bit more on the recent “Old Guard”.  Her discussion of the driving training she got for “The Italian Job” was the most enlightening part of the interview for me.


Harryhausen100: Into the Ray Harryhausen Archive (originally aired Fri @ 1pm)

YouTube: https://youtu.be/ISC6K4rFsZc

Panel Description: 2020 marks what would have been legendary animator Ray Harryhausen’s 100th birthday. To mark this occasion, the Ray and Diana Harryhausen Foundation present an exclusive look into the incredible collection which was gathered over a lifetime of creativity. Join Ray’s daughter Vanessa Harryhausen (foundation trustee), John Walsh (foundation trustee), and Connor Heaney (collections manager) for a chance to get close to some of Ray’s most iconic creations, as the three share memories and secrets from the archive, celebrating a century of cinema magic.


A must-see for any fans of Ray Harryhausen’s works in films like The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger, Jason and the Argonauts, Clash of the Titans, and many more.

Such a treat to see Harryhausen’s daughter Vanessa with a huge array of his original models.

It’s hard for people to understand who grew up in the “CGI era” but seeing what Harryhausen could do with green screen compositing and models 50+ years ago is still amazing to me.  The fight with the skeleton warriors from Jason & the Argonauts (1963) is a fantast film classic thanks to Harryhausen.

His work laid the work for what we have in film today… and made fans of the people who would go on to create the cinematic  SFX innovations we have today.


AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead (originally aired Fri @ Noon)

YouTube: https://youtu.be/g2MaJzMB6Yc

Panel Description: Fear the Walking Dead will present a panel for the series’ upcoming sixth season, premiering later this year. Moderated by Chris Hardwick, the panel will feature TWDU chief content officer Scott M. Gimple, showrunners and executive producers Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg, and cast members Lennie James, Alycia Debnam-Carey, Colman Domingo, Danay Garcia, Karen David, Jenna Elfman, and Rubén Blades. Season six of Fear the Walking Dead explores what has become of the unlikely family once united by a mission to help those in need. After being torn apart by Virginia (Colby Minifie) and her Pioneers, the group is now dispersed across her far-reaching settlements. Morgan’s (James) last message at the end of season five implored the group to “Just Live” and this season we’ll see what that means to each of them. Some will find the stability and opportunity within Virginia’s communities to be intriguing, some will sink into darkness, while others will fight back against what has been forced upon them. Life behind Virginia’s walls will test each and every one of them in different ways, forcing them to define who they are in this new world.

Loved seeing Chris Hardwick again… this was like an online episode of The Talking Dead!  Amazing lineup of actors from the show and nice to see everyone (actors & producers) answering fan questions. Hollywood does a nice job of editing these things together to look pretty good. 

I’d never have seen the Walking Dead panels in Hall H (not into the huge line) so I’m happy this was available on YouTube.   I hope the ComicCon folks do these mega popular “Hall H” type Hollywood these panels on-line like this again even when Con happens live!

“Fear” is probably my current favorite of the Walking Dead shows, I love the cast.  This is after not caring too much for the show for the first couple of seasons, but they made a lot of cast changes that were upgrades for me.  Biggest bummer about this panel was that my favorite character from the show Garrett Dillahunt (John Dorie) was not here.


AMC’s The Walking Dead (originally aired Fri @ 1pm)

YouTube: https://youtu.be/FDwoZKvV6q0

Panel Description: The Walking Dead will make its 11th San Diego Comic-Con appearance with a panel spotlighting “A Certain Doom, ” which will air as a standalone episode later this year. Moderated by Chris Hardwick (Talking Dead), the panel will feature TWDU chief content officer Scott M. Gimple, showrunner and executive producer Angela Kang, executive producer Greg Nicotero, who directed the episode, and cast members Norman Reedus, Melissa McBride, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Lauren Cohan, Josh McDermitt, Seth Gilliam, Ross Marquand, Khary Payton, and Paola Lazaro. In The Walking Dead episode 1016, “A Certain Doom, ” Beta engages the final battle of the Whisperer War.

Another “Talking Dead”-esque episode with Chris Hardwick.  Nice seeing Lauren Cohan back on the show, once I saw the first episode of the ABC series “Whiskey Cavalier” that she left The Walking Dead to do, I knew it would only be a matter of time before she was back on TWD.  What was originally going to be the season finale will be aired on October 4th, and the season will be extended by an additional 6 episodes.  Good panel for fans of the show to catch up on what’s coming up.


AMC’s The Walking Dead: World Beyond (originally aired Fri @ 2pm)

YouTube: https://youtu.be/Jrq6UAMqiV4

Panel Description: The Walking Dead: World Beyond makes its Comic-Con International debut as the third series in wildly successful The Walking Dead Universe. Moderated by Chris Hardwick, the series’ panel will feature TWDU chief content officer Scott M. Gimple, showrunner and executive producer Matt Negrete and cast members Aliyah Royale, Alexa Mansour, Hal Cumpston, Nicholas Cantu, Nico Tortorella, Julia Ormond, and Joe Holt. The Walking Dead: World Beyond delves into a new mythology and story that follows the first generation raised in a surviving civilization of the post-apocalyptic world. Two sisters along with two friends leave a place of safety and comfort to brave dangers, known and unknown, living and undead on an important quest. Pursued by those who wish to protect them and those who wish to harm them, a tale of growing up and transformation unfurls across dangerous terrain, challenging everything they know about the world, themselves and each other. Some will become heroes. Some will become villains. But all of them will find the truths they seek.

Another “Talking Dead”-esque episode with Chris Hardwick and a crowd of actors from the new Walking Dead series (debuting Oct. 4th) that takes place 10 years after the zombie outbreak featuring a predominantly young cast of characters.  I’m looking forward to giving the show a try, I’m an easy touch for the Walking Dead Universe both in comics and on TV.


I Am Not Okay with This – From the Page to the Screen! (originally aired Fri @ 2pm)

YouTube: https://youtu.be/RhgZSUbXJE8

Panel Description: Cartoonist Charles Forsman (I Am Not Okay With This, The End of the F***ing World), director Jonathan Entwistle (I Am Not Okay With This, The End of the F***ing World), and actor Wyatt Oleff (It, I Am Not Okay With This) trace the evolution of the critically-acclaimed Netflix series I Am Not Okay With This back to its beginnings as an original graphic novel! Moderated by the book’s editor and Fantagraphics associate publisher, Eric Reynolds.

It would have been nice to have Sophia Lillis on the panel, but they did have co-star Wyatt Oleff who was also in “It” with Lillis (ironically, playing a character named Stanley in both).

In the absence of the series star creator Charles Forsman and director Jon Entwistle ended up speaking more about the writing and production of the series, so that’s not a bad thing.

Hopefully people who like the series will seek out the Graphic Novel the series is based on.  For Forsman’s other GN adapted by Netflix “The End of the F***ing World” the GN was a bit more concise/contained than the series.  Not a knock on either the GN or the TV series, they’re different things, and it’s always been fascinating to me to see how something ends up being changed to be more suited to a different medium and different audience.


Bill & Ted Face the Music (originally aired Sat @ 3pm)

YouTube: https://youtu.be/cgGNBPIk3q8

Panel Description: Cast Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter, Samara Weaving, Brigette Lundy-Paine, William Sadler, director Dean Parisot alongside writers Ed Solomon and Chris Matheson gather for a lively panel moderated by filmmaker and fan Kevin Smith.

Bill & Ted Face the Music looks like it will be a most bodacious sequel, dudes and babes.  Party On!  This panel features a most outstanding collection of star-power, including the resplendently cast Brigette Lundy Paine as Billie, Bill S. Preston, Esquire’s daughter & Samara Weaving as Thea, Theodore ‘Ted’ Logan’s daughter.

Yes, Way!  There are totally non-heinous stories about the origins of Bill & Ted and triumphant clips from the movie itself.

I eagerly anticipate being able to check out this stellar sequel later this year.

Be excellent to each other!

RECOMMENDED?  9/10.   (Steer clear if not a Bill & Ted fan)

The Fleet Science Center Celebrates: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – The Stories and Science of Androids, Space Travel and Aliens (originally aired Sat @ 3pm)

YouTube: https://youtu.be/SpJR2qq3TIk

Panel Description: For seven seasons Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has managed to take us on one wild ride after another. The show is coming to an end with season seven, which premiered on May 27, and we are excited to celebrate the show with this panel. It is one thing to explore the amazing, and sometimes scary, abilities of inhumans (mutants), and quite another to take these stories into a matrix-like world, into space and even on a time-traveling adventure. Join the Fleet Science Center and executive producers, writers, and actors from Marvel’s immensely popular TV show Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., as they reveal how these stories came to life and discuss with San Diego scientists if they got the science right. Panelists are Jeffrey Bell (Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. showrunner, executive producer, and writer), Andrea Decker (Fleet Science Center, moderator), Dr. Virginia De Sa (professor in the Cognitive Science Department at UC San Diego), Elizabeth Henstridge (actor, Jemma Simmons), Dr. Anila Kanchan Madiraju (research associate at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies), Melissa Miller (scientist and science writer at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography), James Oliver (Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. co-producer and writer), Sharla Oliver (Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. co-producer and writer), Dr. Troy Sandberg (postdoctoral researcher at UC San Diego), Joel Stoffer (actor, Enoch), and Craig Titley (Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. executive producer and writer).

This was a pretty interesting panel.  Only one actor from the show and a few writers, but a LOT of scientists from the San Diego area.  I was fascinated by the conversation and the desire of the people on the show to keep the pseudo-science as “real” as they can.  It was interesting to learn that Elizabeth Henstridge had been pre-med in school, but also taking drama classes.  Though the drama won out she has more of a basis in the sciences than most actors.
This panel was promoting real science to TV fans under the guide of a panel about a TV show, so I’m all for that…  ~5300 fans as of Monday July 27th, which is almost a “Hall H” of fans.


What We Do in the Shadows (originally aired Sat @ 5pm)

YouTube: https://youtu.be/A-bBCUlPHyw

Panel Description: Named “TV’s best comedy” by the Hollywood Reporter, What We Do in the Shadows is a documentary-style look into the lives of four vampires and their loyal familiar who, in a surprising twist, is a descendant of famed vampire slayer Van Helsing. Join us in raising a glass of regular human alcohol beer to the sharp-toothed cast–Matt Berry, Natasia Demetriou, Kayvan Novak, Mark Proksch, and Harvey Guillén–and the creative team for a spirited discussion hosted by special guest, Haley Joel Osment.

Great for fans of the show, I really enjoyed this!  If you don’t watch the show you’re probably not going to get a lot out of this.


An Evening with Kevin Smith (originally aired Sat @ 6pm)

YouTube: https://youtu.be/scc4gW94XxE

Panel Description: Kevin Smith talks Son-In-Lockdown, unveils a new Funko Pop, and drops the first look at his new film Killroy Was Here. Plus, Kevin chats about a new podcast he created with his daughter, Harley Quinn Smith, and reveals how to get your very own Mooby’s Cow Tipper.

Bleeping out Smith’s profanity was a bad choice, since he curses A LOT.  It made this panel completely unwatchable for me. I gave up after hearing about 20 irritating bleeps in the first few minutes.  Kevin Smith was able to host the entire Bill & Ted panel without cursing & being bleeped continually, so he is capable of not swearing. 

If Smith knew Comic-Con was going to be bleeping him, he should have just refrained from swearing here as well.  Is it possible that the Con people didn’t tell him he was going to be bleeped throughout this panel?  Better if they had just issued a content advisory and let the panel run with language intact. 


Opinion piece by: Bob Bretall
http://comicspectrum.com/ By Fans who Love Comics For Fans who Love Comics

Posted in Comic Con International, Comic Cons, SDCC | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

ComicCon@Home: Bob’s Sunday 7/26 Panels reviewed

The inaugural ComicCon@Home 2020 is complete!  8 panels today for a total of 41 panels pretty much all focused on comic books, comic book history, and the craft of making comics.  Pretty darned good for a convention that according to some “isn’t about comics any more”.

Most of the comic book panels I reviewed had far fewer views (like 10% or less) of the views that the Hollywood panels that I’ll be blogging about tomorrow got .  It’s this disparity in “what more people tend to want to consume” that causes people to mistakenly assume there is an absence of comic books at SDCC.  They are not seeing a big spotlight on it, so they assume it doesn’t exist.  But just as objects do not cease to exist when you turn out the lights and can’t see them anymore, a strong comics focus has always existed at SDCC even though many people do not see the things that focus on them.

Hopefully this set of blogs (which will be seen by a tiny number of people) will let those few people know where to look for the comic book content at Comic Con.

Bob’s Recommended Sunday “Must See” Panels for comics fans:

Celebrating 80 Years of Will Eisner’s The Spirit (an essential rundown of an iconic character and master/pioneer of sequential storytelling)

Jack Kirby 101 (an awesome overview of “The King of Comics”)

More detailed information/reviews/links can be found below.

I’m not sure how long these will be viewable for free.  I’m guessing at least through the weekend and into next week, but I wouldn’t wait several weeks to watch any of these that you want to make sure you catch.

Sun 9am: IDW in 2020 and Beyond (originally aired Sat @ 2pm)

YouTube: https://youtu.be/tt4kEMGGENQ

Panel Description: Look ahead to everything new from IDW Publishing! Learn what’s next for your favorite series and much, much more! There’s nowhere better to get a behind-the-scenes look at IDW than this conversation with Chris Ryall (IDW president, publisher, and chief creative officer), John Barber (IDW editor-in-chief), and moderator George Gene Gustines (senior editor at the New York Times).

IDW touts themselves as an “alternative to Marvel & DC” which is true in that they are not focused on super-heroes to the exclusion of most else, but they do publish the “All Ages” Marvel Adventure line

Non-fiction offerings (like their previously published & award-winning “March” by John Lewis and “They Called Us Enemy” by George Takei) but now being done in partnership with the Smithsonian which opens them up to lots of topics, expertise, and Museum giftshops as a marketplace.

Chris Ryall also talked about an upcoming Locke & Key / Sandman story told by Joe Hill & Neil Gaiman!!  He also mentioned that the sales on Locke & Key collected editions have had a really big spike since the Netflix show came out, exposing the printed stories to a new and larger audience.

Licensed offerings: GI Joe, Transformers, Star Trek, Sonic the Hedgehog, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, My Little Pony – lots of talk about these if you’re into licensed properties (I’m not really zo I kind of zone out during this part).

And, of course, their classic comics collections & Artist’s Editions that I covered as part of the “Classic Comics” and “Jim Lee’s X-Men AE” panels I blogged about yesterday.  I did like Ryall’s description of the creator of the Artist’s Edition format Scott Dunbier as the “Indiana Jones of comic book art”

I’ll wrap this up by saying it’s a bit bittersweet seeing Chris Ryall on this panel given the press release on July 21st that announced Ryall was leaving IDW:

“In partnership with Ashley Wood and many of the talented creators he has worked with at IDW, Ryall is launching a new storytelling venture focused on the disparate worlds and characters that he brought to life at IDW Publishing.

Although he is stepping aside from his current roles at IDW, he will continue as an Executive Producer on the Netflix series, “Locke & Key,” and remain the sole editor on any Locke & Key publishing ventures going forward.”


Sun 10am: Celebrating 80 Years of Will Eisner’s The Spirit

YouTube: https://youtu.be/r9sx3o1i1hY

Panel Description: Will Eisner’s The Spirit was seen weekly by five million newspaper readers in the 1940s and 50s and has been continually in print for the 80 years since. The Spirit was famous for its imaginative storytelling, film noir style, unforgettable characters, and stories. Since then, Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, Darwyn Cooke, and many others have tried to match Will Eisner’s creativity with their own versions of the The Spirit. Join moderator Danny Fingeroth (A Marvelous Life: The Amazing Story of Stan Lee; Will Eisner Week Chair) and panelists Paul Levitz (Brooklyn Blood, Will Eisner: Champion of the Graphic Novel), Denis Kitchen (cartoonist, The Spirit publisher, Will Eisner’s agent and friend), and Dan Schkade (Lavender Jack, The Spirit artist) as they discuss The Spirit as Will Eisner wrote and drew him. Visit https://linktr.ee/willeisner for more info.

A great history of one of my favorite characters, The Spirit.  If you have never heard of The Spirit -or- don’t know that much about The Spirit, this panel is well worth watching to inform you about a significant character in comic book history.

Danny Fingeroth did a great job hosting this panel, he had it LOADED with samples of art and pictures of creators.  The panelists add targeted and informative color commentary as they go along, putting the stories into the appropriate historical perspective.

Things about Will Eisner I never knew:
Eisner created Sheena Queen of the Jungle under the pen name of W. Morgan Thomas.  Sheena was the first female comic book character with her own, her 1937 premiere preceded Wonder Woman’s 1st appearance in All-Star Comics #8 in 1941 and Wonder Woman #1 in 1942.


Sun 11am: Jack Kirby 101

YouTube: https://youtu.be/goc5NSe_wao

Panel Description: Comic-Con legend Mark Evanier (onetime Jack Kirby assistant, and author of Jack Kirby: King of Comics) and The Jack Kirby Collector’s John Morrow (TwoMorrows Publishing) join The Jack Kirby Museum’s Tom Kraft and Rand Hoppe for a discussion that will provide an introduction to Jack Kirby, the man, his work, and his influence on comics, comic conventions, and the culture at large.

I’ve been going to Evanier’s Kirby panels at SDCC every year for at least a decade and this was the best summary/overview/primer panel on Kirby I have ever seen.  It’s a great panel for people who don’t know about Kirby to get a nice basic introduction, and it’s a nice walk down memory lane for people familiar with his work.  The panelists have all seem to have Jack’s DC work as a “Kirby entry point” (late 50s Challengers of the Unknown or Green Arrow for Evanier, and Kirby’s Kamandi & Fourth World DC work from the 70s for the others).

Jack Kirby and his fans at a convention

Early on in the panel Mark Evanier points out how much Jack loved his fans (and people in general).  He was always willing to talk to fans, outside of his willingness to welcome fans into his home (which I never did) anyone could approach him at San Diego Comic Con and he would happily talk to them about anything, with a particular interest in talking about and getting to know the fan him or herself.  This was my experience when I met Jack and his wife Roz at SDCC in 1991/92.

Hal Foster’s Prince Valiant inspiring the look of Kirby’s The Demon

About 24 minutes in Evanier tells an amazing story about Jack coming of with “The Demon”.  Evanier looked up an old Prince Valiant page at Jack’s direction that Jack remembered having an image that inspired the look of The Demon (a very cool story I never heard before, especially because I love Prince Valiant.).

They talked about how much of an “idea man” Jack was, never liking to revisit old stuff he had done before, preferring to create new things.  When he saw someone saying he was going to do a character Jack had created “in the Kirby tradition”, Jack said “He doesn’t get it, if he wanted to do something in the Kirby tradition he’d create something new of his own.”  This is perhaps why I didn’t warm up to Kirby’s work on first exposure… which was him revisiting Captain America and Black Panther at Marvel in 1977.  I liked The Eternals and Machine Man a LOT more.   Personally, I really warmed up to Kirby when I saw his Fantastic Four stuff as reprints in Marvel’s Greatest Comics and his Captain America from Tales of Suspense in Marvel Double Feature.

RECOMMENDED?  10/10.   Essential viewing for anyone who calls themselves a comic book fan.

Sun Noon: The Craft of Worldbuilding in Comics

YouTube: https://youtu.be/HQMLm8ta7Ec

Panel Description: Image Comics creators Kieron Gillen (Ludocrats, Die), Stephanie Hans (Die), W. Maxwell Prince (Ice Cream Man), Mirka Andolfo (Mercy), and Sanford Greene (Bitter Root) enjoy a free-wheeling conversation on immersive, authentic worldbuilding technique in comics. Moderated by Marla Eizik, executive assistant at Image Comics.

Let me first say… I love the accents of Mirka Andolfo & Stephanie Hans!  W. Maxwell Prince had a poor connection near the beginning of the panel, but it cleared up later on.

A good panel for “process junkies” who like to hear creators talking about the craft of creation.  Building a credible world to place your characters in is so important.  People who aspire to be writers would benefit from watching this panel.


Sun 1pm: Masters of Storytelling (originally aired Sat @ 1pm)

YouTube: https://youtu.be/cldHpoDEwuo

Panel Description: The all-stars in storytelling from Image Comics–Ed Brubaker (Pulp, Cruel Summer), Chuck Brown (On The Stump), Alex de Campi (Dracula, Motherf**ker), Matt Fraction (Adventureman), and Emma Kubert (Inkblot)–reveal their secrets behind creating some of the best stories in comics. Moderated by Marla Eizik, executive assistant at Image Comics.

Recorded quite a while ago, this spent a bit too much time at the beginning having people give their “living in a covid world” update.  A few months later down the line of living in “covid reality” I’m just that much more tired of hearing people talk about their personal challenges with covid.  Your stories are an escape mechanism, help me escape by talking about your storytelling and stories and why I should want to read them (I guess unless you’re telling a story about and set in “covid reality”.

This is a benefit of the “watching it as a video”, it allowed me to skip around past the kind of whiny first 10 minutes.  Ultimately, they settled in and started just focusing in on their storytelling. 

They have an interesting discussion about 24 minutes in about the potential movement away from monthly comics to a more direct to OGN delivery mechanism for stories, what works better in that format, and the different writing skill-set involved in doing a story created for long form vs. what is required when you are serializing it in fragments.


Sun 3pm: BOOM! Studios: Discover Yours (originally aired Sun @ 11am)

YouTube: https://youtu.be/mXXAyssJLK8

Panel Description: BOOM! Studios returns with exclusive news about some of the year’s biggest new books–and first looks at your newest comic book obsessions! Join a star-studded panel of Sabaa Tahir (A Thief Among The Trees: An Ember in The Ashes Graphic Novel), Nicole Andelfinger (A Thief Among The Trees: An Ember in The Ashes Graphic Novel), Gabby Rivera (b.b. free), Matt Kindt (Folklords), and John Allison (Giant Days) discuss the diverse imprints of BOOM! Studios, Archaia, BOOM! Box and KaBOOM! and more surprises! Moderated by Filip Sablik (president, publishing and marketing, BOOM! Studios).

A good introduction to a diverse selection of comics coming out from BOOM!  Worth listening to if you want to see if these comics (which may not be stocked on the shelf of every comic shop) are telling stories you might like to be reading.

I’m always happy to hear one of my favorite creators, John Allison, talk about his new series Wicked Things.  Nice to hear him contrast Wicked things to one of my all-time favorite series Giant Days, which is set in the same Allison-verse as Wicked Things.

As often happens in these panels, hearing Sabaa Tahir talk about her story has made me very interested to check out her graphic novel “A Thief Among the Trees”, which is a prequel to her “Ember in the Ashes” prose novel series.

I will admit that when I heard Keanu Reeves was doing a comic I wasn’t particularly excited about it.  I’ve seen things with actors’ names attached to them before and they have generally not been impressed.  Then, hearing Matt Kindt talk about his collaboration with Keanu, how involved he is, and what he has brought to the table (added to how much I typically enjoy Kindt’s writing on his own), I’m now excited to check out the project.


Sun 4pm: Public Domain Comics: From Sherlock Holmes to Mickey Mouse and Beyond

YouTube: https://youtu.be/YX6H7Q0v-Uk

Panel Description: The rich history of comic series, characters, creators and stories don’t disappear into history thanks to laws governing public domain intellectual properties. By looking at the public domain status and history of properties like Sherlock Holmes, Mickey Mouse, Amazing Man and many others we can learn much about preserving history and making old things new again. Join the lively discussion with Tom Mason (Uncensored Mouse editor), Dave Olbrich (Malibu publisher), Barry Gregory (writer/publisher Gallant Comics), and Michael Lovitz (trademark, copyright and entertainment attorney and Comic Book Law School® founder).

Fascinating conversation around the legalities and challenges surrounding publishing things supposedly in the public domain.  What you can and cannot do, and some of the other ins and outs.  This includes both reprinting material in the public domain as well as telling new stories using characters and worlds/settings that are in the public domain.  They pointed out that even if a specific character, sitting, or specific story is in the public domain, a trademark might still be active so that would have to be looked out for.  They gave several examples of this, including “The Green Lama” and the 1950s Daredevil (used by Dynamite as “The Death-Defying Devil”).

I learned of several comic titles I’ll be keeping an eye out for.  If you have ever thought about doing anything with a public domain character as a creator, you should absolutely listen to this panel.


Sun 5pm: The Art of Adapting Comics to the Screen: David S. Goyer Q&A (originally aired Sat @ 11am)

YouTube: https://youtu.be/Hg15UXVh72U

Panel Description: The writer behind such iconic comic book film and TV adaptations including Blade, Batman Begins, Constantine (TV), and Man of Steel–David S. Goyer–discusses his creative writing process and what it took to bring these beloved characters and tales from the page to the screen. Moderated by Backstory Magazine publisher Jeff Goldsmith.

This is a hybrid comic book / Hollywood panel.  Goyer is a dyed-in-the -wool comic book fan who would visit the comic shop weekly and read lots of comics, he is a true fan of the characters who understand the comics and he really tries to get the core concepts of comics translated into the films he works on.  Sometimes that works better than other times, but the effort happens and he clearly has a respect for the underlying comic books.

The panel begins with some comic con memories.  Goyer has the same memories that I do about con back when it was easy to just walk up to popular creators and interact with them without an hours long line and back when you could buy original art that was not astronomically expensive like it is today. I 100% related and agree with the following statement he made: “Once the studios discovered Comic Con it’s still fun to go, but it’s a different experience.”

I have a lot of respect for Goyer, especially after he expressed the following sentiment:

Something I have learned over the years adapting comic books is that when adapting these characters you need to understand what are the core components of the story, what are the basic elements of the myth the story is really about.  Make sure you understand them.  Make sure you like them.  And identify those first before you create a story, then tell a story using those elements.  If you come up with a story that starts breaking those elements, then you shouldn’t adapt that property. You should do something else.

Among the adaptions he discussed:

Crow: City of Angels – I’ll do it only if the title character can be a female… I don’t want to directly compare with or sully Brandon Lee’s memory.   Miramax immediately threw his initial treatment out the window saying they wanted to have a guy who looks like Brandon Lee.  He said he SHOULD have quite at that point, didn’t, and it was a miserable experience.

Nick Fury– He wrote the original treatment and it was optioned years later as a TV movie (with David Hasslehoff) with a greatly reduced budget. He opted out of having anything to do with it and it was subsequently pretty much totally rewritten, though his name was still attached to it.

Blade – He had read all the Tomb of Dracula comics and liked Blade.  This was the 1st time in his career that he was able to write what he wanted to write without a lot of interference.  When they budgeted what he had written it priced out at $48M and it ended up costing $55M (when they originally wanted to spend $6-8M.  They went ahead and did it anyway and it ended up being a pretty darn good movie.

Doctor Strange (in the 90s) – The Executives said, “there’s an awful lot of magic in this”, at which point he realized they had no idea who Dr. Strange was.  He said “Oh, I didn’t realize you don’t want Dr. Strange, you want Dr. Mundane.” At which point they fired him.

Batman Begins – It’s great to have a gap of years that were never explicitly documented in detail (in this case the years when Bruce goes overseas for training).  He opined that the only reason Batman Begins was able to happen was that the franchise has been ridden into the ground and Warner Brothers realized that they needed to give them the freedom to do something new.

The Man of Steel – This is the one where I tend to disagree with his general respect of the source material.  He understands the problems that some fans have with how he & Snyder adapted Superman.  They were trying to tell a Superman story that hadn’t been told before.  “Sometimes you have to take big swings.”  They took big swings in Dark Knight and they worked.  The big swings here (both the death of Jonathan Kent and the death of Zod) were not as successful.  He looks at the films as “Elseworlds Stories” and the comic-fan in him is showing in his even making that comparison.

The look at “how the sausage is made” on the process for translating source material to movie, with some of the bumps in the road that can happen along the way, was totally fascinating.


Opinion piece by: Bob Bretall
http://comicspectrum.com/ By Fans who Love Comics For Fans who Love Comics

Posted in BOOM!, Collecting, Comic Collecting, Comic Con International, Comic Cons, Comics, Comics Creators, Convention, Image, SDCC | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

ComicCon@Home: Bob’s Saturday 7/25 Panels reviewed

Saturday of ComicCon@Home is complete.   Another 11 panels today to bring my 3-day total to 33!  I have blown away my previous 4-day total of “panels viewed” and I have another day to go PLUS extra Hollywood panels! 

As I mentioned in past blogs, during the day I’ve been focusing my panels on comic books, today I only did one Hollywood panel in the evening that was kind of a comic book crossover, so I’m adding it to today’s comic book total (the Marvel’s Storyboards/Cup of Joe panel).  I’ll put out reviews of all my Hollywood panels in a separate blog after my Sunday comic book focused blog is published.

Bob’s Recommended Saturday “Must See” Panels for comic book fans:

The Guide: Overstreet’s 50th Anniversary (more of a “fan community” panel)

Tribute to Dennis O’Neil (remembering a comics legend)

Jim Lee’s X-Men Artist Edition Panel (skip to 23:30 for the must-see part with Lee)

Fantagraphics and IDW: Classic Comics Reprints (fascinating for those who want to learn more about the early history of the comics art form)

Dune Publishing Panel: Highly recommended for fans of the Dune novels.

More detailed information/reviews/links can be found below.

As I mention every day, I’m not sure how long these will be viewable for free.  I’m guessing at least through the weekend and into next week, but I wouldn’t wait several weeks to watch any of these that you want to make sure you catch.

Sat 10am: The Guide: Overstreet’s 50th Anniversary

YouTube: https://youtu.be/07LCJs9GXWA

Panel Description: Gemstone Publishing president and CEO Steve Geppi, MyComicShop.com’s Buddy Saunders, Comics Buyer’s Guide veteran Maggie Thompson, CBCS Primary Grader Steve Borock, and Gemstone’s Mark Huesman celebrate Bob Overstreet and five decades of The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide. Moderated by Gemstone’s J.C. Vaughn.

This panel was more about the comic book collecting community than about the prices and values of comic books. Lots of comics industry old-timers on this panel with centuries of comic book knowledge/experience.  My thoughts on price guides track with what Maggie Thompson said… basically wanting to know what series and what issues existed and having a basic idea of value so as to not be “cheated” by paying way too much with a dealer who had super-high prices.

It’s also nice to note that Bob Overstreet was a collector, not a dealer, so there was an element of fan advocacy involved in his collecting prices as opposed to if a dealer who was in the business of making money selling comics was putting together a guide.

It was also fun to hear Buddy Saunders (Lone Star Comics, MyComicShop.com) talk about comics since I buy so many comics from him online and have for many years.  He advertised in the very first Overstreet and has been selling comics longer than I’ve been alive!

I’d also recommend that fans listen to Steve Geppi’s talk about the “value” of relatively non-collectible comics about 29 minutes in.

RECOMMENDED?  10/10.  Whether you read or care about the Price Guide at all, I would recommend this panel to any fan/collector just to hear all these panelists talking about their passion for comics.

Sat 11am: The Official Dune Publishing Panel

YouTube: https://youtu.be/c4iW3zwCHUM

Panel Description: Bestselling science fiction authors Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson discuss the exciting new Dune graphic novels, comics, and original novels coming out this fall. Joined by their editors, Herbert and Anderson will discuss content from their past and upcoming projects, including Frank Herbert’s masterpiece Dune (Ace) with senior editor Jessica Wade, the graphic novel adaptation of Frank Herbert’s masterpiece, Dune: The Graphic Novel, Book 1 (Abrams ComicArts), with editor Charlotte Greenbaum, the prequel trilogy of books beginning with Dune: House Atreides (Del Rey), with executive editor Anne Groell, the prequel comic series Dune: House Atreides (BOOM! Studios) with company CEO & founder Ross Richie, and Dune: The Duke of Caladan (TOR), with editor Christopher Morgan.

The first 10 minutes is some intro and talk about the latest printings of the prose novels.  If you are mostly interested in the upcoming Graphic Novel adaptations from Abrams Comic Arts you can skip forward to about the 10:15 point.  Bill Sienkiewicz will be doing the covers for the GN adaptations, with 3 GNs for each of the 1st 3 Dune novels (because they are so darn huge).

Around 15 minutes in they talk about the reissue of the “House” prequels (from around 1999) in prose form.  I must say that I’m not crazy about ANY of the new prose novel cover designs that the book people are so excited about.  You can skip to 23 minutes in to hear Ross Richie talk about the BOOM! adaptation of the 1st prequel novel “House Atreides”.

I’m a big fan of Herbert’s original Dune trilogy and I’m looking forward to reading the GN adaptation.  I’ve never read the prequels, but they intrigue me, I’ll definitely be checking out BOOM!’s House Atreides series.


Sat 11:30am: Last Gasp: 50 Years of Publishing Underground Comix Part II – Lowbrow Art, 1996-2020 (originally aired Sat @ 10am)

YouTube: https://youtu.be/b8nto4M2VQQ

Panel Description: Ron Turner (founder and publisher, Last Gasp), Ron English (PoPaganda, Abject Expressionism), Robert Williams (Through Prehensile Eyes, Zap Comix), Camille Rose Garcia (Tragic Kingdom, Saddest Place on Earth), Andrea Harris (fmr director, Grand Central Art Center), Jon B. Cooke (The Book of Weirdo), Attaboy (Hi-Fructose magazine), and Colin Turner (associate publisher, Last Gasp) discuss the history of Last Gasp, from the 1990s and the rise of lowbrow art through present day and current projects. www.lastgasp.com

This panel was mostly not my cup of tea but might be right up the alley of others.  The majority of the panel was focused on “lowbrow art” and not comics (which, to be fair, was right in the name of the panel).  There’s a bit on some comics about 38 minutes in.

RECOMMENDED?  6/10.  For me.  For someone into this kind of art this could easily be a 10/10.

Sat Noon: Jim Lee’s X-Men Artist Edition Spotlight

YouTube: https://youtu.be/hNnx22OXbas

Panel Description: Get the inside scoop on IDW Publishing’s newest Artist Edition books, including one featuring one of the most popular comic book artists of all time, Jim Lee! Scott Dunbier (IDW, director of special projects) and Dirk Wood (IDW, senior vice president integrated marketing) join Scott Williams (artist, inker) for a discussion about this very special Artist’s Edition featuring Jim Lee’s stellar work on X-Men and more stellar Artist Editions coming this year.

The panel started out talking about some other IDW projects:

The Dave Cockrum X-Men Artifact Edition (out now)

The upcoming Michael Golden Micronauts Artist’s Edition

The upcoming EC Covers Artifact Edition

A new edition of the Darwyn Cooke Parker Martini Edition with over 100 pages of new art & sketches

Even though not announced as a panel member, Jim Lee pops on around 23:30 and the panel ends up being a talk with him from the next 20 minutes about how he got into comics, and his artistic “origin”, which was fascinating.


Sat 2pm: Tribute to Dennis O’Neil: Beyond Batman (originally aired Sat @ 1pm)

YouTube: https://youtu.be/1v6R5ry7n9I

Panel Description: Born the same spring when Batman debuted, Dennis O’Neil would take Batman back to his darker roots and weave humanity and social consciousness into the adventures of Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Iron Man, and many more. This legendary comic book writer and editor collaborated with and guided countless others as mentor, hero, and friend. Dr. Travis Langley (Batman and Psychology; The Joker Psychology) moderates a super team who have come together to share remembrances, lessons learned, and an endless appreciation for Denny, who was truly one of the greats: Jo Duffy (Power Man and Iron Fist), Danny Fingeroth (A Marvelous Life: The Amazing Story of Stan Lee), Mike Gold (ArrogantMGMS), Larry Hama (Dark Horse), Joe Illidge (Heavy Metal), Charles Kochman (Abrams ComicArts), Paul Levitz (former publisher, DC Comics), and Michael Uslan (executive producer, Batman/The Dark Knight films).

We lost comics legend Denny O’Neil on June 11th

His friends and colleagues share some great remembrances about him, favorite interactions with him and favorite stories he told.  This panel is a great listen for any fan of his work who wants to learn more about the man behind the storytelling.

For me he wrote a run that I personally think of as key for a number of characters:

Batman (creating Ra’s al Ghul)


Green Lantern/Green Arrow team (Hard Traveling Heroes)

Iron Man (creating Obadiah Stane)

The Question


Sat 3pm: Future of Humanoids

YouTube: https://youtu.be/KElsTuA-e-0

Panel Description:Mark Waid, newly established publisher of Humanoids, chats with Omni writer Melody Cooper, MPLS Sound writer Joseph P. Illidge, MPLS Sound artist Meredith Laxton, and writer/artist Ibrahim Moustafa about the ever-expanding vision and future of Humanoids. Moderated by Karama Horne.

I really like that Humanoids is offering such a diverse line of comics and graphic albums.  Mark Waid pointed out that doing an initial push with The Incal & Metabarons (called the ‘Jodoverse’ after creator Alejandro Jodorowsky) made sense because of the name recognition of these properties that include art by Moebius.  I had tried out the H1 “shared Universe” comics and most didn’t really click with me, but I thought they were well written and had decent art, so they could easily be a favorite of someone else.  The projects that really had me excited were from their “Life Drawn” line, in particular “Twilight Man” about Rod Serling and the bio comic about Hedy Lamarr (known as an actress but she was also an inventor who came up with a frequency hopping spread spectrum technique for radio-controlled torpedoes what has since been incorporated into modern Bluetooth and Wi-Fi technology.


Sat 4pm: Adrian Tomine Spotlight Panel

YouTube: https://youtu.be/yUe4d49JaYw

Panel Description: Adrian Tomine is one of the most important voices of the graphic novel age. His new memoir, The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Cartoonist, traces a lifetime of making comics punctuated by chaotic book tours, disastrous interviews, and cringe-inducing interactions with other artists. It is uproariously funny and poignant and sure to be one of the graphic novels of the year. Malaka Gharib (cartoonist of I Was Their American Dream) speaks to Tomine about identity, fame, and the joy of drawing.

Adrian Tomine: https://bookshop.org/books/the-loneliness-of-the-long-distance-cartoonist/9781770463950

I’ve been a fan of Adrian’s for a long time (I first discovered his work in his comic book Optic Nerve) and have never heard him speak before.  It was a treat to listen to him chat with Malaka about their work and artistic process.  I need to get my hands on the collection of all his work from the New Yorker magazine, that will all be “new to me”.


Sat 5pm: Dark Horse All-Stars (originally aired Sat @ Noon)

YouTube: https://youtu.be/GiMg-o3Znzg

Panel Description: Three of the industry’s best creators including Gerard Way (co-creator of The Umbrella Academy) Nnedi Okorafor (co-creator of LaGuardia), and Matt Kindt (co-creator of BANG!) gather for a roundtable discussion about characters, the writing process, and the joys of creating. Moderated by Anthony Mauro.

Loved hearing the “secret origin” of how they got into loving comics for all these creators… particularly Gerard Way and Matt Kindt.  It was cool to learn the Kindt is a Doc Savage fan (as am I).  As a result of this panel I’m going to be checking out Nnedi Okorafor’s LaGuardia, which was the only series by these panelists that I wasn’t already reading…  the others being Bang! By Matt Kindt & Umbrella Academy by Gerard Way.


Sat 6pm: Ahoy Comics: Expect More!

YouTube: https://youtu.be/L6wU1c_JyXA

Panel Description: Ahoy Comics has burst on the scene with acclaimed creators, smart satires, and a commitment to publishing fun and eclectic storytelling. Join editor-in-chief Tom Peyer, artists June Brigman and Steve Pugh, and writers Mariah McCourt, Stuart Moore, and Mark Russell for this panel discussion. Will Jesus return (again) with all-new Second Coming comics? Is there any escape from Billionaire Island? Why don’t all comics feature old ladies saving the world, like Ash & Thorn? Will Ahoy continue to publish funny comic books in these dark times? Get the answers straight from the brain trust of Ahoy Comics in this intimate, pre-recorded, virtual panel.

I like learning about the offerings from smaller publishers that may not be featured “on the rack” at every local comic shop so I can pre-order things that seem interesting to me.  Ahoy falls into this category.  I had previously sampled Second Coming & Wrong Earth, both of which I enjoyed.  I had previously sampled Captain Ginger and Billionaire Island, both of which were well done but not my cup of tea.  This panel exposed me to Ash & Thorn, which sounds like a lot of fun, and I’m going to be giving the 1st couple of issues a try.  This panel is well worth listening to if you’re unfamiliar with Ahoy Comics, maybe you’ll hear about something that seems fun/interesting/exciting to you and give it a shot.


Sat 7pm: Fantagraphics and IDW: Classic Comics Reprints (originally aired Sat @ 6pm)

YouTube: https://youtu.be/7hoB7LgbjMU

Panel Description: Classic comic reprints give readers of all ages a chance to read comic classics in new and exciting ways. Join moderator Karen Green (curator for comics and cartoons, Columbia University’s Rare Book & Manuscript Library) and panelists Dean Mullaney (The Library of American Comics creative director), Peter Maresca (founder and publisher of Sunday Press), and Eric Reynolds (Fantagraphics associate publisher) for a celebration of comic classics.

I loved learning more about the history of these comic strip collections, and what the panelists had to go through to collect some of the material.  Their dedication to the art form is appreciated, they’re truly helping preserve a chunk of American history.   The talk about strips that I’m a HUGE fan of and have extensive collections of (Prince Valiant, Little Nemo, & The Spirit) some I have a few collected editions of (Dick Tracy, Pogo, Little Orphan Annie), and some strips I have never read but have heard of (Krazy Kat, Gasoline Alley) that I’m now going to make an attempt to sample.  They also named and reverently discussed some strips I have never really heard of in my life (Little Joe, Jimmy Swinnerton)

Dean Mullaney pointed out that he does not see a next generation of people/publishers who have any desire to reprint/preserve any of this material, so whatever they don’t get to may just fade away.

At one point they admitted that most of their fan base were either REALLY old or else scholars of the comics art form and thus interested in these things for their historical value/significance.


from Storyboards Episode 5: Joe Quesada & Margaret Stohl

Sat 8pm: Marvel’s Storyboards (originally aired Thurs @ 11am)

Watch When Available: https://youtu.be/58Y7mxOC9fA

Panel Description: Marvel executive VP, creative director Joe Quesada shares an inside look at his new docu-series, Marvel’s Storyboards. In conversation with Marvel VP of content Stephen Wacker, Joe highlights how the personal and the professional intersect in his own life, and in those of the show’s guests: an A-list mix of storytellers across comics, theatre, film, and more.

This panel is essentially this year’s “Cup of Joe” panel that usually focuses on a Q&A with Joe Quesada.  Since there was no live audience, Steve Wacker and Joe trade zingers with one another while talking about Joe’s new docu-series that has thankfully (for non-subscribers) been moved from Disney+ to Marvel.com and the Marvel YouTube Channel… you can find the 1st episode with Hugh Jackman here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lfpWLGXIoWY )

The premise of the series is for Joe to get to know and interview various people (some from comics, but mostly actors/famous people) by engaging in a variety of interesting activities with them.  Episode 5 with “Life of Captain Marvel” writer Margaret Stohl (see picture above) sounded very entertaining to me as they discussed it.  Here is the line-up of guests for the 1st 6 episodes….

Thursday, July 23: Episode 1 feat. Hugh Jackman

Thursday, July 30: Episode 2 feat. Natalia Cordova-Buckley

Thursday, August 6: Episode 3 feat. Christian Borle

Thursday, August 13: Episode 4 feat. Johnny Weir

Thursday, August 20: Episode 5 feat. Margaret Stohl

Thursday, August 27: Episode 6 feat. Robert Lopez


Opinion piece by: Bob Bretall
http://comicspectrum.com/ By Fans who Love Comics For Fans who Love Comics

Posted in Collecting, Collecting History, Comic Collecting, Comic Con International, Comic Cons, Comics, Comics Art, Comics Collection, Comics Creators, Convention, Fantagraphics, IDW, Marvel, SDCC | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

ComicCon@Home: Bob’s Friday 7/24 Panels reviewed

Friday of ComicCon@Home is complete!   I did better today than yesterday… 11 panels (same as yesterday) but today I really enjoyed all 11 of them, whereas a couple yesterday were kind of duds for me.  That’s 22 panels in 2 days…. close to what I would do in a regular “live con” year in all 5 days!

A lot of great stuff on comics history that is an interest of mine as well as non-fiction comics.  I enjoy all kinds of comics and am always looking to expand my reading horizons. 

I’ve often said that there are numerous convention experiences available at Comic Con.  I try to focus my panels on comic books.  There are a lot of interesting panels on other topics, what I call the “Hollywood” panels, that are a favorite of most people who attend the convention.  While I’m not watching any of those “live”, I’m collecting a set of them that I’ll be watching after I have completed my “Comic Book” Con experience on Sunday afternoon.  I’ll report on those panels in a Hollywood Edition of this blog, probably on Monday.

Bob’s Recommended Friday “Must See” Panels for comic book fans:

Decoding the Kirby/Lee Dynamic
Last Gasp: 50 Years of Underground Comix Part 1
The Annual Jack Kirby Tribute panel (with Alex Ross!)
The Wonderful, Horrible World of E.C. Comics

More detailed information/reviews/links can be found below.

I’m not sure how long these will be viewable for free.  I’m guessing at least through the weekend and into next week, but I wouldn’t wait several weeks to watch any of these that you want to make sure you catch.

Fri 10am: Last Gasp: 50 Years of Publishing Underground Comix Part I – Mainly focused on the period 1970-1995

YouTube: https://youtu.be/Jl7egc7X2_Q

Panel Description: Ron Turner (founder and publisher, Last Gasp), George DiCaprio (Forbidden Knowledge, Greaser Comics), Robert Williams (Through Prehensile Eyes, Zap Comix), William Stout (Fantastic Worlds: The Art of William Stout), Mary Fleener (Billie the Bee, Weirdo), Jon B. Cooke (The Book of Weirdo), and Colin Turner (associate publisher, Last Gasp) discuss the early history of Last Gasp, from its founding in 1970 and through the rise of the underground comix movement. www.lastgasp.com

I loved this panel.  Moderator Jon Cooke kept the stories flowing and was prepared with images of covers and interior art to show while the panelists chatted , which kept the panel visually interesting.  Anyone who is interested in the history of comics as an art form and is unfamiliar with comics outside of mainstream super-heroes should watch this panel.  This panel made it up to 1993, part 2 will happen tomorrow.

A not-really-comics bit of trivia I learned is that Underground Comix creator George DiCaprio is Leonardo DiCaprio’s Dad and Leo grew up with comics.


Fri 11am: Decoding the Kirby/Lee Dynamic

YouTube: https://youtu.be/VRjuczJtFFM

Panel Description: For over half a century, the relationship between Jack Kirby and Stan Lee that resulted in the creation of the Marvel Silver Age has been one of the most contentious issues in comics scholarship, with economic and legal consequences echoing down to the present day. In this panel, two recent biographers of Stan Lee–Danny Fingeroth (A Marvelous Life: The Amazing Story of Stan Lee) and Abraham Riesman (True Believer: The Rise and Fall of Stan Lee) join comics historian/writer Fred Van Lente (The Comic-Book History of Comics) and playwright Crystal Skillman (King Kirby) to explore pivotal moments in Lee and Kirby’s shared history and attempt to shed more light on the complicated dynamic that produced some of the greatest characters in comics–and some of the bitterest recriminations. Rob Salkowitz (Forbes, Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture) moderates.

Recorded in mid-June, the panelists are all comic book scholars/historians who tried very hard to be even handed and avoid a lot of the contentious arguments that often happen when fans discuss the relative contributions to comics by Lee & Kirby.  This is probably the best & most even-handed Lee/Kirby panel I’ve ever seen.  A must-watch for fans of Marvel history.


Fri Noon: History Goes Graphic

YouTube: https://youtu.be/SSf-rAJR85Q

Panel Description: Authors behind graphic adaptations of cultural pasttimes, historical figures, social justice movements, and autobiographies discuss their process. How does one adapt “real life” into a comic format? How is it different from fiction? In what way must art stick to (or differ from) “authenticity”? Featuring Fred Van Lente (The Comic Book Story of Basketball), Tom Scioli (Jack Kirby), David F. Walker (The Life of Frederick Douglass), Mikki Kendall (Amazons, Abolitionists, and Activists), and Malaka Gharib (I Was Their American Dream), moderated by Ten Speed Press associate editorial director Kaitlin Ketchum.

Good discussion on some of the challenges about adapting real life events and people into comics format. The creators talk about their research, how they choose what to show and what to skip, how they may need to alter the work based on the audience they are targeting (e.g., is the project that they expect young adults or kids to be reading). 

Personally, I have read a fair number of this kind of work in comics, but there’s always room for more and the creators presented some projects I’m now going to be checking out.  I’m sorry for harping on this, but this is a kind of comics everyone should check out at least a bit… It’s always nice to switch things up and move away from just reading one genre of comics.  Graphic storytelling is such a rich medium it really bugs me that so many people equate it solely with super-heroes.

RECOMMENDED?  7/10.  Spicing it up with more visual samples from the books by the panelists would have made it better (current or past projects).

Fri 1pm: Make Mine Marvel: Bringing Back Marvel Classics for Today’s Readers

YouTube: https://youtu.be/0-qWzgjMchY

Panel Description: Mark Evanier (comic book writer and historian), Lauren Bisom (Marvel entertainment editor), Russell Busse (Abrams senior editor, licensing and entertainment) gather for a discussion moderated by Charles Kochman (Abrams ComicArts editorial director) about the legacy of classic Marvel Comics, and how new books for readers of all ages are bringing classic comic art, characters, and storylines to a new generation. The group will discuss exciting new titles including My Mighty Marvel First Books: The Amazing Spider-Man and Captain America, a series of collectible board books that introduce the world’s greatest heroes as drawn by the world’s greatest creators, the Marvel Classic Sticker Book, featuring over 250 vintage stickers and 5 pull-out posters, as well as Marvel Comics Mini-Books, a collectible box set featuring history and facsimiles of Marvel’s smallest comic books and which Evanier contributed to, all published by Abrams Books and available this summer. The panel will also include a sneak peek at Marvel Value Stamps: A Visual History written by comics legend and former Marvel editor-in-chief Roy Thomas and releasing this fall.

Marvel nostalgia rules in this panel!  I’m old enough to both remember and to have acquired items from 3 of the 4 projects discussed in this panel:

Marvel mini-books: the smallest comics ever produced!  Sold in little plastic bubbles in gum machines

Marvel stickers: 2 sets of these came out in the 1970s and were sold in wax packs like baseball cards

Marvel Value Stamps: These gave me the opportunity to mutilate 100 vintage Marvel comic books (including The Incredible Hulk #181) by cutting out the stamp to place in my Value stamp  book.

Here Abrams is putting out some books on the history of these classic Marvel collectibles loaded with information and pictures, as well as talking about board books introducing key Marvel characters so we can indoctrinate the next generation of Marvel fans from a very young age.

Watch this panel to both learn about these classic collectibles and determine if you (like me) are placing these upcoming projects on your wish list.


Fri 1:45pm: Marvel Comics: Next Big Thing (originally aired Fri @ 11am)

YouTube: https://youtu.be/YBlwOO9IGiM

Panel Description: Marvel editor-in-chief C.B. Cebulski breaks down all the latest and greatest coming from the House of Ideas with some of Marvel’s most epic creators! Tom Brevoort, Al Ewing, and Dan Slott will dive into the cosmic calamity coming to Earth’s Mightiest Heroes in the pages of Empyre! An army is gathering in the latest X-Men crossover event, X of Swords, and Jordan White, Tini Howard, and Gerry Duggan have all the juicy details! Nick Lowe, Nick Spencer, and Mark Bagley will discuss the landmark Amazing Spider-Man #850 ushering in the return of the Green Goblin! Plus Nick Lowe rejoins the panel to discuss the return of the classic Marvel character, Werewolf by Night, with creators Taboo and Ben Jackendoff! Be there, True Believers!

Marvel has a pretty good handle on how to do this sort of thing.  The hosts were very engaging (channeling a bit of the “Stan Lee carnival barker” school of bombastic delivery) but not in an annoying way (at least not for me).  This is what I’d have like to see in the Image comics panel I reviewed yesterday.  They do a tight 7-10 minutes on several different projects instead of 45 minutes on just one thing.  They also did a good job mixing in the various creators speaking about these 4 upcoming projects:

X of Swords
Amazing Spider-Man #850 (Return of Norman Osborn/Green Goblin)
Werewolf by Night

My knock is that each of the 4 segments were clearly produced independently, so no consistent production values.  The Empyre segment did the best job using visuals from the project.  The X of Swords segment could have used more visuals and would have benefitted from having Jonathan Hickman involved given his key role in the recent reshaping of the X-Men Universe.  In the Spider-Man segment, Bagley’s webcam connection was poor and he was very pixelated and Nick Lowe has to have had a better location to film this than his very bedroom (put something on the walls, or a Marvel book on your nightstand, Nick!).

That said, if you’re a Marvel fan this is worth watching.  If you’re not currently reading Marvel this has the right amount of information to see if you’d like to check out any of these upcoming projects.


Fri 2:30pm: Exclusive Behind-the-Scenes with Undiscovered Country (originally aired Fri @ noon)

YouTube: https://youtu.be/wblg9FhMcEE

Panel Description: Scott Snyder, Charles Soule, and Giuseppe Camuncoli reveal the secrets behind the Eisner Award-nominated, chart-topping series out from Image Comics, Undiscovered Country. Listen in as they share their story about the making of the series, anecdotes about the first story arc’s creative process, and hints at what’s to come. Moderated by series editor Will Dennis.

A very engaging panel with art interspersed with the creators sharing their views about this Eisner nominated series and hinting at what is to come.  If you’ve not tried this series, this is a good panel to watch to see if it would be interesting to you.  I think it’s a great series and well worth trying, give the panel a watch if you want to learn about this series.

The blurb for the series is this:

“Journey into the near future, and an unknown nation that was once the United States of America—a land that’s become shrouded in mystery after walling itself off from the rest of the world without explanation over thirty years ago. When a team seeking a cure for a global pandemic breaches U.S. borders, they quickly find themselves in a struggle to survive this strange and deadly lost continent!”

And you can read the first issue for free on the Image Website here:


Fri 3pm: The Annual Jack Kirby Tribute Panel

YouTube: https://youtu.be/qI0z4tUHe_s

Panel Description: Every year, former Kirby assistant Mark Evanier hosts a gathering of fans of the man some call “The King of the Comics” and his vast, persistent impact on not only comic books but related fields, as well. This year, Mark and John Morrow (publisher of The Jack Kirby Collector) discuss all this with master artist Alex Ross who discusses the influence Kirby had on his work.

This panel happens every year and is focused on Jack Kirby, led by his friend, assistant, and biographer Mark Evanier.  I enjoyed seeing the discussion about Jack’s work being contextualized and enhanced by the experiences and analysis of artist Alex Ross this time around.  Not a knock on Evanier by any means, who did an awesome job, but long-time fans have heard & read his views on Jack, so bringing in Ross was a very enjoyable change-up. 

RECOMMENDED?  9/10.  A must watch for fans of Kirby and/or Alex Ross.

Fri 4pm: Comic-Con: Robert Kirkman at Home

YouTube: https://youtu.be/EYDqH1zSayU

Panel Description: Robert Kirkman (The Walking Dead, Invincible, Fire Power) shares his latest projects and answers your questions!

If you like Robert Kirkman you’ll be as entertained as I was by this panel.  He’s a creator that I can just sit and watch talk and have a fine time.  I liked seeing him show the mechanical pencil (given to him by his Dad) that he has used to write out every plot/script he has done in longhand!  Wow!  The fact that the upcoming “Walking Dead in Color” series (that will not be made into collected editions) will include reproductions of those longhand scripts.  This is going to get me to buy this reprint series that I had previously been planning to skip.  I also enjoyed him answering questions that had been submitted via Twitter. 

Not a Kirkman/Walking Dead fan?  Probably best to move along….


Fri 5pm: IDW: The Mueller Report in 10-minutes

YouTube: https://youtu.be/Ny87cDFQsJA

Panel Description: Shannon Wheeler (cartoonist) and Steve Duin (journalist) take you through the ins and outs of The Mueller Report. They recently turned the political tome into a pithy graphic novel (published by IDW–out in July 2020). Was there collusion? Was there obstruction? Did the Russians interfere in our election? There is no conspiracy theory just the facts that Mueller investigated and laid out. Get a good understanding about what this book is, and isn’t, by joining these two luminaries on a journey of understanding one of the most mis-represented books in recent history.

Like your comics with a side-order of current politics?  This was WAY more than 10 minutes, but a fascinating discussion of the Mueller report.  Probably not something that people who like Trump want to watch.


Bill Gaines & Johnny Craig

Fri 6pm: The Wonderful, Horrible World of E.C. Comics

YouTube: https://youtu.be/34ZvBm86tzw

Panel Description: Max Gaines started E.C. Comics in 1944 as Educational Comics. With his 1947 death, his son, William M. Gaines, changed the name to Entertaining Comics, and put out controversial horror, crime, war, and science fiction comics (and MAD magazine), working with the greatest talent to ever do comics. E.C. historian Grant Geissman’s The History of E.C. Comics–the ultimate E.C. Comics compendium, with over 1, 000 illustrations–is scheduled from Taschen for fall 2020. To celebrate the new tome–and all things E.C.–comics historians Grant Geissman (Foul Play! The Art and Artists of the Notorious 1950s E.C. Comics!), Danny Fingeroth (A Marvelous Life: The Amazing Story of Stan Lee), Arie Kaplan (From Krakow to Krypton: Jews and Comic Books), and Dr. Travis Langley (The Joker Psychology: Evil Clowns and the Women Who Love Them) look at E.C.’s lasting impact. Visit https://linktr.ee/DannyFingeroth for more info on the panelists.

This panel was AWESOME.  Loaded with images of creators, covers and interior pages.  Well worth viewing for people who already know about EC as much as it is great for people who are completely unaware of what EC was all about.

Decades ahead of their time, the quality of the writing and art stood head and shoulders above other comics of the day.   Around 38 minutes in they hit Seduction of the Innocent and the demolition of EC by the Comics Code.  They talked about the Comics Code trying to censor Judgement Day (an anti-segregation/racism story from Incredible Science Fiction #33, Feb. 1956) because it featured a black man in the final panel.  Him being black being the entire point and the story was ironically a reprint from the pre-code Weird Fantasy #18 , April 1953.  Bill Gaines refused and published the story as is.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EC_Comics#.22Judgment_Day.22

All of this will also be in one of the massive Taschen “History of” tomes in November, to join the Taschen volumes chronicling the history of Marvel & DC comics. 


Fri 7pm: 32nd Annual Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards

YouTube: https://youtu.be/iSUgRvQPdj0

Panel Description: The “Oscars” of the comics industry honor comics creators and their works in 32 categories. This virtual ceremony is hosted by Phil LaMarr, the actor/voice actor/comedian known for roles in animated series including Green Lantern/John Stewart and Ed Reiss in Justice League and Justice League Unlimited, Hermes Conrad in Futurama, and the title characters on both Samurai Jack and Static Shock. Sergio Aragonés will announce this year’s Eisner Hall of Fame inductees, and Ruth Clampett will present the 2020 Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award recipients.

Pluses and minuses to the Eisner Awards being done online.  On the plus side we were done in an hour, whereas the live show would run 3+ hours.   BUT… the thing that would make the live show run that long was seeing all the winners give acceptance speeches and that was a significant loss this year, however, no real way around it.  Logistically I don’t think there would be any way to notify winners in advance and record acceptance speeches without it leaking to Twitter and the comics media sites.

Also, I learned that the pattern of small squares on the globe in the Eisner Award statue are meant to represent comic book panels!

The full list of nominees and winners for this year can be seen here:

However, they did induct 6 people into the Eisner “Hall of Fame” and these veteran professionals had recorded acceptance speeches and were able to keep quiet about it until the wins were officially announced.  The HoF inductees were:

Alison Bechdel
Howard Cruse (posthumously awarded, accepted by his husband)
Stan Sakai
Louise Simonson
Don and Maggie Thompson
Bill Watterson
(accepted in his stead by Phil LaMarr)


Opinion piece by: Bob Bretall
http://comicspectrum.com/ By Fans who Love Comics For Fans who Love Comics

Posted in Comic Collecting, Comic Con International, Comic Cons, Comics, Comics Creators, Convention, Jack Kirby, Marvel, SDCC | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

ComicCon@Home: Bob’s Thursday 7/23 Panels reviewed

Thursday of ComicCon@Home is complete!  I saw even more panels (11 today!!) than I typically get to see at ComicCon live since I could watch all of the panels I was interested in that were showing at the same time.  I enjoyed most of what I watched today, and even the ones that were not my personal favorites could be the “best of show” for someone else.

For “day of” viewing, I focused on stuff related to comics, though I may go back and watch some of the Hollywood panels later on (which is a definite advantage to ComicCon@Home since I typically skip those super-crowded panels altogether).

Bob’s Thursday “Must See” Panels for comics fans:

Oddball Comics Not-So-Live!
Humanoids Legacy

Paperfilms’ Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner
Terry Moore is Still Drawing Comics

More detailed information/reviews/links can be found below.

I’m not sure how long these will be viewable for free.  I’m guessing at least through the weekend and into next week, but I wouldn’t wait several weeks to watch any of these that you want to make sure you catch.

Thurs 11am: Web Comics: Saving the Entertainment Industry, Four Panels at a Time

YouTube: https://youtu.be/j_PCjdIBBfI

Panel Description: With film productions on hiatus, comic book distribution fragmented, and tv shows resorting to watered down “at-home” versions, COVID-19 has broken the entertainment industry. Where is a world, starved for new content, left to turn? Why, to the wonderful world of web comics, of course! Joined by moderator Will Romine (pROMINEnt Media) are Alan Truong (TheMissingDigit.com), JR Gervais (YoungCannibals.net), and Eddie DeAngelini (CollectorComics.com), who will talk about how quarantine, BLM, and the rest of 2020 have affected their work, art, and life. It’s a panel for fans, pros, and everyone in between.
The webcomic creators were GREAT but  I was not a huge fan of the moderator.  I’d rather have seen more about web-comics in general or the creators strips in particular than spending time with the silly “Hall H questions” at the end.  At least for me this was a failed attempt at humor.
I was already a fan of the Collectors strip, and I’ll be checking out The Missing Digit and Young Cannibals, but will be steering well clear of pROMINEnt Media.

RECOMMENDED?  5/10.  Watch for the creators and to get a sample of their strips, you can turn it off when they get to the attempt at humor of showing stupid “Hall H” questions.

Thursday Noon: Oddball Comics Not-So-Live!

YouTube: https://youtu.be/HVSWhcyWJko

Panel Description: Longtime cartoonist Scott Shaw! (Sonic the Hedgehog, Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew!, The Flintstones) once again presents his uniquely hilarious digital slideshow of “the craziest comic book covers ever published!” This acclaimed digital slideshow is a relentless cavalcade of mind-blowing, offensive and hilarious images of vintage comic books from Scott’s collection, accompanied by his wry, observational commentary. Stan Lee said, “Wow, True Believers, I thought I’d seen it all, but Scott Shaw!’s hysterically hilarious Oddball Comics is the wildest, wackiest exposé of some of the craziest comic books I’ve ever seen! Or, to put it mildly, Scott!’s outrageous opuses are a blast!”

Scott shows some classic covers I’ve seen from past shows but snuck in some new ones I don’t recall seeing before.  This super-sized hour and 19-minute presentation loses a bit as a video because when this is shown live there is generally audience reaction (laughter) for a LOT of the covers & commentary, and that isn’t present here.  However, this is a “must see” for people who have never experienced this panel before.  It showcases so many truly zany comic book covers that need to be seen to be believed.

RECOMMENDED?  9/10.  Highly recommended

Thursday Noon: Paperfilms’ Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner (watched later in the day)

YouTube: https://youtu.be/f2oInqk8jd4

Panel Description: Creators Jimmy Palmiotti (writer on Painkiller Jane, Jonah Hex, Harley Quinn) and Amanda Conner (artist on Vampirella, Harley Quinn, Power Girl) chat with Londyn Jackson (historian, History of the Batman creator) about their co-founded company PaperFilms, reinventing DC Comics’ Harley Quinn for a new generation of fans, their innovative Kickstarter projects, and the importance of fans supporting both corporate and independently created comic books. https://linktr.ee/HistoryoftheBatman

Always a pleasure to hear Amanda & Jimmy talk about their work!

I really appreciated that the moderator (Londyn) was very balanced between the Harley Quinn/DC stuff and other non-DC work that they have done and are doing.  It gives people who primarily know them for Harley Quinn some insight into all the other great stuff they’re doing.

RECOMMENDED?  8/10.  If you’ve never watched Jimmy & Amanda on a panel before this is worth a watch.  I personally find them both very genuine and engaging and love watching them talk about their work.

Thursday 1pm: Terry Moore Is Still Drawing Comics

YouTube: https://youtu.be/noTQ33Zrjmc

Panel Description: Terry Moore is still going strong with an impressive collection of work since his comics debut with the Eisner Award-winning series, Strangers in Paradise. Now there is Echo, Rachel Rising, Motor Girl, Five Years, and more on the bookshelf and Moore isn’t finished. From his studio, Moore discusses his work and what’s next, plus offers thoughtful answers to questions. Don’t miss this chance to sit with a career cartoonist and talk about comics.

A “must watch” for fans of Terry Moore.  He spends the 1st part of the panel updating his fans on his recent work and some of the projects he’s currently finishing up.  After that (about 15 minutes in) he switched gears to answer fan questions.  The first was particularly interesting to me, asking him to talk about the differences between working for yourself and doing stories for a publisher on stuff the artist does not own.   Another question that yielded a very long and interesting answer asked him why he used so many different art styles.

RECOMMENDED?  9/10.  Highly recommended.

Thursday 2pm: The Brave New World of TwoMorrows

YouTube: https://youtu.be/jEnpjWUZ_oY

Panel Description: John Morrow (publisher, Jack Kirby Collector editor) moderates a discussion about how the pandemic is changing the way TwoMorrows Publishing produces its books and magazines, its current challenges, and updates on release schedules and new projects. Featured are Jon B. Cooke (Comic Book Creator magazine), Mike Manley (Draw! magazine), Keith Dallas (American Comic Book Chronicles series), and Eric Nolen-Weathington (Modern Masters series).

As a small Publisher, John Morrow starts the panel off with a short “in the trenches” view of how covid-19 and the Diamond Distribution shutdown affected them, before going in and talking with his editors about the various magazines about comics and comic creators they publish.  Each of the discussions has a lot of COVID stories and references, which are certainly topical, but be aware and go into this one with your eyes open (.g. if you don’t want a lot of covid discussion maybe best to skip this one).  One of the more interesting bits of info (about 38 minutes in) was that New York Comic Con was refusing to refund booth fees and just told them they would hold their spot for when they reschedule the show, with the TwoMorrows guys not knowing if they could even attend or want to attend, depending on the reschedule date.  This is in contrast to the San Diego convention that refunded every penny.  It seems to me that one of the differences is that New York is a “for profit” convention.
It was also useful to find out about (and subscribe to) the YouTube change for “Pencil to Pencil”:
where hosts Mike Manley, Bret Blevins and Jamar Nicholas catch up with a variety of comics artists and take a look at their work.  I enjoyed the one with Lee Weeks.

RECOMMENDED?  5/10. COVID is much on everyone’s minds, it’s why we’re doing ComicCon@Home, and covid is front and center in this talk…. It gets pretty much equal time with comics talk, which was a bit too much for me personally.

Thursday 2pm: Draw Along with Dark Horse (watched in the evening)

YouTube: https://youtu.be/N2_4rp-P2dQ

Panel Description: Dark Horse Comics invites you to join Gabriel Bá (The Umbrella Academy), Naomi Franquiz (Tales From Harrow County: Death’s Choir), Tyler Cook (Harrow County, Colonel Weird: Cosmagog), and Mike Deodato (Berserker Unbound) as they discuss breaking into comics, visual storytelling, and the process of illustrating comics. They even draw each other’s iconic Dark Horse characters!

The panel consists of each artist being interviewed about their work while they draw a sketch.   There is a lot of great background information pulled out of each of the artists about how they got into comics and how they work, enjoyable as a “process junkie” like me who loves behind the scenes info about the making of comics.  It would have been nice had they displayed more of the “in process” art on the screen while they talked instead of focusing on artist’s heads looking down at their drawing boards.  That said, I’ve seen panels like this live at con before where the art is shown on a screen (with lights on in the room) and this was not really any worse than that…but it could have been better.

Tyler Crook’s drawing

RECOMMENDED?  7/10.  Enjoyable, but could have used more “live” art while drawing.

Thursday 2pm: SYFY: Untold Tales of Todd McFarlane (watched in the evening)

Watch When Available: https://youtu.be/yScZQKSWZUE

Panel Description: Comic-Con wouldn’t be Comic-Con without Todd McFarlane the innovative artist and entrepreneur who is the subject of the brand new SYFY WIRE documentary film, Todd McFarlane: Like Hell I Won’t. McFarlane is the creative mastermind behind Spawn and some of Marvel Comics’ most famous characters, one of the founders of Image Comics and is known for (quite literally) breaking down barriers. To celebrate the documentary and these achievements, Marc Silvestri and J. Scott Campbell join McFarlane on a panel as they commend him on his contributions to the industry and have some fun roasting the man who essentially ‘raised hell’ to get where he is today. For more information on the documentary, visit SYFY.com

This was originally pitched as a “Roast” of Todd McFarlane and subsequently modified to be “Untold Tales of Todd”.  Still entertaining, but not quite what I was expecting when I first added this to my schedule.

The thing I like about Todd McFarlane, as a persona, is that he really seems to always openly “tell it like it is”, plus that he always seems to have a very fan-ish exuberance.  He clearly loves what he’s doing.  He likes to spin people up and he’s kind of arrogant, but he’s really up-front and honest about “Yeah, that’s who I am!”  The end result is an entertaining 40 minutes of chat reminiscing about his career.


Thursday 3pm: Humanoids Legacy

YouTube: https://youtu.be/klRpG3eAYw8

Panel Description: Famed creators Mark Waid, Brian Michael Bendis, Mark Russell, and Tula Lotay talk with Humanoids CEO Fabrice Giger about the influence Humanoids has had on the comic book and film world for the last four decades. Moderated by Harley Salbacka.

I really liked the way they had all the panelists on-screen in their own little squares, seeing everyone on the panel made it more like seeing a panel at the con.  I also learned (that I had not previously known) that Tula Lotay is the pen name of English artist Lisa Wood.

Humanoids is a Publisher that has been doing some amazing work for decades and is not one that many comic readers have ever heard of.  This panel is well worth listening to broaden your comic book horizons beyond super-heroes and strictly American comics.  

I am going to need to look for “Bouncer” by Jodorowsky & Boucq, the favorite of Tula Lotay, something I have never heard of before and looks like something I will really enjoy.

RECOMMENDED?  8/10. They have some great stories and artists that are not all the same things I see in mainstream American comics.  I’m looking forward to seeing what they are coming out with next (I wish they had announced some of the new projects on this panel, though…)

Thursday 4pm – Graphic Novel or Illustrated Book: You Make the Call

YouTube: https://youtu.be/unL_JYQWhGI

Panel Description: The debate has raged for years, and now the last few year’s liveliest panel debate returns for another round: Is a 200-page comic story a graphic novel? Or is it a long comic book? Is a novel that is 100% filled with illustrations a graphic novel? Or is it an elaborate picture book? A new wave of profusely illustrated books has entered the fray, including Super Catchy by Rick Veitch, Timeless by Armand Baltazar, and Doctor Cthulittle by Mark Wheatley and G. D. Falksen, among others. Join the discussion as our all-star panel explores the exciting new developments and the history of this field!

The framing of the visuals was a bit cut off, so maybe a bit better job of getting the panelists web-cams set up before start and some editing would have helped.  Given this was done in advance, it seems like they could have taken the time to get this right.

Beyond the technical difficulties in the presentation, there was a lot of fascinating/thought provoking information presented, I particularly enjoyed the insights of the artists talking about their own work and their creative decision process.


Thursday 5pm – Image Comics Spotlight

YouTube: https://youtu.be/Ig3cFgv0Xho

Panel Description: Get the exclusive scoop on an exciting new project by a best-selling powerhouse creative team returning to Image for an all-new series.

Announcing the new project “Crossover” by Donny Cates, Geoff Shaw, Dee Cunniffe, John J. Hill.

Called by Cates “The scariest book he’s ever tried to produce”.  Imagine Avengers: Endgame but as Cloverfield.  He also called it “An event book like an atom bomb”.  I look at it and see another “edgy” deconstruction of mainstream superhero comics.  That is going to really be in the sweet spot for some people.

If you love these creators (Cates in particular, who speaks for the majority of the time) and want to hear them talk about this upcoming project for 43 minutes (while staying fairly high level & vague so as to not spoil things), this is for you.  For me it was a really long press release.  I’d rather hear an Image panel where they introduce 5 or 6 new projects where each team talks about their thing for 5-7 minutes at a high level instead of hearing about this one new project for so long. But that’s 100% subjective and for another viewer this could be the greatest panel ever.

RECOMMENDED?  5/10. Skip to about 13:15 for some art, which didn’t blow me away, but again, very subjective.  Your Mileage May Vary… you may love this.

Thursday 6pm – Heavy Metal: Forging the Future of Genre

YouTube: https://youtu.be/A3nEeuL9BAM

Panel Description: Heavy Metal CEO Matthew Medney is joined by partner, publisher, and chief creative overlord David Erwin the future of storytelling that no else dares to publish. Heavy Metal family members, Dylan Sprouse (Sun Eater), George C. Romero (The Rise, Cold Dead War), Brendan Columbus (Savage Circus), and Dan Fogler (Fishkill, Brooklyn Gladiator, Moonlake) share their insights and contribution to reestablishing its edge.

The guys on the panel were having a really good time chatting with one another, I think it would have benefitted the viewers had they shown sample art/pages from both Heavy Metal Magazine (that’s been coming out since 1977 with over 300 issues) as well as from the various comic book & graphic novel projects that the people on the panel have been working on.


Opinion piece by: Bob Bretall
http://comicspectrum.com/ By Fans who Love Comics For Fans who Love Comics

Posted in Comic Collecting, Comic Con International, Comic Cons, Comics, Comics Art, Comics Creators, Convention, Dark Horse, Image, SDCC | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

San Diego Comic Con 2020 May be Canceled, but EVERYONE Can Experience ComicCon@Home 2020

I have written about my favorite convention before, Comic Con International: San Diego, affectionately called San Diego Comic-Con or simply SDCC.

People will often say “There are no comics at Comic-Con” and I always tell them they are wrong. Comics have always been there, but TV/Movies/Toys/Video games are flashier and often overshadow them because they have a wider audience (including comics readers).

Almost all comics readers ALSO like TV, movies, toys and video games, but the converse is not true: There are lots of fans of media/toys that don;t care about comic books at all.

Then there is the actual convention itself, which is MASSIVE and takes over all of downtown San Diego. Take any 10 people and each one could have a completely different convention experience. Some go to buy stuff and spend most of their time on the dealer floor. Some go to meet favorite creators. Some to Cosplay. Some to hang out with friends and just experience the spectacle… the list goes on.

This year the physical convention has been superseded by COVID-19. It’s really not a good idea to jam 125,000+ people all together for this show, but the convention organizers are bringing as much of the convention experience as they can to the virtual world.

Check out the Comic-Con@Home site. There are links to people selling stuff (for people who like buying stuff) and I’m sure a lot of the exclusives will sell out quickly just like at the live convention. One thin I hope will happen with Comic-Con@Home is that more people will check out some of the awesome panels provided by the SDCC organizers. When at the convention, people get caught up doing stuff and will often not get a chance to go upstairs to see the panels…. or they will spend time in line to get into the infamous “Hall H” or one of the other large rooms to see the most massive media and big publisher related panels and as a result miss a lot of the smaller more intimate panels.

Over the years I have gone to LOTS of great panels at San Diego Comic Con and posted about them, but people not at con have not been able to see them with me. This year, thanks to ComicCon@Home, you can watch SDCC panels from the comfort of your own home.

Sure, there are loads of panels about TV, movies, cosplay, gaming, etc. But there are ALSO lots of panels about comic books, comic book creators, making comics, etc. I have over 30 panels that are mostly all about comic books selected for viewing this year.

Some of my faves are missing, but there is Scott Shaw’s Oddball Comics, a Terry Moore Spotlight panel, a few cool panels hosted by Mark Evanier, some great stuff focusing on Jack Kirby, and lots more. Better still, this year I may actually be able to see multiple panels that are all scheduled at the same time by viewing some of them a bit later after they have happened as “re-runs” on YouTube.

My schedule is presented below, if you’d like to see the kinds of thing that catch my eye. Join me virtually in some of them. I hope people who normally go to SDCC and even those who may never have had a chance to go take this opportunity to check out some of the great content provided by Comic-Con@Home.

Thursday, July 23

11:00am-12:00pm @ Comic-Con@Home
* James Bond – 007 in Comics!

12:00pm-1:00pm @ Comic-Con@Home
* Oddball Comics Not-So-Live!
* Paperfilms’ Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner

1:00pm-2:00pm @ Comic-Con@Home
* Terry Moore Is Still Drawing Comics

2:00pm-3:00pm @ Comic-Con@Home
* The Brave New World of TwoMorrows
* Draw Along With Dark Horse
* SYFY:The Roast of Todd McFarlane

3:00pm-4:00pm @ Comic-Con@Home
* Humanoids Legacy

4:00pm-5:00pm @ Comic-Con@Home
* Graphic Novel or Illustrated Book: You Make the Call

5:00pm-6:00pm @ Comic-Con@Home
* Image Comics Spotlight

6:00pm-7:00pm @ Comic-Con@Home
* Heavy Metal: Forging The Future of Genre

Friday, July 24

10:00am-11:00am @ Comic-Con@Home
* Last Gasp: 50 Years of Publishing the Underground Part I The comics, moderated by Jon Cooke and mainly focused on the period 1970-1995

11:00am-12:00pm @ Comic-Con@Home
* Marvel Comics: Next Big Thing
* Decoding the Kirby/Lee Dynamic

12:00pm-1:00pm @ Comic-Con@Home
* History Goes Graphic

1:00pm-2:00pm @ Comic-Con@Home
* Harryhausen 100: Into the Ray Harryhausen Archive
* AMC’s The Walking Dead
* Make Mine Marvel: Bringing Back Marvel Classics for Today’s Readers

2:00pm-3:00pm @ Comic-Con@Home
* AMC’s The Walking Dead: World Beyond

3:00pm-4:00pm @ Comic-Con@Home
* The Annual Jack Kirby Tribute Panel

4:00pm-5:00pm @ Comic-Con@Home
* Comic-Con: Robert Kirkman at Home

5:00pm-6:00pm @ Comic-Con@Home
* IDW: The Mueller Report in 10-minutes

6:00pm-7:00pm @ Comic-Con@Home
* The Wonderful, Horrible World of E.C. Comics

7:00pm-8:00pm @ Comic-Con@Home
* 32nd Annual Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards

Saturday, July 25

10:00am-11:00am @ Comic-Con@Home
* The Guide: Overstreet’s 50th Anniversary
* Last Gasp: 50 Years of Publishing the Underground Part II lowbrow art, 1996-2020

12:00pm-1:00pm @ Comic-Con@Home
* Jim Lee’s X-Men Artist Edition Spotlight
* Dark Horse All-Stars

1:00pm-2:00pm @ Comic-Con@Home
* Tribute to Dennis O’Neil: Beyond Batman
* Masters of Storytelling

2:00pm-3:00pm @ Comic-Con@Home
* IDW in 2020 and Beyond

3:00pm-4:00pm @ Comic-Con@Home
* Future of Humanoids

4:00pm-5:00pm @ Comic-Con@Home
* Adrian Tomine spotlight panel

6:00pm-7:00pm @ Comic-Con@Home
* Fantagraphics and IDW: Classic Comics Reprints
* Ahoy Comics: Expect More!

Sunday, July 26

10:00am-11:00am @ Comic-Con@Home
* Celebrating 80 Years of Will Eisner’s The Spirit

11:00am-12:00pm @ Comic-Con@Home
* Jack Kirby 101: An Introduction

12:00pm-1:00pm @ Comic-Con@Home
* The Craft of Worldbuilding in Comics

4:00pm-5:00pm @ Comic-Con@Home
* Public Domain Comics: From Sherlock Holmes to Mickey Mouse and Beyond

Opinion piece by: Bob Bretall
http://comicspectrum.com/ By Fans who Love Comics For Fans who Love Comics

Posted in Comic Collecting, Comic Con International, Comic Cons, Comics, Convention | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Will the Comic Book Direct Market Survive COVID-19 shutdowns?


There has been a tremendous amount of speculation lately about what’s going to happen with new comics being put on hold indefinitely because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Comic Shops have not only been shutting their doors because of local “shelter in place” orders, some have already been put of of business permanently.

There was a flurry of speculation about the negative impact to comic book shops if comic companies “train” readers to switch to digital in the absence of print comics.  In particular, when DC looked like they were going to ship a lot of April 1 comics digitally, including Batman #92 (a position DC later backed off from).

We then got the alleged “savior” of the direct market, in the form of a service called ComicHub that would allow readers to buy comics digitally to read on that service and then later get the print comic from their local shop when that shop reopens and physical comics are available again.  This plan is not being embraced by all.  Noted San Francisco area retailer Brian Hibbs posted about ComicHub on Facebook:

A poll on a retailer forum right now has 119 opposed, 17 unsure, and 5 for “digital first” releases, EVEN IF IT “comes from a retailer source”.

Beyond the philosophical idiocy of encouraging cross channel migration (even passively), the mechanical aspects of it are insane — how could ANYone process and deal with 4-20 weeks of physical print comics dropping at once that would be needed to “catch up”?

I can barely make a profit with my MUCH MUCH larger discounts than what the ComicsHUB plan offers, and this creates an EXPONENTIAL amount more of work in having to track and organize such sales, all for what will be a paltry revenue stream.

The COVID-19 pandemic may ultimately count the comic book direct market as one of its victims.  The longer the shutdowns go on, the more small businesses (which include comic shops) will find themselves unable to stay in business.

It has been pointed out that there are really 4 segments to the comics market (which can be debated, but it’s close enough for this discussion, so roll with it):
  • Direct Market titles (Marvel/DC/Image/etc.)
  • Book market stuff (like Raina Telgemeier/Dav Pilkey)
  • Manga
  • Web comics

People a lot smarter than me have observed that if enough comic shops go out of business the part of the comics industry called the Direct Market will likely collapse as well.  This portion of the comics market would probably not survive a sudden transition to a new distribution method (including digital).  The key word there is SUDDEN.

A well planned transition is one thing, but a damage-control transition brought about by the collapse of the existing distribution network coupled with what will likely be a global recession is quite another.

On Facebook (and other places), I have seen a number of people who abandoned the super-hero portion of the Direct Market long ago cheering it’s demise.  “Good Riddance” they shout, “I only read (digital, webcomics, manga, etc.) any more anyway!”

The more I think about it, the more I understand this “burn it to the ground and just see what regrows from the ashes”viewpoint.

The Direct Market is currently 70% or so Marvel/DC. I think the “other 30%” of the Direct Market could survive a transition to OGNs and digital much easier than the vast connected superhero universes of Marvel/DC.  It’s not that superhero comics would go away altogether, they would just need to evolve to live within whatever market rises from the ashes.

The thing we’d be losing in the long term as part of a Direct Market demise is the large/complex shared narrative superhero universes.  Whatever comes out the other side of a Direct Market collapse almost certainly would not have 80+ monthly titles from each of Marvel & DC weaving a complex narrative every month.

And maybe that’s not too bad a thing to lose since the large shared narrative has been diminished by marketing to include lots of convoluted continuity, continual reboots, and far too regular mega-events with unnecessary tie-ins that are being sold to a very small slice of the overall audience of the superhero industrial complex over the last decade or more.

What would survive is OGNs telling tight stories about the most popular heroes and teams.  Or perhaps these would come out initially in digital installments and then be released as printed collections.

I think the “big” stories” like Dark Metal, or War of the Realms (or whatever, these are just 2 recent examples that came to mind) would in many ways be better if they were told tightly in a 160-200 page OGN instead of sprawled out over an 8-12 issue mini-series with 30-40+ relatively pointless tie-in titles. So the “new normal” could result in an even better way to get cool concept stories out to the fans… and these are often what Hollywood looks to as IP to base movies on, so that could continue unchanged, with the most popular storylines getting adapted to other media.

Of course, this is all speculation at this point.  What I know for a fact is that the next several months will be very interesting to watch and I’m looking forward to seeing what comes out the other side of this.

Opinion piece by: Bob Bretall
http://comicspectrum.com/ By Fans who Love Comics For Fans who Love Comics

Posted in Comics, DC Comics, Digital Comics, Marvel, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

People are Still Running the Fake Superman #1 Scam

People removing the outer cover from a treasury edition sized DC “Famous First Edition” reprint and trying to sell it to unwitting people was something that went around quite a long time ago and maybe it never went away.

I got contacted by a guy on Facebook yesterday trying to sell me one of these reprints as a legitimate Superman #1…  if you’re not aware of this scam, read on.

Back in the late 1970s, DC reprinted a bunch of their classic #1 issues in the 10″ wide by 13.5″ high treasury edition format.  While the main cover (see photo on the left above) clearly shows it to be a Famous First Edition reprint, if you open it up (see photo on right above) you can see that there is a second cover that is on glossy stock, just like a comic book cover, which looks pretty much like the actual comic.  These reprints are almost exact duplications of the original, so if a scam artist merely removes the cardstock outer cover they have a pretty convincing fake copy, down to the inside front cover with the copyright date indicating the actual year of first publication, as shown below:

Inside Cover

So here’s how the scam works.

I got an unsolicited message from a guy saying he heard I collect comics and would I be interested in this comic he was helping his “friend” sell.  “Well, I have quite a few comics, I’m not sure you would have anything I’d be interested in.” I said.  “How about this one?” and the guy sent me a picture of Superman #1 (like the one at the top of this on the right, but with the outer cover not present so it was what appeared to be a picture of an actual Superman #1.  He even sent a picture of the inside front cover, pointing out the 1939 copyright (like the picture above, except the picture above is one I took from my Famous First Edition reprint).

I pointed out that if this was a real Superman #1 then his best bet to maximize the amount of money he’d be able to get would be to have it authenticated & graded and sell it at auction.  Not to be sending messages around on Facebook to people who are interested in comics.  That said, if he could answer a few questions, I could help him understand how likely it was that the comic was the real deal.

“Can you tell me how big the comic is, in inches?” I asked.  “It’s bigger than a normal comic”, he replied.  “They made them bigger back then.”  “Humor me.” I said, and asked him to get a ruler and measure the dimensions of the comic, knowing that an actual Golden Age comic is going to be something approximately like 7 3/4 x 10 1/2 inches, not 10 x 13 1/2 inches.  He said he’d get back to me, and eventually came back with the 10 by 13.5 numbers, reminding me that comics were bigger then.

Giving him the benefit of the doubt, I explained the size of an actual Golden Age comic book, then pointed out that DC had done oversized reprints in the 1970s that were 10×13.5. I told him I was sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but since his “friends” comic was 10×13.5 it was clearly one of the 1970s reprints.   Further, since it seemed to have  had the outer cover stripped off, it probably wasn’t worth very much at all.

He told me that his “friend” assured him it was a legitimate 1st printing from 1939 and he was just trying to help him sell it.  I pointed out that if it was 10×13.5 inches there was no way that it was an original.  He should pass the bad news along to his friend and stop trying to sell it as a 1939 original, so that he himself would not be involved in selling it as something it was not.

At this point he got indignant and said” “Hey, I get it, you don’t want to buy it…why don’t you just move along!!”

I sincerely hope he does not get some unsuspecting person to pay any amount of money for this coverless reprint comic.

Here are pictures of other comics that were reprinted oversized in the “Famous First Editions” series:

Famous first

Be smart.  Don’t get scammed!

Bob Bretall: bob@comicspectrum.com
https://comicspectrum.com/ By Fans who Love Comics For Fans who Love Comics

Posted in Collecting, Comic Collecting, Comics, DC Comics | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

Neal Adams has HUGE biceps…

…and how I ended up getting a Green Arrow sketch from him at WonderCon 2019.

GA by Neal Adams

I was not planning to get a sketch from Neal this past weekend, though I have admired his art since I was a teenager, but here is the story of how I ended up with one.

Sunday at WonderCon, late in the day, I headed down to the show floor with my friend Trevor.  He had seen a booth with a really good price on the slipcased Green Lantern/Green Arrow run by Denny O’Neil & Neal Adams:

GL-GA Slipcase

It was $60, which is a great deal, less than it cost when it was originally published (which was when I bought my copy of this collection of what are probably my favorite GL/GA stories ever).  We found the booth, he bought the book, and we headed over to Neal Adams’ booth:

Neal Adams booth

Score!  Nobody in line!  Up he walked to Neal and asked about getting the book signed.
“That’ll be $50 for the signature.” Neal informed him.
“You want $50 for an autograph?” Trevor asked.
“No,” Neal replied, “I NEED $50 for an autograph!”… at least he had a sense of humor about it.

Neal explained that he was far cheaper than Stan Lee used to be… Stan had been charging upwards of $100-$130 in the last few years, and that maybe it was time to consider raising the price of his own autographs up beyond $50.  I pointed out that Stan had a lot of “handlers” and hangers-on who were likely inflating the cost of the autographs because there were a LOT of people getting paid and a lot of overhead as his celebrity grew.  Neal admitted that this was true and pointed out that he didn’t need a lot of people doing the heavy lifting for him. “I can bench 300 lbs” he declared.  “Go ahead…feel these biceps.” he added, making a muscle.  Trevor reached out and felt his arm declaring it to be quite impressive.  “You too”, said Neal, motioning to me.  I felt his bicep and it was both massive and steel hard.  Certainly not a guy to mess with, I’m sure he could wipe the floor with me if he was of a mind to.

In any event, Trevor politely declined the $50 autograph, Neal understood, and as we turned to leave there was a guy behind us waiting to have books signed.  It turned out he had 4 to be signed and a CGC witness with him as well.  He was more than happy to plop down $200 for the signatures, so clearly the $50 price tag was not a deterrent to everyone.

As we were leaving, there was an open portfolio of very nice inked original sketches by Neal.  “Hey, these are $200… and they’re signed. That’s like $150 for the sketch and $50 for the signature.” I quipped.  Trevor & I looked through the portfolio and given what we had seen sketches from other artists selling for, plus his ‘just an autograph’, prices, these seemed like a pretty good deal.  Trevor settled on a nice Hal Jordan GL, while I chose the Green Arrow shown at the top of this blog.  This is my absolute favorite Green Arrow costume/look, and it was designed by Neal, so I thought this was a great choice for a sketch.

We brought the sketches back over, paid for them, and chatted a while longer.  I must say that Neal was in a great mood, very chatty, and gave us a superb fan-pro interaction memory.  Ultimately no $50 autographs, but we both walked away with a sketch and a great story to tell.

Bob Bretall: bob@comicspectrum.com
http://comicspectrum.com/ By Fans who Love Comics For Fans who Love Comics

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