Bob’s Blog: Getting Ready for Comic-Con 2014

SDCC Con Center
CREDIT: Bob Bretall

It’s that magical time of year for a comics fan: San Diego Comic Con (or, as it’s officially named “Comic Con International: San Diego”).  The photo above is from my room at the Bayfront Hilton a couple of years ago and gives some sense of the scale of the convention center which runs from the Bayfront to the Marriott and has events in both these hotels, as well as most of Downtown San Diego’s Gaslamp District which can be seen off on the right side of the photo across Harbor Blvd.

I often hear that people knock SDCC for being “taken over by Hollywood” or not devoted to comics any more.  I cannot disagree that there is a tremendous amount of TV, Movie, video game and other pop culture content at San Diego Comic Con.  In fact the internet & TV, not surprisingly, concentrate coverage on things the general population is likely to be more interested in.  That means TV, movies, video games, and people dressed up in costumes.  It gives a skewed view of how much actual content is available devoted to the printed comics.

There are literally hundreds of panels devoted to printed comics.  More than any other convention out there.  You can certainly go to comic con and not see or do a single thing related to printed comics, but that would be your choice.

People who know me know I’m in love with printed comics.  The writers, the artists, the publishers, the entire art form.  That’s why SDCC is the highlight of my convention going year.  Going over the schedule of panels is like being a kid in a candy store.  I see so many panels I’d like to attend and ultimately I cannot hope to pick and attend every panel I’d like to attend.  My tentative schedule is below, and I have not even selected every panel I’d like to go to because there are FAR too many!!  As it is, I have several selected that overlap with one another and I’ll end up making some choices “on the fly” when I’m at the con based on how crowded any given panel is, what I happen to be able to get to easier, and where groups of friends seem to be congregating.

There are so many panels from favorite publisher  (Image) and their creators that I won’t be able to see them all, but I will see several of them, and also panels hosted by Action Lab, Archie, Boom!, Dark Horse, IDW, Oni Press,  Top Shelf, Valiant, and Vertigo.

And creators?  I should be seeing panels featuring these comics creators:
Amanda Conner, Anthony Tollin, Batton Lash, Brian K. Vaughan, Chip Zdarsky, Dan Parent, Dave Elliott, David Dwonch, David Petersen, Dennis O’Neil, Drew Friedman, Fiona Staples, Francesco Francavilla, Frank Cho, Gabo, Gabriel Rodriguez, Gregg Hurwitz, Howard Chaykin, Jae Lee, Jamal Igle, Jason Latour, Jason Martin, Jeff Smith, Jeremy Dale, Jim Rugg, Jim Steranko, Jimmy Palmiotti, Joe Quesada, John Layman, Jonathan Maberry, Joshua Hale Fialkov, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Kevin O’Neill, Lee Bermejo, Len Wein, Louise Simonson, Mark Brooks, Mark Buckingham, Mark Evanier, Mark Schultz, Mark Waid, Matt Fraction, Michael Uslan, Mike Carlin, Neal Adams, Nick Dragotta, Paul Levitz, Paul Tobin, R. A. Height, Richard Starkings, Rick Remender, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Ryan Burton, Scott Shaw!, Scott Snyder, Sergio Aragonés, Simon Oliver, Stan Sakai, Steve Leialoha, Steve Seagle, Stuart Moore, Terry Dodson, Terry Moore, Tula Lotay, Walter Simonson, and William Stout…

And this doesn’t count the comics creators I’ll talk to down on the show floor at publisher booths and in Artist’s Alley.

SDCC has moved away from comics?  Don’t make me laugh.  There is so much focus on comics here that if you don’t find it, you’re not looking.
NOTE: In schedule below ** means I’m likely to skip that panel to try to fit in other activities (either a conflicting panel or something on the show floor)

July 23 • Wednesday
2:00pm – 4:00pm Image Expo at San Diego Comic Con (Hilton San Diego Bayfront)

July 24 • Thursday
**11:00am – 12:00pm Flesk Publications Exposed! Artists Spill Their Guts! (Rm 28DE)
11:30am – 12:30pm Spotlight on Bill Finger, the Co-Creator of Batman (Rm 4)
1:00pm – 2:00pm Batman in the ’70s (Room 5AB)
2:00pm – 3:00pm Image Comics: I Is For…Infinity (Rm 23ABC)
**2:30pm – 3:30pm Spotlight on Amanda Conner & Jimmy Palmiotti (Rm 4)
**3:30pm – 4:30pm IDW Artist’s Editions (Rm 4)
3:30pm – 4:30pm The Sergio & Mark Show (Rm 8)
4:30pm – 5:30pm Q&A: Gregg Hurwitz, Interviewed by Howard Chaykin (Rm 4)
6:00pm – 7:00pm Vertigo: Defy Conventions (Rm 5AB)
7:30pm – 8:30pm The Lost 1978 Comic Book Documentary (Rm 26AB)
9:00pm – 11:00pm CBLDF Party (Westgate Hotel – 1055 Second Av)

July 25 • Friday
10:00am – 11:00am Will Eisner: Teacher and Mentor (Rm 29A)
11:00am – 12:00pm Image Comics: I Is for…Inception (Rm 23ABC)
12:00pm – 1:00pm Top Shelf Productions Featuring Kevin O’Neill and More! (Rm 32AB)
1:00pm – 2:00pm Archie Forever: Life, Afterlife, and Beyond (Rm 4)
**2:00pm – 3:00pm Spotlight on Brian K. Vaughan Room (Rm 25ABC)
**3:00pm – 4:00pm Spotlight on Fiona Staples Room (Rm 25ABC)
3:00pm – 4:00pm Terry Moore (Rm 4)
3:30pm – 4:30pm A Celebration of Walt Kelly’s 101st Birthday (Rm 8)
4:00pm – 5:00pm IDW: Rock This Town! (Rm 4)
5:00pm – 6:00pm The World of Mouse Guard (Rm 32ABC)
8:00pm – 10:30pm The Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards (Indigo Ballroom, Hilton San Diego Bayfront) – VIP tickets so will be at a table up front!

July 26 • Saturday
10:00am – 11:00am Art & Comic Book Art (Rm 29A)
11:45am – 1:00pm Quick Draw (Rm 6BCF)
**1:00pm – 2:00pm Focus on Dennis O’Neil (Rm 26AB)
1:00pm – 2:00pm Saga (Rm 7AB)
2:00pm – 3:00pm The Oni Press Comicstravaganza: All Cats Go to Purgatory! (Rm 9)
3:00pm – 4:00pm 30 Years of Usagi Yojimbo! (Rm 28DE)
**4:00pm – 5:30pm Oddball Comics with Scott Shaw! (Rm 7AB)
**4:30pm – 5:30pm Image Comics: I Is for…Ideas (Rm 6DE)
4:30pm – 6:00pm That ’70s Panel (Rm 5AB)
**5:00pm – 6:00pm Rai, Armor Hunters & Beyond (Rm 29A)
6:00pm – 7:00pm What’s New at Action Lab Entertainment (Rm 28DE)
** OFF-SITE Dinner **

July 27 • Sunday
10:00am – 11:15am The Annual Jack Kirby Tribute Panel (Rm 5AB)
11:00am – 12:00pm Spotlight on Jim Rugg (Rm 4)
12:15pm – 1:45pm CBLDF: You Can’t Draw That! Live Art Jam (Rm 5AB)
2:00pm – 3:00pm Cover Story: The Art of the Cover (Rm 25ABC)

Bob Bretall: Covering the full spectrum of comics culture

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