September 4, 2012

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2012 Baltimore Comic-Con Panel Previews

The Baltimore Comic-Con is coming up this Saturday and Sunday, September 8th and 9th, at the convention center in Baltimore, Maryland.  You can still buy tickets on their website, up to September 7th.

As part of my continuing show coverage, today I'm looking at the panels available this weekend.  Now, as a general rule, I prefer spending time on the floor to spending time listening to panels.  However, I know that panels are a big part of the con experience for many attendees, and if you are a fan of panels, Baltimore offers a lineup that is absolutely amazing.  Even *I* want to go to a lot of these talks, and that's very rare for me.

You can find the complete panel listings here.  My suggestions are below.

SATURDAY

If you are creator considering Kickstarter, you might want to start off early, going to "Kickstarter Project Management" at 11am, with Mervyn and Jon of Paperlab Studios.  I'm not planning any funding projects, so I'll pass but for the right person, this should be quite good.

At Noon, Mark Waid talks about his new adventure in digital comics, Thrillbent.  Waid believes strongly in digital comics, and the promo text promises sneak peeks and surprises, so this is one I don't want to miss.  If you read comics digitally, neither should you.

1PM continues the digital theme, as Comixology discusses their guided view technology that certain creators (most notably to me, Alex de Campi, who will be on the panel) have used to change how they tell sequential narratives.

At 2pm, you have a hard decision to make.  In one room, Boom! Studios is featured, while the other room discusses Valiant Entertainment.  I'm a fan of both publishers, so this is going to be a really difficult decision for me, and I don't know at this time which room I will be in.  Make your selection based on your personal preference.

3pm brings another digital player to the stage, with Artist Alley comics.  Including creators such as Richard Case and Craig Rousseau, I've had a chance to sample the books and they are definitely on a par with Monkeybrain, another new digital-only publisher.  As with Waid's panel, this is one for the digital consumer.

Wrapping things up, 4PM has a discussion of the history of comic book censorship, sponsored by the CBLDF.  I've seen this one before (at MOCCA), and it's quite good, if you haven't had the pleasure.

I should note that Saturday also features panels about DC Comics (2PM), Marvel Comics (3pm), and Stan Lee (4:15), if you are more inclined towards traditional superhero comics.  However, for me personally, there's not enough interest in the Big Two to sit for a panel.  I also feel like any news from these two coming at a con will be covered by Newsarama, so I can read about it there while taking in less traveled panels.

SUNDAY

Because I am interested in so many panels on Saturday, I'm likely to spend my time Sunday on the floor, assuming I go both days.  However, there are still some panels that are worth your time on the final day of the show, depending on your interests.

At 11am, high school teachers should go to the panel on using comics in the classroom.  I'm passing because I teach younger kids, so the books they recommend wouldn't work for me.  This time also features a tribute to Joe Kupert, which I think is a nice touch.

1PM finds a subject not often looked at, Christianity in comics, taking the spotlight.  Billy Tucci speaks on what it's like to create positive Christian comics.  Appropriate for a Sunday, no?

2PM is the panel I'm most likely to attend if I'm there, spotlighting IDW.  While most of IDW's comics work these days is licensed properties, they are doing them so well that I find myself jumping at the chance to read the latest TMNT, Godzilla, Star Trek, and even Ghostbusters books that they release.  Should be interesting to hear how they've done what other publishers cannot--make quality books based on media properties.

at 3PM, those who want to join the comics world have a panel to discuss it, led by Ross Ritchie of Boom! Studios.  Again, this is not for me--I don't aspire to be in comics--but should be invaluable for those who are.

Sunday also features the annual costume contest and a 2 hour, ticket only panel featuring the instructions given to new Marvel Comics editors.  The latter could be fun, but I don't want to sit in a room for that long, it reminds me too much of college.

Special Kids Programming

Baltimore works hard to have programming just for kids, and here are a few highlights:

SATURDAY

At 12:45pm, Dan Parent will talk about drawing characters in the Archie Style.  Parent is a great writer and his Archie comics are quite good.  This should be a fun time.

Andy Runton from Owly will speak at 3pm, offering young fans a chance to meet the cool all-ages creator.

4:30pm brings a variety of creators together, to discuss making comics.  If you child is at all artistic, this might be perfect for them.

SUNDAY

From 12-1, kids can make superhero masks, which sounds absolutely adorable.  I wonder if they will be originals or if they'll be homemade Spider-Man, Batman, and others?

At 12:45pm, another drawing tutorial is offered, this time on being an OEL Manga artist.

Franco might draw more than kids to his 1:30PM panel, as Tiny Titans has a lot of adult fans, too

All in all, there's a lot of great programming waiting for you at the Baltimore Comic-Con.  See you there!