September 18, 2015

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Your Panel Patter Guide to Rose City Comic Con Pt 2: Panels!


Welcome to Part Two in my series of posts about Rose City Comic Con! Let's talk Panels!

Once you've had some time on the floor, your feet will start to get tired! So why not take in a few panels? Here are some of the ones that looked good to me, and maybe to you as well. It's not a comprehensive list (frankly, most of the programming looks pretty good this year, so it would be hard to make a bad choice). My comments follow each description in italics:

SATURDAY:

Image Comics: Where Creators Own Adventure
Room: Panel Room 3
Time: 10:30AM - 11:20AM
Kurt Busiek and Benjamin Dewey's AUTUMNLANDS shows us a world where anthropomorphic animals are the norm and magic is prevalent. Joe Keatinge and Leila del Duca's SHUTTER depicts an Earth so fantastic that talking animals sit right alongside death cults and lion gangsters. Fantasy is whatever we want it to be, and these two creative teams clearly have a pretty good idea of what works in the genre.

Ben Dewey should be the next name to explode out of Periscope Studio, and as we've been chronicling all year here on the site, Image has been a House of Ideas for a long time now. This one's a bit early in the show for me, but should be a good time.

25 Years of Valiant: The Book of Death and Beyond
Room: Panel Room 3
Time: 12:30PM - 1:20PM
Celebrate 25 years of the largest independent universe in comics with an all-star panel spotlighting the next earth-shaking changes coming for Valiant's biggest heroes! From the epic events of BOOK OF DEATH and WRATH OF THE ETERNAL WARRIOR to seismic changes for X-O MANOWAR, BLOODSHOT REBORN, THE DEATH-DEFYING DR. MIRAGE, DIVINITY and many more, get the jump on the future of the Valiant Universe right here with an exclusive round of news and announcements from the most acclaimed publisher in comics today! Featuring Jen Van Meter (The Death-Defying Dr. Mirage), and James Asmus (Quantum and Woody).

Going back to Archer and Armstrong #1, I've really enjoyed a lot of Valiant's output, though I admit I liked it best when it was something you could read on a series-by-series basis instead of a Marvel-style linked universe. Still, it's got some great innovations, kick-ass artists (alum include Ming Doyle and Steve Lieber), and is still small enough that whenever they do have an event, it's not sprawling. If getting a superhero universe that's manageable is at all interesting to you, and you haven't tried Valiant yet, this panel would be a good chance to get your feet wet. Plus, Valiant's employees are amazingly cool, very new-reader friendly, and will actually listen to you in terms of taste and interest when making recommendations. I expect to be at this panel, if all goes well.

Gender Non-Conformists: From Peppermint Patty to Graphic Memoir
Room: Panel Room 7
Time: 1:00PM - 1:50PM
This panel celebrates comics and creators that refuse gender stereotypes and even the idea of gender binarism - from Peanuts to contemporary autobiographical work. What makes comics different from other media when it comes to representing gender?

I go to a lot of panels like this when I'm wearing my literary science fiction hat, and I'm very, very pleased to see a high-concept panel like this one at a major con such as Rose City. We need more panels like this one, and I hope that it's well attended. Unfortunately, it's around the same time as Valiant's panel, and so I personally probably won't make it, but you never know. I like to keep my schedule fluid at cons, as I mentioned in Part 1 of this series.

Representation in Comics
Room: Panel Room 5
Time: 2:00PM - 2:50PM
Representation and diversity are hot topics in the world of comics, but what is it really all about? Join top creators for a candid discussion on how to @*$% up the status quo. Featuring David Walker (Shaft), Ibrahim Moustafa (High Crimes), Jen Van Meter (Hopeless Savages), Kelly Sue DeConnick (Pretty Deadly), and Gary Phillips (The Rinse).

And here's another panel I'm super-excited to see on a big stage. It's not exactly a secret that I feel strongly about comics' race problem (and it's gender problem), and while it can be wearying for people of color and women to be asked to do panels such as this one, they're still very valuable and necessary. Especially at a show like Rose City, where there is a great potential to bring awareness to those who might not understand just why it's so important that Marvel doesn't have black writers or that DC has a sexual harassment problem. Best of all, here, many of these panelists are doing other panels as well--Rose City isn't just sticking them on the "diversity" track--something that sci fi cons should take note of! This is also on my list of panels I'd like to attend.

Dark Horse Comics: Writers on the Craft and Creation of Comics
Room: Panel Room 3
Time: 2:30PM - 3:20PM
Whether it’s a tale of a 1920s caper in a famous hotel or a 1960s housewife turned assassin, there’s a lot to love about the dynamic reach of stories told in comics. Join industry veterans Jonathan Case (The New Deal), Larry Hama (Call of Duty: Black Ops III), Joëlle Jones (Lady Killer), and Paul Tobin (The Witcher, Colder, Plants vs. Zombies) as they discuss turning an idea into a full-fledged story—and how they continue to keep their writing fresh.

I guess Dark Horse doesn't want any stories set after the Johnson Administration, based on that panel description! Jokes aside, those are some amazing creators, all of whom do great books with Dark Horse and others, and if you like to know more about how comics are made, these are people you want to listen to.

Jack Kirby's Greatest Comics: An All-Star Tribute to The King
Room: Panel Room 7
Time: 3:00PM - 3:50PM
Captain America. The Fantastic Four. The Incredible Hulk. The Mighty Thor. The Avengers. The Silver Surfer. The Inhumans. Mr. Miracle. The New Gods. The Eternals. All these iconic creations and titles — and many more besides — were first brought to life on the comic book page by Jack Kirby. But although he is without doubt one of the greatest American comic book artists in the history of the medium, the full range of Kirby’s achievement is less than fully understood by many fans today. In a forty-year career, he drew every genre of comics — Romance, Western, War, Horror, and Crime titles as well as superheroes — and his powerful, kinetic style would pass through three distinct phases, from the 1940s through the Silver Age and into the 1970s. Join a panel of creators and academic experts for a gallop through some career highlights from this master of the form, and find out why Kirby is still the King!

It's a Jack Kirby panel. Really, do I have to say more?

Image Comics: Where Creators Own Thrills
Room: Panel Room 3
Time: 3:30PM - 4:20PM
BITCH PLANET is Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro's ode to the women-in-prison exploitation films of the '70s. NAILBITER is Joshua Williamson and Mike Henderson's take on a modern serial killer thriller. Both series have lurid influences, but the execution is not just expert, but incredibly varied between the two series. What do they have in common? Where do they differ? There's only one way to find out.

This is a very curious pairing, and while I'm unlikely to go myself (I'll either be getting my Silver Age on at the Kirby panel, or perhaps eating food before I pass out), I'd love it if a Panel Patter reader went to this one and told me about it.

SUNDAY:

Bandette Spotlight
Room: Panel Room 8
Time: 10:30AM - 11:20AM
The creators behind the Eisner Award winning comic Bandette are here to steal your heart. Come hear what it takes to make a classic from Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover.

Bandette! One of my favorite series gets a spotlight. Plus, Paul and Colleen are both wonderful, funny, engaging people, who are sure to have a lot to say about comics, not just their own work.

Image Comics: Where Creators Own Everything
Room: Panel Room 3
Time: 11:30AM - 12:20PM
Image Comics publishes some of the coolest comics from the coolest creators around, and this panel is proof. Come listen to Justin Greenwood (THE FUSE), Emi Lenox (PLUTONA), Jim Valentino (co-founder of Image, SHADOWHAWK) and Jeremy Haun (THE BEAUTY) talk about creating comics, finding fun on the page, and connecting with fans across the world by way of comic books.

This is Image's more general panel, and as I said above, Panel Patter the site is a big fan of the work coming from this publisher. I'm very curious what Valentino thinks, given that Image has gone from being "Let's do Marvel clones!" to "Let's be innovative!" over time.

Pitching Comic 101
Room: Panel Room 4
Time: 11:30AM - 12:20PM
Do you want to learn how to create a successful comic book pitch document? This classroom style panel presents the basics of pitching a comic book series to a comic publisher. Moderated by Joshua Williamson, (Nailbiter, Birthright, Marvel’s Illuminati) who has written successful pitches to Image Comics, DC Comics, Marvel Comics, and Dark Horse Comics, he will share actual pitches of his own as examples. Hear from the guests on different styles and techniques on building a comic book pitch.  Guests include David Walker (Shaft, Cyborg), Joe Keatinge (Shutter, Ringside), Jen Van Meter (Hopeless Savages), and editor Lauren Sankovitch (Managing Editor, Milkfed Criminal Masterminds).

Look at how several of the people from the diversity panel are also on this panel. THAT is how you do it! However, I put this one on here because I know lots of comic readers are also people who'd like to be comics writers and artists. This is a very solid group of people to help you do that.

Dark Horse Manga
Room: Panel Room 3
Time: 12:30PM - 1:20PM
Free Hatsune Mix fan for panel attendees while supplies last! Dark Horse’s history with Japanese comics can be traced back to the company’s earliest years, with a legacy that includes such legendary series as Oh My Goddess!,Lone Wolf and Cub, Berserk, and many more! Now Dark Horse continues to publish some of the industry’s best-selling titles, like Neon Genesis Evangelion, Oreimo:Kuroneko, Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt, Satoshi Kon’s Opus, Unofficial Hatsune Mix (as seen on David Letterman), and the works of the creative powerhouse CLAMP. Join Dark Horse editor Carl Horn and special guests for a look at the past, present, and future of manga at Dark Horse!

Sure, Viz is the name most folks think of first when we talk manga in the United States, and Yen is probably second, but man oh man, Dark Horse is quietly one of the best at bringing amazing Japanese comics to the United States, particularly in the horror genre, but they're also the ones keeping CLAMP in print here, too. Additionally, while things might slow from time to time, Dark Horse did not give up on the genre, either, when Borders went under. One of the oldest manga publishers in English if I'm not mistaken, this should be a really good panel, and I'm likely to try to go.

Valiant 101: New Fans Start Here
Room: Panel Room 3
Time: 1:30PM - 2:20PM
You've heard the buzz… You've seen the reviews… Now find out where to start with Valiant Comics! From X-O MANOWAR to NINJAK to THE DEATH-DEFYING DR. MIRAGE and QUANTUM AND WOODY, jump on board here with a concise and fun-filled introduction to Valiant's biggest, most memorable characters…and find out for yourself why Buzzfeed calls Valiant "a universe full of your new favorite superheroes"!

Like I said, Valiant is extremely new-reader friendly. If the other panel intrigued you, or if you missed it, here's another you should attend.

Parker-Brothers: The Good Stuff
Room: Panel Room 8
Time: 1:30PM - 2:20PM
David Brothers (you know, from the internet) and Jeff Parker (writer, Justice League United) continue their talks taking apart how comics work- this time they discuss how books can jump past the tedious and cut right to the things artists want to draw and readers want to read. And they’ll show examples!

If you go to only one panel at Rose City, make it this one. David Brothers is amazing as an interviewer, and Jeff Parker is one of the best humans working in comics today. Together they take the discussion of comics to a new level--while still cracking jokes. It's a one-on-one panel, but the audience is welcomed in to be a part of the conversation, and there's a sense that we're all in this thing called comics appreciation together. Do not miss a chance to be a part of things!

Whew! I had a very hard time keeping this list down to a manageable level. There's a ton of great panels, including a whole track for new prose writers, plenty of media-friendly panels, and of course, things like improv and art jams and other features. Rose City has really knocked it out of the park this year in terms of programming!