Monday, July 18, 2011

Monday Special: Comic-Con Countdown

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

I leave for Comic-Con in San Diego on Wednesday morning. It's a pretty short flight down there, and I'll be meeting up with my friend Kelly almost as soon as I land! It's my first Comic-Con, and as I mentioned yesterday, I've been planning out the wazoo! After going through the program three or four times, I've finally pinned down exactly what I'm planning to see and do while at the Con. This means that a) you can look forward to articles about these panels as soon as I get them up, and b) should you also be there, feel free to find me! I'll be the one with the long brown ponytail in a funny shirt, haha! More seriously, follow me on twitter
(@TheTalkingBox and @AmyKB) for the play-by-play. (and to see which events I actually end up attending!)

Now, I already KNOW I'm trying to see more than is possible, so you don't need to tell me that. I have my sights on the big prizes in the end, but this is closer to an ideal world. It's the best-case-scenario and lets you and I both look forward to many fantastic things! You'll also see that I didn't set aside time to donate blood or head to the exhibition hall, which are also both on my list. yeah, I know. I'm crazy! :-P

10:30am-Noon: Fan Studies Panel (you know, for the academic in me)
Comics Arts Conference Session #1: Fan Studies— Scott Daniel Boras (Arizona State University) relates his experiences as "Ethnography Man," researching the world of cosplay at Comic-Con and investigating how cosplay both subverts and reinforces codes of conduct, and in the end is more about transcendence than escape. Beverly Taylor (School of the Art Institute of Chicago) presents her research into how the culture of physique athletes -- body builders, figure, and fitness athletes -- is influenced and inspired by superheroes, even to the point of considering their lives outside the gym to be their secret identities. Lincoln Geraghty (University of Portsmouth) looks at the culture of collectibles, focusing specifically on Comic-Con, to argue that these lunchboxes, toys, video games, and websites are such a part of the meaning-making process that they becomes texts to study in their own right.

1-2pm: Penguins of Madagascar: The Return of the Revenge of Dr. Blowhole (I love those penguins!)
Nickelodeon and DreamWorks Animation: The Penguins of Madagascar: The Return of the Revenge of Dr. BlowholeExecutive producers Mark McCorkle and Bob Schooley (Kim Possible), supervising producer Nick Filippi (Wolverine and the X-Men), creative consultant and voice of Skipper Tom McGrath (Madagascar 1 & 2), and cast members Danny Jacobs (Epic Movie), John DiMaggio (Futurama), Jeff Bennett (T.U.F.F. Puppy), James Patrick Stuart (Wolverine and the X-Men), and Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show) share an insider's look of how the show gets made, along with never-before-seen footage from their upcoming one-hour musical, The Return of the Revenge of Dr. Blowhole. Additionally, the all-star cast performs a table read of selected scenes, highlighted by the amazingly talented Danny Jacobs as the voice of King Julien, singing his booty off as he premieres a showstopper from the special. Followed by a Q&A session moderated by Rich Magallanes, vice president, animation for Nickelodeon.

2:30-3:30: Comic Arts: Inventing IronMan
(I just think this sounds fascinating! )
Comics Arts Conference Session #4: Inventing Iron Man— Author E. Paul Zehr (University of Victoria) discusses his book Inventing Iron Man, physically deconstructing
Iron Man to find out how we could use modern-day technology to create a suit of armor similar to Tony Stark's. Examining contemporary brain-machine interfaces and the meeting of neurology and neural plasticity, Zehr finds that science is nearing the point where such a suit is possible but observes that "superherodom is not just about technology." He also considers our own physical limitations to ask whether a living human could truly become Iron Man.

3:45-4:45 Awake (I'm all about the screeners, and this sounds intriguing and different)
AwakeExclusive screening of Awake, the new NBC sci-fi drama about the power of the mind, to be introduced by star Jason Isaacs (Harry Potter) and executive producers Howard Gordon (24) and Kyle Killen (The Beaver). The screening will be followed by a brief Q&A session

5-6pm: Figure Drawing (I'm at Comic-Con... I should learn to draw. Plus, there's no hope of getting into the Harry Potter Fandom Panel at this time...)
 Figure Drawing for Popular Media— Emilio Soltero, Ph.D. (Draw the Line, Figure It Out, John Buscema: A Life in Sketches), along with Alex Niño (Mulan, Marvel, DC) and Stephen Silver (Kim Possible, Clerks), presents a primer on drawing the figure for popular media, including drawing for comics and character design and a demonstration on figure drawing. There will be some cool giveaways and a chance to draw as well. Comeready to take notes and to draw.

6-7pm: LGBTX: Queer X-Men (honestly, I'm very interested to hear about the background and reception of these themes and characters. Blame it on my past life in Student Affairs)
LGBTX: The X-Men's Queer Characters, Themes, and Fans— The X-Men and their universe have always been popular with LGBT comics fans. The idea of mutants is seen as an allegory for the reality of difference and persecution, as well as community and power, experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. The X-Men have also included compelling queer characters in their roster, including the first gay superhero, Northstar. How have these themes and characters been handled? What are the plans for the future? Moderator Chance Whitmire (Fanboys of the Universe) tries to make sense of it all with panelists Peter David (X-Factor), Phil Jimenez (Astonishing XMen), Chuck Kim (Age of X), Marjorie Liu (Daken: Dark Wolverine), Scott Lobdell (Uncanny X-Men), and Zack Stentz (X-Men First Class).

7-8pm: Scoop at Simon & Schuster (win books? you bet!)
The Scoop at Simon & Schuster!— Get the inside word on Simon & Schuster's upcoming books and the chance to win exclusive prizes! Lucille Rettino (marketing director), Elke Villa (senior marketing manager), Carolyn Swerdloff (associate marketing manager), and Anna McKean (publicity manager) give you the scoop on upcoming books from exciting authors, including Cassandra Clare, Scott Westerfeld, Orson Scott Card, and Becca Fitzpatrick. Hear what is going on with S&S's hot properties -- Star Trek and The Smurfs -- and get a chance to win exclusive giveaways. All attendees will receive a limited edition T-shirt for Cassandra Clare's Clockwork Prince.

8-11pm: Hall H & Ballroom 20 Playbacks (I gotta catch up somehow!)
Hall H and Ballroom 20 Thursday Panel Playback— Didn't get into either Hall H or Ballroom 20 today? We feel your pain! In this three-hour block, Comic-Con rebroadcasts some of the day's popular panels from those two giant rooms. Best of all, those in attendance will get to vote on what they want to see. It's democracy at its finest and it's a second chance to see these panels. (Please note: these playbacks will include only the panel discussions. None of the film clips or footage shown at the live events will be shown.)

10:30-11:30: Screening of Locke & Key (it's not even coming out until mid-season, so this is a realllllly early look!)
Locke & Key FOX Pilot Screening— The most talked-about pilot not on the fall schedule was the FOX production of Locke & Key. This screening of the entire pilot will show you just what a void there will be on your TVs this fall. Watch the special filmed adaptation of Welcome to Lovecraft, and see the Eisner-nominated comic brought to life.

1:45-2:45pm: Bones Panel (don't YOU want to know what's coming up?)
BonesCreator/executive producer Hart Hanson, executive producer Stephen Nathan, and stars David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel discuss the shocking finale of Bones Season 6 as well as what's in store for Booth and Brennan in an exciting Season 7! Hanson will also introduce the audience to the stars of The Finder, his new FOX series premiering in January.

3:15-4:15pm: Falling Skies Panel
(I'm so back-and-forth on this show. maybe this will push me into the pro camp!)
Falling SkiesTNT's powerful drama series Falling Skies follows a group of survivors who band together after a devastating alien invasion has incapacitated most of the world. Ordinary people are called upon to fight back against the occupying alien force as they struggle for the survival of the human race. Join stars Noah Wyle (ER), Moon Bloodgood (Terminator Salvation), Will Patton (Armageddon), Drew Roy (Secretariat), Collin Cunningham (Living in Your Car), and Sarah Sanguin Carter (Shark) and co-executive producer Mark Verheiden (Battlestar Galactica) in a Q&A, and watch exclusive never-before-seen footage from Falling Skies.

4:30-5:30pm: Marvel TV: Anime on G4 (I like to study adaptations of things...)
Marvel Television Presents: Anime on G4— Marvel Television and G4 take your favorite characters -- Iron Man, Wolverine, The X-Men, and Blade -- to Japan to tell their stories in a whole new way, beautifully animated by the anime masters at Madhouse. Hosted by Attack of the Show's Blair Butler, watch a never-before-seen episode with Marvel's head of TV Jeph Loeb and surprise guests. Plus, get a sneak peek at The X-Men's explosive first episode.

5:30-6:30pm: Can Comics Send You to Jail? (I love to travel, but things like this just worry me!)
CBLDF: Can Comics Send You To Jail?— What if the comics you took on a plane landed you in jail? That's the danger facing one American, who could spend a minimum of a
year in a foreign prison for doing just that. Turns out that anyone leaving or entering the country can be stopped, searched, or detained by customs agents because of comic art
in print or on laptops, tablets, or cell phones -- even without suspicion of criminal activity. Learn how the CBLDF is working to fight this trend and what you can do to help.

7-8pm: Teching Out with NCIS:LA (I'm not the biggest NCIS person, but looking specifically at the use of technology on the show sounds pretty cool.)
Teching Out with NCIS: LAWith a hot young cast and high-stakes adventures, it's no secret why 18 million fans tune in each week to watch the agents of NCIS: Los Angeles go undercover to protect national security. Utilizing some of the most advanced technologies available today, NCIS: LA offers a stunning window into the world of constant surveillance. In this panel, fans will be treated to a behind-the-scenes look at how the series uses some of the coolest and immersive technologies available today, as well as how the cast has used technology and social media in their own personal lives to connect to their fans. Creator and executive producer Shane Brennan, actor LL Cool J, and other NCIS: LA cast members explain what's real, what's not, and what's next for season three.

8-11pm: Hall H & Ballroom 20 Playbacks (more catch-up)
Hall H and Ballroom 20 Friday Panel Playback— Didn't get into either Hall H or Ballroom 20 today? We feel your pain! In this three-hour block, Comic-Con rebroadcasts some of the day's popular panels from those two giant rooms. Best of all, those in attendance will get to vote on what they want to see. It's democracy at its finest and it's a second chance to see these panels.

8-9pm: Reign of the Dinosaurs (in case I don't like what's being replayed in the other room...)
Reign of the Dinosaurs— In 2010, a group of the world's best dinosaur illustrators and animators gave Comic-Con fans a rare behind-the-scenes look at the artistic development of the Discovery Channel series Reign of the Dinosaurs (working title). The creative team returns to show off just how far their jaw-dropping animation and storytelling have come since last year's storyboarding and early animation phase. Set to premiere this fall, the series will reset the standard for immersive, inside-out dinosaur storytelling, giving an insiders' view into the private lives and strange behaviors of dinosaurs, with a narrative technique as revolutionary as the science it documents. Panelists include exec­utive producer/co-director Erik Nelson (Cave of Forgotten Dreams), director David Krentz (Disney's Dinosaur), artist Ricardo Delgado (Dark
Horse Comics' Age of Reptiles), and others.

9-10pm: Worst Cartoons Eve
r (...aren't you intrigued by the title alone??!?)
Worst Cartoons Ever— Jerry Beck (Cartoon Brew) once again compiles a new selection of the most terribly written, ugliest drawn, and unintentionally funniest animated films ever made. Cartoons include Mighty Mr. Titan (a physical fitness superhero) and Super President (a one-man weapon of mass destruction)!

9:15-10:15pm: Locke & Key Encore Screening
(just in case)
11am-Noon: Terra Nova Screener (this is one of my most-anticipated Fall shows!)
Terra NovaStar Stephen Lang (Avatar), executive producer Rene Echevarria (Castle, Medium, The 4400, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine), executive producer Brannon Braga (24, Star Trek: Enterprise), and co-executive producer Jose Molina (Haven, Castle) premiere footage from the highly anticipated epic adventure series 85 million years in the making, set to premiere this September on FOX. This new event drama from the minds of Steven Spielberg (Jurassic Park, The Pacific) and Peter Chernin follows an ordinary family on an extraordinary journey back in time to prehistoric Earth as a part of a massive expedition to save the human race.

12:15-1pm: Futurama Panel (not my favorite show, but I like some of the jokes.)
FuturamaFuturama is back! Again! On stage will be creator/executive producer Matt Groening, executive producer David X. Cohen, and stars Billy West (Fry, Professor Farnsworth, Dr. Zoidberg), Katey Sagal (Leela), John DiMaggio (Bender), and Maurice LaMarche (Kif Kroker, Calculon, Morbo). Get a sneak peek at never-before-seen footage of Futurama reincarnated as Japanese anime, along with a thrilling preview of this summer's new season on Comedy Central. Moderated by Bill Morrison.

1-1:45pm: The Simpsons Panel (not sure what sort of cool stuff they'll mention, but it kinda seems like the place to be with Milestone Episode 500 coming up...)
1:00-1:45 The SimpsonsNow entering its record-annihilating 23rd season on FOX and airing its landmark 500th episode on February 19, 2012, The Simpsons has won 27 Emmy awards, was the subject of an international film smash in 2007, and inspired a ride you ride again at Universal Studios. Plus, Homer Simpson was named the greatest television character of the last 20 years by Entertainment Weekly. Get insight into the daily doings of this series from creator Matt Groening, showrunner Al Jean, co-executive producer Rob Lazebnik, co-executive producer Matt Warburton, supervising producer Mike Anderson, and producer/panel moderator Tom Gammill.

2-2:35pm: Family Guy Panel (again, not my favorite, but the pop culture parodies are GREAT!)
Family Guy— Alex Borstein, Seth Green, Adam West (Batman), and executive producers Mark Hentemann, Steve Callaghan, and Kara Vallow present a sneak peek at the new episode Stewie Goes for a Drive, featuring voice guest star Ryan Reynolds, followed by a Q&A session.

2:35-3:15pm: American Dad Panel (and sometimes you gotta stick it out to be in the right room later...)
American DadCatch a preview of the Season 7 premiere of American Dad,
featuring guest star Cee-Lo Green as a singing hot tub, followed by a Q&A with cast
members Wendy Schaal, Scott Grimes, Rachael MacFarlane, and Dee Bradley Baker
and executive producers Mike Barker, Matt Weitzman, and Kara Vallow.

5-6pm: Alcatraz Screening (living in the Bay Area and having been to Alcatraz twice, I think this is going to be an interesting series...)
Alcatraz Pilot Screening and Q&A— Catch a special pilot screening of Alcatraz, a chilling new thriller centering on America's most infamous prison and the mysterious return of its most notorious criminals. When an Alcatraz inmate is discovered walking the streets of present-day San Francisco -- not having aged a bit since the 1960s -- a sinister threat begins to unravel. Where have these prisoners been? Why are they back? After the screening, there will be a special Q&A with Alcatraz writer and executive producer Elizabeth Sarnoff (Lost) and series stars Sarah Jones (Sons of Anarchy) and Jorge Garcia (Lost). From Bonanza Productions Inc. in association with Bad Robot Productions and Warner Bros. Television, Alcatraz will air midseason on FOX.  

6-7pm: Spirituality in Comics
(I love the study of folks finding spiritual community outside the church. My Master's thesis even included a little bit about how Rocky Horror was like church.)
Spirituality in Comics: Is Mass Media Our New Church?— In comics, movies, and even Broadway musicals like The Book of Mormon, spiritual themed work seems to be unexpectedly coming from the least religious of sources. Panelists Sergio Cariello (The Action Bible), Buzz Dixon (Hits & Misses), Mike Shields (Blue Blazes), and Russell Dalton (Marvelous Myths: Marvel Superheroes and Everyday Faith) discuss how a new media world of comics and pop culture is exploring timeless truths. Special giveaways for those in attendance. Brought to you by the Christian Comic Arts Society.

8:30-11:30: Masquerade (watching in one of the overflow rooms)
HBO's True Blood Presents the Comic-Con International MasqueradeFabulous original and re-created costumes crafted by talented attendees appear on stage
before an audience of thousands, with impressive awards and cash prizes bestowed to those judged most outstanding. The masters of ceremonies will once again be writer/artists Phil Foglio and Kaja Foglio of Studio Foglio.

10-11am: Jim Henson Panel (this is as close to a Muppets panel we're getting...)
Archaia Entertainment and The Jim Henson Company: The Early Works of Jim Henson Screening with Special Tale of Sand Discussion— Jim Henson was a creative genius responsible for some of the most iconic properties today, including The Muppets, Fraggle Rock, and The Dark Crystal. But what was he like leading up to that success? Archaia and The Jim Henson Company explore his early works and creative process, complete with archival, rarely seen footage, brought to you by Henson archivist Karen Falk. Then, get an advance look at Tale of Sand, the new original graphic novel coming in September, based on a never-before-seen screenplay written by Jim Henson and his longtime collaborator, Jerry Juhl. Falk, Archaia editor-in-chief Stephen Christy, and A Tale of Sand artist Ramón Pérez will discuss the behind-the-scenes production of the book and debut some new images. Moderated by Archaia CEO P. J. Bickett.

11:30-12:45: Cartoon Voices (again, I think it's a Comic-Con experience)
Cartoon Voices II— It's another panel full of amazing folks who provide voices for animation. This one has Bill Farmer (Goofy), Laraine Newman (The Goode Family), Jason Marsden (The Fairly OddParents), Gregg Berger (The Garfield Show), Vanessa Marshall (The Avengers), and maybe a surprise or two. They'll be questioned by moderators Mark Evanier and Earl Kress.

2-3pm: Drawing The Simpsons (I play a lot of pictionary. Adding in Bart or Lisa is going to be great.)
Drawing The SimpsonsThey're TV's first family of fun! Between their comics, television, and movie appearances, The Simpsons remain one of the most popular cartoons around the world. Emmy Award-winning artist Phil Ortiz (The Simpsons comic books) shows you how to draw Lisa and Bart in this fun hands-on drawing workshop for Simpsons fans of all ages!
3-4pm: Drawing Snoopy (sounds pretty sweet. very vintage. and it'll come in handy every Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas... when I inevitably watch the holiday specials!)
How to Draw Snoopy and His Friends— Hey, kids, let cartoonists show you how to draw Charlie Brown and all your favorite characters from the beloved gang. Peanuts artists Andy Beall (Iron Giant), Vicki Scott (Happiness is a Warm Blanket graphic novel), and Bob Scott (Toy Story 3) will show you how to turn simple shapes into your favorite Peanuts characters, and maybe even how to kick that football.

Well, that's all I have for now. Keep up with me!
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