Comic-Con 2013: Doc Jensen's Datebook
The Witty Women of Steampunk
Thursday, July 18, 11 a.m.-noon in Room 5AB
''Corsets, werewolves, airships, robots, women in pants! Steampunk is all this and more.'' Women in pants?! And ''witty,'' to boot? How much ''more'' can there possibly be? (Actually, at Comic-Con, ''women in pants'' is a refreshingly exotic fashion statement.) To be honest, I've never been a steampunk boy. The interest has been there; still waiting for the killer app of story to unlock the genre for them. I suspect I might find one — or a few — at this panel.
Video Games to Movies: Is the Golden Age Upon Us?
Thursday, July 18, 11 a.m.-noon in the Indigo Ballroom at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront
Strangely enough, I found myself mulling a version of this very question not too long ago. If our current superhero pop moment has its roots (at least partially) in the comic book renaissance of the 1980s that turned teenage readers into fans (and geeky filmmakers) for life, does a similar videogame pop moment loom on the cultural horizon? Perhaps the panelists will flesh out the obvious answer with some compelling, intriguing arguments: Adrian Askarieh (Hitman, Agent 47), Tim Miller (Blur Studios, attached to direct Deadpool feature), Justin Marks (producer of Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li), Patrick J O'Brien (VP of EA Entertainment, currently developing films based on Need for Speed, Dead Space, Mass Effect, and Dante's Inferno), and C. Robert Cargill (Sinister, Dreams and Shadows, Queen of Dark Things, Deus X).
Comic-Con How-To: Motion Books: Why They Are the Future
Thursday, July 18, 12:15-1:15 p.m. in Room 2
The people on this panel are smart folks who can intelligently explain the values of an emerging new realm of sequential art storytelling, which may or may not replace the paper product comic book one day. Featuring Ben Wolstenholme, Liam Sharp, and Dave Gibbons from Madefire, deviantART's co-founder and CEO Angelo Sotira, and Ron Martino from deviantART.
Thursday, July 18, 2:15-3:15 p.m in Ballroom 20
No Benedict Cumberbatch. No Martin Freeman. But Steven Moffat will be there. And that is enough for a showrunner nerd like me. Plus: Your first Comic-Con opportunity to pester the man with the ''Who will be the next Doctor Who?'' question.
Entertainment Weekly's The Visionaries
Thursday, July 18, 2:30-3:30 p.m. in Hall H
Our own Anthony Breznican interviews three extraordinary directors: Marc Webb (The Amazing Spider-Man 2, (500) Days of Summer), Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban), and Edgar Wright (The World's End, Shaun of the Dead). Someone ask Anthony to do his Miss Piggy impression. It's uncanny!
TV Guide Magazine Celebrates The X-Files' 20th Anniversary
Thursday, July 18, 3:30-4:30 p.m. in Ballroom 20
This year's megaton nostalgia bomb, a la last year's Firefly panel. Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny are scheduled to appear. Ditto creator Chris Carter and many of the show's all-star alumni scribes, including Vince Gilligan, Howard Gordon, Darin Morgan, Glen Morgan, John Shiban, and Jim Wong.
I Can't Believe It's Over: The Best and Worst Series Finales Ever
Thursday, July 18, 4-5 p.m. in Room 23ABC
This is a pretty genius idea. The description says it all: ''It's time to put the great debates to rest as GEEK Magazine answers the most important question of our time: What are the best and worst TV season finales of all time? A panel of geeksperts dissect the end of Galactica's lonely quest in Battlestar Galactica, the purgatory of the Lost finale, The Sopranos sign-off, the all good things come to an end for Star Trek: The Next Generation, Special Agent Dale Cooper getting piqued in Twin Peaks, and many more.''
Entertainment Weekly's Brave New Warriors
Thursday July 18, 4:45-5:45 p.m. in Ballroom 20
A new generation of heroes has revitalized television. These daring, dauntless young actors have fans swooning and critics raving. Matt Smith (Doctor Who), Kit Harington (Game of Thrones), Steven Yeun (The Walking Dead), Tyler Posey (Teen Wolf), and David Giuntoli (Grimm) discuss the thrills and fears of taking on iconic characters, reveal how they broke into the business, and share their favorite stories from set. Our Lynette Rice moderates. She makes awesome chocolate chip cookies. Ask her for the recipe.
Hannibal: Feed Your Fear
Thursday, July 18, 6:45-7:45 p.m. in Room 6A
NBC's serial killer saga was my favorite serial killer saga in a TV season distressingly full of serial killer sagas. Emmy Award-winning executive producer Bryan Fuller (Pushing Daisies), director David Slade (The Twilight Saga: Eclipse), Martha De Laurentiis (Red Dragon), and star Hugh Dancy will dish on season one and tease season two. Moderating the panel will be some guy from Entertainment Weekly that used to obsess about Lost. Oh, wait — that would be me!
The World's End: Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost Reunited
Friday, July 19, 10-11 a.m. in Hall H
An Edgar Wright panel is always a riotously entertaining affair: His Scott Pilgrim vs. The World showcase a few years back was one of my all-time fave Comic-Con moments. Holding court with long-time collaborators Simon Pegg and Nick Frost — a pretty winning combo of entertainment unto themselves (see: Paul, one of the underrated comedies of recent years) — to discuss their ''Barmageddon'' sci-fi comedy The World's End promises to be apocalyptically amusing.
Veronica Mars Special Video Presentation and Q&A
Friday, July 19, 11:15 a.m.-noon in Hall H
You did not dream this, fans. Nor did you contribute money to an elaborate scam currently lining the coffers of Nigeria's fictitious minister of justice. Veronica Mars: The Movie is a-happenin'! Kristen Bell, Francis Capra, Enrico Colantoni, Percy Daggs III, Jason Dohring, Ryan Hansen, Chris Lowell, Tina Majorino, and Krysten Ritter along with producer and director Rob Thomas will assemble to tell the Marshmallow Nation — and Kickstarter sponsors — all about the film they're currently shooting in Los Angeles. Yours truly moderates; tweet me questions at @EWDocJensen.
Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on ABC
Friday, July 19, 1:45-3 p.m. in Ballroom 20
Joss Whedon, back on TV, doing Marvel-ous stuff. 'Nuff said.
Why Fanfiction Is Taking Over the World
Friday, July 19, 2-3 p.m. in Room 29A
It is?! Okay, better get educated. The panel description: ''Fanfiction has recently moved into the spotlight, with fic authors getting impressive book deals and Amazon announcing Kindle Worlds. But there's a lot more to the story than Fifty Shades of Grey. Panelists Amber Benson (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Christina Lauren (tby789 and LolaShoes, Beautiful Bastard), Rachel Caine (Morganville Vampires, Weather Wardens), V. Arrow (aimmyarrowshigh, The Panem Companion), and Heidi Tandy (heidi8, Organization for Transformative Works) discuss how fan writing — from missing scenes to remixes and crossovers — and other fanworks re-imagine the boundaries of everything from sexuality and gender to character and authorship. They'll discuss the way fan culture is challenging today's entertainment and publishing industry norms, and consider the value a noncommercial creative space can bring to emerging and even professional writers and artists. Moderated by Anne Jamison (Fic: Why Fanfiction Is Taking Over the World).''
Grant Morrison: 18 Days
Friday, July 19, 4:45-5:45 p.m. in Room 6A
Superstar creator Grant Morrison (All-Star Superman, The Invisibles) and Graphic India unveil one of his most ambitious projects to date: the YouTube animated series 18 Days, based on The Mahabharata. Morrison — joined by series executive producers Sharad Devarajan (co-founder and CEO, Liquid Comics/Graphic India) and author Gotham Chopra (The Sadhu, Seven Spiritual Laws of Superheroes) — will show footage and be generally entertaining.
BBC America's Orphan Black
Friday, July 19, 7-8 p.m. in Room 7AB
My pick for the best new series of the last TV season comes to Comic-Con with star Tatiana Maslany and series creators Graeme Manson and John Fawcett. Moderated by EW's Dalton Ross, and if he was any kind of serious, hard-hitting journalist, he would ask Tatiana to answer questions as each of her clones. Don't let him off the hook!
Husbands: The New Marriage
Friday, July 19, 8-9 p.m. in Room 7AB
My third and final moderating gig of Comic-Con should be a pretty fun one. Fresh off shooting the third season of the hit Web series (and its first in partnership with The CW), Husbands creators Jane Espenson and Brad Bell, co-stars Alessandra Torresani and Sean Hemeon, director Jeff Greenstein, and upcoming guest star Amy Acker (Angel, Dollhouse, Much Ado About Nothing) will dish on what's to come.
Syfy Presents the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards
Friday, July 19, 8-10 p.m. in the Indigo Ballroom at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront
The comic book Oscars. This year's nominees for Best Continuing Series are: Fatale, by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips (Image); Hawkeye, by Matt Fraction and David Aja (Marvel); The Manhattan Projects, by Jonathan Hickman and Nick Pitarra (Image); Prophet, by Brandon Graham and Simon Roy (Image); and Saga, by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (Image). As you can tell: A damn fine year for Image Comics. I love every single one of these titles, and I'd be happy if any one of them won, but if you made me cast a vote right here, right now, I'd give it to the Marvel book: No comic surprised me more and delighted me more this past year than Hawkeye.
A&E Bates Motel
Saturday, July 20, 10-11 a.m. in Room 6A
After Hannibal, my second favorite new serial killer drama in a TV season filled with such bloody perverse blah blah blah. I loved how exec producers Carlton Cuse (Lost) and Kerry Ehrin (Friday Night Lights) earned our interest, plus how the cast — especially Vera Farmiga (Norma Bates) and Freddie Highmore (Norman Bates) — took it next level.
Once Upon a Time in Wonderland: Down the Rabbit Hole!
Saturday, July 20, 10:15-11 a.m. in Ballroom 20
Your first look at the Once Upon A Time companion series, which appears to be alluringly dark, romantic and altogether fantastic. Introduced by co-creators and executive producers Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz (Lost, Tron: Legacy).
The Tick 25th Anniversary
Saturday, July 20, 1-2 p.m. in Room 23ABC
Ben Edlund (the creator of The Tick), Chris McCulloch (Tick Karma Tornado artist/writer and Venture Brothers creator), and Bob Polio (art director of The Tick comic series) discuss the 25-year history of The Tick.
Star Wars vs. Serenity
Saturday, July 20, 1:30-2:30 p.m. in Room 24ABC
Okay. This could get ugly. Dark Horse Comics, which publishes licensed comics inspired by both franchises, pits fan base against fan base in a geek skirmish likely to be more bloody — or at least bad breath-y — than The Clone Wars and The Battle of Serenity Valley combined.
Lost Podcast and Beyond
Saturday, July 20, 2-3 p.m. in Room 29A
Jay Glatfelter and Jack Glatfelter, representin' as always.
Will Eisner and the Graphic Novel
Saturday, July 20, 2-3 p.m. in Room 23ABC
Comics legends Neil Gaiman (Sandman, Coraline, The Ocean at the End of the Lane), Scott McCloud (Understanding Comics, Making Comics), Jeff Smith (Bone, Shazam!, RASL), Denis Kitchen (Al Capp, The Art of Harvey Kurtzman), and moderator Paul Levitz (Golden Age of DC Comics, The Legion of Super-Heroes) discuss Will Eisner and his pivotal role in the American graphic novel, timed to the 35th anniversary of Eisner's A Contract with God.
Entertainment Weekly's Women Who Kick Ass
Saturday, July 20, 2:55-3:55 p.m. in Hall H
Fierce, fearless, and flat-out fantastic, these female actors have left fans breathless. Michelle Rodriguez (Fast and Furious franchise), Orphan Black's Tatiana Maslany, Danai Gurira (The Walking Dead), and others open up about the power and privilege of playing women who redefine the rules and refuse to yield. Moderated by EW's Sara Vilkomerson, who knows kung fu. Ask her to demonstrate!
Spotlight on George Pérez
Saturday, July 20, 3-4 p.m. in Room 7AB
One of my comic book heroes holds court to talk about his craft, his career, and his future projects.
Vertigo: The Sandman 25th Anniversary and Beyond!
Saturday, July 20, 3:15-4:15 p.m. in Room 6DE
New Sandman from Neil Gaiman = The comic book event of the year, if not decade. He'll talk about the classic series and preview the new work with past and future collaborators, Dave McKean, Sam Kieth, Todd Klein, and J. H. Williams III.
Adventure Time Comic Book Panel
Saturday, July 20, 3:30-4:30 p.m. in Room 8
Adventure Time is that rare awesome cartoon that has inspired a genuinely awesome comic book that captures the spirit of the show but works wonderfully as comics. KaBOOM! editor Shannon Watters talks with series writer Ryan North and artists Shelli Paroline and Braden Lamb, writer/artist Meredith Gran (Adventure Time: Marceline and the Scream Queens), and writer/artist Natasha Allegri (Adventure Time: Fionna and Cake) about their work.
Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey
Saturday, July 20, 6-7 p.m. in the Indigo Ballroom at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront
Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, Carl Sagan's landmark science factual series, was a cultural landmark of my youth. I can't wait to see the new series — and not just because it's being produced by (WTF?!) Family Guy's Seth MacFarlane. On the panel: Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, writer/executive producer Ann Druyan, and executive producer/director Brannon Braga (Star Trek franchise, 24).
Marvel Studios: Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Saturday, July 20, 6-7 p.m. in Hall H
Marvel Studios president and producer Kevin Feige gives his state-of-the-Marvel-union address and teases forthcoming stuff.
Rude Dude: The Steve Rude Documentary
Saturday, July 20, 8-9 p.m. in Room 28DE
Ian Fischer (filmmaker) and Ross Williams (composer) screen clips from the feature documentary on Steve Rude (Nexus, World's Finest, Moth) — another one of my favorite comic book artists — and discuss the making of the film that took over five years to produce.
Jack Kirby Tribute Panel
Sunday, July 21, 10-11:15 a.m. in Room 5AB
Every year, Comic-Con carves out time to pay homage to the comic book artist they call The King. Discussing the man and his work this year are Neil Gaiman, Tony Isabella, and Kirby family attorney Paul S. Levine. Moderated by Mark Evanier.
Sunday, July 21, 11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m. in Hall H
The end is nigh for the bold AMC drama. Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan and the cast — Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn, Dean Norris, Betsy Brandt, R. J. Mitte, and Bob Odenkirk — preview the final sweep of episodes and tease the final fate of Southwestern meth auteur Walter White.
Science Fiction and the Future
Sunday, July 21, noon-1 p.m. in Room 24ABC
The panel description: ''From spaceships and aliens to medical tampering and secret military weapons, science fiction books have never been as varied and exciting as they are now. James S. A. Corey (the writing team of Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck; Abaddon's Gate), Jason Hough (The Darwin Elevator), David Wellington (Chimera), Mira Grant (Parasite), Daniel Wilson (Amped), and D. J. MacHale (Sylo) discuss their new books and the vivid visions science fiction has to offer, from distant space to our own backyards. Moderated by Margaret Stohl (Icons).''