Editor's note: Since both the actors and writers will be on strike, please check the Comic-Con website for the latest information on which panels might be canceled.
Let’s address the elephant in the room. A lot of media attention has been focused on how the writers’ strike and actors’ strike have prompted some key Hollywood studios to skip Comic-Con this year. Marvel, DC, Netflix and others are skipping Hall H and there is likely going to be a scarcity of celebrities in the 6500 seat venue. That does impact programming and the need for lining up a day in advance for Hall H. However, Hall H is only a fraction of the hundreds of hours of programming available at Comic-Con. Plus, while Marvel and DC are not hosting celebrity-filled Hall H panels, they both will have large exhibits on the convention floor and DC is premiering some of its animated films. Both also have comic-based panels in smaller rooms.
Comic-Con spokesperson David Glanzer had this to say, “I think there’s a mistaken belief that it’s almost as if studios and entities are boycotting the show. The reality is there’s a strike with at least one union and pending one for another, and that’s really kind of turned the tables around a bit.”
Ok, with that out of the way, panel information has been rolling out on the Comic-Con website and I will start highlighting some of the ones that I think might be worth checking out.
One of the best kept secrets is the Comic-Con International Independent Film Festival. Not only can you see some great films but you can also chill in the little theater and escape the congestion of the floor.
My must-see recommendations are highlighted and denoted with a ⭐.
Wednesday, Preview Night (July 19)
Warner Bros. Television Screenings
6:00 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. Ballroom 20
Comic-Con and Warner Bros. Television continue the Preview Night tradition with the world premiere of “Adventure Time: Fionna and Cake,” alongside all-new episodes of “Riverdale” and “Teen Titans Go!,” and screenings of “Mrs. Davis” and “Superpowered: The DC Story.”
Thursday (July 20)
15th Annual Behind-the-Music panel: Supersonic
10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. Room 25ABC
Get a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into creating the scores and sounds to some of today's most popular TV series and films.
Comic-Con Film School 101: Preproduction and Screenwriting
10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. Grand 6, Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina
Comic-Con Film School is back for another four-day, nuts-and-bolts class on how to make a movie for very little money using available video hardware and software.
Do You Want to Build a Droid? (a.k.a Droid Building 101) ⭐
10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. Room 7AB
Thanks to rapidly changing technology, building a droid has never been easier. From traditional plywood and aluminum, to styrene and now 3D printing materials, there are many ways to make that droid a reality. Local droid builders with a variety of knowledge and skills discuss their own journey to build their favorite droids.
Spotlight on Barbara Friedlander
10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. Room 32AB
Fresh out of high school in the 60s, Barbara Friedlander got a job at DC Comics and quickly ascended to a job in the editorial division. Comic-Con Special Guest Mark Evanier will be quizzing her — and on Friday evening at the Eisner Awards, he’ll be presenting Barbara with the Bill Finger Award for Excellence in Comic Book Writing.
Vault Comics: Stranger Than (Science) Fiction—Outer Worlds and Other Voices in Comics
10:15 a.m. - 11:15 a.m. Room 6DE
When independent upstart publisher Vault Comics arrived on the scene in 2017, the mission was simple: to publish the best in science fiction comics. Panelists include Rodney Barnes ("Monarch"), Christopher Yost ("Unnatural Order"), Ram V ("Radio Apocalypse," "These Savage Shores"), and Zack Kaplan ("Mindset").
Comics Arts Conference Session #1: The Norton Critical Edition of A Contract with God: A Landmark for Sequential Art in Academia
10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Room 26AB
Will Eisner is the first graphic novelist to join Faulkner, Shelley, Hemingway, Twain, and other acclaimed authors in the Norton Critical Edition series. "A Contract with God and Other Stories of Dropsie Avenue" features correspondence and interviews with Eisner, reviews and assessments from the work’s 1978 release and the years since, and critical writing on Eisner and his oeuvre.
Ms. Marvel and the Power of Representation
10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Room 29CD
Superhero and science fiction stories have long inspired young adults to become scientists, engineers, and STEM professionals. But often the stories have lacked diversity and inclusion. Ms. Marvel makes strides toward showing representation.
Fear and Fungi: Science of The Last of Us ⭐
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Omni Hotel, Omni Grand Ballroom DE, 4th Floor
“The Last of Us” explores a post-apocalyptic world where the Cordyceps fungus has evolved and can turn humans into zombie-like hosts. But it’s all just fiction, right? This panel of experts will help you understand whether a fungal apocalypse is truly possible and answer some burning questions like: How does a fungus turn something into a zombie? Can climate change make us more susceptible to disease and infection?
Horror at the Library: Junji Ito ⭐
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Shiley Special Events Suite, San Diego Central Library
Join Comic-Con Special Guest and legendary horror master Junji Ito (“Uzumaki,” “Black Paradox”) at the San Diego Public Library for a Q&A that’s sure to bring your nightmares to life.
Oni Press: Counterculture for Comics Culture
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Room 28DE
For 25 years, Oni Press has been publishing daring, provocative comics that resonate with fans and readers around the world.
Spotlight on Mariko Tamaki
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Room 32AB
Eisner, Ignatz, Printz, and GLAAD award–winning author Mariko Tamaki has written comics about everything from mainstream superheroes to turbulent teens. She is also the curator of Abrams' LGBTQIA+ imprint, Surely Books.
Between Two Toms
11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Room 6DE
DC’s Tom King ("Wonder Woman") and Tom Taylor ("Titans") discuss comics.
Paramount Pictures: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem
11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Hall H
Paramount Pictures brings a panel discussion and footage presentation with filmmakers.
Spotlight on Jerry Beck
11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Room 24ABC
Animation historian Jerry Beck (Cartoon Research) curates cartoon Blu-ray compilations, writes books ("The 50 Greatest Cartoons," "The Hanna Barbera Treasury"), hosts a monthly cartoon club at Quentin Tarantino's New Beverly Cinemas in Hollywood (using Quentin's own cartoon film prints), and teaches animation history at Cal Arts.
Spotlight on Ricardo Caté
11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Room 4
Meet Ricardo Caté, the most prominent Native American cartoonist working today. His popular cartoon "Without Reservations" is published daily in the Santa Fe New Mexican and Taos News and explores the irony and poignant humor found in the Native American experience of living in dominant culture.
Indiana Jones and the Nexus of Archaeology, History, and Punching Fascists ⭐
12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. Grand 10 & 11, Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina
The Indy films have shaped the public’s view of the world of archaeology and artifacts for more than 40 years. What do the Indiana Jones films get right and wrong about real-world archaeological adventures? Do the antiquities collected by Dr. Jones really belong in a museum — and does he?
Indigenous Futurisms: Transcending Past/Present/Future
12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. Grand 12 & 13, Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina
Discover the remarkable range of artistic and technological speculation found in comics, film, literature, and art that speak to future worlds from Indigenous perspectives. Inspired by the forthcoming exhibition Indigenous Futurisms at Los Angeles’ Autry Museum of the American West.
Jack Kirby, but Not Superheroes
12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. Room 4
Bruce Simon (cartoonist), Mark Badger (cartoonist), John Morrow (editor and publisher, "The Jack Kirby Collector"), Sydney Heifler (romance comics scholar), and Tracy Kirby (Jack Kirby's granddaughter) take a tour through Jack Kirby's work that isn’t the superheroes he's so well known for.
12:45 p.m. – 1:45 p.m. Room 6DE
Whether it’s in the past, present, or future, Gotham City has been the backdrop for some of the greatest stories in DC history featuring Batman, his allies, and his foes. Join DC storytellers Tom King, Tini Howard, Collin Kelly, Jackson Lanzing, Ram V, Belén Ortega, and others to find out what’s to come for The Dark Knight and the other DC Super Heroes and Super-Villains who make Gotham City the place to be in the DCU.
Spotlight on Brian Walker
1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. Room 5AB
Brian Walker has a diverse background in professional cartooning and cartoon scholarship. Since 1984 he has been part of the creative team that produces the comic strips "Beetle Bailey" and "Hi and Lois." He is a former director of the Museum of Cartoon Art, has written, edited, or contributed to 45 books on cartoon art, and served as curator for 75 cartoon exhibitions. He will be screening a short film by his son David about the family business, which will serve as a special tribute to his late father Mort Walker, who is among this year’s inductees into the Will Eisner Hall of Fame.
Spotlight on John Romita Jr.
1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. Room 25ABC
Come meet famed Spider-Man artist John Romita Jr.
Unveiling a New Comics Universe: Cultivating the Art of Storytelling in the UAE
1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. Room 9
Mo Abedin, Mohammed Al Shaibani, Matt Hawkins, and others share their personal experiences in the global comics industry and how their paths led them to collaborate to mentor the United Arab Emirates’ emerging comics scene. Attendees will gain insight into the development of Sandstorm Comics and the creation of a diverse range of stories by marrying local talent with some of the industry’s biggest names to bring their work to the international stage.
Art from the Holocaust: The Tattoo
1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Room 4
Ben Midler (Auschwitz Holocaust survivor), Karin Babbitt (daughter of Dina Babbitt, the portrait artist of Auschwitz), Edmundo Godinez (graphic artist), and Sandra Scheller ("Art From the Holocaust" creator and daughter of an Auschwitz survivor) will focus on graphics and comics showing the tattoo branded on prisoners in Auschwitz along with personal stories about Auschwitz tattoos.
Women of Concept Art for Film and TV
1:45 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. Room 6A
A candid discussion about the professional journeys of women concept artists, and the unique challenges they are facing and how their careers continue to grow and change alongside an ever-evolving industry.
Improving Sci-Fi Storytelling Through Science Accuracy
2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Omni Hotel, Omni Grand Ballroom DE, 4th Floor
Clifford Johnson (theoretical physicist/"Avengers" science adviser), Erin Macdonald (astrophysicist, "Star Trek" science consultant), Tara Smith (professor of epidemiology), Trevor Valle (paleontologist), Joy Lin (nerdy comedian), and moderators Nikhil Shah and Jose Gonzalez, Jr. offer their thoughts about how sci-fi stories can be strengthened by using real concepts from physics, epidemiology, chemistry, and paleontology.
Spotlight on Jim Lee ⭐
2:00 p.m.– 3:00 p.m. Room 6DE
World-renowned comic book artist, writer, and president, publisher, and chief creative officer of DC, Jim Lee ("Batman," "Superman," "Justice League," "Suicide Squad") talks about his 25 plus years in the comics industry and sketches your favorite characters live on the big screen.
Spotlight on Bill Griffith
2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. Room 4
Bill Griffith ("Zippy the Pinhead") and Matt Groening ("The Simpsons") talk about Bill’s new book, "Three Rocks, The Story of Ernie Bushmiller, the Man Who Created Nancy."
Creating New Universes: From Dream to Launch
3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Room 23ABC
Veterans of self-publishing, creator-owned titles, digital-first, crowdfunded, corporate and licensed comics, and book publishing discuss the pros and cons of different models, and how creators can mix and match strategies to build a career. Featuring David F. Walker ("Bitter Root") who is always worth listening to!
3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Room 28DE
Tina Horn ("SfSx"), Sina Grace ("Superman: Harvest of Youth"), Josh Trujillo ("Blue Beetle"), Robyn Warren ("Geek Girl Strong"), and Jazzlyn Stone (freelance marketer) discuss how creators portray complex and flawed LGBTQIA+ characters without falling into harmful tropes, and explore what it means to be a fan of queer anti-heroes.
The JFK Assassination in Comics
3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Room 29AB
A look at why comics makers and readers are, 60 years later, still so obsessed with the mysteries surrounding the 11/22/63 assassination of President John F. Kennedy, presumably by Lee Harvey Oswald, and by Oswald’s murder, two days later, on live TV, by Jack Ruby. Accompanied by a wide-ranging slide show.
Salaam Fandom! Muslim Futurism, Sci-Fi, and Fantasy
3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Room 26AB
Muslim comics creators, gamers, cosplayers, and superfans talk about all things alter-verse, futuristic, and scientific.
Spotlight on Ron Turner
3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Room 4
Comic-Con special guest Ron Turner (Last Gasp) has published innumerable cartoonists and artists in his half-century of producing mind-candy funnybooks and subversive literature. The comics and books published by Last Gasp have pushed boundaries and inspired generations of comics creators. A rare chance to hear from the publisher himself.
Coming Together: Honoring AANHPI Voices in Pop Culture
4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Grand 10 & 11, Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina
Unearth the profound impact of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander representation in pop culture in this panel discussion.
eigoMANGA’s How to Draw Manga and Portfolio Review
4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Room 11
eigoMANGA illustrators hold a tutorial workshop to teach the fundamentals of manga illustration and storytelling.
Ten Years of Chills, Thrills, and Kills: Storm King Comics ⭐
4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Room 29AB
Storm King Comics entered the publishing world in 2013 with a simple mission: to publish the best in horror from writers and artists across film, television, comics and novels. Since then, the publisher, led by film producer Sandy King Carpenter, has expanded into science fiction and children’s books.
Transgender and Nonbinary Stories in Comics: Past, Present and Future
4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Room 9
In recent years, transgender and nonbinary comics readers have been fortunate enough to find stories that reflect their own experiences. However, all over the country comics by trans creators are being banned by culturally conservative authorities, and harsh legal measures threaten the rights and well-being of trans and nonbinary Americans themselves. How can comics address transgender history? How can autobio comics reach not just trans readers but sympathetic allies? How can trans and nonbinary creators thrive despite the threats of book banners and hostile culture warriors?
A24's Talk to Me
4:15 p.m. – 5:15 p.m. Indigo Ballroom, Hilton San Diego Bayfront
Danny and Michael Philippou (a.k.a. RackaRacka) discuss their journey from YouTube creators to their feature debut and how their love of genre led them to make the most anticipated horror film of the summer. They will be joined by cast members Sophie Wilde, Joe Bird, Alexandra Jensen, and Zoe Terakes.
FX's "What We Do in the Shadows" ⭐
4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Ballroom 20
Be among the first humans to set eyes on a brand-new episode, complete with surprises! One of the best shows ever in my opinion and I would not pass up an opportunity to get an early peek at the new season complete with surprises! "What We Do in the Shadows" airs Thursdays at 10:00 ET/PT on FX, streaming the next day on Hulu. BAAAaaaaat!
Comics Pedagogy: Teaching Outside the Panel ⭐
5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Shiley Special Events Suite, San Diego Central Library
San Diego State University faculty and students from the Center for Comics Studies discuss the ways in which comics pedagogy can intersect with the student experience. Pamela Jackson (comic arts curator, co-director of the Center for Comics Studies) and Dr. Elizabeth Pollard (professor of history, co-director of the Center for Comics Studies) discuss a digital exhibit called the Sound of Comics with Grace deVega (B.A. in history and political science ’23) and the creation of a Comic Arts Club. Support local panelists!
Diversity in Comics: Creating India's Superheroes for the World
5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Room 32AB
Graphic India is back this year with another panel on the future of Indian superheroes.
Focus on Kevin Eastman
5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Room 23ABC
Kevin Eastman, co-creator of "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," creator of "Drawing Blood," and mind behind the success of "The Last Ronin," will appear for a presentation and Q&A.
Chasing Chasing Amy: How Fandom Inspires Creativity
5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. Indigo Ballroom, Hilton San Diego Bayfront
How can a deep love of a movie result in bold new work? How meta can a documentary about loving a movie become? See for yourself by joining us for a conversation about the new Tribeca Film Festival selected documentary "Chasing Chasing Amy" and how one closeted queer kid's love of Kevin Smith's Chasing Amy resulted in the journey of a lifetime. Moderated by "Chasing Amy" director Kevin Smith and Award-winning filmmaker/subject Sav Rodgers.
Comics and Art from the Largest Tribe in California: The Yurok People Share Their Stories
5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. Room 4
Comics creator Chag Lowry (Yurok/Maidu/Achumawi) and visual artist Louisa McCovey (Yurok tribal member/Karuk and Hupa ancestry) share comics and multimedia images and stories from the Yurok Native American culture of northern California.
STEM, Space, and AfroFuturism
5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. Room 26AB
Dr. Shamika Mitchell (writer, comic book editor, and professor at Rockland Community College), Tim Fielder Afrofuturism illustrator, concept designer, cartoonist, and animator), Dr. Lawanda Richmond (co-founder, organizer of Afrofuturism Lounge), Uraenus (creator of Jaycen Wise), and Regine Sawyer (creator, writer at Lockett Down Productions; founder of Women in Comics NYC) discuss the impact of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) on Afrofuturism.
FX’s "Archer": 14th and Final Season Exclusive Screening and Q&A
5:45 p.m. – 6:45 p.m. Ballroom 20
Archer, the hit animated comedy series, returns to San Diego for one last blow-out celebration in advance of its upcoming 14th and final season, premiering August 30 on FXX.
From the Screen to your Plate: Food in Pop Culture
6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Room 24ABC
Take a delicious journey from the screen to the plate as panel explores how favorite fandoms inspire culinary creations.
MENA Representation in Arts and Entertainment
6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Room 10
The conversation surrounding the importance of representation in Western media has often overlooked the Middle Eastern/North African (MENA) communities. Fortunately, there has been a growing MENA American presence in various forms of arts and entertainment over the last few years, and it's time for that to be both discussed and celebrated.
Fil-Am Diaspora in Pop Culture
7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Room 23ABC
A lively and educational panel featuring Fil-Am talent, covering topics like unique industry struggles, content creation, and how they can bridge understanding with their unique backgrounds and experiences.
Fleischer Cartoons: The Art and Inventions of Max Fleischer
7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Room 28DE
Here’s your chance to see a batch of newly restored cartoons featuring Koko the Clown, Betty Boop, Popeye, and more. On hand will be Jane Fleischer, granddaughter of Max Fleischer, as well as animation historian Ray Pointer, to give an update on the restoration of the Max Fleischer library. Learn about the legacy and influence of Fleischer Studios.
7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Grand 12 & 13, Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina
"You throw me the idol, I throw you the whip” is the beginning of a legal analysis of Dr. Indiana Jones. Did Indy and Marion Ravenwood have a valid partnership agreement to find the Ark of the Covenant? Did Satipo breach his fiduciary duty to Indiana at the Temple of the Chachapoyan Warriors? Does the insanity defense apply to anyone who drank the Blood of Kali? And if the U.S. government classifies the Ark of the Covenant as Top Secret, what is necessary to declassify it for a FOIA request? Organized by The Legal Geeks.
Scientific Problems of Dating a Vampire, a Werewolf, or Other Monsters
7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Room 29AB
Comedian Joy Lin (author of TED-Ed's "If Superpowers Were Real" animated series and eight science comic books) will break down the scientific logistics of dating, living with, and becoming classic monsters.
Splattergore: The History of ’90s Horror Comics
7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Room 25ABC
The history of '90s horror comics, including the late ’80s indy scene that led to the '90s black-and-white boom.
Worst Cartoon Ever!
7:15 p.m. – 8:15 p.m. Room 6BCF
For the 19th time at Comic-Con, animation historian Jerry Beck (CartoonResearch.com) and ASIFA-Hollywood will once again foist a selection of the most terribly written, ugliest drawn, and unintentionally funniest animated films ever made.
The 26th Annual Comic-Con Superhero Kung Fu Extravaganza
8:00 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. Room 6A
Sifu Santa Ric Meyers joins master remaster Frank Djeng, fan king supreme Preston Downey, god of war Eric Jacobus, and Ronin Tu Lam for this annual extravaganza, jam-packed with the most eye-bulging, jaw-dropping, gasp-inducing, and mind-blowing international action movie scenes of the year.
The Venture Bros.: Radiant Is the Blood of the Baboon Heart
9:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. Room 6BCF
Be among the first fans to experience the all-new original animated movie "The Venture Bros.: Radiant is the Blood of the Baboon Heart" at this World Premiere screening. R-rated.