New York Comic Con 2011 at a Glance

The sixth annual New York Comic Con is upon us! With it comes a fourth day of panels, screenings, back-issue browsing and celebrity sightseeing. I will once again be set up in Podcast Arena with all of my recording gear for my podcast, Comic Timing. Be sure to stop on by booth D14 in the Artist Alley to say hello, talk comics and maybe even buy some of the comics I’m getting rid of.

Before Thursday hits and we all get lost and overwhelmed, here are a few choice panels that should not be overlooked if you are looking to learn more about the nonfiction side of this here industry. I’m also including a few panels that might not be strictly nonfiction but could very well have some elements of nonfiction to them.

THURSDAY

RWP 2.0 – The Future of Comics in the Classroom
Date: Thursday, October 13
12:15 pm – 1:15 pm

Location: 1A02

Speakers: Charlie LaGreca, Dr. Michael Bitz, Jessica Abel, Josh Elder, Matt Madden

Description:
Find out how YOU can help get comics into schools and get schools into comics in this informational seminar hosted by some of the biggest names in the world of comics and education. Join Josh Elder of Reading With Pictures, Dr. Michael Bitz of the Comic Book Project, Charlie LaGreca of Comic Book Classroom and Jessica Abel and Matt Madden of Drawing Words and Writing Pictures as they unveil their plans for 2012 and beyond.

I’m including this one for any comic book professionals or teachers out there that might be interested. This is only available to those with Professional badges; Thursday general hours begin at 4pm.

FRIDAY

It Gets Better (With Comics!)
Date: Friday, October 14
11:00 am – 12:00 pm

Location: 1B03

Speakers: Charles “Zan” Christiansen, Chris Shoemaker, Daniel Ketchum, Ivan Velez Jr., Jackson Martin, Rica Takashima

Description:
This panel will shed greater light on a topic that dominated last year’s general LGBT discussion panel at NYCC: How can comics help at-risk LGBT teens? Comics and queer teens are made for each other, but what comics have connected with young adult readers most effectively? What kinds of comics are still needed? How can libraries and outreach groups best utilize comics to reach teens? What difficulties do they face when trying to put a queer-positive comic book into the hands of someone who needs a hero? These questions and more will be discussed in an exciting panel featuring: Charles “Zan” Christiansen, founder of Prism Comics and writer of “The Power Within” Daniel Ketchum, editor of “X-Men: Legacy” and “X-Factor” Ivan Velez Jr., prolific comics writer and creator of “Tales of the Closet” Rica Takashima, avant-garde street artist and creator of “Rica ‘tte Kanji!?” Jackson Martin, NYPL Associate and organizer of Anti-Prom, the largest LGBT teen event in NYC Moderator: Chris Shoemaker, New York Public Library Young Adult Programming Specialist

This is worth it for the inclusion of Rica Takashima on the panel; Rica ‘tte Kanji!? is a semi-autobiographical manga about her dealing with her feelings and whether or not to come out about being a lesbian.

Be Your Own Publisher: Making Comics with Kickstarter
Date: Friday, October 14
11:00 am – 12:00 pm

Location: 1A15

Speakers: Cindy Au, Jeremy Bastian, Jimmy Palmiotti, Joey Esposito, Renae DeLiz, Thomas Negovan

Description:
Have an awesome graphic novel or comic book but not sure how to get it published? Don’t wait for a big publisher to decide your fate! There’s never been a better time to self-publish, and tools like Kickstarter can be a great way to connect with fans, handle pre-orders, and cover the costs of publishing and distributing your comic book masterpiece. Kickstarter is the largest funding platform for creative projects in the world, and collectively, users have pledged over $90 million to projects in creative fields like comics, games, film, music, art, and more. We’ve gathered together a group of seasoned pros and new faces in the comic book industry to talk about how to run successful Kickstarter campaigns, from putting together an awesome pitch video, to creating tantalizing rewards and communicating with fans. This session will be moderated by Cindy Au (Community Director at Kickstarter) with special guests Jeremy Bastian and Thomas Negovan (Cursed Pirate Girl), Jimmy Palmiotti (Jonah Hex, Deadpool, Painkiller Jane, Queen Crab), Renae De Liz (The Last Unicorn, Womanthology), and Joey Esposito (Footprints, comics editor at IGN).

For anyone looking to go the Kickstarter route for your comic work, this might help you find the right direction.

Reading With Pictures
Date: Friday, October 14
12:15 pm – 1:15 pm

Location: Hasbro Stage

Speakers: Gabriel Bautisa, Trevor Mueller

Description:
Come learn about how getting comics in the classroom can be fun and educational. There will be live read-alongs of our favorite stories from the Harvey-Award nominated anthology, sessions teaching kids how to draw their favorite characters, and much more! Hosted by Reading with Pictures Marketing Director Trevor Mueller, and Eisner-Award winning contributor Gabriel Bautisa. Come join us for this engaging panel that’s fun for all ages!

Fun for kids and adults. I can dig it.

The Comics History of the World
Date: Friday, October 14
1:30 pm – 2:30 pm

Location: 1A02

Speakers: Ben McCool, Francesco Francavilla, Fred Van Lente

Description:
Views of world history in comics run from the imaginary to the tightly researched. They can inform and shed light on little known heroes and villains. Join Ben McCool (Nevsky), Fred Van Lente (Action Philosophers), Francesco Francavilla (The Black Coat) and more as they discuss the ins and out of making real life characters come alive on the comics page — and having a blast while doing it. The panel will include a sneak peak at next year’s Nevsky graphic novel with never before seen artwork.

Can’t go wrong with history; this is personally one I’m looking forward to a lot.

Legal Panel – The Comic Book Publishing Agreement
Date: Friday, October 14
2:45 pm – 3:45 pm

Location: 1B03

Speakers: Alan Robert, Sheafe B. Walker, Esq., Thomas A. Crowell, Esq.

Description:
Sure you’ve created a great comic book, but how do you get it published (other than on your own website)? Join attorneys Thomas A. Crowell and Sheafe B. Walker, and popular published comic book writer/artist Alan Robert (“Wire Hangers,” “Crawl to Me,” IDW Publishing) as they discuss how to hook and land a publisher, what to look for in a comic book publishing agreement, and how to get your comic from your computer and into the comic book store’s racks.

Food and Comics Panel with Wylie Dufresne
Date: Friday, October 14
2:45 pm – 3:45 pm

Location: 1A15

Speakers: Brian Azzarello, CB Cebulski, Wylie Dufresne

Description:
C.B. Cebulski, Marvel’s SVP of Creator and Content Development (and writer of the food blog Eataku.com), and Wylie Dufresne, molecular gastronomic chef and owner of restaurant wd~50, and more special guests share the stage for an hour talking about the new horizons in foodie culture and comics culture and where they often (and appetizingly) interconnect.

These are both at the same time, so take your pick between publishing and food porn.

The Never-Ending Battle (A PBS Documentary) Exclusive Preview Episode
Date: Friday, October 14
4:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Location: 1B01

Speaker:

Description:
Be among the first to screen the first episode of “A Never-Ending Battle: 1938-54″, a new documentary on the history of comic book superheroes produced by the filmmakers behind the award-winning Make ‘Em Laugh and Broadway: The American Musical, scheduled for the 2012-2013 PBS season. This insightful, entertaining documentary includes new interviews with legends such as Joe Simon, Stan Lee, Jim Steranko, Michael Chabon, Jules Feiffer and many more, along with rare footage. Bonfire Agency’s Steve Rotterdam will introduce the episode and also lead a discussion with filmmakers Michael Kantor and Laurence Maslon. Note: A select group of attendees will also be invited to participate in a focus group immediately to follow. Details to follow.

While not a comic book, it is a documentary about comics that won’t actually air until sometime next year. Get a jump on it.

The Other Side of the Table: Lessons from Creators
Date: Friday, October 14
6:30 pm – 7:30 pm

Location: 1B03

Speakers: Carolyn Belefski, David Gallaher, Joe Carabeo, Raina Telgemeier, Reilly Brown

Description:
Creating your product is only half the work it takes to succeed in the comics industry. What about the other half that we don’t see as clearly after the product is released to the world? This panel will explore what it is like to be on the other side of the table, as a creator. We will discuss what it takes to exhibit at conventions, promote yourself, and gain a loyal audience – from the POV of professionals already behind the table. Join creators Raina Telgemeier (Smile, The Baby-Sitters Club), Reilly Brown (Amazing Spider-Man, Power Play), David Gallaher (High Moon, Box 13), and Carolyn Belefski (Curls, The Legettes) in this conversation, moderated by Joe Carabeo.

And finally, we wrap Friday up with some familiar faced and stories about getting your work from concept to the page.

SATURDAY

Comics Studies Conference 2: The Auteur Theory of Comics
Date: Saturday, October 15
12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Location: 1B03

Speakers: Arlen Schumer, J. David Spurlock, John Morrow, Michael Bonsteel, Randolph Hoppe

Description:
Comic book historian Arlen Schumer (The Silver Age of Comic Book Art) and Randolph Hoppe (Director of the online Jack Kirby Museum) present their theory that, just like a film’s director, not its screenwriter, is considered its true author (auteur in French), so should a comic book artist be considered the auteur of any comic book work done in collaboration with a writer (or a script in any verbal form), and is therefore a de facto co-creator and co-author, with the credited writer, of that work. Joining them on the panel discussion that follows will be Michael Bonsteel (School the Art Institute of Chicago), editor/publisher John Morrow (TwoMorrows Publications), publisher J. David Spurlock (Vanguard Publishing), and other comic book industry luminaries to be announced.

More history coming your way on Saturday from a a historian and creators who know what they’re talking about.

Womanthology
Date: Saturday, October 15
5:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Location: 1A23

Speakers: Bonnie Burton, Camilla d’Errico, Laura Morley, Mariah Huehner, Nicole Falk, Renae DeLiz, Suzannah Rowntree

Description:
Sometimes a simple idea hits at just the right time and place. Renae de Liz’s desire to give back to the comics community and give women creators of all abilities a chance to be published turned into one of the most successful and anticipated Kickstarter projects ever. Panelists discuss the development and drive to create Womanthology, the creators and contributors, social media support, and the future of this project.

A hotly anticipated anthology project that shows just what people look for out of a Kickstarter as well.

Comics Studies Conference 7: Surviving Reality in the Absence of Superheroes: Social Realism in the Spanish Comic
Date: Saturday, October 15
5:30 pm – 7:00 pm

Location: 1B03

Speakers: Brittany Tullis, Pablo Rodriguez Balbontin, Tania Perez-Cano

Description:
Pablo Rodriguez Balbontin (University of Iowa) analyzes how Juan “Jan” López Los cabecicubos (The Cubeheads) works as a satire of the Spanish “Transition” to democracy and its strategy of oblivion and the conection with the contemporary recovery of historical memory that is central to political debate in Spain today. Brittany Tullis (University of Iowa) compares an early Bruguera comic, La Rue del Percebe, with Paco Roca’s award-winning graphic novel Arrugas to illustrate the continuity of social realism in Spanish comics. Tania Perez-Cano (University of Iowa) uses Max’s Gustavo to trace the contribution of the underground comic in Spain to ongoing antinuclear and ecological discourse.

I know next to nothing about the industry in Spain; perhaps this panel will open people’s minds a bit.

CBLDF: Defending Manga
Date: Saturday, October 15
7:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Location: 1A23

Speaker:

Description:
Right now a manga fan is facing a mandatory minimum sentence of one year in prison and registering a sex offender because Canada Customs agent alleged that horror and fantasy manga on his laptop were child pornography. The threat to manga has been growing in recent years, as North American authorities misunderstanding of the material leaves innocent readers in the crossfire. Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is fighting these cases, with a need to raise $150,000 to defend the Canada Customs case. Come listen to a discussion on the issues facing manga and what you can do to help.

Closing out Saturday with a panel that is important to the comic book industry, even if it is not necessarily about nonfiction comics.

SUNDAY

MoCCA Presents: Michael Uslan, The Boy Who Loved Batman
Date: Sunday, October 16
10:45 am – 11:45 am

Location: 1A15

Speaker: Michael Uslan

Description:
Presenting the true story of Michael Uslan, and how a middle class boy from New Jersey grew up to be an executive producer of one of the most successful film franchises of all time. Uslan has been the executive producer, along with his partner Benjamin Melnicker, of the Batman series of films, starting with 1989’s landmark Batman to the most recent installment, the second highest grossing film of all time, The Dark Knight. He has written comic books, comic strips, a children’s book, a book on Rock and Roll with Dick Clark, graphic novels and most recently, his critically-acclaimed autobiography, The Boy Who Loved Batman. Signing to immediately follow at MoCCA Booth #2631

Michael Uslan has lived a life most of us can only dream about. Some of his comic works also happen to be nonfiction; go figure.

CBLDF: Censorship Then & Now
Date: Sunday, October 16
2:45 pm – 3:45 pm

Location: 1A02

Speaker: Charles Brownstein

Description:
Earlier this year the Comics Code Authority closed its doors forever, ending an era of self-censorship where comics were stigmatized in the general culture. Though the threats that brought about the Comics Code are the stuff of history books, real threats to comics are still present in the courts in the United States and abroad. CBLDF Executive Director Charles Brownstein delivers a gripping history of comics censorship from the 50s to today, and talks about life after the Code.

This one looks extra interesting to me, especially since I finished The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay.

These are just some examples of the panels going on this weekend. For a complete look at New York Comic Con’s schedule, visit their website — a printable PDF grid is also available.

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