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Saturday Program Highlights for Comic-Con International 2013

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Written by Shawn Bourdo

Saturday is always panel day for me. It’s Day Three of the Comic-Con and usually the most crowded day.  I like to pick a room and sit through three or four programs at a time instead of fighting the crowds on the Con floor.  The reward for spending the previous days covering miles and miles within the Convention Center and around San Diego is relaxing and discovering some out of the mainstream programs that I might not have sought out.  Here’s ten that will be on my list – some of them a little off the usual Comic-Con path.

Behind the Creatures
Kirk R. Tatcher (Return of the Jedi, Gremlins, Star Trek IV, The Muppets) and Tony McVey (The Dark Crystal, Return of the Jedi, Gremlins, The Phantom Menace) relive their greatest behind-the-scenes stories from your favorite movies, including the Rancor that never was and Captain Kirk’s surprise. Moderated by Sean Murphy.
10:00am – 11:00am – Room 29A

One of the important rules of attending panels – the folks that actually “did” stuff on a movie, they tell the best stories.  It was “The Muppets” here that caught my attention but it’s McVey’s work on “Jedi” and “Gremlins” that I’m interested in.

Gravity Falls
Creator and executive producer Alex Hirsch (Grunkle Stan), creative director Michael Rianda, and series stars Jason Ritter (Dipper) and Kristin Schaal (Mabel) uncover the mysteries of Disney Channel’s hit series Gravity Falls. Find out what’s in store for television’s spookiest town with an exclusive clip from the show’s exciting season finale and an audience Q&A. The panel will feature a sneak peek of Wander Over Yonder, the new series coming from Craig McCracken (Powerpuff Girls).
11:00am – 12:00pm – Room 7AB

This panel being in Room 7AB is a miscalculation by the Comic-Con folks.  The same thing has happened over the years to some Disney and Nick shows.  They put “Phineas & Ferb” in here years ago and it could have held three times as many.  This is a hilarious show but I better line up early if I want to actually see the panel.

When Grrls Fall In Love
From The Hunger Games‘ Katniss to Divergent‘s Tris, no one knows how to give a solid ass-kicking like a YA novel heroine. But when these young ladies aren’t saving the world, overthrowing powerful regimes, or slaying everything from zombies to dragons, they still find time for romance. Cassandra Clare (The Mortal Instruments),Ally Condie (Matched), Veronica Roth (Divergent), Holly Black (The Coldest Girl in Coldtown), Marissa Meyer (Scarlet), Lissa Price (Starters), and Veronica Wolff (The Watchers) discuss the delicate balance between killing and kissing, and what it takes to properly woo a YA heroine. Moderated by Sherri Smith (Orleans).
11:00am – 12:00pm – Room 23ABC

I love YA novels and I think this panel captures some of the best authors happening right now.  If Veronica Roth isn’t a superstar yet, just give it a year and then say that you saw her in a program way back in 2013.

A Feast For Your Eyes:  Creativity in Comics and Cuisine
Cooking is creativity. Food is art. In so many ways, the connections between food and comics on a creative level are everywhere. A chef’s knife is the equivalent of an artist’s pencil or brush. Their kitchens are their canvases. Both chefs and artists are only limited by their own imaginations; they both use their tools to take what is in their minds and create masterpieces in different mediums. But the processes are the same, and that’s what panelists will be exploring in this open discussion, with C. B. Cebulski, Brian Malarkey, Rosanna Pansino, and Justin Warner.
12:00pm – 1:00pm – Room 7AB

Combining cooking and comic writing?  This is exactly the creative outlets that I’m looking for.  How can this not be thought provoking and fun?

We’re dooooooooomed! An epic panel for the ages will celebrate Futurama’s latest and greatest final season. On hand will be most or all of Futurama‘s legendary voice cast, consisting of Billy West, John DiMaggio, Katey Sagal, Maurice LaMarche,Tress MacNeille, David Herman, Phil LaMarr, and Lauren Tom, performing never-before-heard scenes from the upcoming “Last Episode Ever.” Plus executive producer David X. Cohen, creator Matt Groening, and a cartooning showdown to the death! (Note: actual death not guaranteed.)
12:00pm – 12:45pm – Ballroom 20

It’s hard to get into Ballroom 20 on a Saturday.  But I do want to see “Futurama” on its last swim through Comic-Con.  It’s been a fun run and they usually have the most wheels off panels.

CBLDF’s Comics on Trial, Part 3: War on Thought Crime: How Artists and Readers Are Prosecuted For Comics
In 1994, a Florida jury convicted cartoonist Mike Diana of creating obscene material in his hand-made zine Boiled Angel. As part of his sentence he was forbidden from drawing in his own home. In the last decade, an increasing number of individuals, including Christopher Handley and Ryan Matheson, have been targeted and prosecuted by law enforcement for reading manga that the government claims is deviant and obscene material. In the conclusion of CBLDF’s Comics on Trial series, CBLDF executive director Charles Brownstein walks through the disturbing current battleground where individuals are being prosecuted for the ideas they draw and read.
1:00pm – 2:00pm – Room 30CDE

We wouldn’t all be able to gather here and celebrate our geekdom if others hadn’t fought the good fight for us in the courts.  It’s always a good idea to stop in these CBLDF panels and keep up with current trends.  Being told that ideas you have in your own head are illegal is a chilling thought and yet a man was convicted in 1994 of exactly that.

Live Forever: The Ray Bradbury Odyssey
Joe Mantegna (Criminal Minds), Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange), Edward James Olmos (Dexter), Clifton Collins, Jr. (Star Trek), Michael O’Kelly (executive producer/director), Scott E. Smith (picture editor), Shawn K. Clement (composer),James W. Speight (music editor), and Ugo Derouard (supervising sound editor) come together to explore the creative process of bringing the extraordinary life of Ray Bradbury to the big screen. Join panelists as they delve into his fascination with sci-fi, magic, fantasy, and toys, and explore his imagination and legacy.
1:00pm – 2:00pm – Room 25ABC

Few people have meant more to Comic-Con than Ray Bradbury.  He’s on of our Mt. Rushmore heads.  I’ve seen him and panels about him almost every year I’ve attended.  Ditto this year.

Sid and Marty Krofft:  A Look at the Past, Present and Future
Brothers Sid and Marty Krofft have been producing quality family entertainment for over 40 years. Sid and Marty became household names in the ’70s with a series of remarkable programs that featured elaborate sets and fanciful characters. Join Sid and Marty and a surprise guest moderator for this very special event.
2:00pm – 3:00pm – Room 25ABC

I’ve gone to see my heros for the past two years.  They have lots of projects in the works even if none of them seem to see the light of day between Cons.  One thing you can say, they tell some of the most entertaining stories of the Con.  I just like hanging out with two brothers that have meant so much to my life.

Will Eisner and the Graphic Novel
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 as creator and evangelist, as we celebrate the 35th anniversary of Eisner’s A Contract with God. Q&A session to follow.
2:00pm – 3:00pm – Room 23ABC

Are you kidding?  People, seriously?  You are putting Neil Gaiman and Jeff Smith in the same room to discuss my other favorite comic writer?  Head exploded.  Get in this room early.

Spotlight on Leonard Maltin
He’s been called America’s most knowledgeable film critic and historian, and he’s the author of more than a dozen books on motion pictures and animation, in addition to his annual (and bestselling) Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide, a book no lover of film can be without. This year, he’s a Comic-Con special guest and for this hour, Leonard Maltin will be interviewed by his longtime friend Mark Evanier.
6:00pm – 7:00pm – Room 5AB

The man loves film and he’s been kind to the genre films that are so dear to us.  I can’t go more than a year without buying his Movie Guide – it’s indispensable to settling movie arguments.  Very curious to see him speak to this crowd.

I’m feeling good about this Saturday collection of panels and generally I’ve avoided the biggest headaches and rooms and I don’t think I’ll feel like I missed anything.  Stay tuned.

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