It wouldn’t be Comic-Con without a panel of Kevin Smith in Hall H, telling stories and answering questions. Well, it’s not Comic-Con. It’s Comic-Con @ Home. So instead, we have a panel of Kevin Smith at his home, which debuted Saturday, July 25th. There’s no Hall H, and there are no fan questions… But according to Smith, that might not be such a bad thing. We don’t have to stand in line for hours on end to get in. He doesn’t have to worry about whether or not he’s getting laughs. He just stood in front of the camera to talk about whatever he wanted, and we can watch it at our leisure, from the comfort of our own homes.
Executive producer and analytical mastermind Daniel J. Glenn welcomed San Diego Comic-Con’s virtual Comic-Con@Home audience to the Friday, July 24, panel, The Mandalorian and His Many Gadgets. Joining Glenn as subject matter experts were Dr. Michael Dennin from Science of Superman, Star Wars Tech, and the speculative television series Ancient Aliens, and bio-engineer Ben Siepser.
San Diego Comic-Con International’s virtual Comic-Con@Home program of panel streams on their YouTube Channel included a fan favorite back for another year: “The Psychology of Star Trek vs. Star Wars” Brian Ward (The Arkham Sessions) starts the panel by holding up a Star Trek tricorder and a Star Wars blaster, proving he was qualified to be an objective moderator. Two clinical psychologists will discuss Star Trek and Star Wars through a psychological lens, and two special guests who have worked on these powerhouse IPs will bring subject matter experience and knowledge to the discussion. The objective: to provide a venue for the audience to observe a healthy and fun debate regarding two beloved franchises.
Before there was CGI, there was Ray Harryhausen. Before dinosaurs roamed Jurassic Park, they were battling it out in the Valley of Gwangi. Before Bruce Campbell fought a battalion of medieval skeletons in Army of Darkness, Jason and the Argonauts were fighting off sword-wielding skeletons of their own. Stop-motion animation may seem primitive by today’s standards, but the movies Ray Harryhausen made, and the creatures he brought to life, are some of the most iconic in cinema history.
Upload is a rather silly comedy, but underneath the surface, it tackles some deep and complex issues and puts a unique perspective on a lot of things. Therefore, as you might expect, the Comic-Con @ Home panel, which premiered Thursday, July 23rd, also dealt with some deep and complex subjects in a unique way. And, of course, it also had a fair amount of that weird silliness that makes the show so much fun.
Star Trek has been a cultural institution for over 50 years. When my parents were dating, one of the hallmarks of their courtship was that my mother would come over to my father’s apartment to watch The Original Series. I myself grew up watching TNG from the time I was three years old. Now, thanks to streaming services, we have shows like Discovery and Picard to carry on the tradition and reach a whole new generation of fans. The Star Trek Universe Virtual Panel at Comic-Con @ Home, which premiered on Thursday, July 23rd, was a celebration of that legacy: what Star Trek has become and where it’s going. It’s also a perfect illustration of why #StoriesMatter.
As a comics scholar and an instructor who often teaches comics, I was delighted to digitally attend this year's Teaching and Learning with Comics panel at the San Diego Comic-Con@Home event. (Big ups to the SDCC for facilitating such an engaging set of panels so seamlessly during this pandemic!) This panel's lovely and lively moderators include Peter Carlson (of Green Dot Public Schools), Susan Kirtley (of Portland State University), and Antero Garcia (of Stanford University). The panelists include Nick Sousanis (Unflattening), Ebony Flowers (Hot Comb), David F. Walker (Naomi), and Brian Michael Bendis (Naomi). Due to the pandemic, this panel takes place in three distinct "conversations" between two panel moderators and each respective creator (Walker and Bendis appear together, having both worked on Naomi.), rather than in standard "panel" format. Though I do think that these four creators might have had a lively, engaging conversation were they able to be in the same space together, I commend all involved for putting together a great panel despite those challenges.
As part of San Diego Comic-Con's virtual Comic-Con@Home experience this year, I watched the GeekEd: College and the Nerd Mind panel which aired on Wednesday, July 22, at 5 p.m./PST via the convention's YouTube channel. For those unfamiliar, GeekEd is a group of education professionals who want to explore the intersection of education and popular culture. The panel featured educators and mental health professionals sharing how they have applied their passion for fandom and the lessons they've learned from superhero stories to develop new best practices in their service to students, especially during these challenging times with the impact of COVID-19.