Last year's inaugural Chicago Comics and Entertainment Expo was a pretty great convention, at least from the standpoint of somebody who is used to Wizard cons as a baseline; it seemed like they really pulled out all the stops to get some great guests and scheduled lots of quality programming. I had a great time. Looking at the schedule for this year, however, things seem to have dropped off a bit, with less in the way of guests and panels that catch my interest. I'll still be there, press pass around my neck, but I'm curious to see how the show develops.
Anyway, like I did last year, here's my breakdown of interesting-sounding panels and programming which I might or might not actually attend. I'll note that I've pretty much completely ignored the mainstream sorts of announcement/banter panels that Marvel and DC usually do, since those do not interest me in the least, but I might pop in to one of them out of curiosity, maybe with the intent of live-tweeting or writing snarkily about the experience. That sounds like a great use of my time, right?
If you're interested, the whole schedule is available here, so feel free to follow along and suggest activities that I don't mention or try to coordinate schedules and stalk me.
3:30-4:30 PM - Black Comix: African American Comics and Culture - This could be interesting, although I don't really know much about any of the panelists. It does seem like one of the few discussion panels of any interest though...
4:30-5:30 PM - Food and Comics - This actually sounds dumb, unless it's all about cooking manga or something, but there's an element of curiosity in what the hell they're going to talk about. I kind of dislike C.B. Cebulski, but he does seem like a guy who likes to eat, and Rick Bayless is involved with food, if not comics. Yeah, sounds stupid. I'll probably go.
6:00-7:00 PM - Gab Bonesso “Will Work for Comics” Comedy Tour - I have no idea who this person is. I expect lots of jokes about chubby nerds living in their mothers' basements.
6:30-8:00 PM - Comedy Death-Ray Featuring Patton Oswalt - I would love to go to this to see Patton, since he's a pretty great comedian, but it's one of those "pay extra" events, and I am cheap. Maybe I can flash my press badge to get in...
11:30 AM - 12:30 PM - Top Cow: We Create...Universes - Ha ha ha ha, right! That is a hilariously pretentious title, considering that the "universes" Top Cow creates are really just excuses to draw lots of boobs. I'm curious to see if they actually try to justify the constant cheesecake and explain how, no, really, they're crafting an elaborate mythology behind all the T&A.
12:00-1:00 PM - State of the Comicsphere - This seems to be more of a discussion on digital comics platforms rather than a blogger-based sort of thing, and while that may or may not be all that interesting, Comixology's David Steinberger is one of the guys on the panel, and he's a cool dude, so it might be worth checking out.
1:00-2:00 PM - CSC: Interpreting Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind - Unlike most of the "educational" panels (sessions? classes?) at the con, this one seems to be a criticism/examination/thesis of a comic, rather than a how-to lesson, so that's kind of cool. I doubt I'll go out of my way to go, though...
1:30-2:30 PM - Vertigo - This is just about the only publisher-focused panel I'm interested in, since I do dig a lot of Vertigo books. This does seems to be smaller than last year though, with only Shelly Bond, Scott Snyder, and Bill Willingham listed as participants, as opposed to the lineup of eight or so editors and creators previously. This might be one to check out, and then wander off at the first sign of boredom.
2:15-3:15 PM - Eliza Dushku and Tahmoh Penikett Q&A - I try to avoid celebrity panels, especially when they're not comics-focused, but I am on record as enjoying Dollhouse, despite its flaws, so maybe if I walk out of Vertigo, I can pop into this one for the hell of it.
3:30-4:30 PM - CSC: Representing Science and Medicine in Comics - Based on the title, I thought this might be something about the use (or misuse) of the subjects as usually seen in the medium, but it appears that it is actually about using comics to teach medicine and science. Interesting?
4:00-5:00 PM - Oni Press Panelmonium 2011 - What was that I said about publisher panels? I heard last year's Oni panel was fun, and I'm friends with Cullen Bunn (who is on the panel with Brian Hurtt, Greg Rucka, and Ray Fawkes), so I think I'll try to check this one out. Don't let me down, Oni!
4:30-5:30 PM - 2011: The Year of Warren Ellis - This seems to be a promotion for the various Ellis-focused books that Sequart is putting out this year, as well as a documentary in which they give him blow jobs (I'm assuming). I do like Ellis, so I could check it out, even if my proposed essay for their Transmetropolitan book didn't get accepted (I hope I don't sound bitter or anything...).
4:30-5:30 PM - Webcomics Roundtable - Featuring nobody you've ever heard of, rather than, say, actual Chicago webcomics stars like Lucy Knisley, John Campbell, and Spike!
5:30-6:30 PM - The Middleman Reunion Panel Q&A - Did I say I was avoiding non-comics panels? I hope this doesn't count, because I loved this TV show (and the comic it was based on), so I wouldn't mind attending.
5:45-6:45 PM - Sword Cut Test with Dragonsong Forge - Oh, the silly stuff that ends up happening at a comics convention. Yes, this is people cutting things with swords. May I suggest stacks of the aforementioned Top Cow comics?
7:00-8:00 PM - Dwayne McDuffie Memorial - Even if I'm not planning to go, I think I have to mention this, so as not to look like a complete jerk.
12:45-1:45 PM - Drawing Fire: Editorial Cartooning in a Positive Age - I don't know if I'll go to the con on Sunday, but if I do, I'll try to make this panel, just because it's interesting to see editorial cartoons addressed at all. Could be fun?
1:00-2:00 PM - Horror Comics Today: A Writer's Perspective - I don't know if this would really be of much interest to me, but it's another panel that Cullen Bunn is on, and hey, there could be some interesting discussion. Sure, it's being led by a guy who calls himself "Decapitated Dan", but still...
1:00-2:00 PM - Garth Ennis Spotlight - Hey, it's Ennis. I bet it would be fun just to listen to his Irish accent for an hour.
4:00-5:00 PM - Fables: The First 100 - One on One with Bill Willingham - I'm enough of a Fables fan to at least consider this one, even if it doesn't actually sound all that fun.
So that's all the panels; aside from that, I should mention that CBR is sponsoring the bar at the Hyatt, so that should be worth checking out and maybe hanging out with various people I may have rubbed shoulders with online. Maybe that's where I'll find Kiel Phegley...
So, if you're going to be at the con and want to meet up, drop me a line (my email, Twitter, and Facebook are over in the sidebar), and if there are any events I missed (at the con or at peripheral locations) or notable stuff to look for, I'll be sure to update this post. C2E2 II, here I come.