WonderCon in Anaheim is only a couple weeks away! It’s running April 18-20, and I’m excited to be there. It’s the first time I’ll be attending this particular con since it moved from San Francisco.
There’s plenty to see and do, so I thought I’d throw out some of the panels that I’m looking forward to seeing (or that you should all go to and I can’t because of scheduling conflicts).
I’ll be wandering around all weekend, so I hope to see you there!
Comics Arts Conference – Beyond the Page
Friday April 18, 2014 1:30pm – 3:00pm Room 210BCD
The influence of comics extends far beyond their paper. Victoria Minnich explores the value of comics as a research and education tool to visualize and personalize the operations of the southern California spiny lobster fishery, providing a case study of the possibilities for new media to generate collective meaning for a diverse and broad suite of audiences. Jeremy Johnson (University of Minnesota) explores the possibilities and limitations of graphic novels for the visually impaired and discusses the journey to create an “accessible” graphic narrative. In the process, he highlights the benefits of collaboration in the creation of narrative visualizations while raising an awareness of the accessibility of graphic novels. Renee Krusemark (Creighton University) builds on theories that reading graphic narratives involves both leadership and critical thinking, and uses The Walking Dead as a case study to explore how readers perceive leadership in comics and to discuss the potential of using comic books in the college classroom to address student critical thinking and leadership perceptions.
Join a panel of therapists and scientists (mad or otherwise), Dr. Janina Scarlet (The Superhero Manual), Josué Cardona (Geek Therapy), Dr. Travis Langley (Batman and Psychology: A Dark and Stormy Knight), and Elizabeth Ann (NerdLush), as well as some surprise guests in discussing the psychology behind TV shows such as Doctor Who, Sherlock, Firefly, Arrow, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and others. Find out how TV shows might help us cope with painful experiences and geek out in discussing such fundamental questions as: With all the regenerations, what is the Doctor’s true identity? What makes Sherlock a better detective than London’s finest? What does psychology tell us about the demons that live inside us? With these questions and more, this panel is a must for loyal fans of these shows.
Wild Queer Women of the Web
Saturday April 19, 2014 7:00pm – 8:00pm Room 210A
Often neglected in mainstream comics publishing, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender women comics creators have found the freedom and opportunity to express themselves in the “anything goes” world of web comics. Online venues give artists a chance to experiment with different styles and personal stories with fewer commercial restraints. And women creators have used this new space to make their mark, bringing daring and revelatory LGBTQ stories to the public. Join Prism Comics and moderator Tara Madison Avery (Gooch, Dirtheads, Prism Comics board member) and panelists Emy Bittner (Trying Human), Dusty Jack and JadePrince (Mahou Shounen Fight, Skuttlebutt Ink), Nina Kester (Tapastic), Mari Naomi (Kiss and Tell, Anything That Loves), Shayna Why (Overshare Party), and others to be announced as they explore women’s comics on the web.
The Psychology of Star Trek vs. Star Wars Episode III
Saturday April 19, 2014 7:30pm – 8:30pm Room 213
Psychologists Dr. Andrea Letamendi (UnderTheMaskOnline.com) and Dr. Ali Mattu (BrainKnowsBetter.com) bring their popular, intergalactic sci-fi battle back to WonderCon Anaheim for round 3! These geeky psychologists step into the pop culture ring, this time with a focus on the character relationships from these two legendary franchises. Special panelists include actors Chase Masterson (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) and Catherine Taber (Star Wars: The Clone Wars). Join a side and cast your vote as they crown one as the winner! Impartially moderated by Brian Ward (The Arkham Sessions).
Comic Arts Conference – The Cognition of Comics
Sunday April 20, 2014 11:30am – 12:30pm Room 210BCD
What happens in people’s minds and brains when they read and create comics? Neil Cohn (University of California, San Diego) will present an overview of his new book, The Visual Language of Comics: An Introduction to the Structure and Cognition of Comics, which provides an extensive introduction to the cognitive science of comics comprehension. This discussion will cover the systematic components that make up unique and different panels, the grammar of sequential images and page layouts, cross-cultural differences in structure, and the newest neuroscience research on what the brain is doing while comprehending comics.
Barbara Gordon ranks among the world’s most famous superheroines, first as Batgirl (1967-1988) until rendered paraplegic in The Killing Joke, and then as Oracle, supreme computer hacker and Birds of Prey leader (1989-2011) until DC Comics’s New 52 relaunch made her ambulatory and Batgirl once again. Renowned Birds of Prey/Batgirl writer and WonderCon Anaheim special guest Gail Simone discusses this character’s real-world popularity and fictional trauma recovery with psychologists Dr. Andrea Letamendi (Under the Mask Online), the model for Barbara Gordon’s therapist, and Dr. Travis Langley (Batman and Psychology: A Dark and Stormy Knight).