Awesome Con 2017 Releases Programming Schedule

Press Release:

Awesome Con, Washington DC’s Comic Con, is proud to announce three days of programming complete with panels, workshops, celebrity appearances, and more, taking over the Walter E. Washington Convention Center from June 16-18. This year, Awesome Con attendees will have access to specialized sections including Future Con, presented in partnership with the Smithsonian, featuring more intellectually stimulating and entertaining content than ever, and robust family-friendly programming called Awesome Con Jr., presented in partnership with Nickelodeon. Attendees can start planning their Awesome Con experience and view the full schedule online at: www.awesomecon.com/programming

“This year we’ve doubled down on our programming efforts,” said Awesome Con founder Ben Penrod. “From Future Con, to Awesome Con Jr, to our LGBT creators showcase Pride Alley, and to our most robust celebrity guest list yet, Awesome Con has grown by leaps and bounds into a fan convention unlike any other.” 

Highlights from Awesome Con 2017 include: 

Celebrity & Comic Guests

Hear from some of the biggest influencers from the world of pop culture and comic books at panels, screenings, Q&As, and more. Events include:

Stan Lee Q&A (10:30AM – June 18 – Main Stage) Stan Lee will discuss his exciting career spanning several decades and answer questions from audience members. Seating begins at 9:30 AM.

Tech of Batman Panel with Greg Capullo, Scott Snyder & Tom King (1:30 PM – June 17 – Room 150) – Capullo and Snyder, the creative duo behind today’s Batman comics, join engineers and experts in technology and intelligence to look at the plausibility of replicating Batman in real life. Panelists will examine Batman’s endurance, tech, and more to determine what’s real and what’s best left to fiction.

David Tennant Explores Time and Space (10:30 AM – June 17 – Main Stage) – Actor David Tennant, who ‘visited’ the furthest futures while playing The Doctor on BBC’s Doctor Who, joins experts Dr. Grant Tremblay and Dr. Matt Shindell on Awesome Con’s Main Stage to discuss the outer reaches of the galaxy. They’ll cover topics including Doctor Who, what’s really going on out there among the stars, and answer questions from the audience. Seating begins at 9:30 AM.

Edgar Wright: Meet the Director of Baby Driver (2:00 PM – June 17 – Main Stage) – Meet Edgar Wright, the director of popular film juggernauts including Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and Shaun of the Dead, and get a first look at his new film Baby Driver. Wright will share insight into his career and the creation of Baby Driver, with giveaways and extra surprises planned for fans. Hosted by Felicia Day.

WWE® Superstars Charlotte Flair™ & Shinsuke Nakamura™ Q&A (2:30 PM – June 17 – Room 146) – WWE® Superstars Charlotte Flair™ and Shinsuke Nakamura™ discuss life as WWE stars and answer audience questions.

The Guild Reunion with Felicia Day, Sandeep Parikh, Amy Okuda, Jeff Lewis, and Robin Thorsen (11:30 AM – June 18 – Room 146) – Cast members of The Guild, the award-winning original web series, reunite to talk about working with each other, their careers, and new projects, and answer audience questions.

Experience Japan! (1:00 PM – June 17 – Room 154) – Hosted by the Embassy of Japan, this panel seeks to help participants understand the influence of Japanese culture on American pop culture. Explore traditional Japanese culture, play Japanese games, and meet the embassy’s very own therapeutic robot, PARO.

Representation Matters with Bryan Turner, Jerry Gaylord & Penelope Gaylord (3:30 PM – June 16 – Room 152) – How important is it to see characters and creators that look like you? Join Identity Comics Studio and the “Loading Snacks” crew for a discussion on diversity in media, from the characters leading stories to the creators behind them.

Comics Conversation: Collections and Preservation at the Library of Congress (11:00 AM – June 17 – Room 150) – Join Library of Congress staff members for a panel discussion about the comics collections at the Library. Specialists from the Library’s newspaper, graphic art, and popular art conservation teams share collection highlights, insights on comics conservation, and suggest how attendees can utilize the Library’s comics collection. 

Future Con

StarTalk Live! with Colonel Chris Hadfield & Scott Adsit (8:00 PM – June 16 – Main Stage) – Colonel Chris Hadfield, former commander of the International Space Station, and award-winning actor and comedian Scott Adsit (Veep, 30 Rock) co-host a special edition of award-winning talk show StarTalk Live!, bridging the intersection between pop culture and science with humor and passion.

Brave New Girls: Women in STEM (5:00 PM – June 17 – Room 146) – Some of the greatest scientific advances in history have been made by women, but girls are seldom encouraged to explore the sciences. Future Con presents a panel of scientists jointly discussing the achievements of female scientists, women’s roles in STEM today, and the need for advocacy to create the next generation of female scientists, engineers, and astronauts. With speakers from NASA, the National Science Foundation, and more. Hosted by Nerdist’s Jessica Chobot.

IBM Watson: Superman or Supercomputer? Making Money with Artificial Intelligence (5:30 PM – June 16 – Room 146) – IBM’s Artificial Intelligence creation Watson, which made its debut on Jeopardy! in 2011, amazed American audiences and today is an open platform for millions of users and developers. Dr. Marc Teerlink, IBM’s Chief Business Strategist, takes the stage to discuss what Watson represents for AI progress worldwide.

NASA’s Space Lasers (4:00 PM – June 16 – Room 143) – Explore the latest laser technology and the key science behind missions helping us investigate our home planet and beyond. Engineers and scientists will take you behind the scenes of missions like the Ice, Cloud, and Land Elevation Satellite 2 launching with green lasers in 2018, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter currently orbiting the Moon, and more. 

Awesome Con Jr

GeekDad Celebrates Father’s Day: Raising Geek Generation 2.0 (1:30PM – June 18 – Room 149) – Join some of the writers from GeekDad.com and their kids for a discussion about raising the next generation of geeks. Topics covered will include introducing various fandoms to kids, sharing old and new geeky passions, and determining what’s age-appropriate.

 Padawan Lightsaber Training presented by Saber Guild Corellia (5:45 PM – June 17 – Backlot Stage) – Adults and their ‘Padawans’ can join Saber Guild Corellia to learn how to wield a lightsaber and stave off the Dark Side on the Backlot stage.

Kids Costume Parade presented by The Emoji Movie (1:00 PM – June 18 – Backlot Stage) – Awesome Con encourages budding costume designers to strut their stuff in custom outfits at the Kids Costume Parade presented by The Emoji Movie. Participation is limited to the first 30 kids (and their parents) who register at the Backlog stage 30 minutes before the parade.

Let’s Go LEGO! (1:00PM – June 17 – Awesome Con Jr Stage) – Cartoonist John Gallagher shows you and your kids how to draw LEGO versions of your favorite characters. Come expand your art skills and take home the art as a souvenir. 

Pride Alley

Making LGBT+ Representation Matter in Fiction (5:00 PM – June 16 – Room 144) – Engage in a lively conversation about LGBTQ+ characters in fiction and what creators are doing, or not doing, to foster representation.

A History of LGBTQ+ Representation in Comic Books & Television (June 17 – 12:30 PM – Room 144) – Learn about the history of LGBTQ+ representation in Nerd Culture through discussion of the most iconic LGBTQ+ characters in anime, comic books, video games, and television. The important dialogue will conclude with thoughts on the importance of LGBTQ+ characters in the media and pop culture.

Pokémon, Musicals, & Gay with Voice Actor Jamie McGonnigal (4:30 PM – June 17 – Room 144) – Fans will have the opportunity to discuss Jamie McGonnigal’s impressive resume including his voice work on Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh!, his global LGBTQ+ activism, and his career as a Broadway producer. From questions about how to get started in voice acting to how to come out to your high school anime club – nothing is off the table! 

Esports

NRG at Awesome Con (11:00AM-2:00PM – June 18 – East Salons G-I, Booth 16) Fans of video games and esports will have a unique chance to meet players from NRG Esports’ Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) team at Awesome Con on Sunday, June 18. Events DC, the official convention and sports authority for the District of Columbia, will host the NRG CS:GO team’s visit in Awesome Con’s Video Game Room in East Salons G-I from 11:00AM to 12:00PM for a live gaming experience, followed by an autograph session in the show’s Exhibit Hall at booth 16 from 1:00PM to 2:00PM.

Edgar Wright Presents Baby Driver at Awesome Con 2017

Press Release:

LeftField Media has announced that director Edgar Wright will make a special appearance at this year’s Awesome Con. Wright will screen his new, highly anticipated film Baby Driver to a select DC audience, and will appear as part of the Awesome Con’s featured weekend programs, including a signing with fans. Awesome Con is Washington DC’s Comic Con and attracts over 60,000 fans, guests including David Tennant, Stan Lee, and Scott Snyder, and partners including the Smithsonian and Nickelodeon. Awesome Con will be Wright’s exclusive US Comic Con appearance in the lead up to Baby Driver’s debut. 

Baby Driver – written and directed by Wright – is the story of Baby, a talented, young getaway driver who relies on the beat of his personal soundtrack to be the best in the game. When he meets the girl of his dreams, he sees a chance to ditch his criminal life and make a clean getaway, but after being coerced into working for a crime boss, Baby must face the music when a doomed heist threatens his life, love, and freedom. Baby Driver features an ensemble cast including Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, Lily James, Jon Bernthal, Eiza Gonzalez, Jon Hamm, and Jamie Foxx. Tristar Pictures and MRC present Baby Driver opening in US theaters on June 28. Its trailer can be viewed online now

Wright has developed a cult following and widespread acclaim for his clever, quirky, and imaginative films – including Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Shaun of the DeadHot Fuzz, and The World’s End. Fans looking to meet him and get a first look at his Baby Driver can find him at various Awesome Con events: 

  • Baby Driver Preview Screening – Thursday, June 157 PM at Regal Gallery Place

A special pre-Awesome Con event, this limited screening is open to select fans and media, and will feature a showing of the full film together with a Q&A from Wright. Media wishing to attend should contact Gabrielle Flamand at gabrielle@prcollaborative.com

  • Baby Driver Debut Panel and Q&A – Saturday, June 172 PM at Awesome Con’s Main Stage

Edgar Wright and Felicia Day (The Guild, Dr. Horrible) take to Awesome Con’s Main Stage to speak about Wright’s career, the creation of Baby Driver, his fans, and working with the film’s all-star cast. The panel will feature giveaways, surprises, and special clips from Baby Driver

  • Edgar Wright Signing – Saturday, June 173:15 PM in Awesome Con’s Autograph Area

Meet Edgar Wright and get a Baby Driver poster signed by the film’s writer and director! Wright will conduct a special signing with details on participation coming soon. 

“I can’t tell you how often Edgar Wright’s movies are quoted at Awesome Con or how many times I’ve seen fans cosplay as the characters he’s created,” said Ben Penrod, Awesome Con’s Founder. “It’s an honor to be able to welcome Edgar now to the show, and I know we’ll be flooded with Baby Driver cosplayers next year!”

Awesome Con takes place June 16-18, 2017 in the Walter Washington Convention Center, and tickets are available now at awesomecon.com. Fans wanting to learn the latest news can follow Awesome Con on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Montreal Comiccon 2017 Hosts David Tennant, Nathan Fillion & Many More

Press Release:

Montreal Comiccon is a pop-culture fan convention that showcases artists and products from entertainment genres like: Sci-fi, Horror, Anime, Gaming in all its forms, and, of course, bande dessinée and comic books. It features a large array of exhibits with several companies demonstrating their wares and a few vehicles or set pieces from film or television are on display, a shopping experience like no other, aimed at fans that are looking for games, T-Shirts, comics, toys, statues, DVDs/Blu-rays, replicas and more collector items.

Fans have the opportunity come to meet their favorite creators from the world of comics and BD, get their autographs, buy a sketch or thank them for their work. Additionally, one of the biggest draws, fans get to meet the personalities behind their favorite TV shows and movies. Celebrities participate in autograph sessions, photo opportunities and Q&As that accommodate between 700 and 3000 fans.

Fans are encouraged (but not obliged) to come dressed as their favorite pop culture characters, be they from movies, TV, video games or comics. It culminates at the Masquerade, the big costuming competition that brings in judges from across the globe, over 60 competitors, and close to 3000 fans to cheer them on when they hit the big stage.

Over the course of three days, fans are treated to over 100 different panel discussions and workshops that help further promote comics, costuming, gaming and pop culture in general. A gaming zone for fans to discover new game demos, participate in tourneys or simply enjoy some free-play. Video games are feature for both indie games and AAA studios with demos and eSports tournaments. Screenings for short and feature films are presented that include fans films, as well as independent and studio productions.

Montreal Comiccon is proud to announce a strong starter line-up focused on fans favourite franchises.

Nathan Fillion is best known to Firefly enthusiast as Captain Malcolm Reynolds, a role he reprised in the 2005 film Serenity – though most recently was the star of the hit series Castle.

David Tennant is loved by legions of fans for his role as the 10th Doctor on the international hit series Doctor Who. Since then, he’s had a successful run starring on several dramas including the BBC series Broadchurch and Netflix’s Jessica Jones.

John Rhys-Davies has had a long and varied career, starring in several TV series like Sliders and the The Shannara Chronicles, though best known for his roles as Sallah in Raiders of the Lost Ark, and, of course, Gimli, in the Lord of the Rings trilogy of films. The Harry Potter franchise has risen to the top as one of the most impactful, and we have none other than the actor who portrayed evil wizard Lucius Malfoy, Jason Isaacs, who was just announced as one of the leads on the upcoming Star Trek: Discovery.  Comiccon will also be celebrating 20 years of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, with the presence of James Marsters, who played the sometimes good, mostly evil vampire, Spike. As ever, Star Wars remains one of the most adored franchise, and we’ll be bringing in the galaxy’s most infamous bounty hunter, Boba Fett, as played by actor Jeremy Bulloch.

For twenty five years, Kevin Conroy has been considered the definitive voice of Batman, starting with Batman: The Animated Series. Beyond the 85-episode run, he has been the voice of Bruce Wayne in multiple TV series, animated films, and video games, including the acclaimed video game Batman: Arkham Asylum, and will return as the Dark Knight in Injustice 2, slated for release in May 2017.

Video Games continue to dominate the entertainment market and one of the bestselling for 2016 was Ubisoft’s own Watch Dogs 2. For this year’s event, Comiccon will focus on the talented group of motion capture actors, who bring the game’s DedSec team of hackers to life:  Tasya Teles (Sitara), Shawn Baichoo (Wrench), and Jonathan Dubsky (Josh), Christopher Jacot (Dusan), John Tench (T-Bone) and Ruffin Prentiss (Marcus).

From comic books to cartoons, toys, and blockbuster films, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has been a mainstay for over 30 years. We are very thrilled to welcome the co-creator of TMNT, Kevin Eastman, whom, to this day, continues to write and draw for the IDW series. Joining him will be the creator of American Flagg, Howard Chaykin, whom also has the distinction of being the very first artist on the Marvel Comics 1977 Star Wars. In addition, fans can look forward to meeting Glenn Fabry, the painter and illustrator known for his covers on Preacher, 2000 A.D., and, most recently American Gods; Marguerite Sauvage, the artist on the breakthrough Valiant comic series Faith, and also created the Montreal Comiccon 2017 poster art; plus Julien Paré-Sorel, the artist on the anxiously-awaited comic series Dans une galaxie près de chez vous, which is written by the original show creators Pierre-Yves Bernard et Claude Legault and expected to release in 2018.

Fans of costume building are in for a special treat with some of the most popular professional cosplayers. These include Italian cosplayer Leon Chiro and one of the hosts of the new TV series Cosplay Melee, LeeAnna Vamp. They’ll be there to meet fans and offer tips and tricks at their costume panels. As ever, the Masquerade costume contest will be taking place on Saturday, July 8, where amateur costume makers take to the Comiccon stage to compete in front of industry judges.

RSVP on Facebook!

For tickets and further information please go to the website: www.montrealcomiccon.com

Wizard World Comic Con Raleigh 2015 Report! (Including an Interview with Kevin Sorbo)

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Back in the fall of 2014, when I saw that Wizard World, that latter-day arbiter of pop culture sensibilities, was having its first-ever convention in Raleigh, North Carolina on March 13-15, I thought, Cool. I had been to the Minneapolis and Chicago shows, traveling hundreds of miles to write about each (see here and here, respectively). Raleigh is only 45 minutes from my house.

When I later saw that William Shatner would be at Raleigh Wizard World, I thought, Sweet. Who better than the Captain to explore this strange, new world? I watched as more excellent guests were announced—Sean Astin, John Schneider, Kevin Sorbo. And when I saw Rob Liefeld, the creator of Deadpool, added to the list, I thought, Awesome! Liefeld is one of the hottest comic artists of the last twenty years. I need some more stuff signed by him.

And when I received an email on February 24 from Wizard World’s PR person telling me that Doctor Who’s David Tennant would be in Raleigh, I thought, Oh. My. God.

David Tennant! No offense to other guests, but this was huge. Poll after poll shows him as the most popular Doctor among Whovians (see here, here, and here). Tennant’s Doctor is charming, funny, and passionate. Christopher Eccleston, the Ninth Doctor, did the hard work of rebooting the twenty-year-dead series in 2005; Tennant presided over its expansion both in the UK and across the pond. Plus he is a rarity on the convention circuit. Raleigh would be, in fact, his Wizard World debut (his second appearance will be in Philadelphia this May).

I am a middling Doctor Who fan. My wife and daughter? Rabid. And their favorite, of course, is David Tennant. My wife makes and sells fandom-related jewelry, and she had another convention that weekend in Winston-Salem, about two hours away. Urban Dictionary defines fandom as “a cult that will destroy your life”; I prefer to think of it as the impetus for restructuring your life on the fly. Thus, after much wrangling and a pair of David Tennant VIP tickets ($399 each!), we settled on the following schedule:

Friday: My wife and me at Wizard World, our daughter at the Winston-Salem convention

Saturday: All of us at the Winston convention

Sunday: My wife and my daughter at Wizard World to see David Tennant, me at the Winston convention

Actually, my weekend started on Thursday, at the Wizard World launch party. It was held at the Marbles Kids Museum in downtown Raleigh.

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Advertisements for the party indicated that celebrities (plural) would be in attendance, though the only one I saw was Kevin Sorbo, star of the 90s hit series Hercules. Still, we had a nice chat:

Me: You have been in several faith-based movies [What If . . . and God’s Not Dead]. What is it about these movies that speaks to people?

Kevin: There are a lot of people who have faith. All the polls show like 80% of people believe in God. We tend to skim over that, and Hollywood doesn’t put out movies that deal with that. And when they do, they sort of bastardize it. Look what they did with Exodus. Look what they did with Noah, for crying out loud. Why would you hire atheist directors to do something out of the Old Testament? It’s weird to me.

Me: The emphasis there seems to be more on special effects.

Kevin: Yeah. We went to a private screening of Noah, and my wife said, “This is like Transformers meets Water World.” Visually, it’s beautiful, but you’re like, does the Bible talk about Noah being schizophrenic, alcoholic, and hell-bent on killing his own family at the end?

Me: You’ve had a varied career, but of course you’re most known for Hercules . . .

Kevin: Yeah, that and Andromeda.

Me: Right. How did your role in Hercules come about?

Kevin: It was a typical audition through Hollywood. My agent called me up and said, “They’re casting five Hercules movies, and they want to see you.” I said, “I’m a big guy, but don’t they want some steroid dude with no neck or some bodybuilder who weighs 280 pounds?” He said, “No, they’re looking for an athletic-looking, sort-of decathlon, Joe Namath-type quarterback.” So I went and read. They called me back and called me back. Seven times they called me back. I was up in Vancouver, Canada filming an episode of The Commish, and they called me and said, “You’re Hercules.” I thought it was going to be five two-hour movies. Then, boom! It became a series, and it passed Baywatch to become the most-watched show in the world.

Me: Before filming, how did you get into the role? How did you prepare yourself to play a mythical hero?

Kevin: It was all in the writing. They made the character very 90s. It was a very Malibu sort of Hercules. He was very hip and accessible and approachable, very self-effacing. There was a lot of humor. The fight scenes were never very violent. Our spin-off show, Xena, was a much more violent show, killing guys. We never killed a guy.

Me: Speaking of writing, you did a book a couple of years ago. What was that like?

Kevin: It’s been great because of the number of speaking appearances I get. I did a dozen last year, and I’ve already got about eleven more lined up this year. It’s been amazing to get out there and do all the talking I’ve been doing about the book, which is about a health scare I suffered. I was the healthiest-looking guy in the world in the 90s, and I had three strokes and almost died. It took me out of the show [Hercules] for four months. We had to re-write everything.

Me: Which is harder, writing or acting?

Kevin [laughs]: I think writing is much harder. Writers take much of the blame for everything in Hollywood, so God bless them. It’s the toughest job around.

Me: How did you get started doing conventions?

Kevin: You know, conventions really didn’t kick off until about fifteen years ago. The growth has been astronomical. In the 90s, comic cons weren’t that big. They were around, but there wasn’t the publicity and the push and the hype. I got invited during the 90s, but I could do only one or two a year because I was in New Zealand ten months out of the year [filming Hercules]. Now, I go to a lot around the world. I’m doing two in April in Australia. I have one coming up in Belgium. I get invited to about five a month, and I go to six or seven a year.

Me: Are there things you won’t do for fans? Are there lines fans try to get you to cross that you push back against?

Kevin: Not really. Women have not exposed their breasts to me, but they have wanted me to sign the top of their chests. Some people get very nervous because they know you from TV, and now they’re seeing you in the flesh. It’s a surreal moment for them, and I get that because when I first moved to L.A., I started meeting some of the celebrities I used to watch on TV, and I was like, “Wow. That’s really him standing there.” For me, it was Anthony Quinn [who played Zeus in Hercules]. Meeting him blew me away.

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The next night, Friday, was my night at Wizard World. It is often said that Wizard World, with its deep pockets and runaway costs, delights in squeezing out local conventions. See, for example, this article decrying “William Shatner at $199 an autograph,” which is ludicrously inflated. Shatner charges less than half that amount, and he has charged it for years.

What has changed, and not for the better, is the number of comic book artists who now charge for an autograph. Michael Golden charged $10. Dean Haspiel (who?) charged $10. Tom DeFalco gave one or two free signatures, but he charged after that due to, as the sign on his table exhorted, the miserable capitalists who sell his stuff on eBay.

And Rob Liefeld. When I saw him in 2012, he charged $20 to sign copies of New Mutants #87 (first appearance of Cable) or #98 (first appearance of Deadpool). Everything else was free. Now he charges $30 for any Deadpool item, $20 for any New Mutants or X-Force issue, and $20 for any book being witnessed by CGC. He’s still a cool guy, though, and he did not charge me for this picture.

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I get that writers and artists are trying to make a living. A market exists for their autographs that they did not create and are merely tapping into. But their judgment—or is jealousy?—of collectors feels wrong-headed. eBay does not lower payments to creators (a buyer’s market does that) nor deprive them of ownership of their work (publishers retain this). Besides, CGC’s fees are rich enough. To pay an extra $20 for the signature hurts.

Perhaps it was this increase in signing fees that was responsible for the small crowd.

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Or the fact that few celebrities showed up for opening night (aside from Tony Stark).

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The dealer’s room was livelier, but what struck me most there was the dearth of comic book dealers. I counted two. The rest had toys, decals, T-shirts, etc. Curiously, there were also the Lasik Vision Institute and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, giving the dealer’s room a festival-in-the-park feel. I left without buying anything (or scheduling eye surgery).

I tried to buy a third David Tennant autograph ticket for Sunday, the day my wife and daughter would be there, for my daughter’s friend. But they were not selling any more tickets until Sunday morning—possibly (as it turned out, they didn’t have more then, either). “It’s the first time we’ve worked with him,” said the apologetic young woman, “and we’re not sure what to expect.” Translation: they had under-prepared. Wizard World has remedied this (sort of) for Philadelphia, making David Tennant photos and autographs available only to VIP ticket buyers. It’s an imperfect solution: a limited quantity of tickets at a cost that prices a lot of people out of contention. But at least they won’t run out by the first day of the con.

So my daughter’s friend lost out. My wife and daughter, however, racked up, each of them receiving (1) any item autographed, (2) a professional photo-op, (3) a David Tennant collector’s card, (4) other Doctor Who stuff, and (5) a limited edition Walking Dead comic book with a black-and-white sketch cover by Dean Haspiel (so that’s who he is!). And they got into the Tennant Q&A, which, we found out, was open only to VIPs because the room was so small. (My question: why didn’t they rearrange the rooms? It’s David Tennant. You can bump the Harry Potter fan fiction panel to a snack bar table.)

If the crowd was meager on Friday, it had Hulked up by Sunday. There were 500 VIP ticket holders that day (600 on Saturday), plus who knows how many who managed to get a one-day autograph or photo ticket before they were sold out. My wife took over 100 pictures during the Q&A, enough to allow us to play a game called The Many Faces of David Tennant.

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David ponders why the TARDIS isn’t cleaner on the inside.

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David does his Gilbert Gottfried impression.

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David whistles “Dixie,” because he’s in the South.

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David tries to hypnotize the crowd but puts himself to sleep.

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This is David Tennant, not David Bowie.

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“Blimey, Rose! I told you to close the TARDIS door before take-off!”

Tennant is surprised at how popular Doctor Who has become in the United States—surprised but pleased. Asked about his acting career, he said he likes the variety of roles (in his new drama, Broadchurch, he plays a character as far from the Doctor as you can imagine). Whom would he cosplay as at a convention? “Someone with a mask, so I could enjoy the convention.” One questioner recommended that he try the barbecue before leaving North Carolina. This apparently led to a discussion of food in which he dissed American bacon (too dry and crunchy).  Another asked him who he fanboys over. Answer: Marvel Comics, which he had recently toured.

After the Q&A came photos, and about an hour after that, the signing line started. When my daughter reached the table, she asked Tennant if she could record him saying hello to her friend (the one who got gypped on the autograph). Most celebs won’t do this, but in the absence of an advertised prohibition, it doesn’t hurt to ask. Astonishingly, he agreed! Then a Wizard World staffer stepped in and put a stop to it. Normally, I would rail against this, but the staffer had a point. If Tennant did that for my daughter, he would have to do it for everyone, which would slow the line to a crawl. The lesson for convention goers is this: guests aren’t being rude or aloof when they refuse some of your requests. The refusal may simply be a matter of convention policy.

So the inaugural Wizard World Raleigh was a success. Great city, great guests, friendly service—and the Doctor. One woman my wife talked to had driven eight hours from Alabama with her two kids to see him. On top of the arm-and-leg-ness of VIP tickets, this struck me as insanely devoted. “Would you do that?” I asked my wife on Monday as she stared out the kitchen window, a melancholy smile on her face. “Yes,” she said without hesitation. “Yes I would.”

Well-played, Wizard World. Well-played.

 

Comic-Con International Programming: Sunday

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And the list is complete with the release of the Sunday SDCC programming schedule.

This one brings us Robert Englund, David Tennant, Jim Lee, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Eric McCormack, and Dan DiDio.

Some highlights include:

10:00-11:00 The Spectacular Spider-Man This Q&A session—with supervising producer Greg Weisman (Gargoyles), supervising producer/supervising director Vic Cook (Hellboy: Blood and Iron), character designer Sean “Cheeks” Galloway (Hellboy animated films), the voice of Spider-Man, Josh Keaton, and the voice of Sha Shan Nguyen Kelly Hu (Scorpion King), and the voice of the Vulture, Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street)—highlights the animated series that hearkens back to the webslinger’s junior year in high school, when a not-so-typical 16-year-old must conceal his secret identity, endure the pressures of teenage life, and combat never-before-seen supervillains. Based on Marvel Entertainment’s popular superhero, The Spectacular Spider-Man is produced by Culver Entertainment, a Sony Pictures Television Company, premiering its second season on Disney XD on June 22. Room 6A

10:00-11:00 Dr. Who Actor David Tennant, writer/executive producer Russell T Davies, director Euros Lyn, and executive producer Julie Gardner discuss their creative process and experiences working on BBC America’s Doctor Who—television’s longest-running sci-fi series—with exclusive clips and a Q&A session. Ballroom 20

10:30-11:30 Smallville Screening and Q&A— Comic-Con favorite Smallville returns, as showrunners Kelly Souders and Brian Peterson join cast members Allison Mack (The Ant Bully), Erica Durance (House of the Dead), Cassidy Freeman (Finishing the Game: The Search for a New Bruce Lee), Justin Hartley (Gemini Division) and new series star Callum Blue (The Tudors), who will be playing the villainous Zod, to talk about the year ahead, answer fan questions and give an exclusive sneak peek at clips from season nine. Award-winning comic book writer, Emmy-nominated film and television writer/producer, and Smallville alum Jeph Loeb (Heroes) will moderate the session. From Tollin/Robbins Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television, Smallville will air Fridays at 8:00 PM this fall on The CW, premiering September 25. Smallville: The Complete Eighth Season will be released on DVD and Blu-ray Hi Def August 25. Room 6BCF

11:45-12:45 Supernatural Screening and Q&A— Supernatural stars Misha Collins (24) and Jim Beaver (Deadwood), creator/executive producer Eric Kripke (Boogeyman), and executive producers Ben Edlund (Angel) and Sera Gamble (Eyes) present an exclusive sneak peek at footage from the highly anticipated fifth season premiere of this thrill-ride series. They’ll also answer questions and show a portion of the special features from the upcoming fourth season DVD release. Produced by Wonderland Sound and Vision in association with Warner Bros. Television, Supernatural airs Thursdays at 9:00 PM ET/PT on The CW, premiering September 10. Supernatural: The Complete Fourth Season will be released on DVD and Blu-ray Hi-Def September 1. Room 6BCF

12:30-2:00 CBLDF Live Art Jam— Witness live art created before your eyes by comics masters and bid on the chance to carry one home! Join Jim Lee, Terry Moore, and surprise special guests as you get a glimpse behind the scenes of their artistic processes! The Live Art Jam is a treat for fans and students alike. All art will be auctioned to benefit the First Amendment legal work of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. You will need a bidder number to bid on art at this event, which will be distributed at the start of the event. Winning bidders will be able to claim their art from the CBLDF’s booth 1920. Room 5AB

1:00-2:00 Ghost Whisperer Season Five: Everything New Is New Again— The cast and executive producers present an exclusive first look at video clips from the new season of Ghost Whisperer, along with hints and revelations about the game-changing addition of Melinda and Jim’s new baby. Find out how the new character will bring new powers, new challenges, and new rules to the show, and how he will open doors to a whole new paranormal dimension—a dimension that will pit Melinda and her friends and family against entities darker and more dangerous than any she’s ever faced, thrusting her into a battle between forces of good and evil, forces that she never knew existed. Featuring cast members Jennifer Love Hewitt, David Conrad, Christoph Sanders, Jamie Kennedy, and Camryn Manheim and executive producers Ian Sander, Kim Moses, and P. K. Simonds. Room 6BCF

1:30-2:00 Image: Alien Trespass Directed by X-Files veteran R. W. Goodwin and filmed in classic fifties sci-fi retro style, Alien Trepass is being released on DVD & Blu-ray by Image. If you love such vintage sci-fi epics as It Came From Outer Space and The Blob, come learn more about this tale of an Interstellar lawman whose deadly prisoner, the grotesque Ghota, escapes when their flying saucer crashes near a small desert town in 1950s California. Appearing for the first time: Emmy Award-winning actor Eric McCormack (Will & Grace, Andromeda Strain, and star of fan favorite Free Enterprise) joining co-star Jenni Baird (The 4400) and director R. W. Goodwin. Ballroom 20

2:00-3:00 Sunday Conversation with Dan DiDio— As Comic-Con comes to a close, sit back and unwind as Dan DiDio and friends invite you to a relaxed Sunday afternoon comics discussion. Share your opinions and listen to others as some of comics’ biggest names talk about their love of all things comics. All are welcome, no RSVP required. Room 2

2:15-3:45 BBC America: Being Human/Torchwood You won’t want to miss these special back-to-back panels on Being Human and Torchwood! Being Human creator Toby Whithouse and cast members Russell Tovey, Lenora Crichlow and Aidan Turner appear on stage to give an inside look at BBC America’s U.S. premier sci-fi drama about the lives of three twentysomethings and their secret double-lives—as a werewolf, a vampire, and a ghost. Following that, Torchwood actor John Barrowman, creator/writer/executive producer Russell T Davies, executive producer Julie Gardner, and director Euros Lyn talk about the making of the epic five-night television event Torchwood: Children of Earth as well as take questions from the fans. Ballroom 20

2:45-3:45 Kamen Rider Dragon Knight Meet the cast of TheCW4Kids new action-packed, monster-clobbering masked-heroes series Kamen Rider Dragon Knight. Stars Stephen Lunsford (Kit), Matt Mullins (Len), and Yvonne Arias (Maya) will answer all your Kamen Rider questions! Plus, fans will get to view never-before-seen footage from future KRDK episodes! Lucky attendees will get the chance to win prizes from Bandai’s KRDK toy line and more! Room 6DE

The Doctor is In! Tennant and Davies at SDCC

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Press Release:

In support of BBC AMERICA’s U.S. premiere of four Doctor Who Specials, the Doctor himself, David Tennant, will appear alongside writer/executive producer Russell T Davies at this year’s Comic-Con in San Diego. They will take part in a Doctor Who panel along with executive producer Julie Gardner and director Euros Lyn, Sunday July 26, 10:00-11:00am PT.

David will travel to Comic-Con, fresh from the Doctor Who set, having shot his final scenes as the tenth Time Lord. He and fellow panelists will discuss the latest incarnation of television’s longest running science fiction series and take questions from the floor. There will also be exclusive sneak peeks from the upcoming specials.

Fans can visit the BBC AMERICA booth (#3629) to capture their own photograph alongside part of the Doctor Who set – as well as purchase exclusive merchandise including David Tennant figures.

Fans of BBC AMERICA’s highest rated show ever, Torchwood, which will have just completed the five-part special, Children of Earth, will get to chat with the stars and makers of the show first-hand. Just 48 hours after the last episode, the show makes a return visit to Comic-Con with a panel featuring star John Barrowman, writer/executive producer Russell T Davies, executive producer Julie Gardner and director Euros Lyn, Sunday July 26, 2:15-3:45pm PT.

As part of the same panel, Sunday July 26, 2:15-3:45pm PT, catch the talent from BBC AMERICA’s most buzzed about new sci fi drama, Being Human. Creator and writer, Toby Whithouse, plus lead actors Russell Tovey, Lenora Crichlow and Aidan Turner, talk about the inspiration for the show and what it’s like to play three twenty-somethings with secret double-lives – as a werewolf, a vampire and a ghost. All four panelists will be signing exclusively at the BBC AMERICA booth, Saturday July 25, 3:00-4:00pm PT.

Cult comedy favorite and BAFTA-nominated, The Mighty Boosh, comes to Comic-Con for the first time to celebrate the airing of all three seasons on Adult Swim, and the BBC’s DVD release, just two days before the convention begins. Inspired by the Perrier Comedy Award-winning live comedy show, creators-stars Julian Barratt and Noel Fielding, along with actors Michael Fielding, Rich Fulcher and Dave Brown, will be on stage to discuss the magical, bizarre and exciting world of The Boosh, Friday, July 24, 4:45-5:45pm. The hit UK comedy series follows crazy zookeepers Howard Moon and Vince Noir and was described by The San Jose Mercury News as “an acid-trip fantasy-comedy [that] is seriously deranged and seriously funny.”

Fans can also catch exclusive BBC AMERICA screenings during the convention with back to back episodes of Doctor Who and Torchwood. Key talent from both shows introduce the last episode of the five part series Torchwood: Children of Earth and a U.S. premiere viewing of Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead, the first of four specials starring David Tennant.

Underground Toys (#3949) will be selling their entire Doctor Who and Torchwood lines of toys and novelty items. In addition, this year they will once again introduce new limited edition Comic-Con action figures that have never been seen before.

BBC AMERICA Comic-Con Panel and Signing Schedule

Friday, July 24

4:45-5:45pm The Mighty Boosh: creators-stars Julian Barratt and Noel Fielding along with actors Michael Fielding, Rich Fulcher and Dave Brown will be on stage to discuss the magical, bizarre and exciting world of The Boosh, currently airing on Adult Swim and released on DVD by the BBC two days before the convention begins. The San Jose Mercury News describes the show as “an acid-trip fantasy-comedy [that] is seriously deranged and seriously funny.” Room 6A

3:30-4:30pm The Mighty Boosh signing in the Autograph Area.

Saturday, July 25

3:00-4:00pm Being Human: creator Toby Whithouse and actors Russell Tovey, Lenora Crichlow and Aidan Turner signing at the BBC AMERICA booth (#3629).

7:30-10:00pm Torchwood/Doctor Who: Key talent from both shows introduce the last episode of the five part series Torchwood: Children of Earth and an advance viewing of Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead, the first of four specials starring David Tennant. Room 6A

Sunday, July 26

10:00-11:00am Doctor Who: actor David Tennant, writer/executive producer Russell T Davies, director Euros Lyn and executive producer Julie Gardner discuss their creative process and experiences working on BBC AMERICA’s Doctor Who with exclusive clips and a Q&A session. Ballroom 20

2:15-3:45pm Being Human/Torchwood: Being Human creator Toby Whithouse and cast members Russell Tovey, Lenora Crichlow and Aidan Turner, are on stage to give an inside look at BBC AMERICA’s U.S. premiere sci-fi drama about the lives of three twenty-somethings and their secret double-lives – as a werewolf, a vampire and a ghost. Following that actor John Barrowman, creator/writer/executive producer Russell T Davies, executive producer Julie Gardner and director Euros Lyn talk about the making of the epic five-night television event Torchwood: Children of Earth as well as take questions from the fans. Room 6BCF