Historically speaking, Sundays at San Diego Comic-Con tend to be the chill last day of a wild convention. There are a few big panels, but it’s mostly kids programming and a chance to wander the exhibit hall one last time. ComicConAtHome2021 has been different in a lot of ways, one of which being that there’s not a ton of content aimed strictly at kids.
Quick disclaimer: I think ComicConAtHome2021 is an absolute nightmare of a tag. Maybe the SDCC showrunners are trying to distance themselves by not using the easier, shorter #SDCCatHome that some press and attendees have adopted? I don’t know, but I do know that it’s a pain to write out that whole tag every single time you want to join the online discourse.
Petty gripe aside- there are a few ComicConAtHome2021 panels and events planned today that pinged my interest. I’ll run them down in order. (Times here are in Pacific Time as that’s local to San Diego):
10:00 am: Wonder Woman: Episode: 1.01 – “Pilot”
Description: Join us for Wonder Woman Day! Starting with the pilot episode of Wonder Woman (1975, TV-G).
Why it made the list: Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman is iconic. I’m not going to gatekeep here and say you have to watch her series to admire her or be a fan. It’s just a fun series that was ahead of its time, and it’s definitely worth a watch.
10:00 am: Doctor Who
Description: Showrunner Chris Chibnall, the Thirteenth Doctor Jodie Whittaker, Mandip Gill, new Doctor Who cast member John Bishop and a very special surprise guest as they share exclusive content from Doctor Who. Moderated by Salon.com’s Melanie McFarland. Pre-recorded panel produced by the BBC and BBC AMERICA.
Why it made the list: Every single time there’s been a Doctor change, the fandom as a whole goes through stages of grief. Was the process a little bumpier with Jodie Whittaker because of the double surprise of Moffat leaving and a female Doctor? Yes, but as the creative team found its feet I think Whittaker has really brought something new to the character while still feeling like The Doctor. This is a prerecorded panel created for ComicConAtHome2021 (ugh give us our live Q&As back) but it still promises to have some good content.
11:00 am: Psychology and Pop Culture: An Empirical Adventure
Description: This panel will review psychological aspects that influence pop culture preferences, personality, and behavior. Integrated into the review is a collection of results from 16 research studies conducted by Keith W. Beard, Psy.D., April Fugett, Ph.D. (professors of psychology, Marshall University), Britani Black, Psy.D. (instructor, Marshall University School of Medicine), with the assistance of Josh Carter, Psy.D., Casey Collins, M.A., Jake Bass, M.A., and Kasey Kessler, M.A. (former and current graduate assistants). The presentation includes studies on Disney, superpowers, nostalgic cartoons, fandoms, and antiheroes. Each study is housed firmly within the field of psychology and has been designed and analyzed to answer questions from across the many areas of the panelist’s expertise within the field of psychology and pop culture.
Why it made the list: This is one of those panels whose title might make you skip over it as “too much like homework” while on vacation in San Diego… but having been to a L O T of conventions, I’m willing to hazard a guess that it’s going to be a ton of fun with a lively, irreverent discussion about our favorite fandoms. Who doesn’t like to play the “why this Disney movie would be objectively horrifying as a real-life story” game?
12:00 pm: DC’s Legends of Tomorrow Cast Conversation and Sneak Peek
Description: So far, in season six, DC’s Legends not only saved the world with a singing competition, stopped the Cuban Missile crisis with a football game, and fought off an alien Amelia Earhart, but also recovered Sara Lance who was abducted, cloned, and turned into a human-alien hybrid by evil genius, Bishop. With #Avalance officially engaged, it’s high time for the Legends to plan a wedding and mess up the timeline for the better. Join series stars Caity Lotz, Tala Ashe, Jes Macallan, Olivia Swann, Adam Tsekhman, Shayan Sobhian, and Lisseth Chavez, with Nick Zano and Matt Ryan, along with executive producers Phil Klemmer and Keto Shimizu for an at-home conversation about how this season was created along with a sneak peek at what is to come for the rest of the season and beyond. From Berlanti Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow airs new episodes Sundays at 8/7c only on The CW. Don’t miss a new episode premiering 8/8/21. Become a fan of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/CWLegendsofTomorrow/ , and follow the show on Twitter at @TheCW_Legends and Instagram at @cw_legendsoftomorrow.
Why it made the list: Legends of Tomorrow is a show that’s purely fun. It takes itself just seriously enough, and the storylines are a refreshing mix of camp and modern snark. The cast themselves are a big part of why fans like the show, so anything that gets them together to drop hints is a must-see in my book.
1:00 pm: Don’t Fear A Red Planet
Description: Dr. Lee Francis 4 (owner), Aaron Cuffee (chief creative officer), and Nizhoni Begay (Water Protectors) take some time to discuss the creation of Red Planet Books and Comics and why representation for Native American and Indigenous folks is important beyond the comics and into the brick and mortar locations. www.redplanetbooksncomics.com
Why it made the list: Full disclosure – I clicked through for the description thinking this was going to be about Mars somehow. (I love Mars!) This is obviously not a panel about Mars… but I’m still going to recommend it. Diversity and inclusivity aren’t just social issues for comic geeks. In a very real sense, they’re quality issues. Diverse viewpoints both on-page and in creative teams make comics better through fresh storylines and characters.
Plus, I want to get some recs to add to my pull list. That’s one of the best things about conventions in general- you get to find books that aren’t being advertised near you. It’s harder doing this at ComicConAtHome2021 since I can’t wander a dealer’s floor, but at least the panels have been pretty helpful in that regard.
2:00 pm: More Science in Your Fiction with The League of Extraordinary Scientists & Engineers
Description: Writers, directors, sci-fi fans, and kids: get ready to learn about the real science in your fiction! Join us for a discussion of how comics and science fiction push scientists and engineers to rocket past what we know is possible at any given moment and into an otherwise unimaginable future! Panel guests include Ben Frable (marine biologist, Scripps Institution of Oceanography), Dr. Sunny Fugate (technical director for cyber warfare, Naval Information Warfare Center), Dr. Alyssa Griffin (postdoctoral fellow, Bodega Marine Laboratory, U.C. Davis), Sara Huber (water resources control engineer), Chris Neuhahn (Emmy Award-winning animator, director, and writer), Dr. Lisa Zeigler (viral ecologist, J. Craig Venter Institute), and Angela Zoumplis (extremophile explorer, Scripps Institute of Oceanography). Come curious and leave inspired! Moderated by Karen Martin (The Princess Project).
Why it made the list: This is the kind of panel that you really only get to watch at cons, or read in a long series of Tumblr posts cross-posted to Facebook then screenshot and Tweeted by a meme account. If you’re a fan, it’s a peek at how much of what happens in fandom is real now or could be possible soon. If you’re a creator, it’s a solid source of inspiration for your own work.
On a more current events note, I’m always a fan of lifting up science as a cool, interesting thing that we should all respect as A Fully Real Field Of Knowledge and not Political Hogwash. But I won’t ruin your Sunday by climbing too high onto my soapbox.
3:00 pm: Writing for TV: From First Draft to Getting Staffed
Description: Moderator Spiro Skentzos (Arrow) and genre showrunners Sean Crouch (The Exorcist), Jami O’Brien (NOS4A2), and Bo Yeon Kim and Erika Lippoldt (Star Trek: Discovery), along with executive Jade-Addon Hall (director of current programming, Lionsgate) discuss navigating the TV spec terrain—including beginner’s mistakes, what they look for in a writer, and what it takes for you to write a killer spec that will stand above the crowd. https://linktr.ee/SDCC_Intro_to_TV_WRITING_2021
Why it made the list: Every convention has those panels aimed at would-be creators looking to break into the industry. If you’ve never been to one and you want to write for TV- or if you’ve been to one with different panelists- check this out. Yes, there’s definitely a lot more to getting on a writing team than watching a few panels. However, panels like this are fantastic places to learn what the rookie mistakes are and avoid things that will get you dismissed out of hand. I’ve been glad to see a few of these on the ComicConAtHome2021 schedule, since it’s a great resource for new creatives.
These are my picks for Sunday viewing. There are also a bunch of watch parties running until the end of the convention, and some panels will be up longer than the con if you want to open them for later watching. Find all the video links in the ComicConAtHome2021 programming schedule here.
Did I miss something? Have something to say about ComicConAtHome2021? Let us know here or on Twitter!
Khai is a writer, anthropologist, and games enthusiast. She is co-editor (alongside Alex DeCampi) of and contributor to “True War Stories”, a comic anthology published by Z2 Comics. When she’s not writing or creating games, Khai likes to run more tabletop RPGs than one person should reasonably juggle.
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