WonderCon 2018 gets underway on Friday March 23. The programming slate has been announced on their website, and these are the panels you will likely find me, though my schedule is not set in stone and there are no guarantees at a convention unless you are part of the panel.
Jack Kirby's Centennial Artwork Extravaganza
1:00pm - 2:00pm
The Jack Kirby Centennial celebration continues with this final presentation of the King's original comic artwork. Hosted by IDW president and publisher Greg Goldstein, this special tribute features a multimedia display of more than 1,300 pages of Kirby's original artwork 'the largest showing ever' selected from the eight Jack Kirby Artist's Edition books IDW has published, as well as additional not-yet-published pages that will be new to fans of the books. Everyone who attends will walk away with a special gift!
SubZero and the Evolution of Mr. Freeze
1:00pm - 2:00pm
In anticipation of Warner Archive Collection’s release of Batman & Mr. Freeze: Sub-Zero on Blu-ray this spring, WAC podcast hosts D. W. Ferranti and Matthew Patterson are joined by some surprise panelists as they show remastered footage and discuss the film and the evolution of Mr. Freeze from a goofy threat into an endearing multidimensional villain who just wants to find a cure for his dying wife. Moderator Gary Miereanu might even bring some cool giveaways for select fans.
I know these first two panels are at the same time, and I would normally pay tribute to one of the legends, but the Warner Archive Collection panel will have giveaways, and I am a sucker for free stuff.
Inside The Writers Room: The Shows That Inspired Us
2:30pm - 3:30pm
Some of your favorite TV writers and directors discuss the television series that inspired them to do what they do, from The Six Million Dollar Man to Star Trek, The Twilight Zone to Hill Street Blues, Battlestar Galactica (1978) to Battlestar Galactica (2004), and Mannix to Manimal (okay, maybe not that one). They’ll look back at the series that helped make the medium great. Panelists include Ashley E. Miller (X-Men: First Class, Thor), Mark A. Altman (The Librarians, Agent X), Sean Crouch (The Exorcist, Lore), Steve Kriozere (Castle, NCIS), David Rogers (director, The Office, The Mindy Project), Steve Melching (The Clone Wars, Star Wars Rebels), Deric A. Hughes (The Flash, Warehouse 13), and Amy Berg (Counterpart, DaVinci's Demons).
I enjoy these type of panels, but this is basically a roundtable any group of fans could have, so the participants have to offer more interesting series and arguments than I could have with my friends or I'll be back on the exhibition floor.
CBLDF: State of Censorship 2018
3:00pm - 4:00pm
Get a global look at comics censorship from the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. Learn about current censorship challenges in the U.S., including new bills attempting to regulate internet use, and the abundance of local challenges to comics addressing diversity and equality. Explore how cartoonists are being prosecuted, threatened, and intimidated by authorities around the globe for making art. Learn how you can participate with CBLDF in making a difference and standing up for free expression! CBLDF executive director Charles Brownstein leads the conversation.
While many attend conventions for the escapism it provides, this is an important panel to learn about attempts to curb escapism here and around the world.
Marvel's Cloak & Dagger
4:45pm - 6:00pm
Freeform's new original series Marvel's Cloak & Dagger is the story of Tandy Bowen (Olivia Holt) and Tyrone Johnson (Aubrey Joseph), two teenagers from very different backgrounds who find themselves burdened and awakened to newly acquired superpowers that are mysteriously linked to each other. Tandy can emit light daggers, and Tyrone has the ability to control the power of darkness. They quickly learn they are better together than apart. Executive producer and head of Marvel Television Jeph Loeb is joined by series stars and producers for a sneak peek of the highly anticipated new series.
Honestly, I am a little burned out on superhero shows at this point, but if they are able to put a new spin on it, like the CW's Black Lightning, I could be lured in to giving it a go.
The Greatest Cartoons Ever!
5:45pm - 6:45pm
Programmed by noted animation historian Jerry Beck and ASIFA-Hollywood executive director Frank Gladstone, this screening features the best and most notable theatrical shorts from Hollywood’s legendary golden age. Films scheduled are Tex Avery's King Size Canary, Chuck Jones’s What's Opera, Doc?, Disney’s The Band Concert and The Three Little Pigs, and the Fleischer Studios’ Betty Boop in Snow White, as well as the Superman short “Magnetic Telescope.” For the finale, you’ll be treated to Fleischer’s amazing 1936 two-reeler Popeye the Sailor Meets Sinbad the Sailor.
At the San Diego Comic Con, Jerry Beck's Worst Cartoons Ever panel is a highlight, and that's with a focus on bad material. Getting an hour of great cartoons in an arena of like-minded fans is a no-brainer.
World Premiere Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay
7:00pm - 9:00pm
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, DC Entertainment, and Warner Bros. Animation celebrate a decade of WonderCon world premieres with the debut of the latest DC Universe movie, Suicide Squad: Hell To Pay. The all-new animated film finds Amanda Waller’s top secret “Task Force X”—Deadshot, Bronze Tiger, Killer Frost, Captain Boomerang, Harley Quinn, and Copperhead—on a mission to retrieve a mystical object so powerful that they’re willing to risk their own lives to steal it. But the Suicide Squad isn’t the only group of villains seeking to possess the object. The race is on for the golden prize—and to stay alive. Second place isn’t an option.
The all-star cast is led by Christian Slater (Mr. Robot, Archer, True Romance) in his DC Universe movies debut as the voice of Deadshot, alongside Billy Brown (How To Get Away with Murder) as Bronze Tiger, Liam McIntyre (Spartacus: War of the Damned, The Flash) as Captain Boomerang, Kristin Bauer van Straten (True Blood, Once Upon a Time) as Killer Frost, Gideon Emery (Teen Wolf) as Copperhead, Tara Strong (Batman: The Killing Joke) as Harley Quinn, and Vanessa Williams (Ugly Betty, Desperate Housewives) as Amanda Waller. Villainous forces include C. Thomas Howell (Outcast, The Outsiders, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox) as Zoom, Dania Ramirez (Devious Maids, Heroes, Once Upon a Time) as Scandal Savage, James Urbaniak (Difficult People, The Venture Bros. ) as Professor Pyg, Julie Nathanson (The Zeta Project, Beverly Hills 90210) as Silver Banshee, and Jim Pirri (Injustice 2) as Vandal Savage and Vertigo, plus Greg Grunberg (Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Heroes) as Steel Maxum.
Several voice actors will join executive producer James Tucker (Batman vs. Two-Face, Justice League Dark), producer/director Sam Liu (Gotham by Gaslight, Teen Titans: The Judas Contract), and co-producer/screenwriter Alan Burnett (Justice League vs. Teen Titans) for a special prescreening panel discussion. The feature-length animated film arrives on digital starting March 27, and on Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack, and DVD on April 10.
Been a while since I thought these DC Universe movies have been successful, and I am not a fan of the Suicide Squad, but it's a tradition to watch these with friends and you can't beat the price