It may not be as well known as San Diego Comic-Con, its Southern California counterpart, but the San Francisco WonderCon is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year as one of the country’s best comics and popular arts events. On the fence about attending? Here’s a rundown of what genre fans can look forward to at the show.
WonderCon runs at the Moscone Center South from April 1 through 3 with an incredible roster of comics’ greatest writers and artists as special guests and featured in spotlight panels throughout the weekend. The show’s programming schedule includes panels and previews from the comics industry’s biggest publishers, including DC, Marvel, Image, Dark Horse, Aspen, IDW, BOOM!, SLG, and many more. All of these publishers have booths in the giant Exhibit Hall so you can visit and interact with them all weekend plus shop in a pop culture paradise! The Exhibit Hall includes vendors selling items from around the wonderful world of comics, movies, TV, animation, and much more. You’ll also find artists selling one-of-a-kind original art and doing sketches! WonderCon features one of the best Artists’ Alleys in the country plus a Small Press area and an Autograph Area filled with some of your favorite celebrities. WonderCon offers the complete convention experience, including games, anime, panels, seminars, and workshops.
The following schedules also include a bit of sci-fi and dark fantasy that we thought you’d find of interest and are, of course, subject to change so keep your eyes on the official WonderCon website for all the latest updates.
Friday – April 1, 2011
1:30-2:30 Behind the Music with CW3PR: Composing for Sci-Fi, Horror and Fantasy Film— Award-winning composers Jim Dooley (Pushing Daisies), Nathan Barr (True Blood), Scott Starrett (The Event), Marco Beltrami (V, Scream 4), Michael Suby (The Vampire Diaries) and Sean Callery (24) have all composed WonderCon and Comic-Con fans’ favorite movies and TV series, and are here to share a behind-the-scenes perspective on creating exhilarating musical moments for television and film. Together with moderator Bryan Fuller (creator, Pushing Daisies; producer, Heroes), the panelists will discuss their respective projects, the pivotal director/composer relationship, and how they got their big break into the music composing industry. With a Q&A following the panel, plus exclusive announcements and giveaways for attendees. Room 104
2:00-3:30 Comics Arts Conference 2: Adaptation: Hollywood, Survival, and Success— Shylah Hamilton (School of the Art Institute of Chicago) uses the philosophy of Jean-Paul Sartre, Georg Hegel, and Theodor W. Adorno to examine how the zombie tales of 28 Days Later and 28 Weeks Later provide a template for the survival of the individual and community in periods of genocide and social unrest. Tanya Zuk (University of Arizona) pits Kick Ass against Scott Pilgrim to answer the question of why one film succeeded and the other failed — what leads a good comic astray in the heart of Hollywood? Kalani Largusa (School of the Art Institute of Chicago) examines the significance of Kato and the evolution of his role as the Green Hornet’s sidekick. Stanford Carpenter (School of the Art Institute) responds. Room 204/206
2:30-3:30 Max Brooks— Max Brooks, screenwriter and author of the best selling books The Zombie Survival Guide, World War Z, and The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks, is the world’s leading authority on the defense against a ghoulish uprising! Renowned for his campus and convention lectures nationwide, Brooks comes to WonderCon to share his insight into the rotting minds of the undead, reveal how the Zombie Survival Guide came into existence, and field questions from zombie-phobic fans! You dare not miss this lecture — your very life may depend on it! Room 104
3:00-4:00 Dark Horse Fall Preview— Three years ago, Dark Horse made comics history with the launch of Buffy Season 8, which continued the canon storyline of the beloved cancelled show. Now, Dark Horse gives Wonder Con attendees exclusive news and insight into your favorite characters returning to comics this fall. Join Dark Horse director of public relations Jeremy Atkins, editors Scott Allie and Sierra Hahn, and a cast of surprise guests for the one panel you don’t wanna miss! Room 103
3:15-4:00 Falling Skies— After an all-out invasion of the planet by an alien military force, ordinary people must do extraordinary things to survive in TNT’s powerful new drama series from DreamWorks Television and executive producer Steven Spielberg, starring Noah Wyle and premiering in June. Falling Skies opens in the chaotic aftermath of an alien attack that has left most of the world completely incapacitated. In the six months since the initial invasion, the few survivors have banded together outside major cities to begin the difficult task of fighting back. The series combines stunning visual effects and personal human stories about triumph and survival in the most devastating circumstances. The panel will include exclusive clips from the series and a discussion with co-executive producer and writer Mark Verheiden, writer Melinda Hsu, and star Drew Roy. Everyone attending the panel will receive a limited edition Falling Skies “prequel” comic book published by Dark Horse. Esplanade Ballroom
5:00-6:00 Spotlight on Robert Kirkman— WonderCon special guest Robert Kirkman, one of the most successful writers in comics today, best known for his work on The Walking Dead, Invincible, Haunt, Image United, Astounding Wolf-Man, Marvel Zombies, the recent Super Dinosaur, and the upcoming The Infinite, will offer fans some insight into the genius behind their favorite hit comics. After becoming an Image Comics partner in 2009, introducing the internationally renowned hit TV show based on the comic The Walking Dead on AMC, and recently announcing an upcoming video game adaptation of the same series from TellTale Games, he has proven to be an unstoppable creative force. Room 103
5:30-6:30 Visions from Voyager and Highlights from HarperCollins— Join a Harper Collins Sorcerer Supreme for a vision quest tour through some great upcoming books by your favorite authors. You’ll get details on new books by Neal Stephenson, Christopher Moore, Kim Harrison, Richard Kadrey and a host of others. From Avatars to Zombies, this panel has it all. And the best part is there will be free books given away! Room 220
6:00-7:00 State of the Genre Report: It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times— America’s foremost geeksperts weigh in on the state of science fiction, fantasy, and horror film and television. Will J.J. Abrams have a Khan-do attitude on the next Trek? 3D: fad or forever? What’s the next board game that will get remade as a $100 million flop? These questions and many more will be sliced, diced, and Ginsu-ed (hey, that could be a new film!). Starring Robert Meyer Burnett (Free Enterprise, The Hills Run Red), Ashley E. Miller (Thor, X-Men: First Class, Fringe), Daren Dochterman (Star Trek: The Motion Picture — Director’s Edition), Steve Melching (Transformers: The Animated Series, Star Wars: The Clone Wars), and special guest stars. Room 103
6:30-8:30 Back to Space-Con: The Story of the 1970s Sci-Fi Conventions— This panel discussion is a fascinating look back to the roots of today’s modern conventions and is followed by the 74-minute documentary film about the 1970s conventions called Space-Con. Told by the original organizers and fans, the film includes celebrity interviews by Bob Wilkins, dealers-room footage, costume contests, and over 40 minutes of rare convention footage. A short Q&A session follows the movie with panelists John Stanley (Creature Features), Mr. Lobo (Cinema Insomnia), Tom Wyrsch (writer/director), Strephon Taylor (producer/editor), and Ernie Fosselius (Hardware Wars). Room 104
6:30-7:30 Let’s Do the WaRP Time Again: Wendy Pini and Richard Pini— Wendy Pini (Elfquest, Masque of the Red Death) and Richard Pini (Elfquest) are the W and R in WaRP Graphics. Join them for an unscripted progress report on Elfquest: The Final Quest, the Masque of the Red Death graphic novel (and musical), and last but not least, the Elfquest movie. Room 220
6:30-7:30 Monsterverse Comics: Classic Horror Meets Modern Comics— The critically acclaimed Bela Lugosi’s Tales from the Grave horror comic and its Monsterverse staff of editor/publisher/artist Kerry Gammill (Superman) and West Coast editor Sam F. Park (Molt) are joined by Derek McCaw (Tony Loco), Chris Moreno (World War Hulk), Rafael Navarro (Sonambulo), and more to discuss iconic horror for a new age, announce upcoming Monsterverse projects, and engage in a Q&A session! Room 254/256
Saturday – April 2
12:30-1:30 Super— Rainn Wilson (The Office) and director James Gunn (Slither) come to San Francisco for a conversation about their highly anticipated new film Super. Learn about how a short-order cook can take justice into his own hands with little more than a wrench and a sign from above. Don’t steal, don’t deal drugs, and don’t miss your chance to get a unique first look at this singular dark comedy, opening this spring! Room 103
1:00-1:30 Cowboys & Aliens— Blockbuster filmmaker Jon Favreau (Iron Man series) will present exclusive footage from one of summer 2011’s most highly anticipated films, Cowboys & Aliens. Starring Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford, Cowboys & Aliens crosses the classic Western with the alien-invasion movie in a blazingly original way. Joined by an arsenal of top moviemakers — Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci — Favreau brings an all-new action thriller that will take audiences into the Old West, where a lone cowboy leads an uprising against a terror from beyond our world. Following the presentation, the director will answer questions from moderator Roberto Orci about the making of the film and what moviegoers may expect on July 29. Esplanade Ballroom
1:00-2:00 Marvel: Welcome to the X-Men— Marvel’s most uncanny heroes have emerged bloodied — and not altogether unbowed — in their war against the vampire nation. But what will be the monstrous legion’s next move against mutantkind? And what secrets are at the heart of the mysterious timeline known as the “Age Of X”? Pop your claws into all the answers as Axel Alonso (Marvel’s editor-in-chief), Jason Aaron (Wolverine), Rick Remender (Uncanny X-Force), C.B. Cebulski, (SVP creator & content development), and a slew of surprise guests explore the present landscape and multiple futures of the X-Men. Room 104
2:00-3:00 Focus Features: HANNA— Reunited for the first time since he directed her to an Oscar nomination in Atonement, Joe Wright and Saoirse Ronan are ready to shake you up with HANNA. A boldly original adventure thriller with elements of dark fairy tales, HANNA will cue lots of questions from you for the talented team at this panel — even before you’ve seen the movie. Esplanade Ballroom
2:00-3:00 Image Comics Show— Image Comics will announce some upcoming projects, update fans about ongoing projects, and host a Q&A session with some of Image’s best writers. Don’t miss your chance to find out what Image is up to before anyone else does and ask questions of your favorite creators! Panelists include Tomm Coker (Undying Love), Viktor Kalvachev (Blue Estate), Daniel Corey (Moriarty), Deborah Vankin (Poseurs), Ben McCool (Choker, Memoir), Nate Simpson (Nonplayer), Joe Casey (Godland, Butcher Baker The Righteous Maker), and Brandon Seifert & Lukas Ketner (Witch Doctor). Room 104
3:00-4:00 Screen Gems: Priest— A post-apocalyptic action thriller set in an alternate world, one ravaged by centuries of war between man and vampires. The story revolves around a legendary Warrior Priest (Paul Bettany) from the last Vampire War who now lives in obscurity among the other downtrodden human inhabitants in walled-in dystopian cities. When his niece (Lily Collins) is abducted by a murderous pack of vampires, Priest breaks his sacred vows to venture out on an obsessive quest to find her before they turn her into one of them. He is joined on his crusade by his niece’s boyfriend (Cam Gigandet), a trigger-fingered young wasteland sheriff, and a former Warrior Priestess (Maggie Q) who possesses otherworldly fighting skills. Confirmed to appear are stars Paul Bettany and Lily Collins, and director Scott Stewart. Esplanade Ballroom
3:00-4:00 BOOM! Studios— BOOM! Studios is getting even BIGGER and BOLDER. Join Ross Richie, Matt Gagnon and Chip Mosher as they discuss BOOM! Studios, KABOOM! and BOOM! Town…unveiling what will without a doubt be some of the most exciting new titles of 2011. Room 254/256
3:30-4:30 Marvel: Cup O’ Joe— This is it, Mighty Marvel fans: the no-holds-barred, anything goes, full of surprises panel you wait all year for, and it’s here! Marvel’s chief creative officer Joe Quesada takes on all questions, shocks the audience with jaw-dropping announcements, and keeps you guessing with superstar guests Axel Alonso (Marvel’s editor-in-chief), Jason Aaron (Wolverine), Jeph Loeb (Marvel’s head of television), and C.B. Cebulski (Marvel’s SVP creator & content development). You better be here because this is the panel that everyone will be talking about! Room 103
4:00-5:00 Relativity: Immortals— Global exclusive! Be among the first in the world to see footage of the highly anticipated Immortals. Meet visionary director Tarsem Singh (The Cell, The Fall) and an all-star cast including Henry Cavill, Kellan Lutz, Luke Evans, and Isabel Lucas. Tarsem and producers Gianni Nunnari (300), Mark Canton (300), and Ryan Kavanaugh (The Fighter) unleash an epic tale of treachery, vengeance, and destiny in Immortals, a stylish and spectacular adventure. As a power-mad king razes ancient Greece in search of a legendary weapon, a heroic young villager rises up against him in a thrilling quest as timeless as it is powerful. Immortals stars Henry Cavill (Superman: Man of Steel), Stephen Dorff (Public Enemies), Isabel Lucas (Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen), Freida Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire), Luke Evans (Robin Hood), Kellan Lutz (Twilight series), with John Hurt (Hellboy), and Mickey Rourke (Iron Man 2). Esplanade Ballroom
4:00-5:00 The Griff: A Graphic Novel by Christopher Moore and Ian Corson— Christopher Moore (New York Times bestselling author of thirteen novels, including Fool, Bite Me, and the forthcoming Sacré Bleu) and co-author Ian Corson (award-winning screenwriter and director whose credits include Bloodline and Starting Five) discuss their new graphic novel, The Griff, with moderator Michael Spradlin (author of It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Zombies). Art from The Griff, illustrated by Jennyson Rosero, will be previewed. Also a Q&A with the authors, some free stuff, and hijinks. Come and enjoy! Room 104
4:00-5:00 IDW: Godzilla: The Return to Comics— Entering a new decade, the King of the Monsters is ready to take on the world once again, and IDW is reintroducing this classic icon to readers everywhere. IDW’s editorial team and panelists discussi what it’s like to bring Godzilla back to comic book stores and what fans can expect from the smashing variety of series. This is the place to get the latest Earth-shaking news about Godzilla and the other monsters appearing in the comics, plus some insight on what it took to bring Godzilla back in one of the most successful comic launches ever! If you love Godzilla like these guys do, then don’t miss this one! Room 254/256
8:30-11:00 WonderCon Masquerade— In recognition of the importance and the fun of costuming, WonderCon again presents its Saturday night Masquerade costume competition. Not a dance or party as the name might imply, it is a show on a stage, featuring theater-style lighting, enhanced sound, and large video screens displaying great close-up views. Some costumes will be re-created from the genres listed above; others will be completely original designs from the clever imaginations of our attendees. The event is free to participate in or to attend (while space is available); only a WonderCon badge valid for Saturday or a 3-day badge is needed. Doors will open for audience seating at 8:00 PM, and the event will run approximately two hours. DYLAN DOG: DEAD OF NIGHT will debut
exclusive footage during the Ball. Esplanade Ballroom
Sunday – April 3
11:30-12:15 Doctor Who— WonderCon presents the world’s first look at the new season of BBC AMERICA’s hit series Doctor Who, with guest writer Neil Gaiman (Coraline, The Sandman), actor Mark Sheppard (Supernatural, Battlestar Galactica) and director Toby Haynes (Doctor Who, Being Human), live on stage for a discussion and Q&A, lead by Chris Hardwick (Nerdist). Doctor Who is coming to America in a spectacular two-part season premiere on BBC AMERICA. Part one, “The Impossible Astronaut,” premieres Saturday, April 23 at 9/8c. The mysterious time traveler, the Doctor (Matt Smith), and his companions Amy (Karen Gillan) and Rory (Arthur Darvill), find themselves on a secret summons that takes them on an adventure from the desert in Utah — right to the Oval Office in 1969. The two-parter is penned by lead writer and executive producer Steven Moffat (Sherlock, Jekyll), with Mark Sheppard as guest star. The new season features an episode written by Neil Gaiman and Alex Kingston (ER, Flash Forward) returns as the irrepressible River Song. Last year, Doctor Who delivered record ratings for BBC AMERICA and was the #3 top selling TV series on the iTunes Store in the U.S. Esplanade Ballroo
12:15-1:00 Stars of Terra Nova— Jason O’Mara (Life on Mars), Stephen Lang (Avatar), executive producer Brannon Braga (Star Trek), and executive producer/director Alex Graves (Fringe, The West Wing) bring fans a glimpse inside Terra Nova, the highly-anticipated epic adventure 85 million years in the making, which has a special 2-hour preview this May on FOX. Moderated by Entertainment Weekly’s Jeff “Doc” Jensen, the cast and executive producers will discuss the initial 27-day shoot in Australia, bringing prehistoric Earth and its inhabitants to the small screen, creating the year 2149 on a dying planet, and the massive undertaking of bringing Terra Nova to life. Join Jason, Stephen, Brannon, and Alex for the panel discussion followed by an exclusive fan Q&A! Esplanade Ballroom
2:00-3:00 What’s Next in Indie Sci-Fi— The most innovative sci-fi movies aren’t from Hollywood, but from the exploding indie/DIY sci-fi film movement. Get a sneak peek at clips from upcoming indie sci-fi projects with filmmakers DJ Bad Vegan (In-World War), Henry Barrial (Pig), Tom Durham (The 95ers), and other special guests. Room 236
2:30-3:15 V Special Video Presentation and Cast/Producer Q&A— The Visitors take San Francisco! Fresh off the jaw-dropping second season finale of V, series star Elizabeth Mitchell (Lost) and a V executive producer will dish on the year that was — and will tease what is to come in the epic battle for survival between the Visitors and the human race. V is produced by HDFilms in association with Warner Bros. Television. Esplanade Ballroom
SKYBOUND BOOTH #401: In addition to Robert Kirkman’s original books including The Walking Dead and Invincible, the SKYBOUND booth will feature a preview edition of their first original, Witch Doctor by Brandon Seifert and Lukas Ketner and a new The Walking Dead hoodie. SKYBOUND is a division of Image Comics helmed by Robert Kirkman, who handpicks and publishes up-and-coming comic creators for publication and development. Below is a list of scheduled signings and panels, including Witch Doctor-related events.
FRIDAY, APRIL 1st
1:00pm-2:30pm – Witch Doctor signing with Brandon Seifert and Lukas Ketner, Booth #401
3:00pm-5:30pm – Kirkman Signing, Booth #401
5:00pm-6:00pm – Spotlight on Robert Kirkman Room 103
SATURDAY, APRIL 2nd
12:00pm-1:30pm – Kirkman Signing, Booth #401
2:00pm-3:00pm – Image Comics Show Panel with Brandon Seifet and Lukas Ketner, Room 104
3:00pm-4:00pm – Witch Doctor signing with Brandon Seifert and Lukas Ketner, Booth #401
4:30pm-6:00pm – Kirkman Signing, Booth #401
SUNDAY, APRIL 3rd
1:00pm-3:00pm – Witch Doctor signing with Brandon Seifert and Lukas Ketner, Booth #401
2:00pm-3:00pm The Kids Are All Right! Panel Room 104
3:30pm-5:00pm – Kirkman Signing, Booth #401
ARCHAIA BOOTH #521: Archaia’s booth at this year’s WonderCon will be home to exciting announcements from the award-winning publisher of such titles as Mouse Guard and Return of the Dapper Men. Friday will be kicked off with a huge display announcing Archaia’s collaboration with Relativity Media, the studio behind Immortals, the highly-anticipated 3D adventure film starring Henry Cavill (the new Superman in the upcoming film by Zack Snyder). Before the film’s November release, Archaia will publish a graphic novel anthology of Immortals in September, which expands upon the mythology of the film and introduces readers to a whole new layer of the story.
Archaia also has a strong horror title available, Feeding Ground. The graphic novel, published in both English and Spanish, follows a group of Mexican immigrants as they are chased by werewolves in the desert on their journey to America.
FRIDAY, APRIL 1st
5:00pm-6:00pm – The Archaia floor booth will be giving away 150 tickets to attendees for a one-hour autograph session with the film’s cast, which will happen on Saturday, April 2nd, from 5pm to 6pm in Room 100.
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