Starting today, a handful of successful—and fan-favorite—SVA animators, illustrators and authors will join the throngs of anime enthusiasts, sci-fi heads, superhero super fans, cosplayers, collectors and influencers to celebrate all things comics at Comic-Con International: San Diego. The annual, four-day convention is the biggest of its kind in the world and now showcases a vast swath of pop culture and entertainment across multiple media and genres, from television to video games to webcomics and depicting everything from adventure to fantasy to coming-of-age stories.
Particularly notable for those in attendance this year is a focus on the transformative and inclusive potential of the comics art form, especially the graphic novel. Nate Powell (BFA 2000 Cartooning) will present on a panel called The Human Condition: Connecting Humanity with Graphic Novels, discussing how the medium can tackle complex events and histories. Powell is best known for the National Book Award-winning March, a three-volume graphic-memoir of civil rights hero and U.S. Congressman John Lewis; he’ll be signing copies of March as well as debuting his new book, Come Again.
Molly Ostertag (BFA 2014 Cartooning), author of the award-winning middle-grade graphic novel The Witch Boy, will be busy, participating in six panels throughout the weekend as well as signing her books. Her sessions focus on creating comics for children and YA audiences, with special emphasis on LGBTQ graphic novels and writing positive female characters. Raina Telgemeier (BFA 2002 Illustration) will team up with Ostertag for a couple of panels (they also share a publisher), including Using Graphic Novels to Help Cope with Bullying and How to Create (and Survive) a Successful Graphic Novel Series. Basing her books on her own early teen experiences, Telgemeier will also discuss creating autobiography and memoir in children’s graphic novels.
Much-lauded for its encouragement and elevation of acceptance and inclusivity, the hit animated show Steven Universe, created and helmed by Rebecca Sugar (BFA 2009 Animation), has two dedicated panels this year. One, in classic Comic-Con fashion, will feature Steven Universe cast members and Sugar sharing insights about the show and announcing (or at least teasing) upcoming developments. The other is a conversation about the importance of body positivity and empowerment, two of the show’s big themes.
Fellow animation star Dana Terrace (BFA 2013 Animation) will be taking a break from working on her new show Owl House (set to premiere next year) to sign for Gravity Falls: Lost Legends with Disney Publishing. Former editor-in-chief of Marvel Knights Joe Quesada (BFA 1984 Media Arts) will co-host a conversation celebrating the imprint’s 20th anniversary and its impact on current Marvel endeavors, while Dan Cooney (BFA 1998 Cartooning and former faculty member) will talk about his experiences creating trading cards for favorite franchises, like Star Wars: Rogue One.