Let's Meet at Comic-Con! SDSU Faculty, Students and Alumni are in the house

Comics@SDSU at Comic-Con, International 2023

Researchers from across colleges and within the Center for Comics Studies at San Diego State University will share their knowledge — and the stage — at the annual San Diego Comic-Con. Scientists, artists, librarians, and historians will come together to showcase research on topics of social and racial justice, activism, science, and academics, all tied to comics.

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Comic-Con Panels Featuring SDSU-affiliated panelists

Thursday, July 20, 2023

The Last of Us explores a post-apocalyptic world where the Cordyceps fungus has evolved and can turn humans into its zombie-like hosts. But it’s all just fiction, right? We’ve gathered a panel of experts to help us understand whether a fungal apocalypse is truly possible and to answer some burning questions like: How does a fungus turn something into a zombie? Can climate change make us more susceptible to disease and infection? What exactly did the green grape say to the purple grape? Join us as we do a survivor run into the science of the Last of Us. Featuring fungi expert Justin Schaffer, ecologist Earyn McGee (Find That Lizard, IF/THEN), biomedical engineer Ana Maria Porras (IF/THEN), forest ecologist Lyndsey Rustad (IF/THEN), public health expert Kari Sant, and science education expert, Lisa Lundgren (Cosplay For Science). Moderated by science communicator Gabriel Santos (Cosplay for Science, STEAMpopNetwork).
Room: Omni Hotel, Omni Grand Ballroom DE, 4th Floor 
Responding to graphic novel and manga challenges is not just a job for lawyers; everyone can make a difference in their local communities and beyond. In this panel, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund will share practical strategies for us all to work together to protect the comic arts. Among the presenters is Mary Stout (lecturer, SDSU).
Room 11
San Diego State University faculty and students from the Center for Comics Studies discuss the ways in which comics pedagogy can intersect with the student experience. Pamela Jackson (comic arts curator; co-director of the Center for Comics Studies) and Dr. Elizabeth Pollard (professor of History; co-director of the Center for Comics Studies) discuss a digital exhibit called the Sound of Comics with Grace deVega (History and Political Science ‘23) and the creation of a Comic Arts Club with Fawaz Qashat (senior, Biology major). Neil Kendricks (artist/adjunct lecturer) showcases student-created comics for a campus anthology called Word Balloons with BreannaNana” Rohde (Multimedia Art ‘23) and Bradley Medina (senior, Studio Art major).
Room: Shiley Special Events Suite, San Diego Central Library 

The comics memoir, as a genre, has its own story to tell, from Justin Green's Binky Brown Meets the Holy Virgin Mary and its progeny (Crumb, Kominski, Spiegelman, Pekar) to the Weirdo days of Tyler, Gloeckner, Seda, and Fleener, to the YA memoir bestsellers of today. Jim Thompson (People's History of Comics; 2021 Eisner judge), Carol Tyler (writer/artist, Soldier's Heart: The Campaign to Understand My WWII Veteran Father: A Daughter's Memoir), Dan Santat (author/illustrator, A First Time for Everything), and Pamela Jackson (comic arts curator; co-director of the Center for Comics Studies, San Diego State University) discuss the past, present, and future of autobiographical comics and the creative process in making them.
Room 29AB

Kari Sant: Come learn some science in a fun, approachable environment, while diving in to discuss one of this year’s most popular TV shows!

Fawaz Qashat: You should come to our panel to learn just how important comics are to education and the student experience.

Neil Kendricks: Attendees will discover how educators are developing powerful, interactive strategies to engage students in learning about comics and the art of visual storytelling from the inside out.

Friday, July 21, 2023

This panel assembles directors and founders of university-level programs and centers for comics studies to discuss the challenges they've encountered and the successes they've achieved in bringing the formal study of comics to universities nationwide. Panelists include Dr. Elizabeth Pollard (professor of History; co-director of the Center for Comics Studies), Pamela Jackson (comic arts curator; co-director of the Center for Comics Studies), Susan Kirtley (professor of English, Portland State University), Travis Langley (professor of psychology, Henderson State University) and Kate Kelp-Stebbins (professor of English, University of Oregon).
Room: Shiley Special Events Suite, San Diego Central Library 
Kumeyaay elders and historians Ethan Banegas Luiseno Kumeyaay (American Indian studies, SDSU; historian, San Diego History Center), Michael Connolly Miskwish Campo Kumeyaay Nation (Kumeyaay historian), Lorraine Orosco Kumeyaay-Ipai (education executive direct for San Pasqual Band of Indians), and Stanley Rodriguez Kumeyaay (instructor of Kumeyaay language and director of the board at the Kumeyaay Community College) have teamed up with Jen Shannon (program manager and curator, National Museum of the American Indian), John Swogger (archaeologist and comics creator), and Jewyl Alderson (innovation division, San Diego County Office of Education) to develop a community-engaged comic that speaks from the perspective of the Kumeyaay people, on whose land Comic-Con is held every year. This comic is a way to tell stories of Kumeyaay people from past to present and engage with their own communities, schools, and beyond. Hear more about how tribal historians are driving the work of this visual storytelling project as a creative team brings it to life. Find out about opportunities to engage locally and access tools you can use to dive into a similar project with your community!
Room 29AB
The Star Wars series Andor speaks powerfully to today’s audience about fighting oppression. Examining the first season of the Disney+ series, we will explore the motivations and actions of Cassian Andor, Mon Mothma, Luthen Rael and other characters as they put it all on the line to resist and rebel against the Empire. What type of people are drawn to stand up to tyranny? How do individual dissenters start forming movements? When can you fight inside the system, and when do you have to fight from the outside? Why does this show resonate so well at this time? Join our panel of experts - psychologists, historians, political scientists, and more - as we tackle the nature of the fight to restore freedom to the galaxy. Dr. Drea Letamendi (clinical psychologist, host of the Arkham Sessions podcast), Desmond Hassing (lecturer on Indigenous Representation in Popular Media at SDSU American Indian Studies Dept, PhD candidate Theater and Dance, UC San Diego), J. Dianne Dotson (sci-fi author, science writer, biologist), Jake Rowlett (Film Geography PhD candidate SDSU), Robert A. Dagnall (MA candidate in Rhetoric & Writing Studies / Instructor, SDSU, and BA Anthropology / English, UC Berkeley).
Room 7AB 

Breanna Rohde: I will showcase the process and storytelling elements of my three published comics, from my last semester at SDSU as a multimedia art major.

Bradley Medina: If you’re interested in comics, art, or how a new generation of artists are being taught comic work, come check out the panel! My coursework in studio art at SDSU is dedicated to creating comics.

Pamela Jackson: Come to any of my five panels if you’re interested in learning more about comics in education.

Saturday, July 22, 2023

This session discusses data collected from a two-year grant-funded project from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) that explores librarian and instructional faculty needs and perceptions of using comics in higher education, the role of academic libraries in providing support for scholarly engagement with comics, and how well libraries meet the needs of their scholarly comics communities when it comes to comics that address social issues. Pamela Jackson (San Diego State University), Dr. Elizabeth Pollard (San Diego State University), Karen Green (Columbia University), and Moni Barrette (president, American Library Association Graphic Novels and Comics Roundtable) will share recommendations for educators, librarians and administrators interested in bolstering comics education and scholarly engagement.
Room: Room 26AB
“‘Sound of Comics’ Digital Exhibit” Grace deVega, (San Diego State University).
Room 26AB
Comics aren’t just vehicles for great stories and pictures — they’re also powerful tools for changing the world! In this program, Pamela Jackson (popular culture librarian and co-director of the Center for Comics Studies at San Diego State University), Elizabeth Pollard (history professor and co-director of the Center for Comics Studies at San Diego State University), and Betsy Gomez (American Library Association Office for Intellectual Freedom) will lead a discussion of the ways in which comics have been used to address civil rights and social issues since their inception and how they’re still being used to address contemporary issues such as censorship, racism, LGBTQ+ rights, and more.
Room: Shiley Special Events Suite, San Diego Central Library 
Together, creators, publishers, comic shop owners, teachers, and library workers have brought greater acceptance to comics and fan culture. Take a break from hectic convention life to experience “speed dating”style networking with diverse comics enthusiasts from all backgrounds. Guests include: Alex Antone (Skybound Entertainment), Heather Antos (IDW Publishing), Vince Alvendia (Egg Drop Ramen Studios), Matthew Atherton (CSUSM), Moni Barrette (2023 Eisner judge and SDSU Freshman Success Lecturer), David M. Booher (Killer Queens), J.M. Brandt (Swamp Dogs: House of Crows), Cherish Chen (Massive-Verse), Barbra Dillon (Fanbase Press), Andi Dukleth (Accidental Aliens), Kyle Higgins (Massive-Verse), Phil Jimenez (Wonder Woman Historia), Nikita Kannekanti (Legendary Comics), Mathias Lewis (Knowhere Games & Comics), Hannah Rose May (Rogues' Gallery), Don Nguyen (Zoo Magnet Inc.), Alonso Nunez (Little Fish Comic Book Studio), Morgan Perry (Skybound Entertainment), Jack Phoenix (comics librarian), Jimmy Purcell (A3 Publishing), Erin Snider (Creators Assemble!), Charlie Stickney (White Ash), and Zoe Thorogood (Rain).
Room: Marriott Marquis Marina D  

Beth Pollard: Come to my panels if you want to learn about exciting ways to teach with comics and what’s happening with university-level centers for comics studies across the country!

Jake Rowlett: If you watched the first season of Andor and felt compelled by its characters and their motivations, you will have a blast at this panel!

Desmond Hassing: Desmond Hassing

Sunday, July 23, 2023

What kind of justice is served in comics? How does comic justice reflect and influence justice in the world beyond the page? Many comics reinforce the idea that the legal system equals justice, but comics are also cultural sites where real-world problems with the policing and prison industrial complex can be explored. Comics have a complicated relationship with the justice system that both draws on racist tropes of urban areas as sites of danger and also creates opportunities for beloved heroes and anti-heroes to emerge from these settings. Kendall "Boo Boo" Howse (Frameshift Consulting) discusses depictions of urban and BIPOC crime realities from a middle-class white imagining and how these justify extrajudicial punishment as justice. Diana Leong (San Diego State University) explores racial memory and retribution through the character of Black Adam. Cathy Thomas (University of California, Santa Barbara) provides a genealogy of justice for Black women from Pattie Jo ‘N’ Ginger to Bitch Planet. Leila Whitley (University of California, San Diego) presents critiques of patriarchy and carcerality in Bitch Planet. Jess Whatcott (San Diego State University) moderates.
Room 26AB
Are you tired of logging into a new game and finding dozens of Eurocentric characters, while offering only one Black male and one Black female character? Meet the BlackDevs, who are throwing some color into the game. They're about to do to the gaming industry what we've done to entertainment, sports, and medicine. Game must recognize game! Panelists will discuss emerging technologies in the gaming industry and how they will uniquely impact the Pan-African Diaspora. Panelists include Dr. Kishonna Gray, Ph.D. (associate professor, University of Kentucky, writing, rhetoric, digital studies, author of Instructional Tech), Carl Varnado (writer, consultant, Need For Speed Unbound, Street Fighter 6, Wylde Flowers), and Jabari Alii (Oakland site director, The Hidden Genius Project; game designer, The Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners Chapter 2: Retribution), HipHopGamer ("GOAT of Game Creators"; industry leader where the culture of Hip Hop meets games). Professor Ajani Brown, MFA (lecturer, Africana Studies Department, academic senator, San Diego State University) will introduce the participants. The moderator and panel organizer is Jimmy Diggs (original content producer, Screenwriter Star Trek: Voyager, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine).
Room 25ABC
Humans have been fascinated with the potential to gain superpowers for generations. Join a panel of scientific experts for a Q&A about the real-life science behind superhuman abilities. Would a lab accident really transform your DNA? Is it possible to harness regenerative powers from the animal kingdom? Could a mutation make you telekinetic? Hear about the up to date science and technology bringing humanity closer to becoming superheroes (and potentially supervillains). Melissa T. Miller (STEAMpop Network, Star Warsologies) moderates a panel of experts that includes Lataisia Jones, PhD (neuroscientist), Erika Anderson, MS (reliability engineer), Michelle Nolasco, Ph.D. (science communication consultant, SDSU), Ester Kwon, Ph.D. (nanoscale bioengineer, UCSD), and Catherine Schrankel, Ph.D. (cell biologist, SDSU).
Grand 10 & 11, Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina

Robert Dagnall:We will show you new ways to think about Star Wars and about conflicts of all kinds — from intergalactic to interpersonal.

Jess Whatcott: We have a great line-up of comic book nerds who also think deeply about the politics of race and gender in relation to policing and prisons.

Catherine Schrankel: Catherine Schrankel