Comic-Con@Home: 5 Virtual Must-See Black-Focused Panels
In May 2020, San Diego Comic-Con announced that for the first time the convention would be held online. The transition from in-person panels and events to online forums is no surprise. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, all large scale events have either been put on hold or transitioned to virtual settings for the foreseeable future. While many are disappointed that they won’t get to meet-and-greet with their favourite stars in person, a lot of people are excited about the new set-up. We, for one, are over the moon and can “officially” check “visit Comic-Con” off of our bucket lists.
Nearly two weeks ago, Comic-Con released the official schedule programming for “Comic-Con@Home.”
If you’re interested in viewing the schedule for this years event, you can check it out here.
We had the chance to view the schedule and are excited to see the array of panels that will be hosted this year. Additionally, we are ecstatic to see the panels that are geared towards Black stories, entertainment and filmmaking. Keeping with our theme of celebrating all things melanin, we want to share the top 5 Black-focused panels that we are most excited about tuning into.
5. Harry Potter & Black Panther: Using Pop Culture to Become Superheroes IRL
Date and Time: Saturday, July 25 • 5:00pm – 6:00pm PT
Now, not everyone may agree with this statement but the Harry Potter franchise and Black Panther arguably have some of the largest fan bases in entertainment. Maybe they don’t, but we’ll leave it up to you to decide. Regardless of how you view them, we must acknowledge that they are immensely popular films. Their success, in part, is due to the very relatable messages that create the foundation of their stories.
The Pop Culture Hero Coalition (@SuperheroIRL) leads this panel with a discussion on how social justice issues form the backbone of superhero films. In this panel, they lead a discussion that analyzes how Black Panther, Harry Potter, and other superhero characters and stories inspire us to be “superheroes IRL.”
This panel includes Dr. Rheeda Walker (The Unapologetic Guide to Black Mental Health), Geoffrey Thorne (Black Panther’s Quest, The Librarians), Dr. Janina Scarlet (Harry Potter Therapy, Dark Agents), and educators Carrie Goldman (Bullied: What Every Parent, Teacher, and Kid Needs to Know About Ending the Cycle of Fear), Vanee Matsalia (BlerdGalaxy Magazine, Women in Comics International), and Brandon Matsalia (Women in Comics International), and moderator Chase Masterson (Star Trek: DS9, Doctor Who: Big Finish).
4. Blast Off with Disney+’s “The Right Stuff”
Date and Time: Saturday, July 25 • 1:00pm – 2:00pm PT
YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iyudS7OPIJM&feature=youtu.be
Alright, so this panel is not focused on Black entertainment; however, it is focused on sharing a project about an important story. Did we also mention that it is moderated by Dr. Mae C. Jemison?! Yes, the-first-Black-woman-in-space Mae C. Jemison!
Dr. Jemison moderates a panel with the cast of “The Right Stuff,” National Geographic’s first scripted Disney+ series. “The Right Stuff” takes a look at the newly-developed US space program. The series follows the journey of seven of the military’s best pilots as they become astronauts for the newly-formed NASA at the height of the Cold War. Throughout the series, these men compete against one another to become the first person in space. “These ordinary men achieve the extraordinary, inspiring America to turn towards a new horizon of ambition and hope.“
Although this series does not feature Mae C. Jemison or tell her story, the fact that she is moderating means that we get to hear her take on the show. If we’re lucky, perhaps hear about some of her fantastic adventures and incredible story.
3. Concept Artists of Television and Film: #drawingwhileblack
Date and Time: Saturday, July 25 • 4:00pm – 5:00pm PT
With COVID-19 giving us a lot of time on our hands, we have gotten the chance to dive into the world of Black art and Black artists. We have got to say that there are a lot of talented brothers and sisters out there who deserve to be recognized for their gifts.
This panel sheds light upon the talented people behind the scenes who develop concept art for television shows, movies, video games, and even the music industry. The panellists, Marco Nelor (concept artist, HBO’s Watchmen, Mortal Combat X, Army of the Dead), Michael Uwandi (concept artist, Star Trek: Picard, Supergirl, The Mandalorian), Phillip Boutte Jr. (costume concept artist, Black Panther, Masters of the Universe, Jungle Cruise), Raphael Phillips (concept artists, Jupiter’s Legacy, Black Panther, Red Dead Redemption), discuss the process it takes to develop concept art, as well as their experiences in the entertainment industry as a Black artist.
2. Wakanda, Forever! The Psychology Black Panther
Date and Time: Sunday, July 26 • 3:00pm – 4:00pm PT
YouTube link: https://youtu.be/S9Ehapb5vPAhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S9Ehapb5vPA&feature=youtu.be
It’s been over two years since Black Panther has come out and yet I still find myself shouting “Wakanda, Forever!” at random times during the day. If you find yourself doing so as well, then maybe this is the panel for you.
In this panel, Scott Jordan (Westworld psychology), Alex Simmons (Blackjack), Victor Dandridge, Jr. (Vantage Inhouse Productions), Daniel Jun Kim (Black Panther psychology), Vanessa Hintz (Joker psychology), Eric Wesselmann (Wonder Woman psychology), and Stanford Carpenter (Institute of Comic Scholars) discuss the psychological topics addressed in Black Panther. It is through discussing topics such as cultural representation, microaggressions, and leadership, that they hope to answer the question “what do people mean when they say ‘Wakanda, Forever’?“
1. Afrofuturism: “Black to the Future 3(D): Real A.F.”
Date and Time: Saturday, July 25 • 6:00pm – 7:00pm PT
YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CXRzF8I7_H4&feature=youtu.be
Speaking of Black Panther, there has been a lot of questions surrounding the diversity in Hollywood, and whether it has increased since Black Panther’s release. There is no doubt that Black Panther is referred to as the pinnacle of integration between Black Hollywood and mainstream culture; however, since its release, we haven’t seen anything like it.
This panel asks the question “what has Hollywood done to promote diversity lately?” Was Black Panther the dawn of a new era in Hollywood or was it an anomaly? Are Black producers, directors, and writers being invited onto large scale Hollywood productions, or are they still only allowed to work on independent projects? Join Erika Alexander (Living Single), Tim Russ (Star Trek: Voyager), Denys Cowan (The Boondocks), Kevin Grevioux (Underworld), professor Ajani Brown (San Diego State University), and Rico Anderson (The Orville), and moderator Jimmy Diggs (Star Trek: Voyager) as they answer these important questions.
What are you most looking forward to at ComicCon@Home?
Got any panel recommendations that you think we should check out? Share your thoughts below!
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