Comic-Con International is fast approaching, and while many attendees might be focussed on the panels about film and television, the comic book content -- a requisite of any self-described comic convention -- shouldn't be ignored. The panels this year at Comic-Con look incredibly exciting, offering fans a chance to see what will be coming in the next few years in the Marvel and DC Universes, but also a look at various others outside of the Big Two.
This guide narrows down the essential panels from the convention's exhaustive list to give you an informative and varied list of "must sees."
IDW and Hasbro: Transformers: A Bold New Universe (July 18, 10 AM - 11 AM, Room 29AB)
Want more Robots in Disguise? This IDW panel, celebrating on the 35-year legacy of Hasbro's Transformers franchise, will explore both the past and future of Transformers in comics.
The panel, hosted by talented artists, writers and industry heads will also discuss multiple new Transformers titles and promises a few surprise appearances.
Creating Kickass Comic Book Women (July 18, 1 PM - 2 PM, Room 25ABC)
There are several panels at Comic-Con on how to write and draw comics, but this particular one covers how to create memorable women in the medium -- something the industry historically hasn't done enough of.
Hosted by several industry writers (including Alpha Girl Comics', Amy Chu), this panel will examine the creative process that gave rise to iconic female characters like Captain Marvel and Red Sonja.
Batman and the Secret Origin of Bill Finger (July 18, 4 PM - 5 PM, Room 23ABC)
For years, writer Bob Kane was the only person credited for the creation of Batman, despite the important work artist Bill Finger contributed that shaped the character early on. In this panel, industry insiders reflect on the unsung legacy of Bill Finger and how he helped create the Caped Crusader as we know him today.
The panel is a Q&A with Marc Tyler Nobleman, whose nine-year campaign to add Bill Finger to Batman's credit line led to the creation of the critically-acclaimed documentary, Batman & Bill.
DC Nation (July 19, 11:15 AM - 12:15 PM, Room 6DE)
This returning panel will be hosted, once more, by DC publisher Dan DiDio. DC Nation will delve into the behind-the-scenes goings-on of DC Comics at the moment with a team of the company's biggest and brightest talent.
DC comics readers, or regular comic book readers in general, won't want to skip this one, which will no doubt generate some big, news-worthy announcements.
Excelsior! Remembering Stan Lee (July 19, 12 PM - 1 PM, Room 28DE)
As is to be expected, there are several tribute panels to the legendary Stan Lee. This particular panel is more worthy of note than others because it features a host of Lee's coworkers and contemporaries, including Marv Wolfman and Paul Levitz, who should be able to offer personal and unique perspectives on the man behind the myth.
Marvel Comics #1000 Revealed: A This Week in Marvel Special Event (July 19, 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM, Room 5AB)
Marvel #1000 looks to be one of the biggest comics to come out of Marvel in some time. This special panel will offer fans an exclusive inside look at the landmark upcoming issue.
The panel will feature Ryan Penagos and C. B. Cebulski (Marvel's VP and Editor-in-Chief, respectively) and a whole host of creatives as they dig into the issue and celebrate Marvel's 80th anniversary.
Marvel Comics: Spider-Man (July 19, 1:30 PM - 2:30 PM, Room 5AB)
If you want to know what the future of the Marvel Universe has in store for its ever-popular web-slinger in particular, then this Spider-focussed panel is the place for you.
Hosting it will be a stellar group of Spider-Man editors and writers who will discuss the future of the web-head's universe, from Ghost Spider's further involvement with the Marvel Universe to the nightmarish Absolute Carnage event.
DC: Summoning Nightmares in Horror Comics (July 19, 4:15 PM - 5:15 PM, Room 6DE)
DC's horror comics are the birthplace of some of the publisher's most iconic characters and stories, such as Swamp Thing. This panel will feature a host of new creators as they discuss the plans to expand DC's horror universe, bringing fans new nightmares that are sure to enrich the comic landscape forever.
If you need a break from the usual capes and tights stuff, this is the panel for you.
EC Comics 75th Anniversary (July 19, 6:30 PM - 7:30 PM, Room 24ABC)
EC Comics might not be as mainstream a company as DC or Marvel, but the label left an undeniable impact on comic books and Western culture in general.
This panel will reflect on EC's complicated history and the number of creative individuals their comics of macabre and dread helped inspire.
Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards (July 19, 8 PM - 10:30 PM, Indigo Ballroom, Hilton San Diego Bayfront)
Celebrating literary and artistic excellence in the media of sequential art, the Eisner Awards are the Academy Awards of the comic book industry, and required viewing for any and all comic fans who want to celebrate the best the art form has to offer.
This year's nominees include superstar writers, Tom King, in five categories, and Chip Zdarsky, in two categories; while Image Comics dominates the Best New Series category.
Kodansha and Vertical: Battle Angel Alita, Bakemonogatari, Sailor Moon, and Other Astounding Manga (July 20, 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM, Room 8)
For something outside of the Western comics' canon, join manga publisher Kodansha in this industry panel as it explores future titles it hope to license and distribute in 2020 and beyond, as well as reflect on some of its most successful Japanese comics, including iconic magical girl series, Sailor Moon.
The Super Heroes of DC (July 20, 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM, Room 6DE)
Saturday might belong to Marvel Studios in Hall H, but this panel will celebrate the best its long-time frenemy, DC Comics has to offer. This panel will feature some of the best creative talent behind DC's most iconic characters and stories discussing how they put their own stamp on the company's fan-favorite heroes and villains.