Pipeline, Issue #475 - Part One


Welcome to a special Monday edition of Pipeline.

This week is the big San Diego marathon comic book convention. The numbers are enormous. The crowds are immense. (And sweaty.) The parade of talent is never-ending. And the Padres are away after a Wednesday afternoon game that my flight will most likely be delayed just long enough to cause me to miss. Ah, yes, the travelogue! I can't wait to bring that to you.

I'll be updating Pipeline from San Diego throughout the convention. Come back here every morning from Thursday through Sunday, and then back again for the usual column on Tuesday to start wrapping it all up.

We're also working on some form of podcasting during the trip with more sounds from the con floor. We'll see how the equipment holds up for that one. CBR will, of course, bring you full wall-to-wall coverage of the convention as it happens. Check back here for all the news updates throughout the weekend. Go ahead -- melt our servers again.

For now, though, it's all about the preparation for the convention. I don't go overboard in setting up meetings, interviews, and all the rest. I get the "easy" job of just being the fan on the floor and talking about everything and everyone I see along the way. That said, there's still lots of stuff to work out ahead of time: what equipment to bring with me (the iRiver or the Olympus for audio recording?), what comics need to get signed, and what panels do I want to attend. The latter one is what we'll look at today, going day to day.

It's a looooooong list of panels, and I'm thankful that the Comic-Con organizers gave us a full couple of weeks to sort through it all. I can't possibly discuss everything here, so be sure to check out the schedules on the linked pages if you'll be there this week.

In fact, the final round-up took up so much space that we're splitting this week's column in half and looking at the Thursday and Friday schedule today, and the Saturday and Sunday schedule tomorrow, on the usual Tuesday slot.

But first, take a look at this entry for Sunday:

11:30-1:00 Comics Podcasting -- Meet the faces behind the names of some of the web's most popular comic book podcasts. Find out what it takes to do a podcast and why they do it. Moderated by comics writer B. Clay Moore (Battle Hymn, Hawaiian Dick), the panel will feature podcasters Josh Flanagan (iFanboy.com), Bryan Deemer (Comic Geek Speak), Scott Hinze (Fanboy Radio), Lene Taylor (I Read Comics), Joe Gonzalez (Comic News Insider), John Siuntres (Word Balloon), Chris Marshall (Collected Comics Library), Charly La Greca (Indie Spinner Rack), Jose Brito (Los Comic Geekos), and Augie de Blieck Jr. (Comic Book Resources Pipeline). Room 8

That's right -- my annual panel appearance revolves around comics podcasting, following my previous entry on panels about comics blogging and comics reviewing on-line. What's next? I always promised never to inflict comics video blogging on you fine people, but I might have to buckle under the pressure to do it if I want to be invited onto ANY panel next year. It's hard work to stay ahead of the curve.

Now, then, let's start at the top:

10:30-11:30 DC Comics Legacy: U.S. Postal Service First Day Stamp Issue -- DC Comics president and publisher Paul Levitz and some of the greatest comic book artists of all time will participate in a ceremony dedicated to the official unveiling of the DC Comics Superheroes commemorative postage stamps... Room 5AB

This is a nice way to start off the convention. Once again, comics goes "mainstream" and I'm sure lots of people will be picking these stamps up at their local post offices in no time. Sadly, since I'm only halfway through the last roll I bought a few months ago, I doubt I'll be one of them. With on-line bill payments, who needs stamps anymore?

11:00-1:00 Comic Book Law School 101: "Let's Start at the Beginning" -- A very good place to start . . . to start learning how to protect your intellectual property rights, that is. Learn the basics of copyright and trademark law in this popular interactive lecture series brought to you by noted attorney Michael Lovitz, author of The Trademark and Copyright Book comic book (and the forthcoming Trademark, Licensing and Copyright Book graphic novel). This first workshop will cover the basics of protection and ownership of ideas, characters, and names from their point of creation forward... Room 3

This is one of those panels that pops up every year, and really bums me out. I know it's a much-needed and good thing to have for aspiring creators, but there's the kid in me that wishes all this magic happened behind closed doors without the need for copyrights and trademarks and all the rest. Why can't people just create a comic and publish it?

Trust me, I know all the reasons for it. You need to protect yourself and your creative interests. It's just a little sad that it has to be done, is all. We're at the point now where creators won't mention the names of their projects out loud until they make sure they have the domain name reserved for its website.

11:00-12:30 Margaret Kerry Voice Actor Tryouts -- Margaret Kerry was a Little Rascal, the rotoscope model for Disney's Tinker Bell, a dancer and choreographer in MGM musicals, the lady lips for Clutch Cargo, and a prominent voice actor in such animations as Clutch Cargo, Space Angel, Captain Fathom, and The New Three Stooges. Margaret gives audience members a chance to test their voice acting skills. Do you have what it takes to work in the voice-acting field? Room 4

Every year I make note of the panel that sounds like this one. I haven't made it to one yet. Now that I'm an official "comics podcaster," maybe I should do it just for the story it might give me to tell on a future podcast.

12:30-1:30 Spotlight on Brian Bolland -- One of both Britain's and the comics world's most respected artists, Brian Bolland is best known for his incredible covers here in the U.S.... Room 5AB

This might be interesting, if only to hear Bolland discuss his transition to digital comics creation. He does all those intricate covers on his computer with a Wacom tablet nowadays, you know. (I dropped the mouse a few years ago and use Wacom tablet for all my pointer device needs now, too.)

12:30-2:00 Coloring for Comics: Advanced Coloring Techniques -- Here's your chance to ask the pros what process they use to color your favorite comics. [...] Featured colorists will be David Baron (Firestorm, Stormwatch), Jeromy Cox (Catwoman, Teen Titans, DMZ), Patrick McEvoy (The Gatesville Company), Alex Sinclair (Wonder Woman, 52), Snakebite (The Red Star), and Dave Stewart (Hellboy, Conan). Room 8

That's a heck of a lineup, but it might create problems. Having six different colorists up there with, likely, six different methods to color a page might confuse the matter. On the other hand, this is clearly labeled an "advanced" session, so hopefully it won't confuse people.

If you've never seen a comic book colorist work live before, do yourself a favor and check this panel out. They work magic on the computer screen, and you'll have all new respect for the job they do after you've seen what it takes to get there.

1:00-2:00 Andrew Pepoy's Professional Networking Seminar -- Room 3

They do this panel every year. Do you know anyone who's ever gone to it?

1:00-2:00 Rosario Dawson: Occult Crimes Taskforce -- Rosario Dawson, star of Sin City and Clerks 2, will be joined by her creative team members David Atchison and Tony Shasteen, as well as 12 Gauge Comics' Keven Gardner (The Ride), for a Q&A session about their debut comic series, Occult Crimes Taskforce! Room 6B

I really would like to be more excited about this. Dawson is not just a Hollywood prima donna trying to use her name to sell a friend's comic. She actually knows comics, and her intentions seem pure enough. But I've read the first issue -- it's not very good. Too bad.

1:00-2:30 Comic Arts Conference Session #3: Comics...When Pictures and Words Collide! -- Explore three unique and valuable perspectives on comics, from concept to creation to publication. Famed author RC Harvey (The Art of the Comic Book; The Genius of Winsor McCay) provides insights into the dynamic process of combining art and text. Legendary artist Rick Geary (Graphic Classics; Victorian Murders) describes how he transforms novels and biographies into comics literature. And renowned graphic designer Chip Kidd (Book One; Batman Collected) reveals his book selection process as editor of Pantheon's graphic novel line. Noted writer Michael Dooley (The Education of a Comics Artist) moderates this profusely illustrated session. Room 7B

That sounds cool to me. I don't think I've ever seen Rick Geary in person outside of his Artists Alley table. Add in Chip Kidd and RC Harvey, and you've got a lot of brain power.

Sadly, it's also happening relatively early on the first day of the con. I'm usually still running around the con floor like a chicken with its head cut off at that point. I don't make it to many panels on Day One.

3:00-4:00 Authors and Audio Books: From the Page to the Microphone -- Scott Brick, Audie Award-winning narrator of such classic titles as Ender's Game, Fahrenheit 451, Foundation, and the popular Dune series, will discuss what it takes to translate classic science fiction adventure tales to the world of audiobooks. Also on the program will be authors Kevin J. Anderson (Hunters of Dune) and Marv Wolfman (Superman Returns novelization) to share comments (and inside stories) on Scott's interpretation of their work. Topics will include tips on breaking into the audiobook industry, translating the author's vision to a different medium, and practical advice on how to pronounce all those crazy, made-up words. Moderated by Dan Musselman, executive producer for Books on Tape/Random House Audio. Room 1B

My interest in this topic goes back to my podcasting experiences. This is another way in which to use your voice. There is a growing number of audio books being podcast out there today, so there will always be a need for more talent willing to read them in an interesting way. I haven't been able to latch onto one that excites me yet, but I like the concept and applaud those working on it. I imagine there are lessons to be learned from a panel about audio books that could be applied to podcasting.

3:00-4:30 Marvel Comics: Civil War -- The best-selling book of the new millennium has plunged the Marvel Universe into war, pitting friend against friend. Come in for a debriefing and get a sneak peek at what's to come from Joe Quesada and J. Michael Straczynski (Amazing Spider-Man), Paul Jenkins (Civil War: Front Line), Marc Guggenheim (Wolverine), Charles and Daniel Knauf (Iron Man), and many more! Also, surprise announcements from Jeph Loeb (Ultimates 3) and Frank Cho (New Avengers). Room 6A

This is the first of the Big Two panels that interests me. As I've said before, CIVIL WAR has sucked me in completely. I want to know more.

On the other hand, this is Comic Con. I'll likely find out more about what happened at the convention from reading the comics news web sites than I will on the con floor, itself. John C. Dvorak is a tech writer who doesn't attend CES anymore, because he doesn't think there's any need. All the magazines, news outlets, TV stations, etc. already have reporters on the floor. All you need to do is stay at home and browse through their sites to aggregate the news on your own. I wonder if we're there with San Diego yet. There will be a small army of websites, podcasts, and news outlets covering the con from every conceivable angle. You almost don't need to be there anymore to find out everything that happens.

With Lucasfilm not staging a Pavillion this year, you won't miss the nauseating smell, either.

3:30-4:30 The Sergio and Mark Show -- Yeah, it's them again. Sergio Aragonés, Mark Evanier, Stan Sakai, and Tom Luth give you this year's excuse for why there have been no new Groo comics, along with their usual promises that this condition will not persist for much longer. Plus other funny stuff. Room 8

This one makes my short list every year. Every year, I miss it. 2006 looks to be no exception, because look what it's up against:

4:00-5:00 Pinky and the Brain/Animaniacs -- It's a screening of a special feature from the Animaniacs Volume 1 DVD and the Pinky & the Brain Volume 1 DVD! Panelists participating in the Q&A include Maurice La Marche (voice of Brain and Squit Pigeon), Rob Paulsen (voice of Pinky and Yakko), Jess Harnell (voice of Wakko), Andrea Romano (voice director/casting director for both shows), Earl Kress (writer for both shows), Peter Hastings (writer for both shows), and Gordon Bressack (writer for both shows). Room 6B

My love for Animaniacs trumps GROO. Sorry, Mark and Sergio. I'll see you at the Quick Draw on Saturday, though! Evanier hosted a voice actors panel a couple of years ago where La Marche and Paulsen did a live reading of a PINKY AND THE BRAIN script. It's one of the most magical moments at the con I've ever had. I don't think I can skip this panel this year. I'm bringing my camera to this one for sure.

The DVDs of the show are released today. Maybe I'll have time to rip them to my iPod so I can catch up on the classics on my flight out. Here's hoping.

4:30-6:00 TwoMorrows Publishing/Comic Book Nerd -- See excerpts and outtakes from Pete Von Sholly's hilarious spoof of the fan press, Comic Book Nerd, in an exclusive video presentation! See the TwoMorrows editorial staff --John Morrow (Jack Kirby Collector), Mike Manley (DRAW!), Michael Eury (Back Issue!), Danny Fingeroth (Write Now!), and Eric Nolen-Weathington (Modern Masters) --exact their revenge on Pete for making fun of their mags! And learn about new and upcoming TwoMorrows publications in this multimedia extravaganza! Room 1A

Twomorrows has a great lineup of magazines done for fans by fans. OK, maybe the editors of all the magazines are editors and creators, themselves, but the work inbetween the covers certainly carries a lot of the infectious type of enthusiasm you'd get from fans.

COMIC BOOK NERD was a bad misfire, but the regular magazine publications -- and the MODERN MASTERS book series -- are worthy reads.

5:00-6:00 The Comic Art Prof Show: How to Create Successful Comics Page Layouts -- Young comic artists focus on learning to draw. Great comic artists master the page. Good page design brings clarity, rhythm, accent, and life to your comics. Starting with the basics, such as balloon placement and panel shapes, and stepping up to more advanced layout concepts, such as pacing and style, The Comic Art Prof (a.k.a. Christian Hill of the National Association of Comic Art Educators) will show you the processes professionals use in mainstream and alternative comics, manga, and Eurocomics to lay out impeccable and unforgettable pages. Room 3

Room 3 this year is set up in some sort of classroom setting. Think of Wizard's "school" lineup of panels at their conventions. It's one of their rare good ideas, and San Diego Comic Con is jumping all over it this year with some interesting topics. I'll be featuring a couple of more throughout this column.

It's also very nice to see an instructional art panel that plans to focus on balloon placement. Too many comic book artists get so caught up in their art that they forget there needs to be space for the dialogue to go.

6:00-7:00 Webcomics 101: Getting Started -- It's easy to make a webcomic, but hard to do it well. Bill Barnes (Unshelved) asks fellow web cartoonists Dave Kellett (Sheldon), Jon Rosenberg (Goats), Brian Fies (Mom's Cancer), and Phil Foglio (Girl Genius) why they went online and what artistic, business, and technological choices they made. Room 3

I've been thinking of webcomics a lot this year. Maybe it's a creative itch I have inside that bubbles to the surface every now and then. Maybe it's just a cheap source of more and more laughs. Maybe it's the success stories that are popping up with alarming regularity. Maybe it's just the excitement of a new medium being defined and refined in front of our eyes. I don't know, but it's got me thinking that this panel -- the first of many along a track of webcomics programming -- should be considered.

6:00-7:00 Scoring For Superheroes -- Join award-winning composers Kristopher Carter, Michael McCuistion, and Lolita Ritmanis (Teen Titans, Justice League Unlimited) for a rare behind-the-scenes look at music scoring for animation. This panel, moderated by journalist Jon Burlingame (Variety), will feature video clips, audio clips, and insider info about their upcoming projects. They will be joined by special guest Glen Murakami (Teen Titans), who will discuss their music for the Teen Titans series and upcoming DVD Teen Titans: Trouble In Tokyo. Q&A following! Find out more at www.dynamicmusicpartners.com. Room 6A

This is the first time I can remember seeing a scoring panel at San Diego. I listen to a lot of movie scores as background music while I check e-mail, surf websites, etc. I'm not sure I care all that much about TEEN TITANS, but the general topic piques my curiosity.

Odds are, though, that I'll be headed back to the hotel by the time this panel kicks off. I need to get stuff prepped for CBR and dinner and all the rest.

One night time programming note:

7:00-10:00 7th Annual Kung-Fu Superhero Extravaganza -- You've laughed six times. You've gasped six times. You've cheered six times. It's seven times lucky for the latest, maybe greatest, installment of World Martial Art Hall of Famer and Inside Kung-Fu magazine's movie master Ric Meyers's newest collection of scenes from the wildest and coolest Asian action flicks coming to a theater or DVD player near you. Freebies, too? Natch! Room 6A

Who needs dinner and socializing when you can cool Asian action for three hours inside? I know that sounds a little critical, but I love those crazy movies, even when the non-action scenes seem like barely-dried glue trying desperately to string together the action scenes.

10:30-11:30 Blank Label Comics -- The groundbreaking independent comics co-op offers a look at its unique recipe for success and explains why "webcomics" are dead. Moderated by the hosts of the popular Blank Label Comics podcast, Dave Kellett (Sheldon) and Kristofer Straub (Starslip Crisis), the panel will include David Willis (Shortpacked!), Paul Taylor (Wapsi Square), Howard Tayler (Schlock Mercenary), Steve Troop (Melonpool), and Brad Guigar (Evil Inc.). Room 1A

A year or two ago, Steve Troop would have been part of the Webcomics track of programming. Now, he's part of a panel declaring webcomics to be dead. This bears looking into.

10:30-11:30 Marvel: Spider-Man: Then and Now -- Welcome, True Believers, to a once-in-a-lifetime event! In one room for the first and only time, join the men who have influenced Spider-Man's life from the beginning and those who are shaping him into the man he is today: Stan Lee, Joe Quesada, and J. Michael Straczynski! Find out what went into creating the world's greatest superhero and what the future holds for the wall-crawler. Room 6A

I don't think I've ever seen Stan Lee on a panel before, but he has a couple this weekend. It'll be interesting to hear him talk about the unmasking and other recent events. I'm sure he'll do his best company shill stuff, but that'll still be fun!

11:30-12:30 Who Wants to Be a Superhero? -- SCI FI Channel has joined forces with Nash Entertainment (Meet My Folks, For Love or Money, Who Wants to Marry My Dad?) and legendary comic book creator Stan Lee, to present an all-new competition reality series that challenges a lucky few to create their very own superhero and reward the winner with the best reality competition prize yet: immortality! All contestants need is an original idea, a killer costume, and some real superhero mojo. The winner walks away with his or her superhero character immortalized in a new comic book from Dark Horse Comics created by Stan Lee himself! The winning superhero will also be featured in an original SCI FI Channel movie. [...] Panelists include Stan Lee, star/executive producer; Scott Satin, executive producer; and cast members Fat Momma, Cell Phone Girl, Major Victory, and Ty'Veculus. Room 6B

Ty'Veculus -- for when your mail has to be sent in an indestructible envelope!

This sounds like your best chance to be seen on a cable TV station in the next few months. I'm sure they're filming this for the grand finale of the series.

On the other hand, G4 has a booth and is promising live coverage of the con on Saturday morning, too. Set your TiVos now.

12:00-1:00 Scott McCloud's Making Comics -- Scott McCloud (Zot!, Understanding Comics) unveils his new book, Making Comics, in this fast-paced visual presentation. Scott and his whole family will be on hand to discuss one of the most ambitious promotional tours in comics history, the year-long Making Comics 50 State Tour beginning in September! Room 8

I said this in a recent PREVIEWS-laden comic and I'll say it again today: This has to be the most awaited book of the year. The first two still inform a lot of comics criticism today, mine included. I can't wait to see what McCloud has come up with now.

12:30-2:00 NBC: Heroes Pilot Screening and Q&A with Cast and Producers -- Debuting on NBC this fall, the highly anticipated series Heroes chronicles the lives of ordinary people who discover they possess extraordinary abilities. Be the first to watch an exclusive 72-minute cut of the pilot episode, created specifically for Comic-Con. Room 6CDEF

Half the cast will be there, along with Jeph Loeb (doing some producing work on the series) and Tim Sale. Greg Grunberg will be looking lost and thinking, "Where's J.J. Abrams? How did I end up on this show?"

12:30-1:30 Hey, Kids! Blogs About Comics! -- It seems like everybody has a blog these days, but here's a group of dedicated bloggers devoted to writing about comics and news about the comics industry. Moderator Heidi MacDonald (pwbeat.publishersweekly.com/blog/) talks to Tom Spurgeon (comicsreporter.com), Ron Hogan (mediabistro.com/galleycat), Graeme McMillan (blog.newsarama.com), Chris Butcher (comics.212.net/) and Tom McLean (weblogs.variety.com/bags_and_boards/) about the daily business of blogging, breaking news, and the comics world. Room 24A

I was on a comics blogging panel last year that was lambasted by some as misrepresenting comics bloggers, since all the bloggers on the dais were pro or semi-professional writers. Now, a comics retailer, an entertainment newspaper writer, a comic shop employee, a book magazine writer, a COMICS JOURNAL writer, and Graeme McMillan (writer for a blog at another comic book site) will correct that. (Sorry, I'm not familiar with MediaBistro, so I can't categorize that too neatly.)

In other words, six people who make their livings in whole or in part from comics will be talking about blogging comics, which is what got our group in trouble last year. (You can hear the whole panel here.)

It doesn't bother me, but I wonder where that outrage is this year?

1:30-2:30 J. Michael Straczynski on Writing -- One of the most prolific writers in comics (and TV, and movies!) sits down for an intimate discussion on the craft of writing. J. Michael Straczynski is a Comic-Con special guest once again this year. Please note: this is a classroom style setting and seating is extremely limited and available on a first come, first served basis. We do NOT clear the room between events. Room 3

I do sometimes wonder if I haven't already heard everything JMS has to say about writing. I've been listening to the man talk and reading what the man has been writing on the 'net about the topic of writing for almost a decade now. Yet I'm still oddly drawn to this class. Limited seating will likely scare me away.

2:00-3:00 Clickwheel: Comics for Your iPod -- It seems iPods are everywhere these days. They may be known for playing tunes, but did you know you can get comics for your iPod as well? Clickwheel's Tim Demeter (Reckless Life), Chad Diez (Today: The Comic), and Joe Alterio (365) are a few of the creators pushing comics from the racks to the iTunes music store, and beyond. [...] Room 1A

I just got my first iPod with video features on it. The picture quality is amazing. Don't know if that means I want to read comics on it, but I'm open to just about anything.

2:00-3:30 The Annual Jack Kirby Tribute Panel -- Every year, we remember the man they called "The King of the Comics" with a discussion of his life and times. On the panel this year are artists Neal Adams, George Pérez, John Romita, and Mike Royer, plus members of the Kirby family and a few surprises. Mark Evanier (who else?) moderates. Room 8

Mark Evanier has said on his blog that he'll be showing the video of the Johnny Carson/Jack Kirby clash at this panel. Honestly, I've never heard anything about the clash before this, but now I'm curious.

3:30-5:00 Spotlight on Robert Kirkman -- One of the hottest writers in comics today comes to Comic-Con as a special guest. Robert Kirkman's work on Invincible and The Walking Dead for Image Comics brought him industry-wide attention. For Marvel, Kirkman has written Marvel Team-Up and Marvel Zombies, and he is the writer of Ultimate X-Men and the upcoming Irredeemable Ant- Man. Join him for this special spotlight and Q&A session! Room 4

Kirkmania continues. I haven't heard Kirkman talk much at conventions or even on podcasts, so count me in for this one.

4:00-5:30 Bruce Timm Retrospective/Legion of Super Heroes -- Warner Bros. Animation president Sander Schwartz introduces a retrospective on the creativity of animation legend Bruce Timm (Batman Beyond, Superman: The Animated Series). Bruce will talk about his 20-year career, screen selected scenes from his body of work, and take part in a Q&A. Immediately following the Timm retrospective, Warner Bros. Animation presents a sneak peek at Legion of Super Heroes […] Room 20

In other words, this one is worth going to for the first half hour or so. Of course, Room 20 is across the open sails area and away from everything else happening at the con, so it'll depend on timing above all. (I can't believe I just complained about an extra thirty seconds of walking.)

4:00-4:15 Universal Home Video: King Kong Deluxe Extended DVD -- A sneak peek from the upcoming King Kong Deluxe Extended Edition DVD will be introduced by a message from director Peter Jackson. Hall H

This is the shortest panel at San Diego in history. While the movie turned out to be quickly forgotten, I have a feeling they'll have a large crowd for this quick video blip, above and beyond the people who just want to be sure to have seats for the next big panel, whatever it may happen to be.

4:30-5:30 Webcomics 102: Finding Your Audience -- When will your genius get the adulation it deserves? Bill Barnes (Unshelved) asks fellow web cartoonists Jerry "Tycho" Holkins and Mike "Gabe" Krahulik (Penny Arcade), Scott Kurtz (PvP), R. Stevens (Diesel Sweeties), and Kristofer Straub (Starslip Crisis) how they attract crowds online. Room 1B

This should be of interest to webcomics people, bloggers, and podcasters. Since I currently fall into two of those three categories, I'm strongly considering it.

5:00-6:00 The Art of Dan DeCarlo Room 9

I'll just buy the book, thanks.

5:45-7:00 New Line Cinema Presents Snakes on a Plane -- Sit back. Relax. Enjoy the fright. New Line Cinema will show exclusive footage from Snakes on a Plane. Samuel L. Jackson makes his first San Diego Comic-Con appearance, along with director David R. Ellis, to discuss his new film! And, watch out --snake wrangler Jules Sylvester will also be on hand with live snakes from the movie. [...] Hall H

This will be the single most crowded panel in the history of Comic Con. I think this will outdo even Sarah Michele Gellar's appearance. Snakes on a Plane. C'mon, who doesn't want to know more?

6:00-7:00 A.C.T.O.R.: A Guide for Comics Pros and their Taxes/Finances -- When you're a professional in comics, you are in charge of your own destiny, including paying your taxes and funding your retirement. But how are you supposed to save any money when Uncle Sam takes it all?! If you do have any money left over, where do you put it? IRAs, SEPs, savings accounts or bank CDs, what's the difference? What happens to you and your family if you get sick and are unable to work? Sponsored by A.C.T.O.R., Harlan Wenig (independent financial advisor) and Joe Davidson (registered tax preparer) will explore the financial aspects of being a comic book industry professional. Room 3

This one interests me. Whenever I seriously consider the points for and against writing for a living -- or even as a serious hobby -- I start to wonder what the tax implications are. Most comic book creators aren't under exclusive contracts to Marvel and DC, where they're treated as employees with full benefits. So what are the ramifications of being a freelancer? While this is one of those panels that seems very niche (what isn't at Comic-Con?) and yawn-inducing, I think it might be worth checking out.

After all, there's no way you're going to get a seat for the SNAKES ON A PLANE presentation unless you camp out in Hall H all day.

7:00-8:30 Klingon Lifestyle Presentation -- Just in time for Star Trek's monumental 40th anniversary, Comic-Con once again presents our friends, the Klingons! The crew of the IKV Stranglehold return with their latest mission, and this time it may turn to disaster for the entire crew as their loyalties are tested, causing some to mutiny. All species are welcome to experience the ongoing voyage and adventure of life aboard a Klingon vessel. Room 6A

I kid you not.

That's it for today, but that only takes us through Friday. Drop by tomorrow for a look at the weekend programming. Sunday is spare, as usual, and Saturday is a complete log jam packed with Hollywood types inserting themselves quickly and getting out with even more speed. But there's a lot of great comics yet to be discussed too, including Kazuo Koike, Todd McFarlane, Scott Williams, Joe Quesada, and more. Come back for more then.

Pipeline will be updated daily from the con from Thursday morning through Sunday morning, before returning next Tuesday in its usual "time slot."

I'm tired already. Hope to see a lot of you out there this week! But I hope to see more of you coming back here tomorrow first!

The Pipeline Podcast has its own homepage now. The podcast, itself, updates every Tuesday night.

My blog, Various and Sundry, is now covering ROCK STAR: SUPERNOVA. If you liked the AMERICAN IDOL coverage, I think you'll like this stuff. Due to San Diego, I'll be skipping this week's writeup, but there will still be an open comment thread for the regular viewers.

You can e-mail me your comments on this column, or post them for all the world to see and respond to over on the Pipeline Message Board.

More than 700 columns are archived here at CBR and you can get to them from the Pipeline Archive page. They're sorted chronologically.

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