Where I'll Be: Vegas Valley Comic Book Festival

F. Andrew Taylor moderates a discussion on breaking into comics with writers Dwayne McDuffie and Steven Grant at the 2008 Vegas Valley Comic Book Festival

F. Andrew Taylor moderates a discussion on breaking into comics with writers Dwayne McDuffie and Steven Grant at the 2008 Vegas Valley Comic Book Festival

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this a few times somewhere, and it’s a bit early, but as there are limited details surrounding this event on the internet right now (and I know some of you have been looking), I figured I’d get this post published sooner than later and just bug the hell out of you people on Facebook and Twitter later on.

The second annual Vegas Valley Comic Book Festival takes place Saturday, Nov. 7, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Clark County Library (1401 E. Flamingo Road). Though it’s put on in tandem with the larger Vegas Valley Book Festival, the Comic Fest (as I shall refer to it hereafter) is growing into its own entity. Last year saw 900 people in only four hours time, and this year we expect more than 1000 in the five hours of the Fest.

The guest line-up is looking pretty good: Cecil Castellucci, Kim Deitch, Evan Dent, Steve Englehart, Mark Evanier, Noelle Garcia, Gary Groth, Laurenn McCubbin, Michael Ogilvie, Sean Russell, Deryl Skelton, Chris Staros, Dan Vado, Matt Wagner and Michael Uslan — a selection that runs the gamut from mainstream legends and indie publishers to Hollywood producers and local-based talent. Not too shabby.

Most importantly, though, for readers of this blog, at least, Pop! Goes the Icon will be making its first official comic convention debut. I’ll have a six-foot table full of goodies, including both the standard and deluxe versions of The Utopian #1, limited-edition posters, free stuff like buttons and postcards and maybe even Mark T. Zeilman and Hernan Valencia, who provided the cover artwork for the first issue of The Utopian. We’ll sign stuff, maybe sketch stuff, shoot the shizzle, whatever. Bring some cash and support my terrible comic strip, or just throw bananas at me. Cupcakes are accepted as well.

There will also be some awesome panels featuring the aforementioned guests, along with portfolio reviews, signings, a merchandise marketplace and some geek-tastic feature films including locally produced wunderkind Thor at the Bus Stop. It’ll be good times. Become a member of the Comic Fest Facebook group for all the latest updates, and in the meantime, peruse the panel line-up below. Hope to see you there!

Vegas Valley Comic Book Festival Panels

The Goshdarn Batman Panel — Mark Evanier moderates as Matt Wagner, Steve Englehart, and Michael Uslan discuss the evolution of Batman over the decades, their insights in to what makes the character so unique and their approaches to him, and the good and bad of what it means to work on such an iconic character. 11 a.m. – noon, Large Conference Room

Last Indy Standing — Laurenn McCubbin moderates (and gets in a few good shots of her own) as publishers Chris Staros, Gary Groth and Dan Vado duke it out.  Points of contention include:  I love creator’s rights more than you; Distributors,  shoot on sight or burn at the stake?  and My scratchy zombies can whup your pseudo-manga emo goth boys. 11 a.m. – noon, Jewel Box Theater

We Know Where The Bodies are Buried —  John L. Smith may know where the bodies are buried in Vegas, but writer/historian Mark Evanier, writer/artist Steve Englehart, artist Deryl Skelton and writer/producer Michael Uslan know the stories behind the stories at all the major publishers.  Join them as they share tales of famous creators, infamous characters, and even the occasional hush-hush, strictly on the QT cover up. 12:15 – 1:30 p.m., Large Conference Room

Selections from Adventures in Voice Acting: The Bang Zoom! Guide to Voice Acting (2008; rated NR; 108 min)
If you’ve considered what it would be like to have a career in voice acting, or want to know what it takes to break in, then you need to watch Adventures in Voice Acting. It includes all the essentials you will need to get started. Nearly 100 voice actors, casting directors and producers were interviewed for this project. Watch and listen as they share with you their personal pitfalls and triumphs. 12:15  – 1:30 p.m. Jewel Box Theater

Spotlight on Matt Wagner — From Green Arrow to Grendel, from Mage to Madame Xanadu, from Batman to Sandman Mystery Theatre, as a creator, Matt Wagner’s a chameleon.  He writes across a dizzying array of genres; cover gigs have not caused him to put down the pencil; he does both creator owned and work for hire projects.  Just when you think you know him, you discover you don’t.   Join us for a Q&A with a living legend whose distinctive stories and art have left an indelible mark on comics. 2 – 3 p.m., Large Conference Room

Hail to the King! — In this tell-all talk, his former squire (and noted Comics Historian) Mark Evanier shares his unique insights about industry titan, Jack “King” Kirby. Not only did Jack Kirby create several of comics’ most iconic characters and teams, but his artistic innovations (including “Kirby dots”) still shape the way we tell stories today. 2 – 3 p.m., Jewel Box Theater

The Drunk Panel — Inspired by underground comix such as Zap, Real Pulp, “Tijuana Bibles” and Raw, Drunk takes the torch and continues the craft of comic storytelling initiated by these forebears. You don’t have to be 21 to attend as writers and artists Kim Deitch, Noelle Garcia, Jarret Keene, Sean Russell and Michael Ogilvie tell bizarre, funny, violent, loving, and sincere tales about the quintessential human achievement of being drunk.  (And also about the process of producing, publishing, and promoting a non-mainstream work of art.) 3:15  – 4:15 p.m., Large Conference Room

Comics and Books and Movies, Oh My! — Just what does it take to turn a book into a comic, or a comic into a movie? Join Michael Uslan, Cecil Castellucci, Steve Englehart and Chris Staros for an animated (or written, or drawn) conversation about the challenges and opportunities of working across different media. 3:15 – 4:15 p.m., Jewel Box Theater


  1. Robert F. Ludwick September 22, 2009 8:25 am 

    So yeah, Andy Taylor, the guy in your photo… Thinks Laura and I should show up in our Halloween costumes to this shindig. Never mind the fact that, oh, I dunno, people probably won’t show up to the Vegas one in costume like they do to the San Diego one.

    Are you aware of what our Halloween costumes are? Yeah, if you’re not, then get aware, and it will all make sense. lol

  2. Pj Perez September 22, 2009 8:30 am 

    OK, I give. What are your costumes?

  3. Laurenn September 22, 2009 9:10 am 

    Heh – I literally had NO IDEA that I was moderating a panel. I knew that they wanted me to be ON a panle, but… moderating? Well, it’s a good thing I’m charming, no?

  4. Pj Perez September 22, 2009 10:07 am 

    Ha, oh really? Well, glad I could break the news to you in this very public manner. 🙂