Beauology 101: Wouldn’t It Be Interesting-Comic Book Convention Panels

Your Panel and Life Moderator- Beau Smith

Your Panel and Life Moderator- Beau Smith


by Beau Smith

From the very first comic book convention I attended back in the early 1980s to the one I went to last weekend, comic book panels have always been THE learning place about the hobby, the business, and the passion I have for comic books.

Chicago Comic Con. Early 80’s Marvel Panel: L to R Bill Sienkiewicz, Jim Shooter, Tom DeFalco, Ron Frenz, Marc Silvestri

Chicago Comic Con. Early 80’s Marvel Panel: L to R Bill Sienkiewicz, Jim Shooter, Tom DeFalco, Ron Frenz, Marc Silvestri


Today, I thought I’d share a few things I find interesting about comic book panels. I hope you have some thoughts and interesting opinions as well….

One of the most interesting convention panels you could attend would be one where on the panel there would be a comic book reader, a publisher, an editor, a writer, an artist, a retailer (Brick and Mortar, as well as an online retailer), a distributor, an online news site reporter, and a comic book grader. To make it more interesting would be to have none of them working for the same company if possible.

It would be interesting to hear their own, short, state of the industry from their point of view. See where there are crossovers, overlaps, differences, what they can learn from each other as well as what the audience could learn from them.

It would be interesting to start the panel off with questions from the audience instead of ending it with questions and answers. That way you actually start from the root or the comic book, the readers, and work your way to the thoughts of those trying to produce comic books that readers want to read. Publishers always say they want to give the readers what they want. Well, with this grouping of people, those answers would begin to surface.

Good panels make for happy audience members

Good panels make for happy audience members


In the last decade I’ve seen less and less of panels where the panelists were unrelated. Most know each other well and work together. I would like to see more open-air panels where there is no other theme than talking comics from the POV of the folks in the room. With an open air-panel you get the chance for more questions and especially answers that haven’t been pre-planned and company speak. These types of panels encourage true opinions and thoughts.

I think it’d be interesting to have a panel with comic book creators where they talk about what it was like for them when they first discovered comic books. I’ve heard and read scattered answers to this through the years in one on one interviews, and I’ve gotta say, almost everyone of them was unique and always of interest. I found that not only did this stir my own early passions for comic books, but most of the time it reignited the creator’s as well as they talked about it.

I think it would be interesting to have a panel where the writer or artist goes through a stack of comics that they have worked on through the years, and talk about certain random pages of story or art that they were involved with and what were they thinking at that time. The selection should be both iconic as well as obscure. Again, it’s a chance for both the readers and the creators to not just remember, but to reveal deeper, personal stories from the stories they created.

I think it’d be interesting to have a panel of editors that explain their process and their company’s process in finding talent, new and established, for projects. This would also be a great question and answer panel from the audience. In the 1980s there were panels like this at Sand Diego, Chicago, and New York. In the last couple of decades, publishers send fewer and fewer editors to conventions, so these types of important panels have been missed. These types of panels aren’t just for folks trying to break into the industry, they are key in knowing the history of comic books and how they are formed from a publishing stand point.

Beau and the Wynonna Earp crew make panel magic

Beau and the Wynonna Earp crew make panel magic


These are just a few of the things I’d find interesting. I’d really love for you to share your thoughts and opinions as well on the subject or past panels that you thought were….interesting.

The Most Interesting Man In Comics,

Beau Smith

The Flying Fist Ranch

@BeauSmithRanch at Twitter and Instagram

 

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