I, Jared the Greek, the dapper bard, will review a series of panels I attended during my two day Wonder Con excursion before flying to Florida on the red eye.
Zombies, blips, and the Apocalypse
This was a strange panel that didn’t seem to have much of a theme. The panelists discussed different books and movies that explored the end of the world. If anything this panel felt as if it was random people talking about their favorite end of the world stories. While a panel of this type could be interesting this panel felt like it lacked direction and a clear goal. Rambling about a topic can be nice, but when people of various educational and creative backgrounds don’t have a proper moderator to guide the conversation it all becomes a mess. It is quite disappointing to enter a panel that could have been great, but missed the mark by a wide margin.
Make Mine Mecha
We ran this panel! The previous edition had been updated with new series to discuss including series that could have been major franchisees if history had played out differently. New entries in the panel included Metal Armor Dargonar, Sakura Wars, and an expanded discussion of Getter Robo. The panel brought in a large audience that even had some questions about finding different series once the panel concluded. Overall, it was a great experience and allowed us to come up with new ways of improve the panel.
Doctor Who: Science and History
This was an unusual panel as it covered the various science fictional tools and historical locations of Doctor Who from the perspective of teachers. They discussed if various things like the sonic screwdriver would work in real life and how it would work. To the real world locations and historical “facts” the Doctor travels to and how real they were. It was a fun panel where you could learn something without even realizing it. It tis also a treat to hear educators talk about science fiction as if it was real. One of the aspects that makes Wondercon so fun is that panels like this exist and allow new perspectives on favorite series.
Mythology of Final Fantasy
This was our panel for the second day of the convection. This time we explored monsters and magical weapons from mythology that show up in the various games. We revised the design of the panel to better show off the creatures from the games. The panel went very well and there were plenty of people asking questions after the panel. The one sad part about this panel is that it will be the final time we run this version of the panel. The feedback from the audience mixed with replaying some of the games led to the idea of revising the panel to focus on the summons instead of random topics. We are glad that so many people enjoyed this version of the panel and we hope that many more will enjoy the new version.
Your Favorite Fandom on the Tabletop
This was a panel dedicated to licensed table top games. From Buffy to Battlestar and beyond various RPG, card, and and mystery games were discussed. This was not a list of games type panel, but game designers talking about their experiences making games and the long process from idea to shelf. How sometimes they were given a series with not much else and other times they were given a game and told to make it fit a series. What really made the game designers stories great was that they were game players as well and ended up talking about games they played that fit in this discussion as well, including some games that other people on the panel had made. It was a fun panel for those who love TTGs and those who want to make their own homebrew games.
Jack Kirby on the Pacific
There are many panels tha celebrate those who helped make the comics industry what it was back in he silver and bronze ages. One of the heroes that many people discuss is Jack Kirby, a very talented artist who gave the world many people DC and marvel characters. However, what is often not discussed is his time when he lived on the West Coast and set out creating this own characters, worlds, and stories as an independent artist/writer. This panel explored that part of his life and introduced his creations to an audience that may not have known about his independent comics. It was a great way to honor the man and a very interesting panel for those who care about comic book history.
The VFX of Doctor Who
A very different Doctor Who panel that brought together VX artists to talk about monsters, robots, and other strange things from classic Doctor Who and how the visual effects were done. They also discussed how they would approach things as well with modern technology. They also shared stories about their experiences creating similar things for more modern movies and how sometimes things don’t work out right. Like how making a desert scape outside is just asking or cats to use it as a litter box. It was a fun panel that gave insight into a classic series while also sharing the amazing techniques used by visual artist when making monsters, robots, and alien landscapes.
30th Anniversary Celebration of X-Men: The Animated Series
This was a panel featuring two of the behind the scenes staff from the legendary X-Men 90s TV series. They talked about getting the show on the air and taking risks with adapting classic X-Men stories. They also touched on the voice cast and working with different artist to give the show the proper look while alos dealing with a very small budget. It was a very nostalgic panel that reminded many of the audience members why they fell in love with the X-Men when they were kids. They also briefly discussed the new X-Men 97 series that is in development which is meant to take place right after the last season of the classic series. While they couldn’t say much they did say that they feel the staff of the new show understands what made the classic animated series so good.
If Bigfoot is Out There…
This was an odd panel to watch as it featured the crew of the In Search of Bigfoot show. They discussed their experiences with previous season and talked abou things from the new season. They also discussed various theories about the Bigfoot, it’s migration habits, where it has been spotted, and Native American legends about them. While the creatures seem to be part of American folklore they also discussed how they have shown up in other countries around the world. While some may consider the search for cryptids to be a fool’s errand, this panel made it seem exciting and their findings were quite interesting. While nothing has been proven they do seem to have the best leads on the famous missing link monster. At the end everyone was given a magnetic sticker and plenty of interesting stories to discuss.