Coming at you EVERY Thursday this summer, ANIMATED INSIGHTS BY SHANNON MUIR takes you inside Shannon’s latest reflections on her passion for animation as a medium, and other animated insights about life. To catch up on all posts, check out the Animated Insights portion of the website! This week, Shannon recaps her Saturday and Sunday adventures at Comic-Con International: San Diego! This will be the last post of the summer, but return for ANIMATED INSIGHTS WEEK the first week of September!
Saturday proved interesting, because for the first time in all our years of attending, we didn’t get either our first or second choices for panels. I’d wanted in to THE FUTURE OF THE DRAGON PRINCE SAGA, but the line was hopelessly long for that. Then we hoped to nab some seats in the 80s nostalgia focused panel put on by the Animation Writers Caucus of the Writers Guild of America, west – but that was full too! So, given that we both wanted to very much hear George Takei’s presentation about his graphic novel THEY CALLED US ENEMY, we took a “Hall H” strategy and camped in that room for the next several hours. Before that panel, we also got to learn about the history of and revival of Mickey on Vinyl – including the 40th anniversary of the record MICKEY MOUSE DISCO, which my parents bought my sister and I when we lived in Japan back then. I learned a lot more about the history of music and Disney’s record labels that coincided with the period of my own childhood. After that came the panel about RICK AND MORTY and DUNGEONS & DRAGONS crossing over in an comic. I hadn’t heard of the comic series before, but I will say by the end my husband and are interested in learning more (even though my husband does not care for RICK AND MORTY; those of you who follow the blog know that I have seen the first couple seasons). After that came George Takei, and he was worth the wait. As I mentioned earlier, I lived in Japan as a young child. My father also taught conversational English at night to workers at Mistubishi Electric, in addition to his role in the Navy. Through this, our family developed a cultural exchange with his students and their families, and in my own case, their children. Those times and their hospitality were so special to me, and I did not learn until my undergraduate college years about what Japanese-American citizens experienced during World War II, and it absolutely breaks my heart. While saddened to hear from George that he still encounters many otherwise well-educated people who do not know (as I once did) about this history, I took encouragement from his desire to embrace the graphic novel format (after being approached by others with similar feelings in the comics community) to use a new method to teach a new younger generation, using the story of George’s own childhood experiences. I so strongly hope this graphic novel makes an impact. After that, we took some time to try and walk the floor for a bit after grabbing lunch. There was so much going on, and we know we missed a lot. I did make sure to stop by my favorite local jewelry creators, Han Cholo (they are also here in the Los Angeles area), and get one of their classic SHE-RA pins. A professional reception with the Animation Writers Caucus was that evening, but before that, we went back to the Fan Culture area in the Marriott and sat in on a panel called RAISING SKYWALKER, looking at the psychological links between the generations of parents and children from Anakin Skywalker to Darth Vader to Kylo Ren, in a panel led by people who work in the field. Sunday we started out sitting in on a panel called TELLING A COMIC STORY, where a husband and wife team who have worked with Disney in the past developed a Donald Duck comic page live, getting input from the audience. This made for a fun and relaxing start. The rest of Sunday completely focused on business. First, we sat through a panel reminding us what was important about pitching and promoting yourself – something we can all use a refresher on. We wanted to get into the KULIPARI panel (I do plan to review the DREAM WALKER series at a later time for this column), but again the line was too long. So the decision was made to get a leisurely lunch, and then wrap up our time with panels on THE ART OF THE COVER (my husband is both an artist and writer), followed by an in-depth panel on THE BUSINESS OF CARTOON VOICES led by Mark Evanier. Not only is that a wrap on Comic-Con International: San Diego, that will be a wrap on this column for a while. There will be a special for the next couple weeks, and then ANIMATED INSIGHTS FEATURING SHANNON MUIR will return in September, beginning with a full week in early September. See you then… and stay animated!