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Jews Get Geek on at Comic-Con

by Adam Wills

July 22, 2009 | 3:21 am

GeekHeeb is in San Diego this week for the sold-out Comic-Con 2009. While there’s no panel on Jews in comics this year (for that you can check out the Skirball’s exhibition “Zap! Pow! Bam! The Superhero: The Golden Age of Comic Books, 1938-1950”), there will be no shortage of MOT at the San Diego Convention Center this weekend. The following are programs of note that feature Jewish participants – from panels with comic book legends Jerry Robinson and Stan Lee to Q-and-As with producers like Jon Landau (“Avatar) and Damon Lindelof (“Lost”).
(If you find a panel or person I’ve missed, feel free to add it in the comments section.)


THURSDAY, JULY 23
12:45-1:45 Disney: Stan Lee’s Time Jumper— Don’t miss Stan Lee and Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment as they present a special sneak peek of their new digital motion comic series Time Jumper. Comic book legend Stan Lee is joined by Natasha Henstridge (one of the character voices in Time Jumper), Omar Ponce (writer), and Anthony Diecidue (artist) for a Q&A session. Room 6BCF

1:30-2:30 Spotlight on Jerry Robinson — One of the true legends of comics, Comic-Con special guest Jerry Robinson is a writer, artist, comics historian, museum show curator, and creator rights activist. Noted comics writer and editor Mark Waid (BOOM! Studios editor-in-chief) interviews Jerry about his life in comics, from his early days on Batman to his founding of the Bill Finger Excellence in Comic Writing Award. Room 4

3:00-4:00 Robot Chicken with Titan Maximum— Seth Green (co-creator, Robot Chicken and Titan Maximum), Matthew Senreich (co-creator, Robot Chicken and Titan Maximum), Tom Root (head writer, Robot Chicken/co-creator, Titan Maximum) and Doug Goldstein (head writer, Robot Chicken) with Chris McKay, Breckin Meyer, Kevin Shinick, Mike Fasolo and Dan Milano discuss the popular Adult Swim series Robot Chicken. They will also discuss the upcoming new stop-motion animated series Titan Maximum, slated to premiere on Adult Swim this fall. Join this meet-up of show creators, writers and voice actors for a Q&A, moderated by Keith Crofford, vice president of Adult Swim production. Room 6A

3:00-4:15 20th Century Fox and James Cameron present Avatar— In this first public screening of footage in 3D from his much-anticipated action/adventure/fantasy, James Cameron, producer Jon Landau, and cast members take you to a spectacular new world beyond imagination. Conceived 14 years ago and over four years in the making, Avatar breaks new ground in delivering a fully immersive, emotional story and reinvents the movie-going experience. Hall H

3:30-5:00 Golden and Silver Age of Comics— A Comic-Con tradition: the yearly gathering and discussion of the clan of some of the finest comic book creators ever to put pen or typewriter to paper! This year’s panel—moderated by Mark Evanier —includes Comic-Con special guests Murphy Anderson (Hawkman), Gene Colan (Tomb of Dracula), Ramona Fradon (Aquaman), Russ Heath (The Haunted Tank), Jack Katz (The First Kingdom), Jerry Robinson (Batman), and Leonard Starr (Mary Perkins On Stage). Both Katz and Starr, known best for their underground comix and comic strip work, respectively, also worked in comics in the Golden and Silver Ages. The stories these people can tell are the stuff of legend…be a part of the yearly magic of this panel. Room 8

3:30-4:30 Marvel: Breaking into the House of Ideas— Are you a writer or artist? Ever dream of working for Marvel? Do you find yourself thinking “I could do that…if I knew how!” Well, here’s your chance! Join C. B. Cebulski, Marvel’s talent liaison, and panelists writer Jeph Loeb (Ultimatum), Marvel editor Charlie Beckerman, artist Mike Choi (X-Force), colorist Christina Strain (Runaways), and more to find out the answers on how to get your foot in the door at every level in the creative process and how to make your job Marvel! Room 6DE

5:45-6:30 Kick-Ass— World premiere footage from Kick-Ass, based on Mark Millar’s bestselling comic series, will be presented by director Matthew Vaughn (Stardust, Layercake). Joining him on the panel will Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Superbad), Clark Duke (Clark and Michael), and comic co-creators Mark Millar and John Romita Jr. plus a surprise guest. You don’t want to miss the chance to be the first to experience this gritty, brash, and funny actioner. Hall H

7:00-8:00 Comedy Central’s Drawn Together Movie Roundtable— Join co-creators Matt Silverstein and Dave Jeser and stars Foxxy Love, Cree Summer (Transformers: Animated) and Wooldoor Sockbat/The Jew Producer, James Arnold Taylor (Star Wars: The Clone Wars), as they discuss The Drawn Together Movie and host a roundtable discussion on the politics of religion in the workplace and where to get a decent sandwich. Room 6BCF

FRIDAY, JULY 24
10:15-11:15 Farscape 10th Anniversary Panel— Brian Henson (executive producer/ director), Rockne O’Bannon (creator/writer), Ben Browder (John Crichton) and Claudia Black (Aeryn Sun) reunite to celebrate the beginning of this landmark series, share exciting news, and answer questions Room 6BCF

11:00-12:00 Spotlight on Gene Colan — He’s the dean of comic book artists, the master of shadows and a hallmark of the Marvel Age of Comics! Comic-Con special guest Gene Colan is back at the big show, talking with Mark Evanier and co-host Marv Wolfman about his legendary career in comics. Room 8

1:00-2:00 The Big Bang Theory Screening and Q&A— Bazinga! Your favorite scientists and girl-next-door are back as The Big Bang Theory returns to Comic-Con with a special screening and Q&A with the show’s creators and stars. Come chat with executive producers Chuck Lorre (Two and a Half Men) and Bill Prady (Dharma & Greg), as well as series stars Johnny Galecki (Roseanne), Jim Parsons (Garden State), Kaley Cuoco (Charmed), Simon Helberg (Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog), and Kunal Nayyar (NCIS). From Chuck Lorre Productions, Inc. in association with Warner Bros. Television, The Big Bang Theory airs Mondays at 9:30 PM ET/PT on the CBS Television Network. The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Second Season is released on DVD September 15. Ballroom 20

1:30-3:00 Legends of The Batman— Seventy years ago Bob Kane and Bill Finger introduced the second great superhero in comics: Batman. On the anniversary of this momentous occasion Mark Evanier talks to legendary Batman artists—and Comic-Con special guests—Sheldon “Shelly” Moldoff, Jerry Robinson, and Lew Sayre Schwartz about their time with the Caped Crusader. Room 8

2:15-3:00 24— The Fox series 24 is coming off its most critically acclaimed season in years. Stars Kiefer Sutherland, Mary Lynn Rajskub and new cast members Anil Kapoor and Katee Sackhoff join showrunnner Howard Gordon and the producers of the Emmy-winning series for a special sneak peek at the heart-stopping premiere episode of Season 8 Ballroom 20

2:30-3:30 Building Tomorrow’s Technology— How does a present where the availability of natural resources is already an issue affect the technology one imagines for the future? Moderator Steve Saffel (editor and publishing consultant) maps a path with panelists Greg Bear (City at the End of Time), David Williams (Burning Skies), Dani & Eytan Kollin (The Unincorporated Man), and Kirsten Imani Kasai (Ice Song). Room 3

3:00-4:30 Scribe Awards/Media Tie-in Writers Panel— Attend the third annual presentation of the International Association of Media-Tie-in Writers (IAMTW) “Scribe” awards, honoring such notable franchises as CSI, Criminal Minds, The X-Files, Star Trek, Stargate, Star Wars, and Dr. Who. The presentation will be followed by a panel of nominees, including James Rollins (Indiana Jones), Matt Forbeck (Mutant Chronicles), Bob Greenberger (Hellboy), Keith R. A. DeCandido (Farscape), Stacia Deutsch (Dark Knight), Nathan Long (Warhammer), and Tod Goldberg (Burn Notice). Moderated by Lee Goldberg (Monk) and Max Allan Collins (G.I. Joe). Room 4

9:00-11:30 Angel of Death Premiere Screening and Q&A Session— Comic book superstar Ed Brubaker (Captain America), actress and stuntwoman Zoë Bell (Death Proof), actors Doug Jones (Quarantine), and Ted Raimi (Spider-Man 3), director Paul Etheredge (Buried Alive), and producer John Norris appear for a panel and Q&A session, followed by an exclusive screening of the thrilling uncut feature-length version of the film marking the DVD release of the groundbreaking digital online series! Room 6A

SATURDAY, JULY 25
10:00-11:00 Chuck Screening and Q&A— Chuck returns to Comic-Con! executive producers and co-creators Josh Schwartz (Gossip Girl) and Chris Fedak are joined by series stars Zachary Levi (upcoming Alvin and the Chipmunks ), Yvonne Strahovski (upcoming I Love You Too), Joshua Gomez (Without a Trace), Ryan McPartlin (Super Capers), Mark Christopher Lawrence ( The Pursuit of Happyness ), Vik Sahay ( This Is Wonderland ) , Scott Krinsky ( The O.C. ), Sarah Lancaster ( Everwood), and Adam Baldwin (Serenity) for a Q&A to discuss season three and screen an exclusive retrospective highlight reel. Plus, don’t miss a special surprise from some of your favorite characters! Produced by College Hill Pictures, Wonderland Sound and Vision in association with Warner Bros. Television, Chuck airs Mondays at 8:00 PM ET/PT on NBC. Ballroom 20

10:30-12:00 Comics Arts Conference Session #9: Is the Joker a Psychopath: You Decide!— Psychology professors Robin Rosenberg (The Psychology of Superheroes) and Travis Langley (Henderson State University) discuss the technical definition of a psychopath and review the criteria for antisocial personality disorder — does the Joker fit the clinical definition? Is he more than just crazy? They are joined by Joker experts Jerry Robinson (The Superhero: The Golden Age of Comic Books, 1938—1950), famed “Joker-fish” scribe Steve Englehart (The Point Man), and film producer Michael Uslan (The Dark Knight). Room 30AB

11:00-12:00 Lost: The Final Season Begins, with Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse— In appreciation of all the fan support through five seasons of Lost, co-creator/executive producer Damon Lindelof and executive producer Carlton Cuse will pay homage to all the fans at their final Comic-Con appearance for Lost. Questions will be answered. Fun will be had. And you won’t want to miss the surprises in store for the audience! Hall H

11:30-12:30 Spotlight on Sheldon Moldoff — Golden and Silver Age comics great Sheldon “Shelly” Moldoff is once again a Comic-Con special guest! The prolific artist (Hawkman, Batman) talks with comic book writer/editor Mark Waid (Amazing Spider-Man, 52, editor-in-chief of BOOM! Studios) about Shelly’s long career in comics. Room 10

11:30-12:30 Activision/Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2— Marvel and Activision have a long history of bringing some of the world’s most popular and beloved comic book storylines to video games and their fans. That pedigree will continue with a number of Stan Lee’s famed Marvel characters inspired by Mark Millar’s Civil War storyline, brought to life in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2. Learn first-hand the various facets that go into transforming a comic book’s storyline into a captivating video game, including voice work, writing, development, and creativity, all the while evolving with the high-definition environment of the gaming world. Join Stan Lee, game voice-over actors Armin Shimerman and Fred Tatasciore, and members from Activision’s development studio, Vicarious Visions, to gain insight and a preview of the imagination, creative process and technology used to develop some of the most advanced superhero games ever. Indigo Ballroom / Hilton Bayfront

11:45-12:45 Ben 10— It’s all about Ben 10 at this panel featuring director Alex Winter and cast members from the upcoming live-action movie Ben 10: Alien Swarm coming this fall to Cartoon Network. Also appearing are Ben 10 Alien Force producer Glenn Murakami, story editor Dwayne McDuffie, and Yuri Lowenthal (voice of Ben). Make sure not to miss an exclusive look at what’s coming next with a sneak peek at Generator Rex and the first images from the upcoming series, Sym-Bionic Titan, by creator Genndy Tartakovsky (Samurai Jack, Dexter’s Laboratory). Room 6DE

1:00-2:00 Will Eisner’s New York— Did you know that New York City played a central role in much of Will Eisner‘s writing and artwork? Learn about the life-long relationship between Will Eisner and New York City from Charles Kochman (executive editor, Abrams ComicArts), Paul Levitz (president & publisher, DC Comics), Diana Schutz (executive editor, Dark Horse Comics), Denis Kitchen (Will Eisner’s publisher, agent, and long-time friend), and Carl Gropper (Will Eisner’s nephew and manager of Will Eisner Studios). Room 8

1:00-1:45 Futurama: Life or Death?!— Be a part of sci-fi history! Join executive producers Matt Groening and David X. Cohen, and stars Billy West, Katey Sagal, John DiMaggio, and Maurice LaMarche for high-stakes thrills as a top-ranking FOX executive decides live, on stage, whether Futurama will make yet another triumphant return or whether it is gone forever! The very fate of Futurama hangs in the balance! Paramedics will be standing by in case the intense excitement causes any panelists to collapse. Raucous celebration or abject despair to follow the news. Ballroom 20

1:30-2:30 Miramax: Extract— Mike Judge, the creator of such comedy classics as Office Space, Beavis and Butthead and King of the Hill is back with his latest film Extract starring Jason Bateman (Arrested Development), Mila Kunis (Forgetting Sarah Marshall), and Kristen Wiig (Saturday Night Live). Join Judge and his cast for a discussion and first look at scenes from their new film. Hall H

2:15-3:15 Warehouse 13— This summer, the unknown has an address in the new Syfy Original Series, Warehouse 13. Stars Eddie McClintock (Pete Lattimer), Joanne Kelly (Myka Bering), Saul Rubinek (Artie Nielsen), Allison Scagliotti (Claudia Donovan), Jack Kenny (executive producer/showrunner) and David Simkins (executive producer) reveal confidential information. Room 6A

2:45-3:45 Sony Pictures: Zombieland and 2012— Sony Pictures previews two exciting new movies at Comic-Con!

Zombieland —What if the Zombies won? Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) has made a habit of running from what scares him. Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) doesn’t have fears. If he did, he’d kick their ever-living ass. In a world overrun by zombies, these two are perfectly evolved survivors. But now, they’re about to stare down the most terrifying prospect of all: each other. Also starring Emma Stone and Abigal Breslin as two sisters who seem to constantly cause even more trouble for our erstwhile heroes. Appearing on stage: Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, and director Ruben Fleischer.

2012—Director Roland Emmerich has tried to destroy civilization before, but nothing you’ve seen will prepare you for what he has in store for the world in 2012. Never before has a date in history been so significant to so many cultures, so many religions, scientists, and governments. 2012 is an epic adventure about a global cataclysm that brings an end to the world and tells of the heroic struggle of the survivors. Roland will be onstage to reassure us it’s all make-believe…we hope.

4:00-5:00 Fringe Screening and Q&A— Fringe cast members Anna Torv (upcoming The Pacific), Josh Jackson (Shutter), and John Noble (The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King) appear with consulting producers Alex Kurtzman and Robert Orci (Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen) and executive producers Jeff Pinkner (Lost) and J. H. Wyman (Keen Eddie) for a Q&A with fans and an exclusive video presentation. Join the discussion of this critically acclaimed thriller, which explores the ever-blurring line between science fiction and reality, where hybrid monsters tear through sewers, thieves walk through walls and portals open to worlds unknown. From Bad Robot Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television, Fringe airs Thursdays at 9:00 PM ET/PT this fall on FOX, premiering September 17. Fringe: The Complete First Season will be released on DVD and Blu-ray Hi Def September 8. Ballroom 20

4:00-5:00 Paramount Pictures and Marvel Entertainment: Iron Man 2— Paramount Pictures and Marvel Entertainment present the sequel to the blockbuster film based on the legendary Marvel superhero Iron Man. Directed by Jon Favreau, Iron Man 2 stars Robert Downey Jr. Joining Downey in the cast are Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, Jon Favreau, Clark Gregg, John Slattery, Mickey Rourke, and Samuel L. Jackson. Hall H

6:00-7:00 Harvey Kurtzman/MAD— The creator of MAD and Playboy’s “Little Annie Fanny,” Harvey Kurtzman was called “one of the most important figures in postwar America” by the New York Times. Kurtzman discovered Robert Crumb and gave Gloria Steinem her first job in publishing. Terry Gilliam started at Kurtzman’s side, met an unknown John Cleese in the process, and the genesis of Monty Python took place. Art Speigelman has said that he owes his career to Kurtzman. And Kurtzman is one of Playboy publisher Hugh Hefner’s favorite artists. Harvey was an astonishingly talented and influential artist, writer, editor, and satirist without whom treasures such as Saturday Night Live, Airplane!, and The Simpsons may never have been conceived. This panel promises to be a lively discussion about the life and work of “The MAD Genius of Comics,” led by comics historian Mark Evanier and featuring Kurtzman’s daughter, Nellie Kurtzman; the author of the just released The Art of Harvey Kurtzman the MAD Genius of Comics, Denis Kitchen; Paul Levitz (president/publisher of DC Comics/MAD); William Stout (a colleague of Kurtzman who worked on “Little Annie Fanny”); and Charles Kochman (executive editor of Abrams ComicArts). Room 3

6:30-8:00 Troma Roast— Join Lloyd Kaufman (Troma Studios president/founder, director of Toxic Avenger) as he gets roasted by Tromaster of Ceremonies Adam Green (Hatchet), and help from BFFs: Stan Lee (Spider-Man, Fantastic Four), Terry Jones (Monty Python’s Flying Circus), Brian Pulido (Lady Death, Evil Ernie), Chad Gilbert (lead guitarist of New Found Glory), Richard Saperstein (John Q, Se7en), Batton Lash (Supernatural Law, Simpsons, Archie), Steven Paul (Ghost Rider), Penelope Spheeris (Decline of Western Civilization, Wayne’s World), Ron Jeremy (Toxic Avenger: Citizen Toxie, Killing Zoe), Joe Lynch (Wrong Turn 2), Jim Salicrup (Marvel editor for Toxic Avenger, editor-in-chief Papercutz), Mick Garris (Stephen King’s Desperation, The Stand, Sleepwalkers), John Rieber (G4 senior VP), Jean Prewitt (chairman of The Independent Film Alliance),  Tim Seeley (writer/artist/creator Hack/Slash), Alan C. Carroll and Mimi Cruz (Night Flight Comics), Brick & Tiger (One Shot Presents), and more! What a way to celebrate 35 years of Reel Independence with Troma Entertainment! Indigo Ballroom / Hilton Bayfront

8:00-9:00 Showtime: Weeds— If you are addicted to Weeds, this is the panel you don’t want to miss! Find out everything you want to know with a Q&A and interview with the series creator and its stars! Featured panelists include Jenji Kohan (creator/executive producer), Hunter Parrish (Silas), Justin Kirk (Andy), and other cast members. Weeds airs on Mondays at 10:00 pm on Showtime. Indigo Ballroom / Hilton Bayfront

SUNDAY, JULY 26
11:15-12:15 American Dad— Showrunners Mike Barker and Matt Weitzman and stars Seth MacFarlane, Wendy Schaal, and Dee Bradley Baker are back to regale the fans with an insider’s look at how an episode of the hilarious Fox animated comedy is made, from table read to animatic to color. Don’t miss this one-of-a-kind Comic-Con event. Ballroom 20

2:00-3:00 Muggles, Wizards, Tentpoles, and Fans in the World of Harry Potter— Back for its second year! Panel members Leslie Combemale (ArtInsights Gallery, official/exclusive HP art supplier), Henry Jenkins (USC, author of Convergence Culture), Melissa Anelli (webmaster, The Leaky Cauldron, author of Harry: A History), Gwendolyn Grace (president emeritus, HP Educational Fanon), Lev Grossman (Time magazine book reviewer, author of The Magicians), and Heidi Tandy (webmaster, Fiction Alley) duel over the latest Harry Potter issues. With the release of Half-Blood Prince, what does the future look like for Harry Potter fandom? Moderated by Potter Headmaster Eric Bowling. Room 32AB

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