This weekend, thousands will descend upon the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center to get their geek on at Alamo City Comic Con. Last year's inaugural con attracted 35,000 comic, sci-fi and pop culture fanatics. But this year, organizers took the event to a whole new level with their impressive roster of celebrities and comic book figures, as well as the dozens of vendors and artists peddling their nerdy wares. We have a handy primer of what to expect at this year's con, but there is so much to see and do, so many celebrities to meet and greet, that its easy for con newbies to get overwhelmed by the onslaught of awesomeness.
Attendees, especially those who have never been to a con before, should have a plan before they walk into the halls, especially if they want to take in the many panels to hear from celebrities and comic book greats. You can't attend them all, so it's best to know which ones you want to wait in line for. This year's line-up of panels covers the whole span of geek culture, from comics, to sci-fi, to horror, to film and television, to gaming, to cosplay and more. Here are ten Alamo City Comic Con panels that you shouldn't miss.
Average Joe (Jason Sedillo) faces off against the evil Lord Menace (Camden Toy) in 'Now Hiring.' Courtesy Live Wire Films
75 Years of Batman in Comics
Writer Denny O’Neil and artist Neal Adams secured their place in the annals of comic book history for shedding Batman's campy television past and transforming character into the brooding Dark Knight we know today. The two are responsible for the creation of one of Batman's greatest enemies, Ra's al Ghul, and their collaborations in the 70s returned the Caped Cursader's arch-nemesis, The Joker, to his roots as a homicidal maniac who thrives on chaos and mayhem. 3pm, Ballroom A
'Now Hiring' Panel and Film Screening
San Antonio director Mark Cantu joins the cast and crew of his superhero comedy Now Hiring, produced and filmed right here in the Alamo City. Jason Sedillo stars as Joe Martin, a family-man facing hard times whose job search leads him to unexpectedly join a team of superheroes. Now he must face off against the supervillain Lord Menace (Camden Toy), and he must do so without any powers. The panel will be followed by a screening of the film. 5pm panel, 6pm film screening, Lila Cockrell Theater.
Being Comfortable in your Own Skin
Jonathan Vela, better known as Aquaman-San Antonio, was a beloved, prominent figure in the local cosplay community before he died this past August after suffering a stroke. In the wake of his passing, he left behind an inspiring legacy characterized by charity and self-acceptance. 11am, Room 202
Comics and all things geek have gone mainstream, but back in the horrible halls of high school, comic geeks are often relentlessly by their jock peers. So it seems fitting that Alamo City Comic Con is bringing in two of film's most iconic bullies for a Q&A, Martin Kove, who played John Kreese, the Cobra Kai sensei in The Karate Kid, and William Zabka, who played Johnny Lawrence, Kreese's dickhead martial arts protégé. The two will take the stage to discuss the film for its 30th anniversary. In related news, children of the 80's, The Karate Kid is 30 years old. 12pm, Ballroom A
He's a comic book legend, the man who co-created some of geek culture's most iconic characters, including Spider-Man, the Hulk, Iron Man and a host of other heroes and villains that populate the Marvel Universe. Stan Lee is this year's Guest of Honor at Alamo City Comic Con. And the opportunity to see him in person is worth the price of admission alone. 12pm, Lila Cockrell Theater
Legends of Horror
1, 2, Freddy's coming for you, and he's bringing reinforcements. This roster of panelists are to blame for countless childhood nightmares, so now is your chance to hand over your therapy bills. Robert Englund, who played the vengeful dreamland killer of teenagers, is joined by The Exorcist's Linda Blair; the original Michael Meyers, Nick Castle; Ken Kirzinger, who donned the signature hockey mask in Freddy Vs. Jason; and John Kassir, better known as the voice of the Crypt Keeper in HBO's Tales from the Crypt. Before you attend, read our interview with Linda Blair. 2pm, Lila Cockrell Theater
The Walkers Panel
Current and former cast members of AMC's The Walking Dead take the stage just in time to get you pumped up for the show's return in October. Chandler Riggs (Carl Grimes), Scott Wilson (Hershel Green), IronE Singleton (T-Dog), Brighton Sharbino (Lizzie Samuels) and Kyla Kennedy (Mika Samuels) will share their firsthand experiences from behind the scenes of the hugely popular zombie drama. 4pm, Lila Cockrell Theater
Who knew that the man who played the serious and sedate Hikaru Sulu in Star Trek: The Original Series and its subsequent movie franchise would decades later be the best thing to happen to the internet? The actor/director/author rules social media with his hilarious, viral content and penchant for naughty innuendos. He's also one of the most beloved figures in the gay community and a prominent advocate for LGBT rights. 12pm, Ballroom B
Trekkies also shouldn't miss miss a Saturday panel with Original Series cast members Walter Koenig (Ensign Pavel Chekov) and Nichelle Nichols (Lieutenant Nyota Uhura). 3pm Saturday, Ballroom B
40 Years of The Punisher
Spurs fans will want to attend this panel on Marvel's vigilante anti-hero, since Tim Duncan is due to appear in a special issue of The Punisher next month. Writer Steve Grant and artist Mike Zeck are best known for elevating The Punisher from secondary character Spider-Man character to marquee hero with the 1985-86 Punisher mini-series. They are joined by Mike Baron, the writer behind numerous Punisher titles in the late 80's and early 90's. 2pm, Ballroom B
Mega Cosplay Panel
Cosplayers, attendees who roam the comic con halls dressed as their favorite comic and pop culture characters, are part of what make events like these so fun. Convention halls turn into venues to showcase fandom-driven creativity and talent. In this panel some of the biggest professional cosplayers will share the secrets of their craft.