What do you think of Thursday and Friday panels?

 7 JULY 2023

We're in those magic days when CCI releases the line-up of SDCC panels. So far we have slightly more than half the Con. Let's review.


Preview Night shows include:

  • World premier of Adventure Time: Fionna and Cake
  • New episodes of Riverdale and Teen Titans Go!
  • Screenings of Mrs. Davis and Superpowered: the DC Story. 


CCI served up some changes this year. Archer is today in Ballroom 20 and not on Friday in the Indigo Ballroom? Tegan and Sara created a graphic novel about middle school? 

Overall, today confirmed that SDCC is moving in a ReedPop direction in terms of offering more pop culture that is not as tethered to traditional concepts of nerddom. Take Cruel Summer, for instance. That's been happening for a while but it feels more and more pronounced as time goes on. Like I can't imagine a Friends or Pretty Little Liars panel in Hall H back in the day when I first went to Comic-Con, but now I absolutely think one would fit right in.

Ballroom 20 is decent, offering Ghosts, Archer, What We Do in the Shadows and Twisted Metal. 

Hall H is scant - that's the only word for it. There are just 3 panels: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Project K (which does look interesting) and Spider-Man 2. If you're looking for Kevin Smith, he's in room 6BCF.

CCI continues their much-appreciated efforts to bring forth marginalized voices, with panels presenting Indigenous, neurodiverse, Indian, and LGBTQ perspectives. Even Mormon gaming culture gets a panel.

We've always had creative panels on Thursdays, and this year that includes practical advice on freelance tax tips (something I know from personal experience very few tax advisors understand) and financial management for creatives.

Overall, this feels like a scattershot day. It's good news in that you should be able to access most any panel you want. And if this is your first day in the Con, you'll have plenty of time to ransack the Exhibit Hall and wander off to cross offsites off your list. Maybe even go to the Comic-Con Museum.


There have been years where Friday offered up riches that made Saturday look tepid. This year is not one of them. It's interesting, for sure; some of the smaller literary and comic panels caught my eye and who knew that Jamie Lee Curtis wrote an eco horror graphic novel or that Disney is collaborating with the ghost of Ernest Hemingway. (Answer - everyone but me, probably.) 

But I can't pretend that this is one of those Fridays where Ballroom 20, Indigo, and Hall H are blazing with beautiful options. I think we can call this a dilettante's Comic-Con, where you can safely weave in and out of panels, the Exhibit Hall, offsites, and social events without committing too much time in any one spot. I don't mean that as a bad thing; I think people might actually come out of this with a higher net satisfaction because they won't be spending 12 hours waiting for just one thing.

Here are a few highlights.

Todd McFarlane, Junji Ito, Ben Templesmith, and Jim Lee all have panels.

Today offers up good Star Wars and Star Trek content. Special shoutout to my friends' panel, Star Wars Fandom in the Immersive Frontier, which you absolutely will want to attend in your best Sith Lord finery. 

Today seems the official spooky day. A new paranormal series calls Haunted Discoveries premieres tonight; there's also a panel called Mary Shelley Presents, the title of which made my soul twinge, and several horror comic panels. Madelaine Petsch's new film trilogy The Strangers has a panel too, which will be catnip for every Cheryl Blossom fan. Show up early.

While Thursday has also been a ripe day for creatives, this Friday offers lots of good how-to panels on storyboarding, breaking into comics, ghostwriting, comic writing, fiction writing, designing tabletop games, cosplay, podcasting and a whole lot more. Put your genius hat on!

I haven't watched Invincible but I know people who like it, and I suspect the panel with Robert Kirkman and hopefully Steven Yeun and maybe Sandra Oh will be super popular.

Hall H offers up 3 panels again - and one of them is from Collider. Ouch. You'll see Haunted Mansion footage and get a Creator poster, true. Then there's the Walking Dead universe and Entertainment Weekly's Brave Warriors which is code for your TV boyfriends.

The Indigo Ballroom offers up a decent day with Rick and Morty, Bob's Burgers and Metalocalypse, among others. 

The sun goes down and multiple entertainment options rise up:

Justice League Warworld premieres. These DC premieres are a Friday night staple and it's nice to see them continue. If I wasn't going to Mosh Eisley, I would go to this.

Or maybe I would go to the 8:15 premiere of Sand Land from the creator of DragonBall, which also should entice anime fans. 

The Eisners are tonight and so is a Christian mixer.

And so is a panel that says it is NOT a special screening of Invincible Season 2. I'm convinced!

So.... there's half the programming. So far I'm seeing about 40% of attendees insist this is as good as every other year and 60% say ".....Oh." And then there are the uncounted attendees who maintain a diplomatic silence.

The other day I was reminiscing about the years we hustled back and forth between Nerd HQ and Conan and ScareDiego and other events that made SDCC feel like such a rich, nonstop party. I think the absence of those is contributing to a sort of empty feeling many of us have - without them, we naturally look to official Con programming so much more. 

And I think that programming is still quite good, if lacking the "It" factor of earlier years.There's a huge difference between looking at the programming as a whole and experiencing panels one by one. I'm sure the Big Room attendees, who spend the entire Con in Ballroom 20, Hall H, or Indigo, have thoughts about this year. But that just means they now have the time to explore something new. 

And as Ted Roosevelt reminded us, comparison is the thief of joy - so we're probably all best served by focusing on this year for what it is. Once we're there, I think SDCC will feel as emotional and exciting as it always does. 

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