Science Fiction Through the Ages
Panelists: William B. Davis (The X-Files), Doug Park (Professor, WWU), TBA

Science fiction tends to be a reflection of the time in which it was written, either looking to the future or commenting on the present. This panel will look at popular science fiction series from the past and the present, and discuss how they were relevant when they were created, and how they manage to remain relevant to a modern audience.

The Age of Modern Comics
Panelists: Brandon Jerwa (writer, DC Comics/Dynamite/Image), Chris Clow (The Comics Place), James Taylor (Founder, Jet City Comic-Con)

The Modern Age of Comics is a period in the history of American comic-books that began in the mid-1980s around the time of the publication of Watchmen, and has gone on to see the revival of the comics industry in the twenty-first century. This panel is a round-table discussion about the Modern Age, focusing on the multimedia popularity of comic books and addressing key issues about the changing nature of comics today.

The Good, The Bad, and the Elvish: Character Archetypes in Fantasy Fiction
Panelists: RE Dalrymple (Wizards of the Coast), Janet Lee Carey (Teacher/Author, Youth Fantasy Literature), Danika Dinsmore (Children’s Fantasy Author)

Every major work of fantasy literature has its heroes and its villains, and some seem to resemble each other despite that they inhabit widely different worlds, and the fictions of authors writing continents and decades apart. Like all genres, fantasy has its archetypical characters. Join academics and industry insiders in a discussion about character archetypes in fantasy fiction and gaming, their history, changing trends, and what they mean for us as consumers of the fantasy genre.

Talking Dead: Zombies in 2010s Cinema & TV
Panelists: Mark Rahner (Writer/Creator/Journalist), Anthony van Winkle (Creator, Night Zero), Chad Uran (Professor, University of Washington)

Literature and cinema have always been outlets for expressions of social change, technological advances, and political issues. Enter the zombie revolution. Creators have been using the horrific resurrection of the dead to symbolize societal and psychological fears or issues since the beginning of the 20th century. With popularity of The Walking Dead, World War Z, Warm Bodies, among many others, the 2010s has arguably been a major renaissance in zombie literature. In this panel, we will discuss the reasons for the resurgence of zombies in mainstream media in the past few years, what the future may hold, and the evolution of the “zombie” as a symbol for societal, political, and cultural criticism.

Feminist Geek Culture: A Presentation
Presenters: Jennifer K. Stuller (Ink-Stained Amazon, GeekGirlCon), Amy Peloff, Ph.D (Comparative History of Ideas Program, UW), Jessica Obirst (Jo Jo Stiletto Events)

While there has been a consistently vocal criticism of sexism (often, but not always, in tandem with critiques of racism and heterosexism), the fairly recent embrace of geek culture in more mainstream circles and the growing empowerment of fan cultures through new media practices have combined to create new spaces for feminist intervention. This panel will include three presenters representing various engagements with feminist geek culture and will highlight both the history and significance of that culture, as well as the creation of new geek feminist spaces that simultaneously provide support for new visions and practices and challenge repressive paradigms.

Comic Writing Workshop
Hosted by Prof. Mark Sherman

Come learn and discuss writing techniques, philosophies  and much more at Professor Sherman’s writing workshop. The creator of such comics as Strange Attractors, Professor Sherman provides insight, experience, advice, and context for aspiring writers in the comic, graphic novel, and film/television world.

Getting Into the Industry
Panelists: RE Dalrymple (Wizards of the Coast), TBA

Come meet industry professionals from many different aspects of the comic world, and learn what it takes to get in the business. Whether you’re an aspiring writer, artist, publisher/editor, or simply interested in how to get a career in the film, gaming, comic and graphic novel-inspired industry, this panel is a unique opportunity to ask and learn from people who have been in your shoes.

Video Gaming as an Art
Panelists: James Hawkins (BitCreature), Carl Thomas (Darthpixel), Michael Bell (WWU)

Video games are an emerging art form. What does this mean for video game developers today? How do consumers help shape game content? How does the growth of casual gaming affect the industry? This panel will attempt to answer these questions, as well as address what these industry-wide changes mean for both the creators and consumers of video games. Topics include game story and narrative, piracy, and the emergence and contributions of indie games and production studios.


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