Faculty, students, and alumni from Henderson State University will be on 9 panels at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con. Drs. Langley and Duncan are also some of the organizers of Comic-Con’s scholarly Comics Arts Conference, which Duncan co-founded.
HSU names appear in ALL CAPS in the panel descriptions below.
THURSDAY, JULY 21
10:30am – 11:30am, 26AB
Comics Arts Conference #1
The Joker: Serious Study of the Clown Prince of Crime
The Joker has menaced Batman for nearly 77 years. Since the Joker’s first appearance in Batman #1 in 1940, he has appeared thousands of times in comics, films, video games, television series, toy aisles, and other arenas of mediated and material culture. While a powerful antagonist, the character is nevertheless fascinating to children and adults alike. Join the contributors to the first book-length scholarly study of the Joker as they ask why the Joker has become the most important and interesting supervillain in popular culture and what it is about the Joker that makes the character so iconic. Rob Weiner (Texas Tech University), Robert Peaslee (Texas Tech University), TRAVIS LANGLEY (Henderson State University), Hannah Means-Shannon (Dark Horse Comics), and Ryan Litsey (Texas Tech University) discuss the nature of the Joker, his history, and why Batman refuses to kill a character that causes so much misery to the citizens of Gotham.
5:30 pm – 6:30 pm, 24ABC
The Most Dangerous Women at Comic-Con: To Bechdel, or Not to Bechdel
You might be seeing more popular media starring women, but are there more that are actually about women? With so many stories failing the Bechdel Test (a test that measures whether a story has two women in it who talk about something other than a man), it leaves many wondering if pop culture is making any progress at all. Here to discuss the Bechdel test as well as diversity in media (and the lack thereof), are Action Flick Chick, KATRINA HILL (100 Greatest Graphic Novels), Janina Scarlet (Superhero Therapy, Star Wars Psychology), Jennifer Stuller (Ink-Stained Amazons, GeekGirlCon), Patricia Tallman (Babylon 5, Quest Retreats), Jessica Tseang (Little Geek Girls, Girl on Geek), Tony B. Kim (Hero Within, Crazy4ComicCon), ASHLEY BLES (Henderson State University), and moderator Jenna Busch (Legion of Leia, Most Craved).
8:00pm – 9:00 pm, 25ABC
Psychology of Cult TV Shows: Episode 3
Back by popular request, this panel focuses on the psychology behind the most recent seasons of your favorite TV shows, including Doctor Who, Supernatural, Sherlock, Jessica Jones, Daredevil, Castle, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, and others. Psychologists Janina Scarlet (Superhero Therapy, Star Wars Psychology) and TRAVIS LANGLEY (Doctor Who Psychology, Star Trek Psychology), TV writer Christine Boylan (Castle, Once Upon a Time), actors Maurice La Marche (Pinky and the Brain, Futurama) and Chase Masterson (Star Trek, Flash), host Jenna Busch (Legion of Leia, Star Wars Psychology), and surprise guests discuss your favorite TV shows. Alan Kistler (Doctor Who: A History, Walking Dead Psychology) moderates.
FRIDAY, JULY 22
10:00 am – 11:00 am, 7AB
Star Wars: The Science Awakens
Could Lightsabers ever be a reality? How would Starkiller Base work in the real world? Which droid would NASA select for a real mission? Fon Davis (production designer, Star Wars Movies), Kim Steadman (NASA engineer, Mars Science Lab), Kieran Dickson (editor, Outerplaces), TRAVIS LANGLEY (editor, Star Wars Psychology), Steve Huff (fight choreographer), and moderator Jenna Busch (Legion of Leia) break down the science behind a galaxy far far away, field your burning questions and give away a prize or two.
SATURDAY, JULY 23
2:00pm – 3:30 pm, 26AB
Comics Arts Conference #12
The Poster Session
Includes these by HSU students and recent graduates.
ASHLEY BLES (Henderson State University) presents an empirical test for analyzing the representation and role of women in superhero comics.
DYLAN WEAVER, KATHERINE RUSSELL, and TAYLOR MCSWAIN of Henderson State University look at three characters from The Walking Dead and their reaction to death, through the lens of the Kübler-Ross five stages of grief and other coping mechanisms such as dissociation, avoidance, repression, and post-traumatic growth.
EMILY BLANTON (Henderson State University) compares the communities of The Walking Dead and Wasteland to crime organizations to better understand the group dynamic of common crime.
4:00pm – 5:00pm, San Diego Central Library
The Nerd in the Classroom: Comics as an Educational Tool
Education’s all-things nerd networking resource returns to Comic-Con. This year’s edition will have a focus on student-generated comics, with an emphasis on autobiographical and memoir narratives. Learn from experts Scott McCloud (Understanding Comics), RANDAY DUNCAN (The Power of Comics: History, Form and Culture), MICHAEL RAY TAYLOR (Creating Comics as Journalism, Memoir and Nonfiction), and Patrick Murphy (Fremont High/Weber State University).
6:00 pm – 7:00 pm, Pacific 24 Marriott North Tower
The Geek Shall Inherit: The Evolution of Geek Culture
Dr. Billy San Juan (Star Wars Psychology, Star Trek Psychology) hosts a discussion on the past, present, and future of geek culture. Experts include Brian Kibler (professional gamer and content creator), TRAVIS LANGLEY (Batman and Psychology, Doctor Who Psychology), Janina Scarlet (Superhero Therapy, Star Wars Psychology), Jenna Busch (Legion of Leia, Most Craved), Alan Kistler (Doctor Who: A History, The Walking Dead Psychology), and Cary Kazmaier (manager, Artifex, U.S. Navy ret.).
8:30 pm – 9:30 pm, 26AB
Captain America vs. Iron Man: Freedom, Security, Psychology
DR. TRAVIS LANGLEY (Captain America vs. Iron Man, Batman and Psychology) and legendary Golden Age artist Allen Bellman (Captain America Comics) invite you to the ultimate analysis of Steve Rogers and Tony Stark throughout their histories. Team Cap looks out for superhero liberties: Jenna Busch (Legion of Leia, Star Wars Psychology), Martin Lloyd (Doctor Who Psychology), Lara Taylor Kester (Geek Psych, Game of Thrones Psychology), and Janina Scarlet (Superhero Therapy, The Walking Dead Psychology). Team Tony defends national and international security: Alan Kistler (Doctor Who: A History, Spider-Man Trivia Challenge), Billy San Juan (Star Trek Psychology), Janey Tracey (Outer Places) and Paul Zehr (Inventing Iron Man, Becoming Batman). When the road to the Marvel Comics superheroes’ Civil War is paved with good intentions, are any of them truly in the right?
SUNDAY, JULY 24
12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Comics Arts Conference #14
The Caped Crusader in the Classroom: Batman Goes to College
The same qualities that make Batman one of the most famous characters in the world also make him an excellent vehicle for teaching a variety of topics and reaching students. Batman is the superhero with no superpowers, with a tragic origin that evokes feelings and understanding from anyone who reads it, and a character that occupies an environment that, while a bit bizarre at times, usually feels like it could be real. This session provides an exploration of using Batman to teach arts and science at the university level. Panelists discuss the relevance of Batman and the Bat-family in conveying concepts of psychology, kinesiology and neuroscience to undergraduates. E. Paul Zehr (Becoming Batman), TRAVIS LANGLEY (Batman and Psychology: A Dark and Stormy Knight), Chris Yogerst (University of Wisconsin), Hannah Means-Shannon (Dark Horse Comics), Michael Uslan (The Dark Knight trilogy), and Paul Levitz (DC Comics) discuss and dissect the role of the Caped Crusader on campus.