With over 20 years under its belt, the Big Apple Comic Con (BACC) looks to continue honoring comics and comics media in 2019 and beyond. The convention will once gain be hosted by the Pennsylvania Hotel (right across from Madison Square Garden in Manhattan) on the weekend of March 9-10th. This convention has traveled around the city quite a bit. It started out in the auditorium at St. Paul’s Church before moving to the Metropolitan Pavilion and lastly to the Pennsylvania.

This year’s show seems to have a lot on its mind. As to be expected of the conventions programmed for this year, Stan Lee and his legacy will be talked about for a long while as comic creators and media figures line up to honor The Man in their own way. BACC already has a tribute primed and ready with Danny Fingeroth (Spider-Man), Peter David (Hulk, X-Factor), Jim Salicrup (editor-in-chief of Papercutz), and—according to the con’s website—a surprise guest or two in conversation about Lee’s work, starting early at 10:50am on the very first day of the event.

Salicrup and Fingeroth reunite for a talk on Will Eisner (just in time for Will Eisner Week) that, according to the official description, promises to compare Eisner’s career with Lee’s and their stamp on the comics world. The success of these kind of talks, involving Stan Lee, depend on how creative or innovative they end up being in their presentation. This panel is more than justified in a comparison between both figures. Other conventions should aspire to do the same. Make it unique.

The Jack Kirby Museum has a panel titled “The King in Cyberspace,” slated for the con’s second day at 11:50am. It wouldn’t be totally unreasonable to expect some Stan Lee added to the mix. Then again, this panel stands on its own two legs as it tackles the digitization of King Kirby’s work for online archives and collections. The mission? Scan every Jack Kirby comic book page into a digital archive on his work.

This is a monumental task focused on the preservation of comic book art history and it should inspire different organizations to do the same, especially as older material becomes harder and more expensive to find. Projects such as these also keep past creators relevant, not that Kirby’s lost any relevance. Anything superhero-related up on the movie screens today owes something or everything to Jack Kirby. I would say this also extends to general science fiction as well.

William Shatner leads the convention as its biggest entertainment guest. While no stranger to comic conventions, Shatner is, without question, a supremely magnetic presence that just pulls in fans from all corners of geekdom. As cultural icons go, Shatner is up there with Stan Lee in terms of legacy talks and pop culture impact. It’ll be interesting to see how people approach him in this convention.

Mr. Luke Cage himself, Mike Colter, will also be there, along with Brent Spiner (Star Trek; The Next Generation), Geoffrey Cantor (Daredevil), Mary Wilson from The Supremes (an interesting guest given her Motown history and her autobiography Dreamgirl: My Life as a Supreme), and Kathleen Turner (Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Romancing the Stone).

Comic Book guests include Jim Steranko (S.H.I.E.L.D.), Jae Lee (The Dreaming), Mark Texeira (Jonah Hex), Frank Cho (Avengers), Tony Isabella (Black Lightning), Bill Griffith (Zippy the Pinhead), Ramona Fradon (Super Friends), Keith Williams (X-Men), Diane Noomin (Twisted Sisters), Peter Bagge (Credo: The Rosa Wilder Lane Story), among others. Comic fans have a good selection of creators up for a conversation or two that goes from representatives of the Underground Comix scene to storytellers that crafted classic superhero storylines.

The Big Apple Comic Con has a bit of everything for everyone. Developing that kind of accessibility, though, requires a well-thought-out plan that actually makes sure there is something for everyone. The panels, the comic guests, the entertainment guest, it all seems carefully chosen. It’s looking like this year’s edition will be one to remember.

You can purchase tickets at: https://big-apple-comic-con.ticketleap.com/bacc2019/