Every year I go to HeroesCon in Charlotte, the show that is easily the best for comics culture in the entire Southeast, maybe even on the East Coast in total. Nothing really comes close around my neck of the woods. And the biggest highlight from that show every year? Well, that has to be the annual Mega-Panel, a collaboration between Cartoonist and SCAD Professor (and Eisner nominee) Ben Towle, Dr. Craig Fischer from Appalachian State University, and Librarian Jennie Law – this year focusing on the dual centennial of both Will Eisner and Jack Kirby.
The Mega-Panel is quite the event, lasting 2 hours in duration, it’s a highly informative presentation (recent years highlighted The Center of Cartooning Studies and the history of Funny Animal comics) full of great laughs and panel discussion – it also provides a hell of a reprieve from walking back and forth among the aisles of artists that populate that wonderful show in Charlotte. As I get older, those opportunities are becoming incredibly valuable too.
This year’s agenda kicked-off with a discussion between Towle and Eisner winner Tom Heintjes, focusing on Tom’s days working with Dennis Kitchen, Kitchen Sink Press, and Eisner himself. This was an interview so intriguing, I had to run out and grab a copy of one of The Spirit Archives right away on the show floor.
It’s followed by a rousing discussion between Drs. Daniel Yezbick and Andrew Kunka, breaking down the seminal Eisner work: “Meet P’Gell”.
And the final segment of this video is dedicated to a panel talk, moderated by Law, hosting Gilbert Hernandez, Jaime Hernandez, Erik Larsen, and Titan Books editor Steve Saffel (the man behind their excellent Simon and Kirby Library series), as they discuss the impact the work of Kirby has had on their careers.
I’m sad to say that the actual final talk was omitted, as it was a hilarious presentation given by Towle centered on Kirby’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, both the film adaptation and its ensuing series at Marvel Comics.
But nevertheless, the below video gives you a great look-in at one of the best curated programming slots at Heroes, and if you ever happen to find yourself in Charlotte for the show, do make this a priority for your Saturday afternoon.