The Best Panels at Los Angeles Comic Con 2017

by Aiyonna White

Panels are an opportunity for fans to connect with their favorite creators. Los Angeles Comic Con took place on October 27-29 and offered dozens of panels for fans to attend when they were not walking the floor. The convention may have ended, but these panels left a lasting impression on me.

The “Gay Geeks & Where to Find Them” panelist (left to right) Luigi Shigara, Chandler Poling, Marc Andreyko, Aman Chaudhary, Rayman Lancione, Chris Riley, and Tobias Trost

Gay Geeks & Where to Find Them

I forgot the term “gay” specifically refers to men who date men, as it has often been used as an umbrella term for the entire LGBT+ community. Anyway, I was surprised to see that this panel was all men, most of them white. These creators spoke about growing up gay and nerdy, and how they each do their part to increase the visibility of well written queer characters. My favorite bit of advice came from Love is Love   organizer Marc Andreyko. When asked to give tips to up and coming creators he offered gems such as, “You have to be willing to work for free for a long period of time…Be punctual, be passionate, be personable…Nothing’s worth having that’s not worth working for…Your career is like a salad bar, you have to try a bit of everything…Surround yourself with people you think are more talented than you. It will keep you on your toes…” I was snapping poetry slam style after every sentence this guy said. I’m definitely a new fan.

Butch Hartman

This man practically owns my childhood. He is the creator of The Fairly Oddparents and Danny Phantom, two shows that I watched religiously for about 10 years. I was late to this panel but I would like to note that Hartman was incredibly respectful and charming, and did not need a moderator. He handled the Q&A on his own with occasional help from his assistant and engaging stories for each question asked. The line for his booth was one of the longest at the con, and I didn’t have the chance to speak to him.

Chloe Bennet on the Hot Topic Main Stage with moderator Sean Gerber

Chloe Bennet

I’m a big Chloe Bennet fan on an artificial level. I stopped watching Agents of SHIELD halfway through Season 2. She’s funny on her Twitter and Instagram, and she has a lot of pride in her identity as an Asian actress in a racist Hollywood, both of which I admire. Regardless Bennett was funny and engaging in the short interview she gave on the Main Stage. She said Shield is “…ahead of the curve in terms of giving female characters of color really dynamic characters, and they’re normal.”

Voices of DC

I’m a giant fan of the DC Animated Universe, and this is a panel full of legends. Diana Pershing, Andrea Romano, Lex Lang, Phil LaMarr and Greg Cipes sat with Moderator Londyn Jackson to discuss the intricacies of voice acting. The panel quickly turned into an “Andrea Romano love fest” as she catapulted all of these artists careers. The panelists spoke about the differences between on-camera acting and voice acting, of which there aren’t many. As LaMarr said, “The differences are purely technical…at the core, our job as actors is to take something and bring it to life for the audience,” Cipes had the crowd laughing the entire panel, and ended the panel by leading the crowd in a call-response “ booyakasha” in reference to his TMNT character, Michelangelo.

Be Wherever You Are: A Celebration of Steven Universe

(left to right) Deedee Mango Hall, Zach Callison, Michaela Dietz, and moderator Londyn Jackson

This was by far the most crowded panel, with more attendees than some of the Main Stage events. Voice actors Zach Callison, Deedee Mango Hall, and Michaela Dietz spoke about their favorite aspects of the show and had endless praise for show creator Rebecca Sugar. The Steven Universe fandom is very engaged, which is evident by the reactionary crowd. There were singing and copious applause. Amethyst voice actress Michaela gave out Slim Jims to audience members who asked questions. One audience member thanked them for their accurate portrayal of mental illness in the show and burst into tears. This panel was my favorite because everyone from the moderator to the actors to the audience to me was so excited to be there. When asked what each actor would show their character about Earth, Dietz responded “Comic Con…I’m serious there is so much respect and positive energy here,” and I have to agree with her.

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