After going virtual last year because of the pandemic, New York Comic Con is back with a long list of physical panels and meetups for 2021. The heavy hitters may be sticking to their own cons — remember, DC Fandome is next weekend! — but there are some stars and discussions you’re sure to like over NYCC’s four-day span.
Here are some of the biggest and most interesting panels happening at New York Comic Con, running Thursday, Oct. 7 through Sunday, Oct. 10. Keep an eye on our coverage at Polygon’s NYCC 2021 hub.
Hulu brought Animaniacs back in 2020, and despite some problems, a second season was always part of the plan. With the new set of episodes premiering on Nov. 5, it’s time to see what chaos the Warner Brothers — and sister! — will wreak. Voice actors Rob Paulsen (Yakko), Jess Harnell (Wakko), Tress MacNeille (Dot), and Maurice Lamarche (the Brain) are coming to their panel with a look at season two’s musical bits and parodies, plus some “important” safety tips.
Why go? Though the first season wasn’t without its issues, Animaniacs is still reliably funny. Shows tend to improve after their first season, and the year off has hopefully given the writing staff a better handle on the Warners in a modern landscape. Plus, having the four actors together will no doubt provide some laughs.
Panel on Sunday, Oct. 10 at 2:15 p.m. ET (also streaming virtually)
Critical Role: Legend of Vox Machina
You may have heard of a webseries called Critical Role, where a bunch of voice actors — including Last of Us stars Ashley Johnson and Laura Bailey, Overwatch’s Matthew Mercer, and requisite Thor voice actor Travis Willingham — play Dungeons & Dragons. In 2019, the group launched a Kickstarter to adapt its first campaign, “The Legend of Vox Machina,” into an animated series, and it unsurprisingly got funded pretty quickly. Now it’s an upcoming series on Amazon Prime, and the virtual panel will feature the cast and an extended preview of the animated madness to come. For those who can’t make the in-person panel, it’ll also be streaming.
Why watch? D&D has blown up big over the last few years, and actual play series like Critical Role are part of the reason why. Critical Role has taken off big with merchandise and expanded universe comics. Its second campaign, The Mighty Nein, ended and was later followed up with the Exandria Unlimited miniseries, inviting even more newcomers into the fold. Fans of the Vox campaign are already bought in on the animated series, and newcomers may find themselves with a new fantasy fix.
Panel on Friday, Oct. 8 at 11 a.m. ET (also streaming virtually)
The Voices of Star Wars Animation feat. Dee Bradley Baker & Matthew Wood
Dee Bradley Baker is a man whose voice you’ve heard your whole life, even if you haven’t noticed it. He’s been animals. He’s been aliens. He’s been clones. The man’s been working hard at the voice acting gig for decades, and now he’s got a panel to talk about his career and some of his favorite roles.
Why go? With any luck, Baker will hold a conversation with Wood, the voice of General Grievous, in a variety of different voices. Sure, there’ll be some valuable insight into the various roles he’s had over the years, but watching him talk to himself as a Clone Trooper, then Numbuh 4 from Kids Next Door would be worth the visit.
Panel on Friday, Oct. 8 at 12 p.m. ET
Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero
Revealed at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, Super Hero is the next movie in the everlast Dragon Ball series. Joined by Dragon Ball Super voice actors Ian Sinclar (Whis) and Monica Rial (Bulma), producers Akio Iyoku and Norihiro Hayashida will hold a behind the scenes talk about the making of Super Hero.
Why go? Dragon Ball fans have been hungry for information on Super Hero for months. The title was announced at SDCC, along with a new CG styling that’s a significant departure from the usual animation of the franchise. And for the first movie for the franchise in three years, almost any new details will be exciting. It’s worth noting that there’s no news on when the panel will go online, if ever — this one may be strictly for those in person.
Panel on Thursday, Oct. 7 at 12:30 p.m. ET
My Hero Academia
Funimation’s superhero anime is getting another film to give Deku and his classmates a chance to shine. The panel for World Heroes’ Mission will feature the dub cast and crew, along with a look at the film before its release date on Oct. 29.
Why go? The second My Hero movie was a wild experience that wound up being one of the best superhero films of 2020, as few of those as there were. The anime can always be relied on to deliver heroic spectacle and earnest heart, and Heroes’ Mission looks to continue the franchise’s trend.
Panel on Friday, Oct. 8 at 3 p.m. ET
Brian K. Vaughan
Brian K. Vaughan has written Paper Girls, Saga, and Y: The Last Man, and created Runaways for Marvel. (He’s also writing that Gundam movie for Netflix!) The award-winning writer is holding a panel to talk about his past and present work, and hopefully talk about what’s to come.
Why go? Vaughan’s a pretty great writer of comics and TV, and creators looking back at their past work always have the potential to deliver interesting info. With several of his comics currently in development for TV, like Paper Girls and Y: The Last Man, he’s got some insight to give. And maybe we’ll even get an update on Saga, which has been on hiatus since 2018.
Panel on Saturday, Oct. 9 at 2 p.m. ET
Department of Truth
Writer James Tynion IV and artist Martin Simmonds’ creator-owned comic The Department of Truth is all about conspiracies and the threat they can pose if they become believed enough to take shape and alter reality. Tynion, now focused solely on his own work rather than DC’s, will hold a panel with a historian and professor in critical thinking to talk about the importance and powers conspiracy theories bring to the world.
Why go? Department of Truth has been one of Tynion’s strongest books since it arrived a year ago, and Simmonds’ art gives everything an eerie vibe and a feeling of uncertainty. It’ll be interesting to watch him walk through his choices in conspiracies with professors who specialize in these fields. And it may give some insight into Blue Book, his Substack comic with Michael Oeming and Aditya Bidikar about UFO encounters.
Panel on Saturday, Oct. 9 at 2 p.m. ET
John Paul Leon tribute
Comic book artist John Paul Leon, whose work spans Batman, Static Shock, and Jupiter’s Legacy, passed away earlier this year after a 14-year battle with cancer. To celebrate his life, a trio of his peers are holding a panel to explore some of his work from the start of his career to the present, including his final work in the pages of Mark Millar and Tommy Lee Edwards’ Jupiter’s Legacy: Requiem.
Why go? Leon’s death was a big deal among the comics community. Marvel’s Joe Quesada and DC’s Jim Lee each wrote separate eulogies and ran tributes in their first run of comics in June, and a GoFundMe campaign was set up to fund his daughter’s college education. The panel is expected to be an emotional event celebrating one of the strongest illustrators in American superhero comics.
Panel on Thursday, Oct. 7 at 5 p.m. ET
Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo
Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo teamed up during DC’s New 52 era that saw the duo’s Batman run become a critical and commercial success, later followed by the Dark Nights: Metal miniseries, among others. Now, the two are moving to ComiXology for their new creator-owned original series, We Have Demons.
Why go? Both Snyder and Capullo have proven themselves to be a powerful pairing, and Snyder in particular has been making moves to do more original work with ComiXology. Demons is the first of many comics he’s doing with the platform, and as his American Vampire and Batman books have shown, he loves writing monsters. And Capullo is an artist that can conjure up some real freaky stuff on the page, pointing to another potential hit in the making.
Panel on Saturday, Oct. 9 at 5 p.m. ET
Platforms for creating indie comics and books have grown in prominence over the years, and none more than Webtoon and Wattpad. Original works from the platforms like Lore Olympus and After have seen mainstream success and been adapted to television and film. Authors Míriam Bonastre Tur (Webtoon’s Hooky) and Ariana Godoy (Wattpad’s A Través De Mi Ventana) will talk about how they built their respective fanbases and the process of publishing and adapting their material.
Why go? Webtoon’s presence in the comics space is so big that DC let the platform host a Batman comic, which pretty much says it all. If you’re trying to get an original work of your own off the ground, learning how it can be done from creatives in the indie space is sure to yield some important information.
Panel on Friday, Oct. 8 at 3:30 p.m. ET (also streaming virtually)
With two seasons under its belt and a third underway, Amazon’s The Boys has cemented itself as a pretty good (and pretty gory) show about corporate superhero assholes and the somewhat ordinary people trying to knock them down several pegs. Cast members Jack Quaid (Hughie), Karen Fukuhara (Kimiko), Chace Crawford (The Deep), Erin Moriarty (Starlight), and Homelander himself Anthony Starr will look back on their favorite moments from the first two seasons.
Why go? Other than seeing if they’ll bring something for the third season with them, you can look for what moments from the series stick out to them. That goes double for Starr, who gets up to some pretty messed up stuff in both seasons. Maybe Fukuhara or Moriarty will bring up the time they ganged up on a Nazi.
Panel on Thursday, Oct. 7 at 4:45 p.m. ET
The Child’s Play franchise has had a relatively steady stream of films since 1988, but the new Chucky series marks its first venture into television. At the panel for the upcoming show airing on Syfy and USA, creator Don Mancini and series star Jennifer Tilly will premiere the first episode before launching into a one-on-one about the franchise.
Why go? TV shows spinning out of film franchises are all over the place, but Chucky has the benefit of having the original creator at the helm. As a sequel to 2017’s Cult of Chucky and a bridge to future films of the franchise, the show has potential, and Mancini may drop some hints about the trajectory it will take.
Panel on Friday, Oct. 8 at 1 p.m. ET
You may have seen Evil, a 2019 show from CBS about priest David (Mike Colter), forensic psychologist Kristen (Katja Herbers), and techie Ben (Aasif Mandvi) investigating supernatural incidents. Now in the middle of a second season on Paramount+, the lead actors and co-creators Robert and Michelle King — who also handle the equally compelling The Good Fight for the same streamer — are doing a panel to talk about creating the horror series and what’s to come.
Why watch? When Evil’s second season premiered on Paramount+ , we called it a modern, often funny update to The Exorcist, and we absolutely stand by it. It’s a show that is constantly off its own shit and always yields interesting results, such as an episode that takes place almost entirely without dialogue.
Streaming Friday, Oct. 8 at 5:15 p.m. ET (also streaming virtually)
The Expanse is a series adapting James SA Corey’s — the shared pen name for writers Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck — sci-fi novel series of the same name. Originally debuting on Syfy and running for three seasons before being transferred to Amazon, the show is coming to an end with its sixth season, and its cast and creators are holding a panel to celebrate.
Why watch? Both as a book and series, The Expanse has a strong following, one that saved the series from cancellation and led to another three seasons on Amazon. In addition to the look at season six, it’ll be nice to watch the cast and crew kick back and reminisce about the series. And who knows — since Franck and Abraham consider season six more like a “pause” than a complete end, maybe there’s a surprise up their sleeves.
Streaming Friday, Oct. 8 at 12:45 p.m. ET (also streaming virtually)
After six years and some pandemic-related delays, the fourth Ghostbusters movie is finally reaching its theatrical release on Nov. 19. Director Jason Reitman and producer Ivan Reitman will be joined by the cast of the upcoming film to talk about Afterlife and the overall franchise, and to show new clips from the movie.
Why go? If you’re a fan of the series, you’ll certainly want to go. Panels for big movies always save big clips and announcements for cons to get the most social media attention, and Afterlife’s is sure to be no exception.
Panel on Friday, Oct. 8 at 6:30 p.m. ET
Star Trek is coming back big this fall with the fourth season of Discovery on Nov. 18 and the premiere of the CG series Prodigy on Oct. 28. There’ll be separate panels for the shows, each featuring the respective cast and crew as team members talk up where their shows are about to boldly go on Paramount Plus.
Why go? Star Trek has clearly found success in returning to television after its prolonged cinematic stint with the reboot franchise. Discovery’s continued success is nothing new, but Prodigy marks a turning point for the 55-year-old franchise as its first animated series meant for younger audiences. Throw in the upcoming season two of Picard and the debut of Strange New Worlds next year, and there’s a whole lotta Star Trek on the horizon.
Discovery panel on Saturday, Oct. 9 at 12:45 p.m. ET; Prodigy panel on Sunday, Oct. 10 at 12:45 p.m. ET
Welcome to the Blumhouse
Last year saw Blumhouse, the production company that built its name on successful mid-tier horror movies, release an anthology film series on Amazon Prime. Now there’s a new quartet of horror films coming from Blumhouse this month — Gigi Saul Guerrero’s Bingo Hell, Maritte Lee Go’s Black as Night, Ryan Zaragoza’s Madres, and Axelle Carolyn’s The Manor — and all four directors will talk about their experiences directing their respective films.
Why watch? Where the first iteration of Welcome had the unifying theme of family love, the new set of films is focused on societal horrors and personal fears. For better or worse, socially conscious horror is what Blumhouse loves to dip into the most, if the Purge series and the recent Candyman revival didn’t already make that clear. Plus, it’s October, so why not watch something scary at no real cost?
Streaming Thursday, Oct. 7 at 3:45 p.m. ET
What We Do in the Shadows
New York’s about to get invaded by vampires. With a preview of an upcoming episode and some special guests by their side, the cast and crew of FX’s What We Do in the Shadows are holding a panel for the show’s in-progress third season.
Why go? For the first two seasons, we called Shadows one of the best shows in its respective years (2019 and 2020), and season three hasn’t broken that trend. If seeing a scene from an upcoming episode that’ll surely be hilarious isn’t good enough incentive to attend, maybe watching the cast riff with each other and whoever else they rope in onstage will be.
Panel on Sunday, Oct. 10 at 2:45 p.m. ET
Wheel of Time
Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series got the green light for an adaptation from Amazon in an effort to replicate the success of Game of Thrones. Moiraine (Rosamund Pike) is searching for the “Dragon Reborn,” a person who may be fated to stop the incoming apocalypse. Pike, along with much of the cast and showrunner Rafe Judkins, will talk about the act of bringing the books to life and bring some new information ahead of the show’s Nov. 19 premiere.
Why go? Jordan’s novels have a lot going on, and are well known for their detailed world and magic system. Judkins has previously talked about the delicate line between adapting the books wholesale and making the show its own thing, and he’s got big plans for the show if it goes further than its initial two-season deal.
Panel on Friday, Oct. 8 at 2:30 p.m. ET (also streaming virtually)
Y: The Last Man
Pia Guerra and Brian K. Vaughn’s post-apocalyptic comic from 2005, about the last living cisgender man on the planet (and his pet monkey!), recently got adapted into a series for FX on Hulu. This panel, featuring showrunner Eliza Clark and the cast, will have an advance screening of the seventh episode followed by a moderated Q&A to talk about updating the comic and bringing it to life.
Why go? Despite failed attempts in the past to bring this series to life, FX’s current take on Y has been surprisingly timely in its focus on power and who wields it during catastrophic times. It’s been a promising first half of the season and who knows, maybe they’ll surprise with a season two announcement during the panel.
Panel on Saturday, Oct. 9 at 6 p.m. ET