This year’s convention has an impressive slate of programming devoted to comics for children and teens, from a panel on using comics in the classroom to anime screenings to a workshop on how to create superhero characters.
But that barely scratches the surface. The weekend is filled events for children, teens and parents. Here’s just a handful:
1. Sunday! Sunday! Sunday! It’s Kids Day, filled with cartooning workshops and classes for children and teens, competitions and Light Saber Training. Children 12 and under are admitted for free on Sunday.
2. All things Avatar (The Last Airbender): As an unapologetic fan of Avatar: The Last Airbender, I’m compelled to recommend the “Nickelodeon Presents — Avatar Comics” panel at 6 p.m. Friday, with storyboard artist Johane Matte (aka Rufftoon), comics editor Dave Roman, comics writer Alison Wilgus, and comics artist Amy Kim Ganter.
Then at 3 p.m. Saturday, “Into the Inferno: Nickelodeon’s Avatar: The Last Airbender Finale.” (Yeah, that makes me a little sad, too.) Creators Bryan Konietzko and Mike DiMartino will provide sneak peeks at the remaining episodes, and debut the official trailer for the two-hour series finale.
3. Teen beat: There’s plenty of programming for teen-agers who want to make comics. At 1 p.m. Sunday, Jessica Abel and Matt Madden lead the “Comics Workshop,” while Raina Telgemeier and Marion Vitus play host to “Turn Your Life into a Comic!” Those are followed at 3 p.m. by “MoCCA Presents: Webcomics 101,” with Jennifer M. Babcock.
4. Parents’ primer: If you’re bringing your kids to the convention, odds are you’re fairly familiar with comics. In case you’re not, there are several panels that will serve as a crash course to what your children may be — or should be – reading: “Flight Explorer: A Conversation with Kazu Kibuishi and Creators,” focusing on the new all-ages series (11 a.m. Sunday); “Comics 101 for Parents” (noon Sunday); “Why Manga? Trends in Teen Graphic Novels” (noon Sunday); “Comics for Girls,” with Barbara Slate (Angel Love, Archie, Barbie), Mike Pellerito (Archie), Allison Barrows (Pre-Teena, Goofyfoot Gurl), Jimmy Gownley (Amelia Rules), Buzz Dixon & Marlon Schulman from RealBuzz Studios (Serenity, Goofyfoot Gurl), Raina Telgemeier (The Babysitters Club), moderated by Christine Norrie (2 p.m. Sunday); and “Read Comics to Your Kids — We Telll You Why!” (3 p.m. Sunday).
5. Cartoons! Cartoons! Cartoons! Beyond the aforementioned Avatar, there are plenty of screenings throughout the weekend, including previews of Igor and the brand-new Ben 10: Alien Force, behind-the-scenes looks at Dragonball Z, Shin Chan and One Piece, and viewings of favorite episodes of anime series like Fullmetal Alchemist, One Piece, xxxHolic and Dragonball Z.