San Diegans are leading Comic-Con panels on everything from dinosaurs to ‘Star Wars’

A jawa and a storm trooper on the last day of Comic-Con International 2019 in San Diego.
A jawa and a storm trooper on the last day of Comic-Con International 2019 in San Diego. Several “Star Wars” panels will take place at this year’s convention, including one from the San Diego Star Wars Society.
(Nelvin C. Cepeda/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Comic-Con may be an international event, but dozens of San Diegans and local organizations take part in the action as well.

Here are 18 panel discussions and interactive events happening at this year’s convention from Thursday through Sunday, featuring San Diego State University professors, local librarians, experts and small businesses.

Thursday, July 20

Art from the Holocaust: The Tattoo: The discussion will follow the significance of Auschwitz tattoos that appear in graphics and comics. Panelists include Auschwitz Holocaust survivor Ben Midler; Karin Babbitt, the daughter of Dina Babbitt, a Holocaust survivor who created portraits of prisoners at Auschwitz; graphic artist Edmundo Godinez and Sandra Scheller, the daughter of an Auschwitz survivor and the creator of Art from the Holocaust, which is a recurring annual panel at the San Diego Comic-Con.1:30 to 2:30 p.m., Room 4

From San Diego Kids to Hollywood Animators: Want to hear from San Diego creators who took their talents all the way to Hollywood? Join this panel — including Jeff Ranjo, head of story at Netflix, and Bobby Rubio, the director of Pixar’s “Float” — to learn about the paths they took to work on major films, TV shows and video games. 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., Room 10

It’s Alive, Jim! Evolutionary Biology in “Star Trek:” Many of the creatures and ideas in comic books are so fantastical it’s impossible to think they could — or do — exist in real life... right? In this panel, Ashley Poust, a paleontologist at the San Diego Natural History Museum, Danielle de Carle, a researcher and lecturer at the University of Toronto and Amanda Jack, a biochemist and biophysicist at SyntheX, examine the creations from the “Star Trek” universe and ponder the possibility that they could exist on Earth. 8 to 9 p.m., Room 28DE

Remembering Greg Bear: Greg Bear was a Comic-Con icon. The science fiction author behind works like “Darwin’s Radio” and “The Forge of God” was also one of the early fans who helped create the first San Diego Comic-Con in the 1970s. A San Diegan, Bear died in 2022, and this panel is meant to serve as a place to remember and celebrate his life and accomplishments. 8 to 9 p.m., Room 7AB.

Friday, July 21

Boundless Adventures with the San Diego Festival of Books: Five San Diego Festival of Books authors will come together to discuss the inspiration behind their works and how they make their fictional worlds come to life. Authors include TJ Klune (“In the Lives of Puppets”), Jarrod Shusterman and Sofia Lapuente (“Retro”), Charlie Jane Anders (“Promises Stronger Than Darkness”), and John Jennings, the curator of “Megascope” series. 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., Room 10.

Honoring Kumeyaay Nation Past, Present, And Future Through Visual Storytelling: Members of the Kumeyaay tribe have teamed up with local artists and county leaders to create a comic about the Kumeyaay people’s history, present and future in San Diego County, the tribe’s ancestral land. The panel will discuss how the visual project came to be. 6 to 7 p.m., Room 29AB

The Science of “Avatar: The Way of Water:” This panel will explore the film “Avatar: The Way of Water,” from nearly every angle: the realities of a five-year space mission, the possibilities of human-to-whale communication, insight on the actors’ training for the film and more. John Hildebrand, professor at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, will be a panelist, along with other scientists. 6 to 7 p.m., Room 25ABC

Star Wars “Andor:” Making a Rebel, Making a Rebellion: Panelists — including Robert A. Dagnall, a Masters of Arts candidate in rhetoric and writing studies at SDSU — will discuss the Disney+ Star Wars series “Andor” and the show’s themes of fighting oppression, standing up to tyranny and forming movements for a greater cause. 7 to 8 p.m., Room 7AB.

Blind Date with a Book 2: San Diego Public Librarians will connect three audience members with their next book — in the style of The Dating Game, a 1960s game show that helped contestants find their next romantic date. Contestants will be introduced to some new and upcoming books to keep them entertained all summer long. 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., Room 10

Mega64 20th Anniversary Panel: San Diego-based production company Mega64 — which has been making videos and short films since 2003 — will bring its cast and crew to Comic-Con to discuss their work and success over the last 20 years. 6:30 to 7:30 pm., Room 5AB.

Saturday, July 22

Star Wars Trivia Game Panel: The San Diego Star Wars Society will host a trivia panel to test attendees’ knowledge of the “Star Wars” universe. There will be a kids round for ages 5 through 11 along with an adult round for ages 12 and up. 10 to 11 a.m., Omni Hotel, Omni Grand Ballroom DE, 4th floor.

The Future Starts at Comic-Con: Educators and artists will discuss the best ways to encourage young people to pursue careers in the creative industries, like music, film, television and art. Hosted and produced by the San Diego County Office of Education, featured panelists include NWA founding member Arabian Prince and Grammy-award winner James Fauntleroy. 3 to 4 p.m., Neil Morgan Auditorium, San Diego Central Library.

Comics Change the World: Comics Activism Then to Now: Panelists, including the directors of SDSU’s Center for Comic Studies, will speak about how comics have been instrumental in addressing social issues throughout history and are still used today to address topics like racism, LGBTQ+ equality and more. 4 to 5 p.m., Shiley Special Events Suite, San Diego Central Library.

Afghan Youth Art and Poetry Exchange: Learn about how San Diego students created Flowers for the Future, an organization to support the right to education for students around the world. Specifically, the group has helped Afghan girls continue their education under Taliban rule. 5 to 6 p.m, Shiley Special Events Suite, San Diego Central Library.

The Changing Contexts of Asian American Narratives in Comics and Graphic Novels: Academics and comics creators will discuss how the Covid-19 pandemic and anti-Asian rhetoric and violence have impacted the way readers understand Asian American graphic novels and stories, like “The Good Asian,” written by Pornsak Pichetshote. The novel takes place in San Francisco’s Chinatown in the mid 20th century. 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., Room 26AB.

Nothing Topps Dinosaurs Attack! Cards: The creators of the Topps dinosaur-themed card series — released in 1988 — will talk about their favorite cards from the series. Ashley Poust, paleontologist for San Diego Natural History Museum, will shed light on the reality of dinosaurs (spoiler: they weren’t as gory and violent as the Topps creators made them out to be). 7:30 to 8:30 p.m., Convention Center Room 29CD.

Sunday, July 23

Leveraging the Power of Popular Culture to Inspire Change at Scale: The Comic-Con Museum and Feeding San Diego collaborated to create the Hunger Action Hero Art Contest, which invited students to submit their own idea of a hero who helps to end hunger. Costume designer Allan Lavignethen brought the winning entries to life. At this panel, Hunger Halter and Demeter, the envisioned heroes, will be portrayed by actors Jason Zlatkus and Tatiana Moore. 11 a.m. to 12 p.m., Convention Center Room 24ABC

Afrofuturism: Black to the Future VI: No Mo’ TriX: Video game designers, writers and academics, including Professor Ajani Brown, a lecturer in SDSU’s Africana Studies Department, will convene in this panel to discuss developments in the gaming industry that will impact the Pan-African Diaspora, including the introduction of more Black characters to typically Eurocentric video games. 4 to 5 p.m., Room 25ABC.