Comic Con 2009: now with more science

By Phil Plait | July 6, 2009 10:36 am

Last year I strong-armed was generously sent to the vasty convention Comic Con by the Hive Overmind Discover Magazine, and had a blast. It’s a con for people into comics, science fiction, gaming, fantasy, manga, movies, and probably twenty or thirty other categories I missed. It’s a cozy meeting; only about 150,000 close friends attend.

The 2008 Comic Con panel.
Kevin Grazier, Jaime Paglia, and me.
Photo courtesy AKovacs.

Last year I was on a Discover Magazine-sponsored panel about science and science fiction, and it was so popular (standing room only in a room that held 1000 people!) that we’re doing it again. But this time it’ll be bigger and better.

First, I’m moderating it. That means I get to tell people when they can talk and when they have to shut up, which will be fun considering most of the panelists are awesome Hollywood types who make great shows, and can buy and sell me or have me killed on a whim.

Second, we have some new blood on the panel! Here’s the whole list:

Jaime Paglia — co-Executive Producer of Eureka
Kevin Grazier — Battlestar Galactica and Vituality science advisor
Jane Espenson — major scifi writer/producer: Firefly, Dollhouse, Battlestar, and on and on
Rob Chiappetta and Glenn Whitman — writers for Fringe
Ricardo Gil da Costa — neuroscientist and advisor for Fringe

Coooool. Really though, of all of them, the only one I’ll feel comfortable telling to shut up is Kevin, but that’s just because a) we’ve been friends a long time, and 2) I want his job. I’ve been watching all these shows as I can to bone up on ’em, and I have lots of questions to ask at the panel, most of which inevitably lead to, "Why haven’t you hired me to vet your scripts?" That should go over well.

Other bloggers have taken notice, include the the Science and Entertainment Exchange and our very own DM blog Science Not Fiction.

Between this panel and moderating the Mythbusters panel, Comic Con will rock the west coast. I hope to see some of you there– maybe we can figure out some sort of BA meetup. If you’re going to CC, leave a comment here and let’s figure it out!

CATEGORIZED UNDER: About this blog, Science

Comments (38)

  1. Where is this taking place?

  2. San Diego Convention Center July 23-26

    Hey Phil, I won’t be at the Con (I think) but I do live in SD and would love to buy you a beer or somethin’.

  3. Plutonium being from Pluto

    Wish you would vet the scripts – I’d love to see some really clever, really cool, really plausible* good Science Fiction movies made! :-)

    As opposed to just technobabble nonsense like “red matter”…Not that the Trek prequel wasn’t fun and entertaining and all but, sheesh, it could’ve really used a good science advisor. Or even better a Bad Astronomer guiding the helm! ūüėČ


    * Or, okay, allowing a little artistic dramatic liscence like FTL, time travel and the odd other unlikely premise; make that at least semi-plausible. :-)

  4. Nick

    Fringe has a science advisor? Seriously? He must be constantly ignored by the writing staff…

  5. by the way: the Con has been sold out for months, which marks the first time in my life I won’t be able to walk up and buy a pass. I didn’t think I’d be in town so I didn’t pre-reg, so I’m out in the cold. Bah.

  6. It’s off topic, but your website just got a shout-out on Louisville’s “State of Affairs,” Phil, specifically as regards your skillful debunking of moon hoaxers.

    Audio should be available later.

  7. I moved to San Diego recently and was planning to stop by for a day or two, but according to their website a month or so ago, it’s COMPLETELY sold out and there are no registrations being given at the door. Strikes me as a little silly to have such a huge event and not let more folks come – the convention center in SD is huge!!

  8. Brian

    Nick: They don’t ignore their science advisor at all. Quite the contrary. They show him their ideas, he points out which ideas makes no sense, and those are the ones they use.

  9. Cornicen

    For all of you wanting tickets, Comic-Con has been selling tickets on eBay. These are tickets that have been returned to them. The release them for sale at 7pm Pacific Time, usually. Follow them on their Twitter feed for more up to date info.

  10. Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    I’m envious – and that’s not only because you have new blood to drain. It’s not that US is more fun loving I think, but it seems larger mono-cultures thrives (exemplified by the superhero comics).

    “Why haven‚Äôt you hired me to vet your scripts?”

    Um, because they are afraid you will neuter them?

  11. Sure sounds nice. Hey, don’t forget to skip out on the Futurama panel. Revival stuff and all! You ought to think it is going to be awesome, eh?

  12. #4, Nick:
    I love Fringe! Of course it’s silly science, but, I love the show anyway!

    Looks like there’s going to be some Battlestar goodness there too!

    (Phil, pick me up a Cylon, if you wouldn’t mind? Preferably a “Six” model… ūüėČ )

  13. FireHawk

    Wow – I’m so excited to attend this panel! I attended the panel last year and really enjoyed it. I will be at this one too! Do you know what day/time/room the panel will be in?

  14. DGKnipfer

    I’m as green with envy as they get. Maybe next year.

  15. SpaceBooks

    I will be there! At SDCC! Meetup! Yes!

  16. yumenoko

    I’ll be there! Only made it to the last 10 mins of your panel last year cuz we got stuck in the legendary traffic jam heading down from LA that day (some sort of flame-y accident left the 5 backedup up beyond reason nearly all day). Plan to head down there Wed night this time and avoid such drama.

  17. ZERO

    So, what do they actually present at that convention?

  18. I live in SD and I’ll be there for the whole thing, including the Weds preview! I’m definitely up for a sciencey meetup – anyone else? Is there a webby way to organize meetups?

  19. Petrucio

    Fringe? FRINGE?

    Seriously man.

    I know you won’t say anything now since you will be moderating a panel with them, but dude, FRINGE? What a load of horsecrap.

  20. Petrucio, I’m curious. You come to my blog, you read that I’m moderating a panel with several people from a TV show, then you call that TV show “crap”. What are you trying to accomplish?

    I’ll state that I like Fringe, too. It’s a fine show, even though the science is quite often ridiculous.

  21. I didn’t buy a ticket, so I’m trying to tag along with someone as a television groupie. Apparently, I’m not as charming as I used to be because it just isn’t working. Damn.

  22. I struggled to get through the first episode of Fringe and decided not to watch any more. But, the guys and gals from Slice of Scifi kept going on and on about how good it was so I gave it another chance. Gee I’m glad I did. It is one of my favourite shows now and yes the science is ridiculous but it really is a fun show.

  23. Phil, it would be very cool of some of us astronomy and physics types could get together at Comic-Con. Please keep us posted!

    I’ll be loooking forward to your panel. I’m also there as a guest — I worked on Comic-Con “back in the day,” and they’ve invited a bunch of us old-timers for this year’s 40th annual con (

  24. akinmn

    Any talk of these panels ending up on podcasts?

  25. Stone Age Scientist

    Phil, a BA meetup sounds great! Though, I have a feeling that I’d be out of place there with all you science professionals around. Still, I hope it’s a gathering that will also welcome noobs like me. Someday, I hope to have my copy of DFTS signed by you. ūüėź

    Which leads me to another topic. Will you be writing another book? How about a book dealing with the various hazzards of space, as seen from the point of view of spacefarers or a spaceship. You know, it’s pretty obvious that Kirk and Spock need your advice very badly. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be steering too near that black hole.

  26. I’ll be there as Masquerade staff. I’ll be there Friday likely and definitely Saturday.

  27. cornicen: I saw that eBay thing on the Con site, and honestly it just offends the heck out of me for some reason. I feel like they’re just professionally scalping their own tickets. I’m a UFC fan as well, and they do the same thing with StubHub. It makes me NOT want to give them any more money.

    Is it more efficient this way or something? Or is it just a cost thing? I dunno. It burns me a bit that you can’t walk up to the window (well, stand in line for 4 hours) and get a ticket. I’m going to hit up all the people I know for freebs.

  28. Bill

    Yeah, a BABlog meetup sounds great.

    Word of warning: if you don’t have a ticket, don’t come to the convention center, you will only get stuck in traffic and won’t get in anyway. It IS sold out. And to the question of “why don’t they let everyone in, it’s huge” is just that — the convention centre is huge, but 150,000 people take up ALOT of room. Two years ago, they had to close the doors or the fire marshal was going to shut then down entirely! (Me, I cheat — my wife is on the committee, so it’s not a choice for me — I HAVE to be there.)

    Looking forward to seeing everyone there!

  29. DLC

    Sorry Phil, have to disagree with you about Fringe. I’ve seen the pilot and a couple other episodes and couldn’t stand it. The horrorshow bad science was a major part of my not being able to get into it. That being said, I will go so far as to say that it’s well acted and competently made. I just couldn’t get over the plausibility hurdle.

  30. I am going to Con as a pro this year, and I am planning on making this one a must to attend!

  31. DarthCaitSith

    I have a one day ticket so i need to know what day to go down. What day will the meet up and panels be. Mythbuster esp

  32. The artist on my book and I are both long time readers of bad astronomy and will be attending this panel, if there is a BA meet up sometime we would love to do that as well.

  33. Hey Phil–would love to meet up after either panel. A BA meetup seems amazing. I will be covering both the Discovery panel as well as the Mythbusters panel for my science and technology in entertainment blog, and would be very excited about this.

    Also, I just interviewed your pal Kevin about BSG, so I’m sure I’ll link that back here really soon!



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