The fifth annual New York Comic Con soars into the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center this weekend, providing three packed days of pop-culture catnip. Among hundreds of offerings (including appearances from Stan Lee, Bruce Campbell and others), these don't-miss panels will make you a better geek.
RECOMMENDED: New York Comic Con guide
Will Eisner's New York
The Brooklyn native's groundbreaking work (including 1978's A Contract with God, often called the first graphic novel) is so revered, the industry named its most prestigious award after him. A distinguished group (including onetime assistant Jules Feiffer) discusses how Eisner's beloved home shaped his innovative art. Fri 8 at 2pm
Remembering Harvey Pekar
Cleveland's quirky visionary didn't create caped crusaders, but by crafting a version of himself in American Splendor, he proved that comics could be literary and effective in any genre. (Pekar joined the ranks of superheroes like Batman and Wolverine—sort of—when his comic became an acclaimed film in 2003.) Collaborators such as Dean Haspiel and Peter Kuper remember the late comic-book writer and, we hope, provide some insight into his unfinished projects. Fri 8 at 4:30pm
Grant Morrison: Talking with Gods screening
Sometimes called "The God of All Comics," Scottish rock-star writer Morrison is the subject of this doc, which examines his psychedelic life and boundary-defying career—from mainstream smash hits (All-Star Superman, New X-Men) to subversive original creations (The Invisibles, We3). This event showcases doc highlights, including mad-fun interviews with Morrison and insights from various collaborators. (Catch a screening of the documentary at Cinema Village [22 E 12th St at Second Ave; 212-924-3363] on Saturday 9 at 11:30pm.) Sun 10 at 12:45pm
Castles, Forests and Bath Houses: The Worlds of Hayao Miyazaki
Take a closer look at the heady themes and absurd characters (like the oddly adorable kodama tree spirits) created by Oscar-winning anime director Miyazaki, the man behind classics such as Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away and Ponyo. Sun 10 at 11am
Image Comics: The Writers
Image scribes, assemble! The talent lineup includes Image Comics' John Layman, author of the buzzed-about Chew (about a detective who gains psychic impressions from whatever he eats). But the biggest draw is fellow Eisner winner Robert Kirkman, writer of the zombiepocalypse comic The Walking Dead; a TV adaptation of the series premieres on AMC on Halloween. Fri 8 at 4:30pm
UP, UP AND AWAY! New York Comic Con, Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, Eleventh Ave between 35th and 38th Sts (newyorkcomiccon.com). Fri 8 1--10pm, Sat 9 10am--10pm, Sun 10 10am--5pm; weekend pass $50--$65. Daily admission varies; visit website for details.