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Standing in line for long periods of time has pretty much become the norm at San Diego Comic Con. Want to see the most popular panels? There’s a line for that! There’s so much waiting time, I like to call SDCC Line Con. But there are a few gems that you can attend in the California convention center that requires little to no waiting. Here are some panels that I think will be worth a gander at on Thursday (7/18/19) that are in some of the smaller rooms.

Funko Funcast Live
Room 6A 10:00 AM
The Funko team will have their first ever live SDCC podcast. The panel will include product reveals, hints, bad dad jokes, pop culture discussions, original games, and a Q&A session. Panelists include Funko team members Sully, Hilary, Cameron, Ashley, and Dima.

Tor Magic X Mayhem in SF&F
Room 28DE 10:00AM
is the year for breaking all the rules. Gone are the days of simple good-versus-evil narratives; these are complicated times that call for complicated characters. Pop culture has clearly shifted its attention to the messy, the morally ambiguous, and the weird. In short, fans want magic, and they want mayhem. Magic X Mayhem features an eclectic mix of daring new speculative fiction authors and new voices from Tor Books and Tor.com Publishing: Annalee Newitz (The Future of Another Timeline, Autonomous), Charlie Jane Anders (The City in the Middle of the Night), Sarah Gailey (Magic for Liars), Seanan McGuire (Middlegame), S. L. Huang (Null Set), and Tochi Onyebuchi (War Girls, Riot Baby).

Spotlight on Leigh Bardugo and Erin Morganstern
Room 23ABC 12:00PM
Leigh Bardugo (King of Scars, Ninth House) is a New York Times bestselling author of fantasy novels and the creator of the Grishaverse. With over 3 million copies sold worldwide, her Grishaverse spans the Shadow and Bone Trilogy, the Six of Crows Duology, The Language of Thorns, and King of Scars—and will soon come to Netflix in an original series. Her first novel for adults, Ninth House, will be released on October 1. Erin Morgenstern is the New York Times bestselling author of The Night Circus, which has sold millions of copies around the world and been translated into 37 languages. Her new novel, The Starless Sea, will be released on November 5. Leigh and Erin discuss writing fantasy for all ages, astrology, supporting woman-owned businesses, giant cups of tea, and so much more. Moderated by Petra Mayer (NPR).

The Pitching Hour
Room 7AB 12:00PM
Yvette Nicole Brown (host/actress, Community), Deric Hughes (co-EP, Arrow), Lamont Magee (writer, Black Lightning), Nyambi Nyambi (actor/artist, The Good Fight), Malcolm Barrett (actor, Timeless), a surprise panelist or two, and your moderator Dan Evans III (VP creative affairs, DC Entertainment) will take an idea from conception through production for various media. This process will include creating a pitch document, obtaining representation, and getting a pitch meeting. The panelists will explain, through hypothetical examples and humorous stories, the process that new creators should adapt to make their way through the creative battleground of the entertainment industry. Knowing that each project is unique, there will be a Q&A to allow the audience to really hone in on the solutions to obstacles they may encounter. Also on hand will be an entertainment lawyer to give creators insight on protecting their ideas as they navigate Hollywood!

Creating Kickass Comic Book Women
Room 25ABC 1:00PM
Captain Marvel, Wonder Woman, Harley Quinn. Comic book women have been kicking ass across panels and pages for decades. But what is the secret sauce that makes some of these characters take off and others fall flat? Ming Chen (cast member, AMC’s Comic Book Men, I Sell Comics! podcast), Amy Chu (writer, Poison Ivy, Red Sonja), Alitha Martinez (artist, Batgirl, Black Panther: World of Wakanda), and Terry Moore (creator, Strangers in Paradise, Motor Girl) analyze the key ingredients of successful character building and discuss the challenges of writing and drawing for today’s audiences.

Book Fights!
Shiley Special Events Suite, San Diego Central Library 2:00PM
Librarians from all around San Diego come together to battle over topics like Lord of the Rings vs. Game of Thrones, Best Manga Series, Marvel vs. DC, Best YA Series, and more! These fun interactions will lead to the audience deciding on which librarians are the most “Lit” of all! Modeled after the “Movie Fights!” series, six librarian’s will have 5- 10-minute discussions on whether (X) is better than (Y) and have the audience decide who made the best argument for their picks. They’ll cover the topics of comic books, manga, fantasy, and more. With Bijan Nowroozian (San Diego Public Library), Lydia Bringerud (San Diego Public Library), Vanessa Gempis (San Diego Public Library), Bill Sannwald (San Diego County Library), and Christina Wainwright.

Trivia for the rest of us
Grand 10& 11 Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina 6:00PM
Use your own device to select answers in this fast-paced open online session covering topics like theme songs, video games, princesses, and Stan Lee. Winners will receive prizes. Featuring Debbie Kunes (curator), Jeff Kunes (director), Owen Kunes (monitor), and Tyler Kunes (creator).

The Arkham sessions: The psychology of Batgirl
Room 5AB 7:00PM
Barbara Gordon a.k.a. Batgirl is a cultural icon due to her intelligence, moral centeredness, and emotional resilience. Clinical psychologist Dr. Andrea Letamendi (Necessary Evil: Super-Villains of DC Comics, Justice League vs. The Fatal Five) and Brian Ward (The Arkham Sessions) examine the evolution and impact of Batgirl over the last 25 years. Joining the discussion will be DC talents including Cecil Castellucci (Female Furies, Batgirl), Brenden Fletcher (Batgirl, Isola), and others who have envisioned the heroine’s adventures for fans of comics and animation.

These are just some of the panels I found that I would want to attend if I weren’t going to any of the big ones. Or have them as back ups of back ups. Which back up panels do you all have planned for the con?