San Diego Comic-Con is one of the biggest gatherings of fans, nerds, and geeks around. So it should come as no surprise that a number of panels aren’t just about pop culture but living your life proud and nerdy!

The panels cover a wide variety of topics. There are panels about fitness and finance, parenting, and pursuing your passions. You can learn about embracing nerd fashion in your every day life and then shortly after join others in a conversation about fighting back against bullying in fandom and beyond. If nothing else, check out the What Rebellions Are Built On: Popular Culture, Radical Hope, and Political Engagement panel because it clearly has one of the best titles ever.

The vast majority of these panels are being held in the Marriott Marquis and Marina Grand Ballroom 1 & 2 – so if you’re interested in a few of them you don’t need to go very far to check out the next one!

Become your best nerd self and check out some of these informative, thought-provoking, and hopefully helpful panels!


Becoming Nerdstrong
10:00 AM – 11:00 AM @ Grand 1 & 2 (Marriott Marquis)

Being a nerd does not mean you can’t be healthy, strong, and fit. Andrew Deutsch (Nerdstrong Gym founder, Max Hit Points), David Nett (Nerdstrong Gym partner, Night of the Zombie King), Christy Black (Nerdstrong Gym partner, Healthy is the New Skinny), Andrew Seely (Nerdstrong Gym partner), and Blair Herter (Nerdstrong Gym partner, Attack of the Show!) discuss how fitness belongs to everyone, including the geek community, and answer your questions about getting fit and staying nerdy. Be who you are, love what you love, and level-up your life.

Raising Fankids: Teaching Young Geeks To Be Self-Confident and Successful 
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM @ Grand 1 & 2 (Marriott Marquis)

Pasquale Piro (middle-school teacher, father of two) hosts a panel with Alissa Piro (high school teacher, mother), Christina Silvoso (Christina Is Crafty, mother), Brandon Maze (high school teacher), Rafe Gerson, and Tatti Che to discuss techniques and experiences that help kids grow up nerdy without the negative connotation.

Nerd Living 
3:00 PM – 4:00 PM @ Grand 1 & 2 (Marriott Marquis)

Anastasia Washington (Legion of Leia, Jet Set Nerds), Angelique Toschi (content strategist), and Stacy Renfroe (Knit Hits the Fan, Cartoon Network) of Nerds in LaLaLand teach you tips about incorporating geek into your everyday lives through crafts, cooking, and fashion. Other panelists include Melissa Howland (We Are Movie Geeks), Miley Yamamoto (Ingress), Marlon Reynoso (Nerd Coolture), and moderator Nic LaRue (Film Snobbery).

Be a Financial Superhero Even if You Aren’t Tony Stark or Bruce Wayne
4:00 PM – 5:00 PM @ Grand 1 & 2 (Marriott Marquis)

Do you dream about quitting your day job to pursue your passion of being an artist, writer, or professional in the industry? Are you already in the business and need help with figuring out how to budget between paid contracts or need to determine the best way to raise and save cash for future projects? Do you have questions about dealing with health insurance as a creative? Join Sean Nisil (financial planner, SimpliFi), Steve Grady (Steve Grady Insurance Services), and Eric Atilano (Skyline Home Loans) for this educational panel on superhero financial planning and best practices for creative industry professionals. The discussion will be followed with a Q&A of industry guests including Chris Neuhahn (Emmy Award-winning animator, DreamWorks Animation, MTV Networks), Alonso Nunez (artist and founder, Little Fish Comic Book Studio), and Erin Pennell (art director, Rare Hare Studio, Art FORM) who will discuss financial challenges and successes in their fields. Moderated by Karen Martin (Art FORM).


What Rebellions Are Built On: Popular Culture, Radical Hope, and Political Engagement
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM @ Room 25ABC

As America faces the drawing up of Death Star plans (or border walls, refugee bans, and faith-based registries), culture and politics have never felt so . . . pop culturian. But stories have always been political and fandom has, too. Today, themes of hope and resistance in stories such as Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Wonder Woman are serving not just as moral guides but as inspiration for plans of political action. Hear from geeks making activism their superpower as they wield nerd enthusiasms like the Force, hacking popular culture for social justice, civic activism, and participatory politics, including through anti-bullying initiatives, advocacy, and charity. Moderator Jennifer K. Stuller (GeekGirlCon, Ink-Stained Amazon) will talk with Robyn Jordan (Black Girls Create), Suzanne Scott (UT Austin), Josh Siegel (Geeks Out), Fox Smith (Super Heroines, Etc.), Amber Garza (Sequential Rights, Geeks Out), and Maddy VonHoff (ONE Campaign, GeekGirlCon) about how memes, cosplay, and performance challenge stereotypes and raise consciousness around identity politics, rebellions being built on favorite fandoms (and, of course, hope).

Let’s Get Fashionably Nerdy!
1:00 PM – 2:00 PM @ Grand 1 & 2 (Marriott Marquis)

Incorporate your love of your fandom into everyday fashion. Brand designers and fashion bloggers discuss their lines and how to dress fashionably while expressing yourself and the things you love. With Camille Falciola (Her Universe Fashion Show), Jordan Ellis (Jordanden NYC), Meli Lovio Sanchez (Melificant, Geek Girl Gang), Tony B Kim (Hero Within), Jaimie Cordero (Espionage Cosmetics), Tiffany Mink (Whosits & Whatsits), and Michael Pao (Suit Up! Geek Out!), moderated by Stephanie Pressman (Fashionably Nerdy).

Causeplay: It’s So Much Bigger
2:00 PM – 3:00 PM @ Grand 1 & 2 (Marriott Marquis)

Mark Chu-Lin (Avengers Initiative club president and project analyst), Keith Zen (costumer and IT professional), Abby Dark Star (cosplay and social media marketing), Nicole Hadley (Child Life specialist, UC Irvine Health), and Natalie Chicas (volunteer coordinator, Shriners Hospital for Children) chat about how costumers volunteer for their communities through their hobby and the service organizations that receive help. Hear what they have done, find out how to become involved with such charitable efforts, and learn how to get involved in events like pediatric visits and fundraisers. By employing talents one already has and sharing them, ordinary people can help others brighten their day.

SPARK Your Creativity
3:00 PM – 4:00 PM @ Grand 1 & 2 (Marriott Marquis)

Established female creators discuss how to cultivate your ideas and bring them to life, conquer hurdles, and create the best project you can! Leave with inspiration, confidence, a solid plan of action, and tons of new ideas. All genders and ages welcome! Featuring Heidi Cox (Stalking LeVar), Jenny Lorenzo (We are mitú), Sarah J Eagen (Magic for Muggles), Etta Devine (Diani & Devine Meet the Apocalypse), America Young (The Concessionaires Must Die!), Tessa Netting (Disney’s Bunk’d), and moderator Stephanie Pressman (Fashionably Nerdy).


From Fandom to Creator
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM @ Grand 1 & 2 (Marriott Marquis)

Jamie Broadnax (managing editor and creator of Black Girl Nerds) and Eliyannah Amirah Yisrael (director and creator of Hermione Granger and the Quarter Life Crisis) discuss taking the leap from being a fan to becoming a content creator. Along with Robyn Jordan (co-founder and community manager of Black Girls Create), Jamie and Eliyannah will share how their participation in fandom communities inspired their creative endeavors and offer advice to those starting their own journey to becoming a creator.

Cospositive: Cosplay with Confidence
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM @ Grand 1 & 2 (Marriott Marquis)

Ivy Doomkitty (SYFY’s Heroes of Cosplay, body positive advocate), D-Piddy (YouTuber, international cosplayer), and LTL Cosplay (Legion M, cosplayer) discuss body image and confidence in oneself, self-worth, ways to work on confidence, and how to stay positive in the community when faced with negative people or negative comments on social media. Cosplaying regardless of age, skin color, gender, body type/size, disability, etc. will be covered. Moderated by Bernadette Bentley (actor, cosplayer).

Living A Creative Lifestyle
1:00 PM – 2:00 PM @ Room 29AB

First Second Books creative and editorial director Mark Siegel discusses how to incorporate creativity into your day-to-day life. How do you inspire yourself to write and draw stories? How do you inspire yourself to finish stories and to maintain a consistent work ethic throughout the process? And how do you do that in a way that is fun, healthy, and low stress? Siegel outlines a creative lifestyle based on his years of experience at First Second as well as being the creator of his own comics works.

SuperheroIRL: End Bullying!
2:00 PM – 3:00 PM @ Room 28DE

Captain America knocked out Hitler-and this is SuperheroIRL, knocking out bullying, racism, misogyny, LGBTQIA-bullying, cyberbullying, and other forms of hate. Join in for this intersection of pop culture and social justice with Pop Culture Hero Coalition. “From now on, Comic-Con convention goers will come for cosplay, entertainment, freebies, autographs-and healing,” as reported by CNN.


Raising Heroic Girls
2:00 PM – 3:00 PM @ Grand 1 & 2 (Marriott Marquis)

A look at how heroic comics, movies, and toys can inspire girls to be more confident and successful by combatting harmful gender norms that can hold them back. A panel of experts including Alaina Huffman (Supernatural, Smallville), Audrey Kearns (Geek Girl Authority), Cassandra Pelham (senior editor at Graphix and Scholastic Press), Dr. Janina Scarlet (Superhero Therapy), and Jenna Busch (Stan Lee’s World of Heroes, Legion of Leia) will participate in a session moderated by John Marcotte (founder of Heroic Girls).

Full Time Creative Work on a Part Time Schedule 
4:00 PM – 5:00 PM @ Room 24ABC

Having a quality finished project may be the most important ingredient to its success, but it’s not the only vital ingredient. Avoiding issues when creating your project and then knowing how to get it to your target audience are vital-and rarely ever discussed. These panelists will tackle group management and working dynamics, networking, time management, exposure, and pitfalls. They include Topher Davila (art director,, Sean Glumace (Adobe Education Leader), James Frye (managing editor,, Gene Turnbow (general manager,, Javier Soto (senior dimensional artist at Garner Holt Productions, freelance artist for Disney Theme Parks), Ron Coleman, Ph.D. (molecular geneticist and comic book writer), and Mario Martinez (co-creator, TomatoTV). Every person who attends will get two postcards of some of the collected tips, wisdom, and potential pitfalls discussed. Also, one lucky attendee will win a 12-month subscription to the Adobe Creative Cloud, a $599 value courtesy of Adobe Education Leader Sean Glumace.

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