We’re counting down the days until Comic-Con International: San Diego (SDCC), so now is the perfect time to plan out all your stops during the four-day event. To make the process even easier, we’ve rounded up some of the best panels that collectors will want to make sure to attend.
The schedule features a host of notable exhibitors, including Hasbro, Diamond Select Toys, LEGO, Mattel, Funko, and more, along with some of the biggest names in the pop culture industry. From action figures and tabletop games to enamel pins and even a fashion show, there’s the perfect panel for every geeky attendee.
Read about some of our favorites below and check out the full schedule of events here.
(Note: All listed times for the panels are in PT.)
BUILDING WORLDS WITH LEGO | 10:15 AM – 11:15 AM | ROOM 6DE
Discover the process of using the LEGO WorldBuilder platform in the creation of original characters, settings, and storylines that inspire the next generation of LEGO content. A variety of writers, artists, and builders will co-create all the components needed for a unique story world, all from scratch. The panel will feature Asa Tait (head of production, LEGO Entertainment), Kevin Burke and Doc Wyatt (writers, Ninjago), Peter Donner (LEGO Designer), Paul Lee (concept artist), and Celina Frenn (writer, My Little Pony).
MATTEL & WWE ELITE SQUAD FAN PANEL | 11:15 AM – 12:15 AM | ROOM 6A
Sam Roberts of the Mattel WWE Elite Squad and professional wrestler Ciampa are hosting a star-studded panel with WWE Superstar surprise guests and WWE action figure reveals. Bill Miekina and Steve Ozer from the Mattel design team are joining the panel, along with WWE Superstars Queen Zelina and Cody Rhodes.
DUNGEONS & DRAGONS: HONOR AMONG THIEVES PANEL | 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM | HALL H
The cast and filmmakers of the upcoming Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves film provide an exclusive sneak peek at the 2023 release. All attendees will receive an exclusive, collectible poster.
HASBRO TRANSFORMERS PRODUCT REVEAL | 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM | ROOM 29AB
Ben (Hasbro marketing) and Evan (Hasbro design) from the Transformers product team are discussing all things Transformers and answering fan questions. They will also reveal some of the all-new Transformers: Legacy toy reveals.
THE FUTURE OF COLLECTIBLES | 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM | ROOM 9
Jimmy Palmiotti (award-winning writer and comic artist) and Mitch Putnam (co-founder and senior creative director, Mondo) are joining Jason Schachter (comic book art agent and distributor) to discuss the evolution of collectibles and the future of the industry. As personal collectors and industry veterans, the panelists will explore the pandemic’s impact on collecting, the relationship between collectors and their collections, and physical copies.
UP FROM THE DEPTHS: TOHO’S GODZILLA: PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE OF COLLECTIBLES | 2:30 PM – 3:30 PM | ROOM 29CD
Fans can get a glimpse at new products and what is on the horizon for Godzilla’s upcoming 70th anniversary by attending the panel with Toho International Creative Manager and Godzilla CHOMP web series host Chris Mowry. He will be joined by Brian Flynn (founder of Super7), Jody Dankberg (Stern Pinball), Hector Arce (Mondo), Jazmine Joyner (IDW Publishing), and famed artists SHAG and Attack Peter in a discussion of Godzilla collectibles and how the classic films continue to serve as inspiration for new products.
MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE: 40 YEARS | 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM | HALL H
Kevin Smith (Netflix’s Master of the Universe: Revelation) interviews talent and creators from MOTU’s history, spanning across the toy, TV, film, and publishing industries. Fans can get a sneak peek at what’s to come and discover how MOTU has persisted in being a pop culture sensation for four decades.
TODD MCFARLANE CELEBRATES SPAWN’S 30th ANNIVERSARY | 3:15 PM – 4:15 PM | ROOM 6DE
Image Comics and Spawn first debuted 30 years ago, changing the face of comics forever. Todd McFarlane (president of Image Comics; CEO of McFarlane Toys) is celebrating their anniversary by discussing Oddkey NFTs, Hollywood, toys, and comics.
DIAMOND SELECT TOYS AND GENTLE GIANT LTD. | 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM | ROOM 9
Diamond Select Toys’ Zach Oat (marketing supervisor), Chuck Terceira (president), and Joe Allard (designer), offer fans a sneak peek at DST and Gentle Giant Ltd.’s collectibles for 2022-2023, including items from Cobra Kai, Star Wars, AEW, Marvel, and more. The fans who ask the team the best questions will earn prizes.
TABLETOP GAME DESIGN: FROM IDEA TO REALITY | 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM | OMNI GRAND BALLROOM DE, 4TH FLOOR, OMNI HOTEL
Mike Trias (president of Koalatie Games), Kevin Hamano (Ignite Wonder Games), and Taylor Shuss (game designer) will explore the process of cultivating ideas into playable tabletop games. They will discuss the process of playtesting, publishing, and even getting a game self-published.
ENAMEL PINS CREATING COLLECTIBLES | 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM | OMNI GRAND BALLROOM DE, 4TH FLOOR, OMNI HOTEL
Alexander Raymond (Pop Culture Kool), Phil Palumbo (Coolectric Creations), Jackie Rindlisbach (Lantern Pins), Miguel Brizuela (BB-CRE.8), Erick Roman (Warrior Pins), Chris Provinzano (Blank/Slate), Jessica Osborne (Kimchi Kreative), and Arakel Kaloyan (Punch it Chewie Process) discuss the development of enamel pins from concept to manufacturing, along with tips and tricks on how fans can create their own pins.
INDIE TOY MAKERS UNITE! A CONVERSATION WITH TODAY’S INDIE TOYMAKERS | 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM | ROOM 9
Brian Flynn (Super7), Doc Wyatt (Wandering Planet Toys), and Richard Mayerik (The Nacelle Co., Netflix’s The Toys That Made Us) join moderators Gavin Hignight (Wandering Planet Toys) and Jordan Q. Hammer (Instagram and YouTube’s Toyshiz) are creators of independent toys and have been making their own mark on the collectible community. They will discuss the strategies, motivations, insights, and mistakes when creating and selling an independent toy line.
CROWDFUNDING AND TABLETOP GAMES: BRINGING GAMERS TO LIFE| 5:30 PM – 6:30 PM | ROOM 26AB
James Hudson (Tidal Blades II, Druid City Games), LaTia Jacquise (Monte Cook Games), Kailey Bray (Pixel Circus), and Victoria Caña (Gladius, Cat Quartet Games), share their experiences in crowdfunding and tabletop design to provide fans with the latest tips, tricks, and tools. The panel will be moderated by Ross Thompson (Steamforged Games).
THE HER UNIVERSE FASHION SHOW | 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM | HARBOR BALLROOM, MANCHESTER GRAND HYATT
The 8th annual Her Universe Fashion Show features 25 designers who are competing for the opportunity to design their own fashion collection with Her Universe for Hot Topic. Two winners, one selected by the audience and one by the judges, will be chosen at the end of the night. The fashion show is hosted by Her Universe founder Ashley Eckstein.
THE TOY PANEL: EPISODE II | 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM | GRAND 12 & 13, MARRIOTT MARQUIS SAN DIEGO MARINA
Whitney Pollet (new IP creator and toy designer), along with her friends in the toy biz, will answer any questions attendees may have about creating toys with a focus on licensing, story, design, and merchandising.
TOYS FIND A WAY: BEHIND THE SCENES AND SCREAMS OF JURASSIC WORLD DINOSAUR DESIGN | 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM | MATTEL BOOTH NO. 3029
Mattel Jurassic World designers Chandra Hicks, Greg Murphy, Rafael Bencosme, and Nikolai Dryuchin take fans behind the scenes on creating toys inspired by the dinosaurs from Jurassic World: Dominion. The panel will include a Q&A, trivia, giveaways, and first-ever product reveals.
HASBRO MARVEL LEGENDS PANEL | 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM | ROOM 5AB
Hasbro’s Steve Evans, Dan Yu, and Ryan Ting, as well as Disney’s Jesse Falcon share a sneak peek of upcoming items in the popular Marvel Legends product line. The panel will also include a Q&A session.
HASBRO STAR WARS | 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM | ROOM 7AB
Members from the Hasbro Star Wars marketing and design teams will provide attendees with an in-depth look at Hasbro’s action figure and roleplay offerings from throughout the saga, including the Black Series and The Vintage Collection. There may also be a few surprises.
MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE (MOTU) DESIGN PANEL | 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM | MATTEL BOOTH NO. 3029
Damon Nee, Sam Pak, Roy Juarez, Terence Higuchi, Felipe Rojas, and Robert Rudman, some of the minds behind the MOTU action figure line, take fans through what’s next for Origins, Masterverse, MEGA, and more. They will discuss the creative process in making and packaging MOTU figures, answer questions, and even tease upcoming releases.
MAJOR WRESTLING FIGURE PODCAST AND MAJOR BENDIES | 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM | NEIL MORGAN AUDITORIUM, SAN DIEGO CENTRAL LIBRARY
Smart Mark Sterling, Michael Kanik, Brian Myers, and Matt Cardona, discuss the process behind making figures, what’s on the way for the rest of the year and in 2023, and new figures outside of Major Bendies.
JAKKS PACIFIC AND DISGUISE COSTUMES UPCOMING RELEASES | 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM | ROOM 29AB
Jakks Pacific is giving an exclusive preview of all the new figures and collectibles releasing in the next few months from Nintendo, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Apex Legends. Plus, Jennifer Gracia, Jackie Soto, and Whitney Hatfield from Disguise will present a look at some of the new, innovative costumes coming this Halloween. After the preview, there will be a Q&A with members of the development teams.
TABLETOP GAME DESIGNERS ROUNDTABLE | 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM | ROOM 5AB
Matt Forbeck (lead game designer, Marvel Multiverse Role-Playing Game), Alex Uboldi (game designer, Darrington Press), Victoria Caña (Gladius, Cat Quartet Games), Kami Mandell (game designer, The Op Games), and Elisa Teague (senior producer, Renegade Games G.I. Joe Roleplaying Game) discuss game design, current trends, and how attendees can transform their game from idea to the table and more. The panel will be moderated by Ross Thompson from Steamforged Games.
ADAPTING VIDEO GAMES FOR TABLETOP PLAY | 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM | ROOM 25ABC
Steve Gabry (indie game designer, Sally Face), Javon Frazier (CEO, Maestro Media), and Scott Rogers (game designer and author, ALIEN: Fate of Nostromo, Rayguns and Rocketships) discuss how to make faithful tabletop adaptations from video games, the importance of merging the two worlds, and why tabletop gaming continues to be popular throughout the nearly all-digital world. The panel will be moderated by Rob Wieland (veteran game designer, Star Wars Saga Edition, Star Trek Adventures).
MAKING TOYS IN A POST-COVID WORLD: WHAT IS THE NEW NORMAL? | 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM | ROOM 29AB
Emily Bader (associate brand manager, Hasbro), Brian Flynn (owner and principal, Super7), Steve Evans (director of design and development, Hasbro), and Jeremy Padawer (chief brand officer, Jazwares) discuss the impact of the global pandemic on the manufacturing, shipping, and distributing of toys.
WHAT’S NEW AT THE NACELLE COMPANY | 8:00 PM – 9:00 PM | ROOM 6DE
The Nacelle Company’s Brian Volk-Weiss (founder), Richard Mayerik (VP of content strategy), David Vonner (chief creative officer/designer), and Alyssa Michek (producer) discuss their new ventures and upcoming projects, including the new Icons Unearthed Series. They will also reveal all-new figures and series from the past, including Power Lords, Sectaurs, and Robo Force. The panel will be moderated by Bryan Adams.
MINECRAFT DIAMOND LEVEL DESIGN PANEL | 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM | MATTEL BOOTH NO. 3029
Antti Meriluoto (creative lead consumer products, Mojang Studios) joins the Mattel design team in discussing the creation of Diamond Level: the first-ever Minecraft figure collector line. The collection’s launch features an exclusive figure at SDCC.
G.I. JOE CLASSIFIED SERIES BEHIND THE SCENES | 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM | ROOM 9
Emily and Lenny from the G.I. Joe Classified Series development team discuss behind-the-scenes info, provide a sneak peek into the future of the line, and reveal more about a special project that will roll out soon.
ALL ABOUT LICENSED TABLETOP GAMES IN 2022 | 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM | ROOM 5AB
Matt Forbeck (lead game designer, Marvel Multiverse RPG), Bridgette Reuther (director, brand management, The Op Games), Elisa Teague (senior producer, Renegade Games G.I. Joe RPG), and Jon Cohn (game designer, Ghostbusters, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) discuss working with top licenses and brands in the tabletop industry and how they are brought to life. The panel is moderated by Ross Thompson (Steamforged Games).
RAD DUDE! MAKING TOYS IN THE ’90S | 7:30 PM – 8:30 PM | ROOM 10
Daniel Pickett (editor-in-chief of Action Figure Insider) will moderate this panel of toymakers and dealmakers as they discuss how the 1990s changed the toy industry. Jesse Falcon (director at the Walt Disney Company), Marc Mostman (president of licensing and development at Most Management), David Vonner (chief creative officer of physical products at The Nacelle Company), and Steve Varner (sculptor and owner of Varner Studios) will discuss the rise of independent toy makers, the pursuit of licenses, the use of form factors and technology, and more.
THE BUSINESS BEHIND GEEK CULTURE PRODUCTS | 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM | ROOM 24ABC
Lisa Granshaw (Star Wars: Card Trader by Topps Fanatics), Ed LaBay (Hot Topic/Her Universe), Michelle Wun (Ubisoft), Brandon Wainerdi (Mondo), Sherry Anisi (Asmodee), Brandon Bernard (Star Wars: Card Trader by Topps Fanatics), and others discuss how pop culture products are created, how the product space has changed throughout the years, how products allow fans to engage with the community, and the different career paths within the industry.
BEHIND THE BRICKS WITH LEGO ENTERTAINMENT | 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM | ROOM 6BCF
Boon Langston (LEGO Masters) leads a panel in offering exclusive sneak peeks at the upcoming season of LEGO Masters, deep dives into the finale of the Ninjago series, and shares new LEGO animation. The panel will then be followed by a Q&A with Robert Fewkes (producer, LEGO City Adventures), Rob May (producer, LEGO Masters), Jason Cosler (producer, LEGO Star Wars), along with Kevin Burke and Doc Wyatt (writers, Ninjago).
FUNKO: POP TALK LIVE! AT SDCC HALL H | 2:30 PM – 3:30 PM | HALL H
Brian and Mike from Funko interview celebrity guests, including Rosario Dawson, Simu Liu, and William Zabka, about the influence of pop culture in their lives while they build custom Funko Pop! collectibles.