I have always told people that the two best panels at San Diego Comic Con are Sergio & Mark on Thursday afternoon and The Black Panel on Friday morning, which has been running since 1998.
And while the former continues to entertain a reasonable audience, the latter fills to capacity, and you have to run to join the swelling line when the show opens to have any chance of getting in – and this year it will be the last one of its kind.
Run by Michael Davis and celebrating BAME creators, their comics and helping facilitate the careers of younger BAME people, it is a mix of the inspiring, the informative and the hilarious. Everyone I've persuaded to go was expecting something dull and worthy and have come out reeling and committed to coming back every year. He told the Guardian newspaper,
"When I first started the panel," says Davis, during an interview that took 40 minutes to get to because he kept being mobbed by passersby, "There was a panel here at Comic-Con called Blacks in Comics, and that was a bitch fest, people saying 'Oh, Marvel won't hire me …' So I created the Black Panel, which is positive. We ask, 'How do we create our own heroes?'"
Well, that's not going to happen any more. The listing reads "Also, a sea change occurs as the panel realizes an end of an era."
I understand this to mean we may be looking at the final Black Panel. If this has something to do with Michael Davis being excluded from the upcoming Milestone Comics relaunch and Static TV show, which be co-created but gets little acknowledgement although it's based on his own family, I'd completely understand. Since the passing of Dwayne McDuffie no one has done more to keep Milestone relevant than Michael Davis and as positive as the panel is, I certainly expect those subjects to be raised….
All I can say is that the moment those doors open on Friday morning, I will be ignoring the advice of the stewards – and I will be running up those stairs.