Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Even if you're not a fan of science fiction, you've probably heard of George R.R. Martin. (Does Game of Thrones ring a bell?) Melinda M. Snodgrass is no slouch herself, having written and edited for Star Trek: The Next Generation. Together, they edit a book series called Wild Cards, which could soon be adapted for television.

Graphic novels are becoming more popular ... and they're also evolving. What exactly are they? A chat with someone who taught high-schoolers about this, plus two local authors, whose graphic novel was a finalist for the 2016 Eisner Award.


Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

Any errant Star Trek commander you see this weekend strolling downtown was not beamed down from the Starship Enterprise. Chances are better that they're taking part in Planet Comicon Kansas City. KCUR's resident sci-fi aficionados, Cody Newill and Mike Russo, went down to Bartle Hall to soak up the scene and talk to attendees.

Barbara Haze

When Stan Lee appears at this weekend’s Planet Comicon, fans will pay hundreds of dollars each to enter an exclusive area to get an autograph from and have their picture taken with the Marvel Comics legend.

Meanwhile, Neal Haze will be roaming the crowded floor of Kansas City’s largest annual comic book and pop culture convention. It’s where he’ll be garnering curious double takes and spontaneous snapshot requests from those who recognize his unmistakable resemblance to the 93-year-old creator or co-creator of such iconic superheroes as Spider-Man, the X-Men and the Avengers.

Barbara Haze

When things don’t necessarily go together, that doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t put them together.

Like a weekend mix tape. What do all those songs have in common? Maybe nothing, except they’re all on the same weekend mix tape.

See how this works? With or without a pre-selected soundtrack this weekend, try mixing up a combo of asymmetrical activities, a potpourri of divergent diversions – you know, a bunch of stuff. It’s your weekend. You should do what you want.

1. Planet Comicon

Brian Gordon /

In his 18 years working for Hallmark, Brian Gordon saw plenty of people get fired.

Even so, he'd convinced himself that it wasn't his turn.

"Well, surely Hallmark thinks so highly of me they wouldn't dream of letting me go in a million years," he told Steve Kraske on KCUR's Up To Date.

But in June of 2015, he received an email informing him that his time with the company was finished.

"You would have thought I'd get a card or something," Gordon says.

Lynn Wilson / Washburn University

As a teenager in Topeka, Kansas, Gary Jackson found solace from loss and loneliness in comic books, with a best friend named Stuart, and in putting his own pen to paper.

He captured those memories in a 2010 poetry collection called Missing You, Metropolis that won the Cave Canem Poetry Prize, a first-book award for "exceptional manuscripts by black poets."

photo courtesy of the author

Delays, misplaced reservations, waking up hungover and discovering your money is gone ... those are the hazards of travel today. Or are they? A writer with Kansas roots tells us about The Misadventures of Wenamun, his new comic about an ancient Egyptian priest who is known as "history's original literary traveler."


c/o Kelly Sue DeConnick

“Leaving Kansas City” is a series that shares the personal stories of why people decided to live somewhere else. It follows our series “Going to Kansas City.”

Kelly Sue DeConnick writes the comic books Pretty Deadly and Bitch Planet, and she writes for the Marvel Comics character Carol Danvers, aka Ms. Marvel.


Art Spiegelman has been called the father of the graphic novel, though it's a title he resists. And composer Phillip Johnston has been a fixture in the New York underground music scene since the 1980s. The friends and collaborators teamed up on a performance (coming to Kansas City October 19, 2014) that, according to Johnston, is like a high school class slideshow lecture on LSD. 


Guadalupe Centers Inc.

Looking for something to do this weekend? Brian McTavish has just the thing to spice up your weekend at get you out of that funk with his Weekend To-Do List for May 2-4.

Free Comic Book Day Free comics and superhero-related activitiesSaturdayKansas City area comic book shopsAdmission:   

“School House Rock Live!”

When you talk about heroes of the cape-and-tights variety, it’s not just a boy’s club. Just look at the comic book powers of Wonder Woman or the X-Men’s Storm, or even live-action heroes like Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Xena.

On Tuesday's Up to Date, we talk with the director of a new documentary about female superheroes and how they reflect and affect society’s ideas about women.


Ammon Beckstrom / Erjk Prunczyk / Flickr-CC

  He flies through the air and leaps tall buildings in a single bound. Of course, we're talking about Superman. But there’s more reality in comic book superhero tales than you might think.

On Tuesday's Up to Date, we talk about how the comics have reflected contemporary life and historical events. Take a look at World War II-era comics, and you’ll see a caped crusader shilling for the war effort.

Pop Culture Geek / Wikimedia -- Creative Commons

Ok nerds. We know you’re descending on Kansas City this weekend for the epic Planet Comicon conference featuring science fiction celebrities like William Shatner, Sylvester McCoy and almost the entire cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

But in between catching glimpses of Michael Dorn, Wil Wheaton, LeVar Burton and the blue Power Ranger, we thought you may want to eat, drink and scope out our fine city.

Here we present you the nerd’s guide to a weekend in Kansas City:


Science fiction conventions can feel like an alien world for newcomers.

People can speak differently at them, often invoking insider references about their favorite shows and comics.

And it’s a world where die-hard fans dress differently.

For instance, this weekend’s Planet Comicon in Kansas City  is expected to attract droves of costumed convention-goers, dressed up like their favorite protagonists and antagonists from sci-fi novels and cinema.

He is the original superhero of modern times and this year fans around the world celebrate the 75th birthday of Superman.