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‘The Arkham Sessions’ Co-Hosts Take on Superheroines, ‘Star Wars,’ ‘Star Trek,’ and More at SDCC

LOS ANGELES, CA – July 1, 2015 – The hosts of Fanboy Comics’ latest podcast addition, The Arkham Sessions, will be taking San Diego Comic-Con by storm this year through a variety of exciting and thought-provoking panels that you will not want to miss! Ranging from “The Science of Science Fiction” to “The Psychology of Star Trek vs. Star Wars: Ep. V,” co-hosts Dr. Andrea Letamendi and Brian Ward will be participating in and moderating panels that will incite fascinating discussions on representation in comics, creating modern superheroines, and the mutual benefits between comics and mental health.

Throughout the week of San Diego Comic-Con, The Arkham Sessions’ Letamendi and Ward will cover a wide range of engaging topics in their panel lineup. In addition, Arkham Sessions listeners will have the chance to meet the co-hosts at the Fanboy Comics table (Small Press O-04) and record their own Batman-related questions for inclusion in an upcoming episode!

Be sure to check out Letamendi and Ward’s panel lineup below, and remember to visit The Arkham Sessions online at,, and on Facebook and Twitter (@ArkhamSessions).

The Arkham Sessions’ SDCC 2015 Panel Lineup

The Science of Science Fiction (Thursday, July 9: 8:00 -9:00 p.m.) Room 5AB

For science fiction productions, there is an implied bargain between the screenwriter and the audience: Suspend your disbelief on one or two fantastic notions, and the rest of the story will be grounded in the believable. The genre is, in essence, predicated on the expectation of one or two key inaccuracies per story. In recent years, though, experts and fans alike have been nitpicking even the main story conceits of films like Gravity and Interstellar. From the “anything goes” storytelling approach of the 1950s and 1960s sci-fi, our panelists discuss whether or not the scientific accuracy pendulum of audience expec-tations has swung too far in the other direction. The panel will be moderated by Kevin Grazier, Ph.D. (science advisor for Defiance and Battlestar Galactica) and will feature psychologists Andrea Letamendi, Ph.D., and Jessica Cail, Ph.D., as well as Kevin Murphy (showrunner for Defiance and Caprica), Nicole Perlman (writer, Guardians of the Galaxy), Andre Bormanis (writer, Star Trek and Threshold), and Rick Loverd (program director of the Science and Entertainment Exchange).

Push Boundaries Forward: Gender, Diversity and Representation in Comics (Friday, July 10: 10:00 -11:00 a.m.) Room 4

The face of comics is changing. A diverse panel examine what indie/web publishing has been doing right, how mainstream comics can catch up, and what creators and fans can do to be heard. Moderator Amy Chu (Girl’s Night Out) leads panelists Maigrhread Scott (The Third Witch, Lantern City), IDW Publishing editor Sarah Gaydos, Derek Charm (The Powerpuff Girls: Super Smash-Up!), Dr. Andrea Letamendi (The Arkham Sessions podcast), Christian Beranek (Validation), and BOOM! Studios brand communications manager Christine Dinh in a sincere, thoughtful discussion on the topic of gender, diversity, and representation in mainstream comics.

Building the Modern Super(Heroine) (Friday, July 10: 6:30 -7:30 p.m.) Room 26AB

More and more, heroines are being positioned front and center on the page and screen – Katniss, Agent Carter, Tris, Furiosa, Wonder Woman, and Captain Marvel, just to name a few. What do creators and fans want out of a powerful female protagonist? How can you pay tribute to the heroines of the past while still looking toward the future? What’s the difference between writing established heroines and creating your own? And how can one best position and support these characters to usher in a whole new era of totally bad ass (super)heroines across all platforms? This dynamic group of creators and expert commentators will discuss the challenges of building modern heroines in a variety of mediums. With Cecil Castellucci (Stone in the Sky), Sarah Kuhn (Heroine Complex), Andrea Letamendi (psychologist, The Arkham Sessions), Jose Molina (Agent Carter), and Babs Tarr (Batgirl). Moderated by Amy Ratcliffe (Star Wars online).

An Inside Look at Shout! Factory, Shout! Kids, and Scream Factory (Friday, July 10: 7:30-8:30 p.m.) Room 24ABC

Brian Ward (DVD producer), Melissa Boag (VP, Kids & Family), and Jeff Nelson (senior marketing director) give you an exclusive sneak peek at upcoming Blu-ray and DVD collector’s editions and make some special announcements. Moderated by Eric Goldman (executive editor at IGN).

Why Comics are Good for Mental Health, and Mental Health is Good for Comics (Saturday, July 11: 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.) Room 25ABC

As public awareness of mental health issues increases and the stigma associated with mental disorders and their treatment recedes, will mental health advocacy in comic books become more widely embraced? As with efforts to better represent women in comics have paid off in terms of new readers, can more accurate portrayals of mental disorders unlock a new demographic? Forensic psychiatrists H. Eric Bender, M.D. and Praveen R. Kambam, M.D. (Broadcast Thought) discuss why accurate mental health depictions mat-ter and how less stigmatizing and more creative representations can benefit both patients and publishers alike. Gail Simone (Batgirl, Red Sonja) will talk about her efforts to accu-rately represent people with mental disorders and her consultation with psychologist Andrea Letamendi, Ph.D. (Under the Mask,The Arkham Sessions) on the depiction of post-traumatic stress disorder and its treatment in DC Comics’ Batgirl. Clinical psychologist Janina Scarlet, Ph.D. (Superhero Therapy) will share moving stories of patients inspired by accurate comic book depictions of mental disorders in their recovery from mental ill-nesses. Forensic psychiatrist Vasilis K. Pozios, M.D. (Broadcast Thought) will discuss his short story, Aura. Attorney Jeff Trexler (The Beat, The Comics Journal) will moderate.

The Psychology of Star Trek vs. Star Wars: Ep. V (Saturday, July 11: 7:30-8:30 p.m.) Room 24ABC

Geeky psychologists Dr. Andrea Letamendi (The Arkham Sessions) and Dr. Ali Mattu (The Psych Show) step into the pop culture ring to debate the psychology of teamwork, rebellion, and galactic war. Panelists include Robert Meyer Burnett (Free Enterprise), Thom Zahler (Love and Capes), Consetta Parker (Rancho Obi-Wan), and Amy Ratcliffe (Star Wars Insider). Join a side, but remember: phasers and lightsabers are no match for this battle of wits! Refereed by Brian Ward (Comics, Assembled!)

The Arkham Sessions Meet ‘n Greet! (Sunday, July 12: 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.) Small Press Pavilion, Table O-04

Join The Arkham Sessions podcast co-hosts Brian Ward and Dr. Andrea Letamendi for this Meet ‘n Greet event at the Fanboy Comics booth! Bring your Batman & Psychology questions, record your own submission to the show, or just come and say hi! We would love to see you!


Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief




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