Today's big Esplanade event was no doubt the Watchmen panel, which featured a good amount of the cast and creators of the Watchmen. Notably Dave Gibbons, the artist, who unfortunately did not get a question tossed to him in the panel. Director Zack Snyder spoke of the challenges of Watchmen and also revealed Warner Bros.' massive plan to milk the consumer for every dime they can get out of the Watchmen.
In summary: Watchmen releases in March. This is a 2 hour 40 minute long version of the film. In July, there will be a director's cut of the film at about 3 hours, which includes a lot of cut footage; additionally when the Blu-ray version comes out it will be packaged with a mockumentary which covers the current events of the Watchmen, bringing the length to 3 hours and 40? minutes.
Michael Chabon (Kavalier and Clay, Summerland, and Yiddish Policeman's Union) and Matt Fraction (current Writer of the X-Men) held a panel in which they talked about their work, and how they see fandom moving forward. One of the audience members asked "What is the endgame for this culture of comic books?", to which Chabon cheerfully replied "Well, President Obama is a Conan the Barbarian fan of the Barry Windsor-Smith variety, so maybe that is the endgame, getting one of us in the White House."
When asked why Sitka as the setting for the Yiddish Policeman's Union, Chabon replied "Well, I lived in Seattle for a while, and I think that translated into what living in Sitka would be like. I had already done a section in Kavalier and Clay in which I had to describe Antarctica and look up thirty different adjectives to the word barren, so I figured I'd save myself some trouble and set it in Sitka instead." The idea for Sitka came from an idea the U.S. government had during World War II in which the U.S. would set up some reservations for Jewish Refugees.
Another audience member asked Matt Fraction essentially "Why isn't the X-Men more multi-ethnic?" To which Matt Fraction responded "I think it's because for a long time now, the guys in charge of the X-Men have pretty much all been white guys." In bringing the X-Men to San Francisco, he hopes that he can make the X-Men more multi-ethnic and more multicultural. He also mentioned to keep an eye on Astonishing X-Men, under Warren Ellis' helm for more upcoming diversity.