NYCC 2014: Women of Color in Comics

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I was on a panel at New York Comic Con. I still can’t believe it happened. It has always been a secret dream of mine ever since I did my first panel about Women in Comics last year. Coincidentally enough, the same person who ran my first panel, Regine L. Sawyer, asked me to be on the NYCC panel. So everything has come full circle. I immediately said yes of course because it was the opportunity of a lifetime. But right after I said yes, the nerves hit me. I’m not used to a lot of irl attention because what I do (blog) lives on the Internet. So when I get asked to be on panels I’m always very excited and grateful and extremely nervous. NYCC was the most nervous I’ve ever been. I literally thought I was going to throw up. I tried to calm down by telling myself that it’s just my opinions, there’s no right or wrong answer. I’m not giving a dissertation on metaphysics. I’m talking about what I know, which is comics, women and race.
Sonic Eclectic39 8.43.42 AMThe panel was called Women of Color in Comics: Race, Gender and the Comic Book MediumIt was moderated by Regine L. Sawyer of Lockett Down Productions and the panelist included artist Alice Meichi Li, comic book artist Alitha Martinez, writer and cartoonist Barbara Brandon-Croft, cosplayer Geisha Vi, writer Juliana ‘Jewels’ Smith, writer and actor Vanessa Verduga and myself. I didn’t throw up so as far as that goes the panel was a success. But aside from the low bar I set for myself, the panel actually was a huge success. The room was almost filled to capacity, I heard there were over 700 people in attendance.

The description of the panel was, “Diversity. Women in Comics. Both subjects are hot button topics in the comic book industry. However, it isn’t often that both issues collide…” In all of my years attending NYCC, I’ve noticed a lack of people of color focused panels and PoC on panels in general. Despite the fact that NYC is probably the most culturally diverse city on the planet and the NYCC crowd reflects that. As the years went on there were more “The Women of ____” panels, but those panels often lacked women of color. So a panel like ‘Women of Color in Comics’ is something that’s not only necessary but should be regarded as essential.

The very existence of the panel showed two things, the growth of WoC comic fans and creators, but also the need for more representation and accurate representation in comics. Because we all know there’s a lot of misrepresentation of women in comics, but a majority of those women are white. So, we (WoC) are barely in comics to be apart of that misrepresentation. We have not only sexism to fight, but racism as well. This is especially important in regards to science fiction. Sci-fi often depicts worlds that are supposed to be our actual future, and if people of color are not there then they’re writing us out. They wrote us out of the past and now they’re writing us out of the future. I want women and men to understand that equality includes everybody. You can’t ignore the needs of women of color and call it feminism. 

The importance of diversity in comics should be an obvious one, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t understand its significance. When a person doesn’t see characters that look like them, they begin to feel like they don’t belong. Young girls of color may stop reading comics because they feel like it isn’t for them, which stops them from becoming creators in the future. It’s cyclical. I do believe it’s important for creators of all backgrounds, straight white men included, to be responsible and make sure their stories are as diverse as their readers and the world. However, I think it’s much more important for people of color to create the stories we want to see. We shouldn’t wait for change we should make it.

The most important takeaway was what we can do to make the comic book industry a more diverse one. Coming from a fan’s perspective there are two things that are essential to promoting change and that’s using your voice and your money. Support diverse mainstream creators and comics and diverse indie creators and comics. The fact that there are so many young women who are reading comics now proves that our voice is bigger. We can affect change in the industry because we’re becoming such a large percentage of it. Use your voice to promote these diverse stories, characters and creators whether it’s in person or online. If you’re a creator, don’t be discouraged by the current climate of the industry. It will be tough to break into mainstream comics as a woman of color, but one of the best ways to make sure change in mainstream comics is to be apart it.

Forty-five minutes flew by and it wasn’t nearly enough time to cover everything about women of color in comics, but it was a start. Although the panel was over, the conversation doesn’t have to end. Blog, tweet, post, talk about these issues to help promote diversity.

Shout out to Mass AppealPC Mag (twice) and Flavorwire and Indiewire for covering the Women of Color in Comics panel.

 

 

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NYCC 2012- Grant Morrison Spotlight

As some of you may know, I have a deep love and admiration for Grant Morrison. In short, his opinions and work constantly force me to challenge the way I think and understand the world, universe and everything in between. (You can read all about why here.) Over the course of the convention, I heard at least three people say that Morrison’s work literally saved their life. That fact alone should show the impact this man leaves in people’s lives. This spotlight was predominantly fan questions and I thought it would be easier to recap the spotlight in a bulleted format.

  • –  The moderator described Happy, Morrison’s new four issue series, as A Christmas Story on meth.
  • –  The creepy song “ Pegasus”, by The Hollies inspired Morrison to create Happy.
  • –  He described Happy as a buddy cop movie.
  • –  He also announced that Rza (Wu-Tang Clan) is working on a script for one of his works and they instantly bonded over UFOs.
  • –  He recently finished working on Aliens vs. Dinosaurs and he thinks Hollywood is getting more psychedelic and would love to have The Filth made into movie.
  • –  On the topic of superheroes, Morrison said he identifies with superheros and believes everyone probably does in some way. They illustrate social realism. They are able to talk about real life in ways that realism cannot handle. Hence, the fantastical elements.
  • –  Morrison believes Superman is a man for the people. He gives us what we need, when we need it. He represents the ultimate man and Morrison always thought Superman was a half Christ, half Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. figure. He also emphasized that Batman himself has become an architype.
  • –  Superheros ask us, “I am better than you, can you live up to me?” They are noble and help elevate us out of negative cynicism. Nothing is impossible and there’s always a way. 
  • –  He believes the 5th dimension is inside our head. He told the audience to think about one universe, now think about two, now think about ten. That is an example of how our mind is infinite and holds no bounds. The imagination is the 5th dimension.
  • A fan asked Morrison if he thought the world would end in December and he replied, no. “The apocalypse is us projecting our morality to the world.”, he went on to explain.
  • –  Morrison was juggling about 15 things in 2010 and was almost at the point of mental illness. But he stressed to never reject an opportunity to work.
  • –  In regards to why Buddy Baker in his run of Animal Man was involved in animal rights, he explained that his cat died while writing it and he loves animals and wanted to give his animal friends a good story.
  • –  He’s not a fan of “the red” concept in Animal Man because he feels it makes Buddy seem like a sub-Swamp Thing. He stressed that he is a fan of Jeff Lemire and the other ST writers, but personally doesn’t like the red in relation to Animal Man.
  • –  Flex Mentallo was inspired by ecstasy, mushroom and rave culture.
  • –  A fan asked what to do if you’re practicing magic and bad things happen. Morrison simply responded by saying the same way you always deal with bad things.
  • –  In addition, if you ever conjure up a demon, he said they don’t like logic or shapes and it’s easy to talk them out of existence.

Press Release from Legendary Comics about Grant Morrison’s Annihilator to be released in 2013:

Morrison brings to the pages a thrilling story starring wild-living screenwriter Ray Spass, who has one last chance to save his career as he struggles to write a new studio tent-pole movie, Annihilator.

The film centers around the incredible adventures of Max Nomax; a sci-fi rebel anti-hero who’s condemned to a haunted prison orbiting a supermassive black hole, following an epic struggle against the all-knowing, all–powerful artificial life form VADA and his squad of deadly Annihilators. Found guilty of the Greatest Crime in History, Nomax has vowed to clear his name by discovering a Cure for Death itself and resurrecting his lost love.

But with deadlines looming and a recently-diagnosed brain tumor, Spass is running out of time and inspiration – until the real Max Nomax mysteriously appears in the world of 21stcentury Los Angeles with no memory of how he got there, only a terrifying warning of imminent destruction and a mission for Ray Spass.

Ray’s tumor is the key—it contains all the information of Nomax’s adventures, uploaded into Ray’s head before Nomax made his great escape.  Now, Ray has to finish his screenplay in order to get the information out of his head and shrink the tumor. Nomax needs Ray to finish the screenplay so he can remember how to defeat VADA and ultimately save the universe from extinction – if Makro, the unstoppable rogue Annihilator, doesn’t kill get to them first, that is.

But who or what is Max Nomax really?  And why is it the more we learn, the less we want to know?  A heart-stopping suspense thriller. A love story. An impossible mystery. A tale of vengeance and defiance – bargains and consequences – life and death – good and evil.

NYCC 2012- Brian K. Vaughan, Brian Wood and More Discuss Sci-Fi at Image Comics

Fiona Staples and Brian K. Vaughan of Saga

Fractured Futures: Speculative Fiction & Image Comics Panel

Science fiction embodies different elements to different people. This panel took a look into what sci-fi means to these writers and illustrators and how they use it to shape their work in Image Comics. The panelists included Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (Saga), David Hine (Storm Dogs), Joe Harris (Great Pacific), Glen Brunswick (Non-Humans) and Brian Wood and Ming Doyle (Mara).

Brian Wood said that in Mara, the sci-fi is less about the actual technology and more about how it affects the characters in his story. It’s about how we as humans realistically react to fantastical elements. They all admitted there are different types of sci-fi, which we can all attest to. There’s apocalyptic, cyberpunk, science fantasy, or how Brian K. Vaughan likes to describes Saga, fakey make-believe.

BKV said that he used to have friends who liked science fiction and those who liked fantasy, but never both. Saga is both, there’s magic and space ships. When going into depth about the reasoning behind the character design and world building, BKV wanted to use, “simple iconography for each world”. Whether it’s wings, horns or television heads, there’s no mistaking each world and its people. We instantly know what team they play for.

Fiona Staples, the artists for Saga, explained that she isn’t a fan of drawing tech, “I always put character first when I design these things”. BKV said he pretty much gives her a lot of free reign of the character design. Fun fact: Vaughan showed Staples a bong as a reference for his dragon skull space ship.

A fan asked the reasoning behind the characters non-violence stance. Vaughan joked, “I have kids now and my major question is what order to show the Star Wars movies to them.” On a more serious note, most of the panelist agreed that, as a creator you love violence, but as a human being you abhor it, so you face a creative crossroads.

BVK shared his thoughts on Saga becoming a film, “That part is cool, and I’m happy to sell out. Beyond that, I don’t really care. My idea director for ‘Saga’ is Fiona, and my ideal cast are the ones that Fiona draws. The comic is a destination; it’s not a blueprint for something else.”

Picture of the Week- The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead premiered last night and I couldn’t watch it because I was busy saving the princess with Mario (see slideshow below) so I’ll watch later today.  The Walking Dead is based on the Robert Kirkman comic by the same name.  I’ve been excited about this show since I first heard about it.  Primarily, (if not only) because I love what AMC has been doing lately with TV and it has zombies in it and you already know how I feel about them.

I recently read The Waking Dead Compendium One and damn near cried at the end (don’t worry no spoilers). I always forget it is very common that people actually die in zombie apocalypses.  It’s just hard to get used to when you come to love the characters so much.  I highly suggest it to anyone, whether you read comics or not.

Now the character below is Michonne, she isn’t in the show yet and probably won’t be for this season.  But all the readers know how absolutely bad ass Michonne is!  She’s a sword wielding, zombie killing, the hardest of cores, one woman army!  For an example of her bad assness look at this picture on how she first enters the comic.  She is practically straight off a Tarantino film and I can’t wait until she is in the show.

Picture of the Week is made by ElicaDragon on DeviantArt check out her DeviantArt here and her The Walking Dead art here.

More on The Walking Dead from Girl Gone Geek:

NYCC & NYAF- The Walking Dead Panel

New AMC Zombie Show: The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead Trailer

The Walking Dead Poster

Here’s some pics of me and my friend for Halloween, on the 30th I was The Joker (Jamila Edition) and the 31st I was Luigi!

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NYCC & NYAF- The Walking Dead Panel

The highlight of NYCC, for me, was The Walking Dead Panel by far.  Besides having a soft spot for all things undead, everything I saw and read about The Walking Dead tells me it will be another great television series.  I recently started reading The Walking Dead Compendium One, by Robert Kirkman and I am officially obsessed.  I read it for hours and couldn’t put it down, good thing I have a lot of The Walking Dead material to read since it’s been out since 2003.

The ING Theater was filled to capacity, if I hadn’t went in during the previous panel (which was M. Night Shaylaman) I wouldn’t have gotten in.  The line was ridiculous and I heard people who couldn’t get in showed just how upset they were. At the panel is the comic book creator Robert Kirkman, producer Gale Anne Hurd (Aliens, The Terminator) and director Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile).  The main cast also showed up, but my battery died, typical.   At the panel we saw an “exclusive clip” from about 6 minutes of when Rick first meets Glenn.  Since mostly everything at NYCC I had seen on TV or online before from a previous con I was excited for something new.

One of my favorite moments at the panel was when the actor who plays Shane came out and the crowd booed him.  He said how happy he was to hear that because at the previous cons they cheered for him and let’s just say the crowd was Team Rick Grimes, as they should be.

I was able to get three of the main cast, Kirkman, Hurd and Darbont to sign my comic of The Walking Dead!!!  :) They were really nice about taking the time to sign comics and take pictures with the fan before they were rushed off to an interview.

Season 1 will have 6 episodes, the pilot will be 90 minutes long and the rest will be an hour.  Hurd made it very clear that the only way season 2 will happen is how well season 1 is received.  So if you are a fan of The Walking Dead series or just really excited for a new great show, watch it and watch it live (as best you can).

You can read more about the show in one of my previous post here and the amazing Zombie Week here.

The Walking Dead airs on October 31st on AMC at 10pm.  It will also air in 120 countries the same week it airs in the US!


Part of The Walking Dead Panel I recorded

Trailer