Comic Cons Make Me Happy… Except When It Gets All Sexist Up In There…

I just found this random post that was supposed to be published… IN AUGUST (!!!???!) So, if you feel like a hop in ye olde time machine, come with me, all the way back to August 2014…

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First of all, I gotta say, I had the best time at Boston Comic-Con. The. Best.

It was a totally positive and friendly space. Everyone was there to have a good time, and everyone who was there was super-cool and respectful of everyone else.

It was especially special for me, because Lost Angels finally – finally – made its print debut. And people went a bit nuts, in the best possible way. I couldn’t have imagined a warmer welcome.

So, I’ve been reading up on the post-weekend recaps (a LOT of people go to Boston Comic-Con and, if you go to cons, you should go too) and I stumbled across one from a blogger who… well, I’m going to leave his details out of it. I’m not challenging his views, personally, I’m more loosely paraphrasing some of what he said as a jumping off point to discuss the larger con world.

This particular guy drew my particular attention because he said there was nothing to buy at Boston Comic-Con. That prompted me to do the cartoon eye rub- what the what? At BCC, you could buy ALL THE THINGS. It was as good of a selection of merch as I’ve seen at just about any con (and I’ve been to a few…). Maybe there weren’t show exclusives or something? Maybe something was missing that I usually don’t notice…? But that WTF moment got me to delve a little further into this particular BCC post.

Then, the term “babe” was used. And again. And again. That little alarm in the back of my head that goes off sometimes started to sound a little. This was leading up to the plainly stated (keep in mind, I’m paraphrasing here) that guys go to conventions to meet and talk to “babes” that wouldn’t otherwise be interested in talking to guys like him.

OK. Wait. What?

I may be oblivious, but I’m pretty sure I’m not naive… Or maybe I am. Is that a thing? Do guys really go to conventions to “meet babes”? Not really, right? This is like the weird opposite day argument about fake fangirls, isn’t it? You mean to tell me there are fake fanboys too? Or, because the comic industry is so often steeped in some sexist and objectifying attitudes and leanings that every fanboy is there for “babes” on some level and that’s totally acceptable, so it’s impossible to be a fake fanboy? Does this sound like a sad, circular argument to anyone else?

Some dear soul at BCC who struck up a conversation with me about women in comics got a blunt answer (If you’re reading this, dear heart, my vitriol wasn’t aimed at you. You were a doll.) There is so much talk about how to get more women into the industry. And I’m tired of it.  The answer is pretty simple- go for it. Are the odds stacked against you? Oh boy, are they ever.

I’ve had a really long career in the shadows. I chose that. I wanted that, knowing full well what it cost me. It’s really strange to me now that people ask for pictures and autographs (no, really), that I spend a dozen weekends a year talking to strangers and that I’m even flirting with the fringes of cosplay for the first time ever (Fan Expo, boy, are you in for a treat…? Shock?). But, I’m warning you, the first person- male, female, manatee- that calls me a babe at a con is gonna get a square sock on the jaw. I’m there because I earned my place.

Sexist stuff like reducing a whole gender of amazing people to “babes” makes Steve Rogers cry, guys. Don’t be a Bonaparte Crumplehorn. Just don’t.

 

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The Weekend Reader- April 18ish (The Hotblooded at WonderCon Edition)

I’ll say right off the bat I was looking for the Apu montage for this song, but I couldn’t find it anywhere:

And what do Foreigner and WonderCon have in common? Both involve someone having a fever of 103. No joke.

But I wanted to thank all the awesome people who came out this weekend before I took a break from all the things for a bit. You guys made it all worthwhile.

The Weekend Reader – April 11ish (The Waiting for Wondercon Edition)

Our quote of the week comes from Jon Hamm:

“There is no world in which I’m winning Best Shirtless anything,” he said. “I’m not a vampire, and I’m not a zombie and I’m not Kristen Stewart or Jennifer Lawrence. I’m not those four things, so I won’t be winning Best Kiss. If there was a category called Best Guy Who Kind of Reminds You of Your Dad. I would maybe win that one.”

It’s been another light reading/too much working week for me. And, no, it wasn’t just watching Captain America over and over (I’ve only seen it twice) it’s been just work. Work work work, it’s all I ever do (That’s a favourite expression of my dad’s, of whom Jon Hamm does not remind me… But I digress.)

Let’s see… what’s happened this week:

Wanna talk to Robert Downey Jr? He wants to hear from you.

He’s also the subject of the best game from this past week

Here’s some insight into Teen Titans (and why I totally don’t understand them)

A fun project you can fund for the next 12 days – She Got Game

There’s a new book out called Mom in the Movies, to which… I dunno what to say

This review had the best pull line I’d ever read: Draft Day Is Like the NFL’sMoneyball Except It’s Cruel to Nerds and Is Terrible

 

Aaaand, that’s it. I promise at least a WonderCon update this week. As for anything else…

Weekend Reader – April 4ish (The Spoiler-Free Steve Rogers Edition)

Has anyone else just had the worst week?

Well, it would have been the worst week, except I got to see Captain America: The Winter Soldier. So it was the best worst week.

Did you know Cap has his own froyo? So many flavours. Including Cheesecake! I wouldn’t think he’d be into that, considering how long he was on ice. Insensitive? Anyway…

My only Cap-related complaint is that’s it’s really hard to find non-3D screenings. That’s the definition of first world problems right there. Like I said, anyway…

If you read the header of this post, you know what I’ve been reading this week. And you don’t need me to tell you how good this movie is. I’m sure there are lots of reviews you can read. But, if you’re looking for your Avengers news fix, you are in the right place:

An interview iffy in quality from The Guardian

THR had SO MANY THINGS

 

A WARNING: this link is a bit misleading… Someone cut together scenes from different movies and used the word naked in the title… But, really, he’s wearing pants. Mostly.

(And go see Snowpiercer as soon as you have a chance)

As for the other Avengers…

And…

 

The Weekend Reader – March 21ish (The FREE STUFF AT MEGACON Edition)

Yes, MEGACON attendees, you heard right- We want to give you free stuff! If you didn’t get a download card in your swag bag, let us know on Facebook and we’ll send you the info on how to get your download when it’s ready- just for you!

Also, to tie up the rest of the con loose ends, two awesome artists that should have been on the list of awesome ladies from Toronto Comicon:

The incredible Dear Alice (She does so much different and cool stuff, it’s impossible to talk through it all. I don’t see a link to her astonishing Loki print, which I have previously pimped. But maybe if you get in touch and ask nicely, she’ll let you buy one…?)

Have you ever seen 8-bit Golden Girls Artwork? You have now. Thank  you, K8 Bit Hero

And because I have been lost in Con-Land, here’s a very rudimentary Survival Guide For Comic-Con from The Mary Sue (which applies to all cons, really…)

And one that will melt your frozen and otherwise unavailable heart: A very special teen invents the comic book vending machine

In movie news this week, someone gave M. Night Shayamalan enough money to make another movie, so pretty much anyone who wants a career in the movie business still has a chance.

Also, if you’re ever feeling low after a rejection, read these rejection letters. It’s all about finding people who believe in you, so keep on keeping on, my friends.

(And I am woefully behind on my reading, so please feel free to shout at me if there are topics/articles/discussions that I’m missing out on that fit the Twelve Percent mandate! Or, hey, if you want to do a Guest Blog, just say so!)

The Weekend Reader – March 14ish (Still Lazy After All These Days)

Wow, I am so still not caught up on anything life-related yet. I’m working on it. Sloooooowly, but still…

I feel like I did do a lot of reading this week. Some of it was for two awesome classes:

Social Issues Through Comic Books

Get A Grasp (for comic creators)

(Both of which are FREE classes you can still join, so do it!)

Class reading probably included the best thing I read all week: Taste versus Ability

But there was more…

 

 

And some other notes…

My heart goes out to the citizens of Austin, TX and the folks who lost their lives at SXSW this year. But there were some lovely bits of news out of the fest, and the one about the swag bags benefiting the homeless was by far my favourite.

As always, there will be more next week. In the meantime, have a Happy St. Patrick’s Day. If you still need something green to wear, you can always get a little Loki on your lips

 

Awesome Ladies of Toronto Comicon

I am still wildly behind in just about everything… I did take a quiz that determined I’m “Divergent”. So I’m destined to be useless in future society. The whole thing seems to involve too much running around…

But I digress.

First of all, if you haven’t had a chance, please check out the first preview of my new comic and Like the Lost Angels Facebook page. Doing that means you get a free download of the preview issue. Awesome, riiiiiiight?

Anyhow, I have been wanting to post a list of great artists I had the chance to be around during the Toronto ComiCon weekend. So, here it is, in no particular order:

First of all, if you are also on Team Rogers, you need to go to Try This On For Size and ask them to ship you their Team Rogers shirt. It is awesome. It’s not currently listed on their site, but they had it at Toronto ComiCon, so I’m hopeful you can still order it off-menu. DO IT. #TEAMROGERS

Ahem, anyway… keep in mind I spent most of my time tied to a table (not literally… I don’t think…) but these were some fabulous ladies nearby. If you want to read more with them, there will be some follow-up with a piece on women in comics coming up on Fat Girl Food Squad. Keep on it!

First of all, Deena Draws, because her kung fu is the best

The fab pin ups of Amy Spaulding

Killer artwork from Indy Lytle

Michelle Stewart at Stellar Forms

The amazing Kristi, or on Tumblr, MsAether

Brilliant shirts et al from Geek Charming

 

Weekend reader is coming up ASAP. Hope you’re enjoying the (slightly) better weather in the meantime!

The Weekend Reader – March 7ish (Toronto Comicon Apologia Edition)

First of all, even though it really slowed down the Weekend Reader, the weekend at Toronto Comicon was AMAZING. I will follow up with a post on some of the amazing artists but, for now, I will try and catch up on the week that was BEFORE the weekend…

And, of course, you probaly already know what John Travolta will call you when you meet him…

Note To NWI Comic Con Attendees: We Want To Give You Free Stuff

This is the weekend it all begins…

If you attended the NWI comic con this weekend, chances are good you’ll get a free download of a top-secret new comic. (Of course, if you attended NWI and didn’t get the offer, get in touch and I’ll make sure to add you to the distribution list.)

Our comic is, in fact, so top secret that we’re not ready to show it off just yet. Your d/l code is good forever, though, so please check back here, on Facebook and/or on our main site (fearthesyndicate.com) and we’ll get it to you FIRST!

Toronto is up next! Oh yes it is… Details to follow.

And, as always, if there’s a con/event/big ole shindig you would like to see us at, just give us a shout. We want to be EVERYWHERE.

It begins. IT BEGINS!

Colour And Gender-Blind Casting… What’s The Real Issue?

Ladies and gentlemen, lock up your internets!

Someone made the mistake of announcing the cast of a comic book movie.*

To quote the great Ben Affleck: “NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!”**

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Reaction has been… er, mixed. (HA HA. NO PUN INTENDED.)

As an aside, I would like to take this time to come really, intensely clean on this topic. I generally don’t care who gets cast in what. Anything can happen between casting and opening weekend. The only time I have ever really been openly peeved about casting was when they announced casting for…

Captain America.***

And I was wrong about that. I was so wrong. I could literally not have been any wrong-er and survived until now. I am still sorry. Chris Evans won me over… In approximately 38 seconds.

It bothers me to this day that I was so judgmental and harsh on a process I wasn’t privy to or involved in. I had no idea what was going to happen, and I still felt the need to complain. Loudly.

But it seems no one really admits to this wrongheadedness- before, during or after filming.

Especially the pseudo-trolls. Listen, I know enough to not read comments on the world wide web but, wow, I’ve been feeling like I can’t get away from them in the last 24 hours. The biggest online complaint?

Michael B. Jordan isn’t white.

Usually followed up with “Now, I’m not a racist, but…”

Oooookay.

The mighty Mister Jordan (from my favourite movie of 2013, Fruitvale Station) will supposedly be playing Johnny Storm, brother of Sue Storm. Sue Storm, if you believe the hype, is to be played by Kate Mara.

Most of the online chatter seems to emanate from the fact that the two don’t look closely related… But, as many others have countered, Jessica Alba and (in a strange coincidence) Chris Evans didn’t look enough alike to play siblings in the previous incarnation of the FF. Nor were the two actors even of the same ethnicity/background.

“Now, I’m not a racist, but…”

Oh, wait, I got ahead of myself. Did I mention that The Fantastic Four is A STORY ABOUT PEOPLE WHO GO TO SPACE AND COME BACK WITH SUPER POWERS?

I won’t go into detail (the backstory is on Wikipedia if you’re not familiar) but, yeah, this is the root of the story we’re talking about. Based on this, why would anyone argue about who’s not supposed to black or not supposed to be a woman?

Oh, yeah, also forgot that the main FF villain might be re-imagined as a woman. Though to some, a female Doctor Doom is still less credible than A STORY ABOUT PEOPLE WHO GO TO SPACE AND COME BACK WITH SUPER POWERS?

Wait, ladies can be DOCTORS?! When did that happen, y’all?

OK, it’s now serious time. Please listen to my plea, nerds, geeks, fans and lovers of comics and movies and everyone in between, however you may self-identify:

I am one of you. I hear you. I really do. You love these people and you love their story they way it was first told to you. You want them to be exactly the way you’ve always known them to be. You are invested in these characters and what becomes of them.

Being against change, in the context of any form of fandom, makes total sense.

But it doesn’t change the fact that what you’re ultimately advocating is really against the spirit of the characters and, honestly, the medium itself.

I’m not going to speak on behalf of Stan Lee, co-creator of The Fantastic Four. I’ll let him speak for himself:

“For just this once, I would do the type of story I myself would enjoy reading…. And the characters would be the kind of characters I could personally relate to: they’d be flesh and blood, they’d have their faults and foibles, they’d be fallible and feisty, and — most important of all — inside their colorful, costumed booties they’d still have feet of clay.” -Stan Lee (Also, ironically, a quote reused on the FF Wikipedia page.)

The characters in The Fantastic Four were created to allow readers to enjoy the adventures of people they could identify with. People can read the stories and see themselves in them. That’s what the best comics do, after all.

So, can we allow the next generation to have the same experience? Maybe even do it up a bit better? Can we expand the mirror image of characters to blacks and hispanics and women and minorities of all shapes, sizes and stripes? Why can’t Donald Glover be Spiderman? Why can’t Sam Jackson be Nick Fury? Why can’t Idris Elba be Heimdall?

Why can’t Kate Mara and Michael B. Jordan be siblings?

Why can’t we expand the characters we love to encompass other realities and make new fans feel mirrored and welcome in spaces that have always been safe for white boys? Why can’t women see real representatives of themselves in comics? Why can’t people of colour be whoever they want to be in comics? Why can’t we, when it comes to casting the films, be open enough to re-imagine the characters we love into something new?

Why can’t we be generous enough to transform art we love into a gateway for someone else to enjoy it as much as we do?

Any story, even one re-imagined with a black superhero, blended family and a female villain, shouldn’t be more foreign to any of us than A STORY ABOUT PEOPLE WHO GO TO SPACE AND COME BACK WITH SUPER POWERS.

Just a thought.

*Based on the Variety article, this doesn’t necessarily seem to be firm casting. (Offers seem to still be pending for just about everyone.) Are these notices leaked to try and scare off talent? It scared that guy off 50 Shades.

**No disrespect to Ben Affleck.

***No disrespect to Chris Evans. I owe that man a beer. Or a case. Or, honestly, a brewery. (Or a Wahlburgers franchise? I’m open to negotiations on this.)