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My Comic-Con Thursday Report! Panels Galore! And Eyes Poked Out!
by David Stanley, posted July 22nd, 2011
[Print-ready Version]

Thursday at the Con was a big day for us because we had maybe the most major-est panels we’ve ever had, in our history-like, with the first one analyzing Buffy and the other exposing the X-Men! To call them queer (and not in just an LGBT way) is kind of redundant, so we thought they were naturals for the Con.

But first, I checked in on the Prism booth, ‘natch, where I caught up with Rachel Dukes (holding Primary: A Love Story #1), and her company Poseur Ink, which has parked itself at our booth (which shows we truly are Queer Central), bringing along with her Queer Press Grant recipient Megan Gedris. Megan actually received the very first QPG, but in all these years, I have not met her. Today was no exception, although she is supposed to be at the booth on Friday from 2-7 and thereafter through the Con. We have gotten lots of inquiries “Where’s Megan?” from lots of fans, so I know I’m not the only one looking forward to seeing her.

And I finally got a non-blurry photo of “Wuvable” Ed Luce!

Plus, of course, Andy Mangels, whose “Gays in Comics” is going to be a blockbuster. Be there on Saturday, 5:30-7:00pm, Room 6A, with Chip Kidd, Robert Kirkman and many other superstars of comix!

Then I rushed off to the DC: 52 panel, which is happening each day of the convention, since DC knows it has a lot of splaining to do. And fans were not happy (except for the kiss-ass who applauded DC for being so “brave” for trashing 75 years of continuity and good will with this sales boosting ploy). I feel bad for Dan Didio, actually. He’s got an impossible job, trying to appease his new insect overlords at Warner Bros., motivate his staff, and placate the fans. (Fun fact: I used to live in New Jersey where I sometimes took the same bus as Mr. Didio, and looked over his shoulder—he reads that trashy Murdoch NY Post.) One series does sound cool—Demon Knights with Etrigan, Madame Xanadu and other medieval/magical types.

One particular complaint of note from an audience member was that DC’s staff has gone from 16% female to 1%. Didio asked which women he should hire and Carla Speed-McNeil’s name was shouted out.

So next, we went to visit Carla and let her know about the shout-out. We had to go all the way to the very very end of the hall, which is sort of like going to the edge of the universe where slip on a bad toupee and act to a PA behind the camera and pretend he’s God (sorry, slipped into Shatner-directed Star Trek for a sec).

Carla is so approachable and nice. She had a gorgeous original Finder cover, which was very reasonable but a bit too much for our budget, but there was also a stack of original comics pages. We snagged one—modeled by my beautiful boyf! Of course I was a nervous wreck until we went and bought a Mylar sleeve! Now we have to get it back intact to NYC!

Ran into Power Girl and nearly got my eyes poked out.

Then ran into Captain Marvel and this time, nearly got an eye poked out.

And of course I had to visit Snoopy. Awww.

I know I said I didn’t care about movie stars, but Frodo is just adorable. And so’s his dog (meaning his co-star Jason Gann from Wilfred).

The first Prism-sponsored panel was “Buffy the Vampire Slayer and LGBT Comics Fandom” from 5-6pm. It was packed! There are a lot of Buffy fans out there and especially LGBTQI ones. This was beautifully moderated by Charles “Zan” Christensen, Prism’s main man

The first panelists was Jane Espenson, who has written for everything including Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, Gilmore Girls, Ellen, The O.C., Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Battlestar Galactica, Dollhouse, Caprica, Game of Thrones, Torchwood: Miracle Day and many others. Currently writing for ABC'S Once Upon A Time and a web series called Husbands, both premiering this fall.

Next was Tom Lenk—who played Andrew on Buffy—who is now making a documentary called Who Do I Think I Am? about the challenges of crafting and mounting his one-person show Nerdgasm and taking it to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. He’s the one in the middle.

Finally, Scott Allie who has been the editor of the Buffy comics since the beginning, and on all of Josh Whedon’s comics except for the X-books. He’s now working on Buffy Season 9 and Angel, plus editing the Hellboy and Goon books among others for Dark Horse where he is the Senior Managing Editor.

The crowd was huge. There was a huge line in the hallway and I had no clue it was for the panel. But then the room filled up. Scott, Tom and Jane were generous enough to appear at Prism’s request and I was really happy that there was some justification for it.

No time to go into everything discussed (oh, man, give me a break—it’s late—but will have a separate report on what went down) but suffice it to say that the fans still love Buffy and crew and they have embraced the complexity of the characters, whether it be sexuality or just their diverse nature. One of the most heartening things was a man who identified himself as straight, but who said that the queer characters in Buffy helped him accept the gays and lesbians he knows in his real life. You couldn’t ask for more than that.

I thought the funniest thing was when I was looking back at my photos and noticed that while Zan looks very dignified with his jacket, but behind the podium…

I'm not making fun—it's seriously hot inside the convention.

Directly following this was the X-Men panel, “LGBTX: The X-Men’s Queer Characters, Themes and Fans”. This was also packed, standing room only! This was expertly moderated by Chance Whitmire of Fanboys of the Universe, who steered the conversation to probably some of the deepest levels of any panel we’ve ever hosted.

On the panel were Marjorie Liu (Daken: Dark Wolverine), Peter David (X-Factor), Chuck Kim (Age of X), Phil Jimenez (Astonishing X-Men), Scott Lobdell (Uncanny X-Men), and Zack Stentz (X-Men First Class).

The idea behind the panel is one we’ve bandied about for years—that the X-Men as a concept is a metaphor for being gay. And we thought, well, maybe it’s too obvious, maybe everyone already has figured that out, etc. But after we submitted the proposal, we found out that Zack Stentz, who along with his writing partner Ashley Miller, crafted one of the best movies of the year with X-Men First Class, answered very forcefully to a posting online that balked at this idea—that indeed, the X-Men (in the movies, at least) were very deliberately crafted as a metaphor for gay people. So naturally, we had to invite him on the panel.

Anyhow, what evolved beyond the agreed-upon metaphor, was that it’s really a lot deeper than that. (Geez, my sentences are really crap here—definitely time for bed!) For instance, Jack and Stan most likely did not create the X-Men thinking about gay people. Given the times, it would more likely have been for African-Americans who were struggling for civil rights at the same time (although personally I think their Jewish heritage was a more likely source). And that it doesn’t work well to pin down metaphors to reality too much. It loses its power when you say X equals X.

And Phil had an amazing point about there not being an exact parallel since mutants can destroy planets with their powers, and queers can’t. That if people really did have those kinds of powers, of course they would be feared.

Anyhow, I’ll get into more of it later! Time for bed! Got to be bushy-eyed and bright-tailed for Friday!


David Stanley is Prism's PR Chair and Editor, Queer Eye On Comics.

Prism Comics promotes the works of the LGBT community in comics. It does not implicitly endorse any other material or products associated with those works. Any opinions expressed are those of the author(s).


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