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Prism Comic-Con 2011 Wrap-Up!
by David Stanley, posted July 25th, 2011
[Print-ready Version]

Alright, fan-girl/boys! Here’s my Comic-Con yee-doggy roundup with most of the dangly bits included. I’ve got the Bent Comix and Gays in Comics panels, Mixer & Silent Auction, plus Dave Davenport6’s gallery show.

But first up, look who showed up at the Prism booth? Warlord come to life! Really, really hot.

And our very own Ted Abenheim (our Events coordinator, with whom we couldn't put on these appearances) became Metamorpho. So cool! He’s posed here with the latest super-team to be written by Geoff Johns (not really).

Then we were visited by a rather demure "Sailor Moon"? Not sure! But quite fetching.

I forgot some of the folks who appeared at the Prism booth including one of our partners, Steve MacIsaac, who was the recipient for the first Queer Press Grant for Shirtlifter. The thing is…I didn’t get his picture this time. Sorry, Steve! But here he is from the last Comic-Con:

And Gail! How could I have left out Gail, from my Friday report? She’s always terrific, always says yes to Prism and is so generous. We love you, Gail. Can’t wait to read Batgirl!

And Bob Schreck who calls himself a whore for having worked at just about comics company, but saying he’s old and they can’t get rid of him. My pic here is of him appearing at the publishing panel, but he also appeared at the Prism booth:

Prism’s fourth panel was “Bent Comix: The Next Wave of Gay Cartooning”, which really does represent the growth from Homo Sapien to Homo Superior in terms of queer comix. The moderator, Dave Davenport4 (renowned author, rocker, and creator of CORE which debuted at the Con) was joined by Dave Davenport (Hard to Swallow), Jeff Krell (Jayson), Steve MacIsaac (Shirtlifter), Dave Davenport0 (Harry and Dickless Tom), Jody Wheeler (DoorQ.com), and Sean Z (Myth).

It was a another great, informative panel, with lots of exciting discussion about the future of LGBT comics and the technological advances that can put queer comics into anyone's hands everywhere. Some background: Last year, Dave Davenport5 spearheaded the first LGBT comic book convention, BENT-CON, held in Los Angeles, with the Bent Comix collective and other local LGBR creators including Rader, MacIsaac, Davenport, Krell, Michael Troy, William O. Tyler, Michael Derry, Charles “Zan” Christensen, Dave Davenport3, Tony Lawrence, Jody Wheeler and Dave Davenport1 of DoorQ, Chance Whitmire and others including of course Sean-Z. They hocked their wares for a decidedly mixed crowd of comic fans and those completely unaware of queer comics. The creators were astonished with the response, reporting in some cases the best sales day of the year for them.

Sean-Z with Jody Wheeler has moved to incorporate Bent as a nonprofit and is planning a bigger con next time, “more fabulous than Comic-Con”, with lots of other ideas afoot. Go to their Facebook page for info on the next BENT-CON, slated for December 4, 2011!

Anyhow, along with detailing BENT-CON, the discussion dove right into the messiness that is this current transition from print to digital comics (and back?). While some championed digital, with JD saying that it puts everything in flux, which she loves because it means there’s opportunity, and other touting the freedom that digital provides, breaking through the limits traditional distribution has posed for any indie creator, plus the increased opportunities to promote their work through the plethora of online press and social media—others like Steve MacIsaac hope print comics would go the way of vinyl records, where collectors actively seek out "analog" comics because they prefer the touch and feel.

One of them joked that at the next BENT-CON there would be a digital vs. analog rumble

Steve said he specifically designs his work for print. Digital works as a promotional tool, but it’s all intended for people to buy print copies and enjoy it laid out as he intended. Brad calls himself a Luddite, saying he draws, inks and letters by hand. He doesn’t want to learn to do it digitally. Jeff said digital has opened up some new ways of presenting his work, with plans for him to present his work weekly online, then collecting it in print. JD pointed out that you can erase your hard drive with a magnet, while 30,000-year cave paintings were recently discovered. Brad said “this new digital age is building a tower of babble on a pile of sand”. Then he brought up the Battlestar Galactica reboot where it survived because it was offline (i.e. not hooked into the digital network).

It was a very spirited and fun discussion, which gave us all a lot to think about.

Just a half-hour later, the annual "Gays in Comics" panel started. Andy Mangels, the USA Today best-selling author of Star Trek novels and Iron Man: Beneath The Armor, did a great job this year assembling a stellar crew, including as well as numerous comic books, welcomes a top-level panel of LGBT and straight creators, who will give amazing insights and glimpses of surprises to come. This year’s guests include Robert Kirkman, writer of The Walking Dead and Invincible and head of Image Comics' Skybound imprint; Dave Davenport2, award-winning author, editor and designer of books such as Bat-Manga, Rough Justice; Dan Parent, creator of Archie's new gay character and series, Kevin Keller; Jon Macy, writer and artist of 2010 Lambda Literary Award-winning Teleny and Camille and Prism Comics Queer Press grant recipient for Fearful Hunter; Paul Cornell, writer for TV's Doctor Who and DC Comics' upcoming Stormwatch and Demon Knights series; Greg Pak, writer of Incredible Hulks and co-writer of Alpha Flight and Herc; plus, a special video appearance by J.H. Williams III, co-writer and artist of DC's Batwoman series!

Paul Cornell proved to be very British and apologized for it (and for being loopy) several times. I just found him hilarious. He was very emphatic in announcing that in his upcoming Stormwatch series for DC, Apollo and Midnighter are indeed staying gay. Totally gay. But with the DC reboot, he's dialing back their relationship to before they were a couple and will show their meeting and courtship. Cool.

Chip Kidd, who is hilarious, was not sure he belonged on the panel in that his own gayness does not really inform his work (which you’ve seen everywhere), although he is writing a Batman graphic novel where the villain is gay and modeled after—Chip himself. As Chip says, "So if you know me, you know the villain likes penises."

Robert Kirkman is a really great sport, because he was getting hit on left and right at the panel, from both the panelists and audience members, hoping he would "switch sides". He is an adorable bear, and yes, very aware of what a bear is. He says he was not really that aware of the fact, except now in looking back, that he had written so many gay characters. He apologized for killing off Freedom Ring the way he did but didn't do it with any homophobic intent. He hopes Walking Dead has made up for that somewhat.

As the Independent guy on the panel, Jon Macy says his intent was always to write gay characters and to show the entirety of their lives, including the sex, which he says may have limited him in terms of distribution and readership, but he feels if you have passion, you will be rewarded. And he has, with a Lambda Literary Award for Teleny and Camille and a Queer Press Grant for Fearful Hunter, both in the past year.

Like Kirkman, Greg Pak says he was not really conscious of how many gay characters he had written until thinking back. He currently writes Alpha Flight with mainstream's first out character, Northstar. He doesn't write him as a "gay character" but instead loves to explore his flaws (mainly arrogance) which is what Greg thinks makes characters interesting. Greg himself is half-Korean so is very conscious of not writing a character as a type, such as the Asian guy, the Disabled guy, etc. Greg also said that Northstar's relationship with his boyfriend Kyle will be a big part of future storylines.

There was also discussion brought up about Herc and how a bit of his polyamorous past surfaced at his funeral, where several of his past conquests were discussing him and it was very subtly made apparent this included Northstar. Andy asked the audience who wanted to see this side of Herc explored more and there were a sea of hands. He then asked who didn’t want to see that and not one hand was raised.

Dan reiterated the points from his earlier Archie panel, but also said that when he appeared at "Gays in Comics" last year, they were just launching Kevin Keller and were not sure of the future. A year later, everything is different now that they've seen a huge response for him and are moving forward with his own comic series.

Chip Kidd in particular had positive feedback about Kevin's father, the military man. Chip wondered when he was coming out. Apparently Chip found him particularly hot.

JH Williams III appeared via pretaped video responses to Andy's questions. Generally, the Batwoman writer/artist says DC was very supportive of the character and did not want to exploit her or have her portrayed in a salacious way at all. And JH tries his best to humanize her, so that you don’t have to be gay to relate to her.

Chip Kidd praised JH, saying his work was incredibly beautiful. Chip says that Alex Ross designed the costume (and based her face on Traci Lords) and JH took it to another level.

Overall, the panel was informative and fun, with Paul Cornell exclaiming it was the best organized panel he'd ever been on! I agree.

Afterwards, Prism held the Fan Mixer and Silent Auction. Ted really outdid himself with this, having found giveaways from comics companies that he raffled off for free to lucky audience members, then starting the auction with incredible items he and Andy Mangels spent the year gathering including an original Alex Ross Batwoman painting, a pen drawing of Batwoman from JH Williams III, and an original Kevin Keller drawing from Dan Parent, along with the humongous DC 75th anniversary book signed by everyone under the sun from Julie Newmar and Adam West to Paul Levitz, Marvelous Land of Oz signed (with drawing) by Eric Shanower plus Skottie Young, and so much more. Thanks to everyone who bid high and contributed to Prism's efforts to bring LGBT comics and creators to Cons around the country and to the Queer Press Grant.

And here's a certain hot archer who showed up to bid:

After this, me and boyf headed off to Ed Luce’s gallery showing at Double Break, not far from the convention center, just above the Gaslamp District.

It’s a great gallery, with lots of books and kitschy merchandise. Plus a nice layout of Wuvable Oaf stuff.

It was great talk to both Ed and his partner Mark, plus we got some great Wuvable merchandise. And there was this hot book of nude drawings of Seth Rogan…one where he's upside down. Yum!

And finally, here’s a collection of fun photos I collected:

First, Charles “Zan” Christensen who was the mainstay of the Prism booth, attending to customers, helping everyone and generally knowing all. Great job, Zan, and congratulations on all your success with Northwest Press.

And Scooby-Doo!

A very good Ms. Marvel:

Some fairly hot barbarians. They can invade me anytime.

Why not hire her for a new try at the TV series?

And Justin Hall giving a ride. He's helping to make a documentary on queer comics. Can't wait to see it!

So that’s a wrap for now. I’m going to write some more detailed descriptions of some of the panels.

Thanks to all the volunteers who helped us at Comic-Con. We really couldn’t have done it without you!


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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