Hi! So, I’m going to try to be back, for real. You know, make time in the midst of all the other projects and commitments to do this blog thing again. I also need to find a new home for it, as my web dev is getting out of the business altogether. But that’s another project.
So, Norwescon. For the last several years I’ve done the Culture Track, culminating in it being the largest track in the convention last year with either 35 or 38 hours of programming. This year I was asked to take on the Comics Track and see what I could make of it.
Well, I think I did good. Panelists and attendees alike were very complimentary. I finally got to meet G. Willow Wilson, who is the sweetest human being on the planet, I’m pretty sure. My friend Rachel Edidin, formerly of Dark Horse comics, currently of Rachel and Miles X-plain the X-men and many other independent projects, came and knocked it out of the park on several panels, including pinch-hitting for me on the Queer Comics panel. The weekend was great. Even the Refuse to be Silent: Women’s Voices in Gaming panel, our GamerGate panel went spectacularly well, with only one mansplainer who a member of our audience chased down later to explain why the entire panel yelled at him.
Anyway, here’s a list of what I did with brief overviews.
Fangirls: Who are they and what do they want? Just what it says on the tin. We talked about why many of us write and read fanfic, the hunger for representation of our various identities, female, geek, queer, etc…
How Comics Art has Changed. This one introduced me to Cole Hornaday of the Panel Jumper vlog, and Matt Youngmark of Conspiracy Friends. Mostly we talked about the shift away from one single house style, the old four-color comics of the golden and silver age, and how that gave way with better printing technology to artists like Dan Brereton and others.
How to Get Laid at a Con? This is our honey trap panel, because as I explained it to someone who was incensed we’d have that panel, “If we called it How Not to be a Creepy Douche, no one would come.”
Podcasting 101. Essentially the bare minimum you need to podcast, including free software like Audacity, Levelator, and dealing with podcast aggregate sites and iTunes.
Size Acceptance is for Everyone. Thin-shaming is no more ok than fat-shaming. Everybody should love their body without criticism, comment or unwanted advice. You don’t have to meet some arbitrary standard to be worthy of love, respect, or kindness.
Intro to Health At Every Size. Studies have shown that healthy habits matter far more than the number on the scale. So why isn’t anyone listening?
Rise of the Female Superhero. THIS panel is the one I was most excited by. Standing room only, me on a panel with G. Willow Wilson, Rachel Edidin, Minim Calibre (who used to blog at Girl-Wonder.org as Take Back the Knight), Torry Stenmark and Tifa Robles. We talked about why female superheroes are so big right now, and what was changing in society as a whole and in comics as an industry to make this possible. Plus, announced earlier this week, 7 of the 10 best selling comics are female led titles. Suck it, Meninists.
Hyper-Sexualization versus Power Fantasy. This was supposed to be the topic of this panel, but we kept drifting into intersectionality, which will be its own panel next year. People really wanted to talk about it. So I finally gave up and let them. We did touch on the topic, and talked about how people, all people, women and girls included, wanted heroes that looked like them, which is what started the segue. It was a great conversation.
Queer Characters: Big Two vs. Indie Producers. So, after both of my co-panelists bailed, I drafted Rachel Edidin and the Geek Husband What Rules to do this panel with me. Rachel knocked it out of the park, and was totally amazing.
Sex Positive Culture 101. How sex positive doesn’t mean you’ll sleep with anyone, and how anyone who tries to shame you into sleeping with them by accusing you of not being sex positive is a scumbag and not actually sex positive. Sex positivity entails having sex, or not, as YOU wish with consenting partners, not bullying others into doing what you want. Also, as a culture we need to build a better vocabulary around sex, and give ourselves permission to talk about it.
BDSM 101. The basics.
When Did Comic Become a ‘Boy Thing?’ Early pictures of comics readers include plenty of girls and women, then the Comics Code Authority happened. Rachel gave us a fantastic rundown of the history behind the CCA and how it isolated superhero comics into the box marked comics, while pruning down the rest of the industry.
Refuse to be Silent: Women’s Voice in Gaming. Me, Rachel Edidin, Donna Prior, Gwen Yeh, and Arinn Dembo. Several of us who have been targeted by GamerGate and other boys’ club hate mobs, got together to talk about it, and what we could do about it. Mostly, our male allies need to stand up. The jerks won’t listen to women, so our male allies need to do some calling out. And in this case, silence definitely does equal complicity.
Othering Comic Book Villains. Why do comic book villains look like they do? Rachel, Arinn Dembo and I talk about how villains in the comics we love are coded as queer, or poor, or POC, and how fucked up that is. From Batman’s fey and hypersexualized villains, to all the poor kids on X-men Evolution being bad guys, we need to find new ways to code for evil guys, because this is screwed up.
Why Do We Love Superheroes? This one turned into a great big nerd rage/love fest. Seriously, we talked about what made us love Superhero comics, and what made us hate them. Why we’re into the heroes we are and why others leave us cold. I did in fact have to yell, “Nerds, nerds, NERDS! Settle down.” Several times.
Advanced BDSM. This turned into mostly, how do you tell the other people in your life this is what you do for kicks? Or what do you do when illness or disability rob you of the sensations and activities you liked before. It was way heavier than usual, but good. This panel has been doing some serious evolving over the years.
Geek Policing: Don’t Do It. Just what the title says. Why it’s bullshit and why you should never, ever, ever do this. Because it sucks.
So, that was my Norwescon in a nutshell. I also got to meet The PDX Broadsides, saw Cat Rambo again, and many, many old friends. I really enjoy working this convention, and I really like building up tracks like this. I have many, many evil plans in store for next year. We will have ALL the female comics professionals, mwaa haa ha haaaaa!
And yeah, I know I’m taking a risk admitting that I do the BDSM panels, but I don’t like lying, or hiding. And I also want people to know that if they need to ask someone a question, they can come to me. I will answer anything to best of my ability. I want you all to do fun stuff safely.
I’m gonna try to hit up a podcast in the next week. Hopefully my throat will recover from the weekend soon. I’m also super excited about going camping with some friends for my birthday, and other things. Also, I have started picking up comics again. I’m current on the Nightcrawler solo issues, and I’m pretty excited. The current writer even managed to make me like Amanda Sefton. That’s hard, usually she’s written so poorly, I can’t even. And then they kinda, sorta fridged her. Oh, she’s not dead. She’s just stuck in Heaven.
If you like the blog or the podcast, please, please, please donate to keep us going, and fund that bail money I was joking about a few entries back. Donations go to pay for the podcast hosting and website domain, primarily.
Oh, and Honey Badger’s first two songs are available for download here, for free or pay what you want. We’re also part of a larger compilation to benefit a local venue, with a song written by yours truly. Check it out (we’re track 16).