This year I’m one of the weekend only people here at New York Comic Con, and it was important to me to start my 2016 NYCC experience with a powerful panel. That’s why I chose, Be Your Own Superhero: Intersectional Feminism in Comics. The panel featured: Sam Maggs, Wendy Xu, Sam Riedel, Susana Polo, Robbie Thompson, and Steenz.
Sam Maggs started the panel by asking the panel for one character in the comic book world that represented them growing up. Susana Polo talked about not identifying with many characters, but expressed her love for Batman and all of the female characters that have come along with the comic. Sam Riedel added that she loved Batman too, but particularly liked Tim Drake and followed up that Stephanie Brown has a special place in her heart.
Wendy Xu shifted the conversation and shared that she didn’t read a lot of comics growing up, but did watch a lot of anime, and adored Kiki’s Delivery Service, and identified with Kiki’s bratty and imperfect nature. Steenz also shared that she is a latecomer to the comic book world, but she loved Susie Carmichael from The Rugrats. “She stood up to Angelica’s shit all of the time and that’s how I feel I am. I’m real because I have to be real.” Robbie Thompson, followed up with “the X-Men in general,” was where his childhood lived.
Sam Maggs continued the panel discussion by saying, “I didn’t really understand what feminism was until I was in university and I took a course. There was a lot of misinformation. When did you start identifying as a feminist?”
Robbie Thompson thanked his parents for being the biggest influence in terms of his feelings towards feminism. His Mom was the breadwinner and a big inspiration for him. He believes we should have more conversations like this panel, and why the system is “so fucked up.” Steenz continued, “It’s hard to really place what exactly made me realize ‘oh yeah, I’m a feminist,” but I think it was early internet culture. I came from a family where ‘women did this’ and ‘men did this.’” Steenz wanted to focus on her own goals.
Steenz then exclaimed,
“You learn a lot from reading!”
Robbie Thompson followed up,
“Said the librarian.”
Yeah, we all laughed.
Wendy Xu agreed with Steenz seconding that she learned a lot from early internet culture and by actively listening and questioning her own beliefs. Sam Riedel experienced most of her feminism education in college and in recent years. Moving to the city and witnessing the treatment of women opened her eyes. Susana Polo shared that when she started themarysue.com she felt like she should “put up or shut up” and continued that she needs to listen to everything. Women’s experience in the broader world is important to her and she took special care to write eloquent about it all. Sam Maggs ended with the fact that “being angry about it isn’t enough.” There’s so much more. Angry can be a starting point, but we all need to try and understand.
All in all, The panel was filled with a lot of bright opinions, laughs, and a wonderful spirit filled the room. This was surely the best way to start off my 2016 NYCC experience.