By Joe Glass
This year, instead of my usual con reporting, I actually tabled at New York Comic Con. I was part of the LGBT HQ booth, a wonderful organisation who attend various comic cons on the east coast and try to become a hub for all things gay at comic cons. They would like to actually also bring their special brand of fun and interest to San Diego Comic Con, but need help to do so, so if you can, get in touch with them! They streamline the panels and event listings to those related to LGBTQ interest, cosplay, diversity and representation, and empowerment.
One of the first things I noticed sitting down at the booth and looking through the leaflet LGBT HQ made of diversity and LGBTQ inspired events was the sheer number of them. In fact, I would later find that there were even more panels on LGBTQ, diversity and empowerment than could all be listed in that leaflet alone.
I remember the first time I attended a NYCC and there only being one LGBTQ panel at the show. This time, there seemed to be two a day, at least!
Which is incredible! Given the leaps and bounds mainstream comics are making in boosting diversity, and especially LGBTQ representation (though that is mainly DC atm, Marvel still seriously needs to catch up).
Now, maybe it was the booth I was sat at, and the fact I was on one of those panels (Queer Culture: LGBT in Pop Culture), but it seemed that many of the fans who approached me and the rest of my booth mates were all extremely enthusiastic and excited by the amount of focus on diversity and representation at the show. Some even stated it was the most welcomed and comfortable they have been at a comic con in years.
It did seem to be something that spread around the show. Some of the busiest creators at the immensely busy Artists Alley section happened to be ones who worked on projects that included greater diversity and themes of empowerment.
And LGBT HQ was not the only LGBTQ presence in the main convention hall, as there was also Geeks OUT, the creators of LGBTQ comic con Flame Con, held in Brooklyn and running for its third year next year.
Perhaps this is an overall direction that the comics audience is going in, and the organizers of NYCC have realized this too. Maybe it’s something that other conventions all over the world could learn from.
Speaking with attendees and panelists at some of these panels, plus the handy updates from the NYCC app and my experiences on my panel organised by New York Times’ TimesOUT and Jamie Fay and featuring Jude Biersdorfer, David Yost, Dan Avery, Chun Rosenkranz, Graham Nolan and myself, these types of panels were almost all filled, containing enthusiastic and excited audiences, and even some elements of controversy.
Diversity, it seems, is going nowhere but up.
Joe Glass is a Bleeding Cool contributor and also a comics creator. He’s the creator and writer of LGBTQ comic series, The Pride, which can be purchased at The Pride Online Store, and also on ComiXology. He is also a co-writer on Welsh horror comedy series, Stiffs, which is on ComiXology and the Stiffs Store.
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