Looking Ahead: San Diego Comic Con + All Things Queer!

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By the time you read this, San Diego Comic Con will just be getting underway. The convention is one of the biggest in the world, and a must for fans of the geeky– comic books, video games, TV, movies, and more are on display over the four (and a half) day convention.

It’s also an oasis for queer geeks, and the convention has grown over the last few years to be more diverse and inclusive. This year’s SDCC will have several fantastic panels focusing on queer culture and characters in media, so we wanted to take a few minutes to highlight those.

We’ll also have two Just Love bloggers at the Con– El and DMac are on duty, and we plan to report back with the hottest upcoming books, shows and movies… and maybe a few super awesome interviews! We also have our top three “must see” items for the con.

So check it out!

DMac’s Top 3 To-Do at SDCC:

Maggie Stiefvater’s Panels and Signings: the author of The Raven Cycle quartet and All the Crooked Saints will be on two panels this week: Let’s Get Real About Fantasy on Thursday, and Fantasy Literature on Saturday. I have yet to see her in person so I’m really pumped to hear her talk about her books.

2001 A Space Odyssey 50th Anniversary Panel: Thursday, 12:30 pm. This is one of my all-time favorite movies and I’m pumped!

The Scoop at Simon and Schuster: Thursday, 6:30 pm. I’m excited to hear about new books coming out!

El’s Top 3 To-Do at SDCC:

Brooklyn Nine-Nine panel: Thursday, 7:00 pm. I’m so glad this show got renewed, and it looks like they’re bringing the full cast and crew to talk about the new season!

National Geographic’s Mars Party: Friday, 8:00 pm. It’s a party. About Mars. Seriously, what more could I ask for? (Oh, the free food might help.)

Deadpool 2, Director’s Cut Screening: Saturday, 10:00 pm. I didn’t get to see this in theaters, but I do love a good pansexual superhero in spandex. And explosions.

What’s Queer at Comic Con:

It’s possible that we missed a few panels… if we did, feel free to drop us a note and we’ll get it updated!

THURSDAY

Diversity and Comics: Why Inclusion and Visibility Matter. 11:00am – 12:00pm, Room 9: Sanford Greene (artist, variant Black Panther: The Sound and The Fury #1), Stanford Carpenter (Black & Brown Comix Arts Festival), Sam Bright (art and collectibles, eBay), Nalo Hopkinson (Sandman Universe,DC; UC Riverside), Christina “Steenz” Stewart (Lion Forge), and moderator Aaron Grizzell (NorcalMLK Foundation) discuss how comics have become more inclusive of women, people of color, persons with disabilities, and the LGBTQ community to better reflect today’s culture and expand to a changing fan base.

Behind the Scenes of Freeform’s Siren. 11:00pm-12:00pm, Indigo Ballroom: Fresh off the heels of their first season, the cast and executive producers of Freeform’s hit mermaid drama Siren make their San Diego Comic-Con debut, recapping season 1 and revealing what fans can expect from season 2. In this epic tale, the coastal town of Bristol Cove is turned upside down when a mysterious girl (Eline Powell) appears and begins wreaking havoc on the small fishing town. Using their resources, marine biologists Ben (Alex Roe) and Maddie (Fola Evans-Akingbola) must work together to find out who and what drove this primal hunter of the deep sea to land. Panelists include executive producers Eric Wald and Emily Whitesell, with series stars Eline Powell, Alex Roe, Fola Evans-Akingbola, Ian Verdun, and Rena Owen. Moderated by TLC’s Chilli.

Entertainment is LGBTQ. 12:00pm – 1:00pm, Room 28DE: BOOM! Studios and GLAAD present an in-depth roundtable discussion about LGBTQ representation in pop culture and the path forward to a brighter, more inclusive future, with panelists from all corners of the entertainment world, including Lilah Sturges (Lumberjanes: The Infernal Compass), Marguerite Bennett(Animosity), Noah Hayes (Wet Hot American Summer). and others. Moderated by Megan Townsend(director of entertainment research & analysis, GLAAD).

Queer Comics for Queer Kids. 2-3pm, At the San Diego Library: Libraries are often safe spaces for teens who find it hard to fit in elsewhere. This includes queer teens. It is important to keep collections that reflect these teens, both so that they can find themselves in fiction and that their peers can see them normalized. Presenters will talk about queer comics and manga, how they’ve affected them personally, why they’re important to library collections, and some recommendations to start you off.

Black and Queer in Popular Media. 5-6pm, Room 28DE: Black representation has gained integral attention within the geek culture. However, Black queer characters and stories continue to be limited or absent from the discussion. Prism Comics’ Viktor Kerney (StrangeLore; co-host of the MEGASheen podcast) and panelists Valerie Complex (screenwriter, movie reviewer), Sean Z. Maker (MYTH, Ramonah Rising), Ajuan Mance (Gender Studies), William O. Tyler (Queerbait), and others discuss a myriad of topics from portrayals of Black queer people across media platforms to Black queer contributions to the sci-fi, fantasy, and comics genres.

Transformation Magic: Transgender Life in Comics from Street Level to the Stratosphere. 6:00pm – 7:00pm, Room 28DE: Transgender comics creators are telling their own stories like never before. The groundbreaking new anthology We’re Still Here features 50 trans cartoonists sharing their personal experiences as only they can. Meanwhile trans characters are finding their way into prominent roles in superhero, sci-fi, and fantasy comics that combine derring-do with real-life struggles of gender and acceptance. What do comics both indie and mainstream have in store for the transgender community in a politically fraught climate? How can trans comics artists best serve their creative and financial interests in an industry that has yet to fully embrace them? Prism Comics and moderator Tara Madison Avery (Prism Comics board member, Stacked Deck Press) along with panelists Knave Murdok (TransCat), Ajuan Mance (Gender Studies), Veronica Casson (Salt & Fog), Dylan Edwards (Transposes), Sonya Saturday (Load World Comics), and Erin Nations (Gumballs) discuss these and other topics.

NBC’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine. 7:00pm, Indigo Ballroom: No description/details available at this time.

FRIDAY

LGBTQ Graphic Novels. 4-5pm, San Diego Library: Today’s most dynamic creators are in kids’ comics and they’re portraying queer characters in fresh ways. Aminder Dhaliwal (Woman World), Molly Knox Ostertag (The Witch Boy), and Ivy Noelle Weir (Archival Quality) discuss LGBTQ graphic novels for kids: from developing authentic stories to comics as a safe space for all identities.

Handling Challenges: Bans and Challenges to Comics. 5:00pm – 6:00pm, San Diego Library: Comics are uniquely vulnerable to challenges and bans, especially those for young readers. Learn what you can do if they’re challenged in your school or library from panelists Gina Gagliano (publishing director, Random House Graphic), Chad Sell (The Cardboard Kingdom), Charles Kochman (editorial director, Abrams ComicArts), and Candice Mack (teen services manager, Los Angeles Public Library). Moderated by Alea Perez (2018 Great Graphic Novels for Teens chair).

Into the Fanzone! Celebrating Pop Culture in YA Literature. 5:30-6:30pm, Room 24ABC: A growing number of YA books celebrate the awesomeness of fans, pop culture, comics, and fandom. Anger Is a Gift by Mark Oshiro, Not Your Sidekick by C. B. Lee, All the Feels by Danika Stone, Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde, and Riverdale and Ship It by Britta Lundin are just a few. In this interactive panel, authors share their ideas about modern publishing with Holly West (Feiwel & Friends and Swoon Reads), an editor who knows how important it is to appeal to a varied readership, as they talk writing, publishing, and-most important-the fans!

Queer Fear Room. 7-8pm, Room 28DE: Horror films, TV shows, books, and comics have always attempted to bring people to the threshold of their fears and force them to come face-to-face with the “otherness” that exists outside of the mainstream. For those in the LGBTQ+ community, this sense of otherness is not only terrifying and titillating, it’s quite often also relatable. The LGBTQ+ community has had a long history of intersection with the horror genre-from the Gothic literature of the yesteryear to the modern cinema of today. As films, television, comics, and other popular media become more diverse, does a gay horror genre exist? And if so, what makes it different from mainstream horror? How does the current political climate alter the lens through which people celebrate and connect to the macabre? Prism Comics and moderator/screenwriter Michael Varrati (Tales of Poe, host of Dead for Filth) and panelists Marc Andreyko (Eisner Award-Winning writer & editor, Love is Love, Manhunter), Jaclyn Chessen (Shock Attack), John C. Clark (A Closer Walk with Thee), Erlingur Óttar Thoroddsen (Rift, Child Eater), Brie Williams (A Closer Walk with Thee, Welcome to Night Vale), and others explore horror from a queer point of view.

SATURDAY

The Fake Geek Girl Fallacy. 10-11am, Room 29AB: You’re not a real fan unless . . . ” The idea of having to prove oneself and the concept of the “fake geek girl” has permeated geek culture. Conventions, comics, and geek spaces have often come with gatekeeping, especially for women. Preeti Chhibber (A Thousand Beginnings and Endings), Akela Cooper (Luke Cage), C. B. Lee (Not Your Sidekick), Sarah Kuhn (Heroine Complex), Ashley Poston (Geekerella), Danika Stone(All the Feels), and Marley Zarcone (Shade the Changing Girl) discuss fandom, feminism, and gatekeeping while dismantling the idea of the “fake geek girl”.

I Will Always Love You: A Panel Dedicated to Our OTPs. 12:00 pm, Marriott Room 9: Let’s chat meet-cutes, destined-to-bes, and all the different archetypal romantic pairings of great fiction. Moderators Sam Maggs (Girl Squads, Anthem) and Amy S. Foster (The Rift Uprising) with Melissa de la Cruz (Love and War: An Alex and Eliza Story), Robbie Thompson (writer, Silk, Supernatural), Adri Cho (founder, Dual Wield Studios), Mey Rude (writer, Autostraddle), and Susana Polo (editor, Polygon) for a look at how some favorite pairings have evolved through LGBTQ+ culture and third-wave feminism-and how they haven’t changed, because love is love is love is love.

Prism Awards: Diversity and Recognition in Comics. 8:00pm – 9:00 pm, Room 29AB: The winners of the Second Annual Prism Awards will be revealed in this new awards ceremony. Founders Ted Abenheim (Prism Comics) and Nina L. Taylor Kester (Cartoon Art Museum/QCE), Prism Awards chairperson Maia Kobabe (Gender Queer: A Memoir), judges Ajuan Mance (1001 Black Men, Gender Studies), William O. Tyler (WoT’s Cinephilia), Heidi McDonald (The Comics Beat), Mey Rude (Autostraddle), and Rob McMonigal (Panel Patter) will discuss the origins of the awards and their emerging role in recognizing, promoting, and celebrating diversity and excellence in the field of queer comics as they present the handcrafted Prism Awards to the winning creators to celebrate their contributions.

SUNDAY

Diversity in Tech And Gaming: An Evolving Conversation. 2-3pm, Room 24ABC: Inclusion and equality is a hot topic everywhere, and that includes the tech and gaming worlds. These sectors are making major inroads, and these panelists are part of the vanguard leading the way. Presented in concert with the “We Are” ESA Diversity Gallery located at Future Tech Live! in the Omni Hotel. Moderated by the executive director of the ESA Foundation, Anastasia Staten

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