panel05 boston comic con lgbtqAMBER LOVE 11-AUG-2014 The highlight of my first trip to Boston Comic Con was joining this incredible lineup of panelists to talk about “queer comics” which encompasses anything from LGBTQ characters to publishing imprints to creators to conventions that encourage safe environments. The panel was organized by writer JENNIE WOOD and moderated by BRIGID ALVERSON joined by writer TANA FORD and Geeks Out! President JOEY STERN with myself. It’s remarkable that the room was filled to capacity and they had to turn people away. There were also people who didn’t have the chance to ask their questions because we ran out of time. Many thanks to the Boston Con staff for the audio assistance and to AllyCat for operating four devices to make this possible.

AUDIO PODCAST VERSION Download on iTunes, Stitcher or listen here

There is video recording also but I’m having difficulty with my current processor’s capacity to edit that. At least the full audio is available. It worked! The videos recorded by Ally were spliced together and pretty good. It’s now available on YouTube.

Feel free to tweet us your feedback: @brigidalverson, @tanaford, @jenniewoodndid, @elizabethamber, @joeystern and @bostoncomiccon.

We covered what comics we’re excited to discuss. Some of the recommendations include RUNAWAYS, YOUNG AVENGERS and BATWOMAN from the mainstream side at Marvel and DC respectively to THE PEOPLE INSIDE by Raw Fawkes published by Oni Press. Ariel Schrag’s POTENTIAL, LUMBERJANES and also Y: THE LAST MAN were mentioned.

It might surprise you to hear that not all lesbians approve of THE L WORD television series. Because Tana Ford was one of the people that hated that show, she found its failure as inspiration to write her series DUCK. In DUCK, Ford explores the lives of what she calls her “band of Boston lesbians” and one of the characters is bi-phobic, a topic that is just now gaining steam as something safe to discuss openly.

“I feel compelled to write queer characters because my life includes so many queer characters. I mean, I’m surrounded by women like me and that I think that informs how I move through the world and so I would naturally – that would come out in my art no matter what.” TANA FORD

“It’s important for conventions out there to make it known that their convention is safe.” AMBER LOVE

At GamerX, the badge registration included the opportunity to add stickers to your badge to write which pronouns the wearer prefers. Other convention proactivity includes additions of gender neutral bathrooms. Besides GamerX, there are also Jeff Mach Events (Steampunk World’s Faire, Wicked Faire) and Double Exposure gaming conventions in New Jersey. From there, discussion easily leads into bad comic shop experiences and why it’s important to promote the shops and conventions that make efforts to be diverse and inclusive. It seems like Boston has a huge variety of comic shops that are welcoming. It can be noted that even experienced comic readers and creators like these panelists still hesitate going into comic shops that don’t look friendly or if they are complete unknowns. Geeks Out! is going to look into building a searchable database online for this to have something easier to use than the HaterFreeWednesday tumblr run by someone else in the community.

“Comics reaches a demographic that needs these stories and is aching for these stories.” JENNIE WOOD

“I gotta have something besides porn to go to.” AMBER on bisexual and polyamorous visibility.

“You can have an artist who takes control of a book and gives you a different perspective on characters who you’ve seen for years before that.” JOEY STERN

It’s interesting to hear that Ford believes lesbian identity is at risk of erasure due to gimmick placement of lesbian/gay characters. Wood agreed that Hollywood is seeing LGBTQ as merely an opportunity to make money and commercialize the issues that are at risk. Stern points out, with hilarious delivery, that the STAR TREK universe can have Captain Kirk sleeping with two women but no one is gay in their future. We’ve moved beyond tokenism but some agree it’s better to have that character than not have one at all.

The Q&A portion begins around the 41:30 mark.