I feel like there were some interesting and valid pieces to the Women of Marvel panel, so I want to share a few clips which captured the spirit and intention of what most of the audience was there for – to celebrate women in the creative process of making comic books and learn more about their craft and what compels them to work in this medium.
This first video (my apologies for the crappy shaky cam) is a response to what their favorite projects have been thus far.
This second video reveals their favorite female comic book characters, as well how they were first introduced to comic books as a medium.
I took video of pretty much the entire panel, but for the sake of those who actually paid admission and traveled to Comic Con to experience this panel first-hand, I will not be posting the panel in it’s entirety. Hopefully these clips will give a flavor of some of the better parts of the panel.
Being a frustrated feminist comic book reader doesn’t mean I don’t also enjoy and appreciate the dialogue happening here. I would love, in the future, to attend a comic book convention where these conversations with mainstream comic book creators could occur unfiltered. Yes, there was a moderator (Marvel stooge) in attendance, who I felt was there to field the tough questions and help the panelist disregard any serious conversations which might have occurred.
Alrighty gang – this is it for the next three days – I’m heading to the Oregon Coast to camp, and then I start a new job on Monday. BUT, I’m bringing LOTS of comic books with me, and I hope to get back to doing just some plain old reviewing next week. Won’t that be a delightful change?
What I’ve been reading? American Vampire, Scott Pilgrim, Rescue, White Queen and Black Widow one shots, Underground and DEMO.
Also – expect a review of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World film which I scored a free ticket to next Wednesday.
Here are the costume pics we snapped from Comic Con 2010. Bummed that we missed a chance to photograph the lady who turned her swag bag into a dress, and the man who covered himself in all the garbage and fliers handed out at Comic Con.
There were only three main goals for the Con on Day 4 – the Women of Marvel Panel and to secure Robert Kirkman and Peter David’s signature (and nerdily gush to them about how much I love their work).
We arose at a reasonable Comic Con hour of 8am, stuffed our crap into bags, checked out and grabbed our last poorly organized shuttle to the Convention Center (screw you National City Holiday Inn, screw you!).
We lugged our bags immediately to Bag Check, marveling at the eerily empty Hall H line. Once checked, we scuttled over to a 2/3s empty room for the Women of Marvel panel. I wanted this to be one of the highlights of the convention.
Unfortunately, it just wasn’t.
THE WOMEN OF MARVEL PANEL
It started out on a pretty good note, and the questions were mostly all supportive, engaging and informative. The featured guests (from left to right in the photo below) are Kathryn Immonen, Judy Stephens, Marjorie Liu, Laura Martin and Christina Strain.
However, it started to unravel towards the end when Strain (who up to that point had been my favorite panelist) uttered the fateful words “primarily men read superhero comics.” It was in the last five or so minutes of the panel, and I desperately wanted to know why the panelists (aka MARVEL) think that is the case. These are women in the superhero industry, working inside of the major publishing companies. They have an opportunity to explore that assumption, turn it on it’s head and invite more women back into the superhero world.
Yes, I say BACK. I think there was a time when superhero books were for women, but I think we’ve been shoved out in the last decade by publishing companies that fail (like so many other entertainment venues) to recognize the female audience as existing.
It’s fucking offensive to purchase a Comic Con ticket, spend four days walking around with an equal mix of male and female nerds and then be told by a woman who works for Marvel that as far as their concerned, I am not a relevant factor in their mainstream books. WTF!?!?
Perhaps it was my exhaustion, frustration with the Avengers movie cast and general disposition towards the unfair and untrue assumption that superhero books are for boys, but I found myself seething in anger by the end of the panel. Especially since the last two questions were essentially “why does there need to be a woman of marvel panel?”
It’s a totally valid question, which none of the women addressed. They were simply shilling how “good times” and “equal opportunity” the Marvel world is…when that’s absolutely not the perception by the fanbase. The studs that get trotted out of the stable and posted all over the Top 10 Famous Comic Book Creators are primarily men.
OK, so maybe they weren’t there to address the under-representation of female characters in comic books. I can understand that. I was completely fine with learning more about them as artists and perhaps finding myself compelled to pick up some of their work.
But the can of worms was opened (interestingly enough, by two male questioners) and it was not handled well or honestly.
The Women of Marvel panel exists because there are very few women artists in the spotlight in the comic book industry, and there are lots of women reading comic books who want to know more about women creating comic books.
It doesn’t matter at this point. I feel quite defeated. By the time I had worked up the nerve and frustration – I didn’t get to ask my question and the panel ended 10 minutes early and tons of families and children were entering for the Hot Wheels panel immediately following.
Basically, the last 10 minutes erased a lot of the progress and interesting points being raised by the women (especially about how creepy some comic book shops can be). There was even an awesome moment where a comic book shop proprietor asked how he could be more inclusive of women. I thought the panelists did a great job of answering that question.
But fuck. I mean…I spent a lot of money, time and energy to attend this event and make myself known as a fan (and a Marvel fan) to the industry, but it’s clear to me at this point that women (minorities as well) are still so back of the bus in mainstream comic books it’s enough to make me want to give up on mainstream books completely.
So yeah…that kinda put a damper on the next 20 minutes or so, but then things turned around when I spotted Jo Chen and Andy Owens signing at the Dark Horse booth. We got Andy Owens signature on our Buffy #1 (it’s my goal to get the signatures of everyone featured on that issue) and Jo Chen signed our Dark Horse autograph book. I wanted to chat with her a bit, but the line was long and we needed to rush over to Peter David.
The day started off much better than I thought it would. Woke up an hour earlier than intended – printed up a schedule (got hit on by a creeper in the business center who thinks every woman attending Comic Con should dress up as Slave Leia), showered, dressed in a stunning Fangtasia tee and was out the door to greet the shuttle at 9am.
We arrived at the Con around 9:30am parted ways with Erin, who was off to scout information about the True Blood signing, and snaked our way through the Con to get to The Walking Dead. Turns out there was a Hawaii-Five-O panel before it, and though the lined looked daunting, we made it into the hall we’d intended.
Hawaii-Five-O had some cool swag (free T-Shirt) and it was neat to see Grace Park and Daniel Dae Kim (and know that they are both working).
Then it was Walking Dead time – so excited to see Robert Kirkman on the panel! There was a trend of comic book writers appearing on the panels, but not really saying anything substantial. Kirkman was one of the few panelists to buck that trend. He didn’t have much to add, but it was far more refreshing than Warren Ellis’ bag-of-money default answer. Kirkman got to write the script for episode four (which they just wrapped up filming) AND he announced the score composer is Bear McCreary (Battlestar Galactica!). Greg Nicotero (Special Effects and Zombie Make-up God) and Frank Darabont were also on the panel along with all the actors and actresses.
They showed a 10 minute clip twice (once and the beginning and once at the end) and fielded several questions from the audience, one of which was an LA film crew stooge whining that they weren’t shooting the production there, and another from a lady with kids concerned about the violence. Seriously – could they pre-screen some of these questions? Such a waste of everyone’s time.
Overall, a super awesome panel which has me even more stoked for the TV series this fall. Not sure if that’s humanly possible, but it’s true.
Our next agenda item was meeting up with Erin at the WB Booth for the True Blood signing. She had been scouting it out like a hawk for the past few hours, and it rapidly devolved into a giant unorganized clusterfuck of humanity, in which only a small handful of people got in and thousands of fans were still crowding around the booth. We made it out with our lives (barely). Afterwards we bummed around the exhibit hall for awhile – I scored a free dog tag for playing “Rock of the Dead” and Dan bought a Jayne shirt from a booth called Sereni-Tees.
Around 2:30pm we decided to head up to the Ballroom 20 line to see if we could make it in for True Blood, as we were clearly going to miss the Joss Whedon AND Girls Who Kick Ass panel. At some point it became clear that we would probably not make it in for ANY of those, and Erin happened to read a timely and fateful tweet.
Nathan Fillion was down at the Browncoat booth signing for a charity. We hopped out of the futile line and made a mad-dash for the Exhibit Hall. It was wild – dodging and darting through people, past strollers and the young, elderly and infirm. We made it into line about 25 people ahead of where they capped it. Nathan started signing at the booth, and then he had an appointment to keep…but he made sure to sign all the Limited Edition Serenity comic books people had purchased for the Kids Need to Read charity. He was very gracious, frazzled and awesome.
His sweaty hand brushed up against mine when he signed our book and it was definitely my joy moment for the con. I was pretty much on a high after that…which I still haven’t come down from.
Flynn’s Arcade was the next stop on our list. We wandered around the Gas Lamp until we spotted it. There was a small line in which we waited to get a ticket…to get in another line. Lines for lines is a regular occurrence at Comic Con. It’s enough to test the patience of weaker men. It was brief though, and within five minutes we were inside the free arcade with a pocketful of Flynn tokens. We wandered around a bit, and then passed through a door into the Tron experience.
We boarded our flight around 8:45am Wednesday and arrived in San Diego around 11:45am. Then had to wait for the free hotel shuttle for an hour, which was fine because it gave us an opportunity to eat what would be our only substantial meal until nearly 10pm that night.
We dropped off our luggage, printed up our tickets and hopped a trolley around 2pm to the convention center to pick up our badges.
The registration process itself was fairly quick and easy. Then we were herded like cattle into a line to moo over the master schedule and play a few hands of rummy.
Three hours (and some confusion, expensive water and frozen yogurt later), and we entered the Preview Night exhibit hall. Not first…but not exactly last.
There was a mad rush to hit up certain booths (Marvel! WB!) and I stopped off at Boom! Studios to pick up a limited edition Dark Wing Duck comic for a friend of a friend. Erin scooped up a ton of free items, but I was quite overwhelmed by the lines and people and mostly tried to steer clear of death by crushing.
We ended up finding The Guild booth and got autographs from the entire cast. They were all so absolutely gorgeous! Sandeep Parikh complimented my tattoo and Felicia Day also ogled and touched my arm. It was definitely my joy moment for the day, year and life!
Next we stopped off at the Webcomics area. Addie chatted and snagged a picture with the guy who creates Dinosaur comics. That was her joy moment.
Finally, we hit up the Browncoats booth and along the way Erin discovered a dude with a Vampire Diaries swag bag, which he nonchalantly traded off and ended up making her day.
After that we were exhausted and took the trolley back to the hotel, then hopped a cab to an In-n-Out Burger down the street. Totally worth it.
My apologies for being absent here – I’ve had lots of employment things going on (interviews, job rejections, offers, etc), and then fell ill for a five day stint starting last Thursday.
I’ve emerged on the other end of all this craziness alive and well – but I want to catch you all up to speed on some things that have unfolded the last few days.
1. Comic Book Tattoos!
Yes, I still plan on snapping pics and amassing stories around this. It looks like this project could take a bit longer than I anticipated, and could be on the back-burner as my employment situation settles in the next month. The website itself might be a few months in the making, but it’s my goal. Two great tastes and all.
For the most part the signing schedules for the big events and peeps I want to see are up, and it’s definitely thrown a wrench into the plans. Boo to that. But the opportunity to have Robert Kirkman and Peter David sign some of my golden crap on Sunday is making me elated and forgetful that I will soon have to choose between panels and signings.
Specifically for True Blood and Captain America (I refuse to tack on “The First Avenger” because that title is both lame and lame), they are nearly conflicting with my ability to get a signature and also see the panel. WHY!?
3. Evening Plans!
Are still for the most part up in the air. I was distracted and did not book the Hammer Improv tickets, so I’ll have to converse with people about that. It’s also on Wednesday night, which might conflict with our Preview Night plans. For some reason I thought it was on Thursday.
Thursday there’s a wicked cool Free Taco Truck for Machete that is not on the Convention site. What else? Oh and a Serenity screening with “special guests” along with a showing of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long blog which could ALSO have special guests. Mysterious special guests, your mystery is giving me an ulcer over here. Thanks for that. 😉
Friday is the Tweethouse party (a big party on a boat with celebrities and regular folk), and Smalls told me recently that some True Blood folks will be lurking about. Yum.
Saturday is a Kevin Smith-a-thon, so I’m not EVEN worrying about the festivities for that evening.
And Sunday will be our day to roam the exhibit hall, purchase thangs and get scribbles on our funny books from famous dudes (squee!).
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR YOU IN THE VIEWING AUDIENCE
-Expect daily recaps on the blog with pics and filmed footage Wed-Sunday.
-Expect tweets on TinyHeroes frequently, along with photos, quotes and breaking news as it filters into my ears or the ears of folks in our party.
-You can follow Smalls here (as erninlow) and Dan here as (DanielZRob). Smalls gained entry in an exclusive Entertainment Weekly party on Thursday night, so she’ll be especially interesting to follow!! 🙂
Tomorrow I’ll be updating from our hotel room in National City, CA after an exhausting but exhilarating Preview Night. *woot woot*
Diagnosis: Comic Con = Too Much Good.
There is no way humanly possible to do or see all that one would like at this event. Despite this setback, we have cobbled together what we’d like to see, and surprise, surprise, most of it isn’t about comic books at all.
No wait, why isn’t that surprising? Because Comic Con is almost not really about comic books anymore. It’s largely dominated by Film and TV, along with video games and whatever other popular culture elements I cannot fathom at the moment.
And that, sadly, is fine by me. I’ve got enough comic book goodness up here in the Pacific Northwest to sate me. What I want from SDCC, as honestly as I can describe it – is to see some celebrities up close and personal and watch exclusive clips and get some free shit and soak up some sun and record as much of it as I possibly can.
I’ll be updating often on this blog and the Tiny Heroes Twitter account for anyone who is interested.
You can also look at My Schedule (along with alternate panels) here.
Wednesday July 21, Preview Night
– Walking the exhibit floor, getting freebies from booths, etc.
Thursday July 22 – Hall H
– 10am-11am = Megamind
– 11:15-12:45 = Tron
– 1:00-2:00 = Battle Los Angeles/Salt
– 2:15-3:15 = Red
– 3:30-4:30 = Visionaries (Joss Whedon/JJ Abrams)
-4:45-5:45 = Expendables
– 6:00-7:00 = Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
– 7:30-8:30 = Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog
Friday July 23- Ballroom 20
– 11:30-12:30 = Caprica
– 3:00-4:00 = The Joss Whedon Experience
– 4:00-5:00 = Girls Who Kick Ass
– 5:15-6:15 = True Blood
It’s two weeks until SDCCI 2010 and I have a favor to ask all of you.
One of my missions at Comic Con is to connect with as many people as possible with comic book tattoos. I would love to get your tattoo story, where you got it, how many sessions, what it means to you and would love to snap a picture.
The ultimate goal is to create and host a website that is a depository for all the awesome comic book tattoos out there. A safe haven where nerds with ink can come to share their tattoos and meet like minded folks.
As a comic book tattooed person, it’s fun to connect with others and learn about their experiences and share some awesome art inspired by something we’re passionate about. Comic book conventions have been that space for me – where I know most people will recognize and appreciate my tattoo in all it’s nerdy glory.
So – I’d like to give back some of that love and recognize and appreciate all of YOUR nerdy tattoos in their splendiferous loveliness.
AN EXAMPLE: BRIEF
Tattoo: Jean Grey as Phoenix 3/4 Sleeve
Hours: 17 (so far)
Inspiration/Story: Reading the Phoenix: End Song comic book, struggling to complete my undergraduate education, Jean Grey as a strong female character, the mythology of the phoenix bird
Other Tattoos: Goldfish and Crossbones, Ohm Symbol
AN EXAMPLE: Expanded
Mindy Crouchley is 27 year old woman in the middle of getting her Jean Grey as Phoenix Tattoo 3/4 sleeve completed at the Atomic Art Tattoo Studio in Portland, Oregon.
The inspiration behind the sleeve was reading the Phoenix: End Song graphic novel and falling in love with the Jean Grey character for the first time, after having read X-Men Comic books for almost 15 years.
The beauty of the female form, the strength of Jean Grey and the mythology of the phoenix tattoo were all the elements she wanted to put together in one powerful image.
The first two sessions took place almost three years ago at Imperial Tattoo in NW Portland and the result was awesome…but Mindy felt it needed more.
She undertook a medical study at OHSU to get the needed funds to add a space background including the Earth, a spiral galaxy and Saturn. She estimates that there are two more three hour sessions left until the final product emerges. She has already been to three three-hour sessions at Atomic, adding to that the 8 hours the original image took. Over 17 hours of inking so far!
She has two other tattoos – a goldfish and crossbones and an ohm symbol. But like every addict, she has plans for more.
You can send in pictures and info or arrange to meet at Comic Con. I’ll be available here (leave a comment), on Twitter at TinyHeroes, or you can contact me by email at Mindy@Tinyheroes.net.
Videos are also welcome!
My goal is to have the site up and running within two weeks after SDCC. Thanks for putting the word out there.