Category Archives: Events

I Went to Yaoi Con: Main Events!

If you visit us here at CWC often, you have probably seen a trend in the types of things that I talk about when I post here. Mostly men, and mostly about them touching in some way.

Did you know there is a convention dedicated to this wonderful niche interest [you probably could have guessed, there is a con for everything these days]? It’s called Yaoi Con, and up until this year, it had been held up in Northern California. I’ve attended since 2006, with the exception of last year due to work *grumbles*.

If you are unfamiliar with the term, Yaoi is a Japanese term referring to boys’ love, generally geared towards women. Yaoi Con is a glorious place where people come together to celebrate an interest. It’s 18+, since the content is really meant for adults. Even with a guardian you can’t get in unless you are over 18.

So as I previously mentioned, this year was the first time since 2001 that it was being held in Southern California. One other major change that happened was that last year it was bought by Digital Manga, and many regular attendees were nervous about both changes. I myself, try to be an optimist, and was [1] excited that it was just 40 minutes away and [2] not ready to judge until I saw what Digital Manga did differently.

Now, please bear in mind that this is my viewpoint of the convention. If you attended and had terrible experiences, be it with staffers, with panels, with the dealer’s hall, please let Digital Manga know! The only way to make things better is to give feedback!

I’m breaking this up in chunks to try to make everything more digestible. Today kids, we will talk about the main con events!

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GGC12 Panels: Why Men Write Women Poorly, With Greg Rucka

This panel was inspired by a piece comic writer and novel author Greg Rucka wrote for i09 and can be found here. But it seemed like a good topic to address at Geek Girl Con, so he took the stage with Susana Polo to talk about his article, his method of writing believable, realistic women, and answer some questions.

When Polo started reading comics it was for one character. She says it takes a while for you to pay attention to the names of the authors on the comics. And one of the names that kept coming up was Greg Rucka. No Man’s Land, Batman, etc. Rucka is also the author of the Atticus Kodiak series.

Rucka says he wrote the i09 piece in response to being asked how he writes realistic female characters. There are two part to the question: 1) how does he, having a penis, write characters without a penis? And 2) why aren’t more people doing it. “How do we do it?” Rucka asks. “I try to treat all characters with respect…. Characters are never all one thing. That is bad writing.” To assume that is the same thing as saying Harry Potter is a scar. Characterization is a million things. They are built on their history, education, experiences, sexual orientation, etc.

But when it comes to men writing women, we have to acknowledge we live in a sexist society. Rucka says, for example, he can walk down a Seattle street at 3 am, and doing that is a different experience for him than a woman. So it needs to be acknowledged, but that doesn’t mean it’s all you think about. “We ignore gender and characterization at our peril,” he says.

Of course, like any writing advice, Rucka reminds us, “Any writer who tells you this is how you do it, eye with suspicion.” One of the reasons writing works it that it’s an individual voice. There is no one right way.

His fourth Kodiak book is his first told from another character’s POV. That character is Bridgett Logan, Atticus’ ex-girlfriend, and a woman. In first person, everything is character because it is a character voice. Atticus might describe a chair as “sickly green” but Bridgett would call it “a piece of junk.” Bridgett is an Irish catholic girl from the Bronx who is a recovering junkie. Her perspective and narration are affected by those things.

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GGC12 Panels: Chicks Dig Comics

This panel discussion is about women in the comic fan community and addressed the myth of the “fake geek girl” and the new “geek is sexy” marketing that’s been cropping up.

Chicks Dig Comics is an anthology collection by female writers and artists, published by Mad Norwegian Press. The panelists were all contributors, and they are:

Sarah Kuhn. Author of One Con Glory. Her essay is Me vs. Me, and is about why she doesn’t like the conversation of who would win in a fight. She’s not a fan of pitting characters against each other. 
Jill Pantozzi.
She’s writes for The Mary Sue, among other things. Her essay is about the Green Lantern as metaphor for her life and the emotions people go through as fans of comics.
Sheena McNeil. She is currently “Editorix and Chief” of webzine Sequential Tart, which was created to support women in comics. Her essay about the evolution of the zine and her experiences with it, and her knowledge of comics.
Rachel Edidin
. Editor at Dark Horse. She works behind the scenes in comics. Her essay focuses on the editing and how she engages with comics in that way.
Erica McGillivray. Writer and blogger at 6’7″ and Green. She’s also the head of Geek Girl Con. Her essay is about Geek Girl Con and she and others decided to create it after connecting through the cosplay community.
Jen Van Meter. She has written for dc and marvel. She hesitated when asked to contribute because she was worried about writing nonfiction, since it had been a while since she’d done it. But her daughter was having issues at school and it reminded her of being young and relying on horror comics, and wanting to like scary stories. She found Vampirella, among others, so her essay is about how those comics helped her deal with fear and social anxiety.

After introductions, the panels opens by talking about Geek Girl Con and what it means to them, and how comic fandom has changed for women. Kuhn says one thing that’s really great bout GGC is the sense of community. Pantozzi is very thrilled that people and fans are happy to come together online and in person. When she started her own blog, there weren’t a lot of women out there writing about comics and that’s changing now. Twitter has helped the community grow and connect as well.

Kuhn agrees. She even has a Twitter list called “Nerd Girl Mafia.” As far as connecting to other female comic fans, she says things shifted when comment sections popped up on the internet. As much as we hate those, before they existed, you had to email someone to reply, which took a lot of effort. Comments allow other women to say hey, I am a lady and I like these comics too.

McNeil says that when manga peaked in the us, female readership of comics went up. Some places embraced that, and some did not. With manga you didn’t have to go to a comic book store to get it. And there’s a 50/50 chance the author is female.

Edidin got involved tn the comic book world from several different angles at the same time. Writing essays and working at Dark Horse .”One of the things that I’ve found I the feminist comic community.. is that it’s really celebratory.” There are a lot of stereotypes about women competing and being catty, but it is largely the opposite in the comic world, at least as far as she’s observed.

McGillivray came from the Buffy fandom and the world of fanfic writers, both of which are largely female, so when she got into the comic scene, she was like where are all the ladies?

“I’ve probably got ten years on very one here,” Van Meter says. Back when she was a kid who liked comics, the stereotype was closer to true. There weren’t even comic book stores, just comics on spin racks, so there was no way to really interact with other fans until one found the convention circle. Even there, she often felt like she was one of the few women there as a fan and not a girlfriend. When she first started going to SDCC twenty-one years ago, the ladies’ room was always empty. The first time she had to wait in line for the restroom, she was thrilled.

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GGC12 Panels: Capes & Canes – Disabilities in Comics

Geek Girl Con was so much fun, I don’t even know where to begin. Autumn and I have a zillion photos and reams of panel notes, and Autumn interviewed some ladies from NASA. So we’ll be posting our Con Converge as quickly as real life allows. (Damn real life!)

Barbara Gordon as Oracle from her Wikipedia page

This panel was proposed and moderated by Katelyn Bruhn. The other panelists were Greg Rucka, comic writer and novelist; Jen Van Meter, comic writer; Teal Sherer, actress and producer, and star of the webseries My Gimpy Life; and Jill Pantozzi, writer who contributes to many sites including The Mary Sue. This is a long write up because it was so awesome and so much was discussed.

So what inspired the panel, among other things, was the backlash last year when DC announced that in the New 52 reboot of Batgirl, Barbara Gordon would reprise the role. She had been using a wheelchair after the Joker shot her through the spine and had become the Oracle. In the reboot, she would be walking again.

Pantozzi says she was mostly in the dark about new 52 but a friend from DC gave her a heads up that they were getting rid of Oracle and putting Barbara back as Batgirl. She found it extremely upsetting. “Oracle is a role model of mine,” she says. And to have a bad ass female character alone is unique in the Dc universe, let alone one in a wheelchair. And of course back then, she had no idea how they would do it. Would they magic the wheelchair away? Pretend it never happened?

Sherer says she felt basically the same way. There are so few characters out there with disabilities.“There’s this misconception out there that people with disabilities are broken and need to be fixed..Maybe she doesn’t want to be fixed.She released a youtube video dressed as Oracle to argue that side of it last year. (It’s hilarious and I suggest you watch it. On having to be Batgirl again: “Girl, I’m 30 years old!”)

Rucka says he’s curious now, a year later, how you feel about it and how it was handled? He’s quick to add not about Gail doing a good job, because that’s a given.

Pantozzi says Barbara Gordon is a good character no matter what. “[Gordon] as Batgirl is interesting but also, we have seen that story.”

Rucka agrees and adds that Oracle was so successful as a story because the entirety of her journey was in the books. Readers got to see her before the wheelchair, and see the trauma of being shot and then disabled, and see her cope with it and accept it and move on. If DC were to say, Okay, we hear you, toss in another wheelchair-bound lady crime fighter, it would feel apologist.

Bruhn asks, How important is it that when we rejoin Barbara she is recovering physically and emotionally even though she’s out of the chair? Bruhn is a big Marvel fan, so she’s big on the idea that when you fix something with Tony Stark you give him another problem. It’s a constant battle.

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What I Managed To See At Comic-Con [Part 2] – Supernatural Panel

It’s possible that you’ve heard the rumors of how crazy busy San Diego Comic-Con, or you’ve experienced it firsthand. This year was my first full year at the con, but I had tried to get into panels the last time I went to no avail.

This time, I was determined. I would get into the Supernatural panel in Hall H. The biggest hall there is.

Some of the obstacles in my plan were the panels that Supernatural was sandwiched between: Fringe [which is having its final season this Fall] and Dr. Who.

I felt defeated almost immediately when I read the panel schedule. But I vowed I would make it work still. I thought, 4am on Sunday. That time should be fine to get into an 11am panel.

Saturday night rolls around, and I see on Facebook that a friend is already in line for Hall H. I message her asking how the line is, informing her of my plans.

“I would be there around 12:30 if I were you.”

At this point it is 9:15ish. I sit on my bed in my hotel room a moment, and decide if this is what I want to do.

Okay, plan made. I set my alarm for midnight. I pack up everything. I throw my make up into my purse. I managed to sleep for almost 2 hours.

Then I got up and sat there once again on my bed, debating my situation. You see, I wasn’t prepared for camping out. I had no pillows, no sleeping bags, no blankets. Hell, I didn’t even have SOCKS. But that’s partly because I hate shoes and actually hardly own any socks, and what I do own is completely mismatched [oh the life of Orange County folk].

But I decide. Fuck it. I’m going. I get my stuff checked behind the counter [because check out is before I would get back from the panel if I went through with this], and get on the shuttle to the convention center, and make my way to the end of the line that is already across the street.

Part of my view for the next 7 hours.

At first I didn’t think it would be so bad. At 1am I wasn’t freezing cold, despite being outside near the ocean. I was wearing two jackets, so I thought I could hang around all those young whipper-snappers waiting around me.

I chatted with two young folk behind me, and then started reading some, listening to music, etc to wait until I was really exhausted before I attempted to get sleep. Around 2am I decided to try sleeping, only, I didn’t have any means to do that comfortably. I sucked it up and used my purse as a pillow, curling up on the cement. CEMENT. I swear to you I was taking some sort of crazy pills to think this was a great idea.

About an hour after torturing myself in this way, the temperature rapidly dropped and a wind kicked in. Eff you, Mother Nature. Eff. You. So now I was sleeping on cement, sore, and freezing.

But then the kindness of fellow geeks showed itself. The two people behind me had packed extra socks, and I was not ashamed by then to take their offer to help get me warm. They were clean, I swear.

Then, the group in front of me offered one of their chairs, as someone was going to sleep and didn’t need it. So now I was off the stupid cement, curled up in a chair, with socks on my feet. I am extremely grateful to these people, because my stupid old body probably wouldn’t have done well the next day without them. So I managed to get some sort of half sleep for the next few hours until the sun came up, and my friends were on their way with an offering of Starbucks.

It makes a sharp left turn at the corner and continues down along the marina.

I was glad that I gotten in line though when I looked up and saw how the line had progressed in my sleep.

I couldn’t even believe the size of it.

Around 8am the con workers compressed the line, since it was partly spread out due to people laying out tents, sleeping bags, tables, etc. By the time we stopped walking, we were very close to the front of the line, and I was ecstatic in my sleep deprivation and caffeine high that my crazy was seeming to pay off.

But that doesn’t mean it still wasn’t crazy. I just want to point out that I don’t in any way agree with the way that Comic-Con runs their large panels. I think it’s questionable that they are okay with people needing to camp out for 12+hours [as some did] to get into panels. I don’t necessarily have a solution for them, but I really wish that they would start to think of something so that people could get into the panels they wanted without having to camp out and squat in panels they may not want to even see. I had to get spoiled for Fringe because I had to sit through the panel, and that was a bummer.

/end rant

In the end, I got a great seat for the Supernatural panel. I’ve been watching since season 2, if I remember correctly, and the fandom is full of amazing people. And also these boys are just so damn pretty.

Misha Collins, who plays Castiel

The panel itself didn’t bear a lot of news though. This was mostly due to the fact that season 7 is over, and season 8 hasn’t started filming yet, so no one could talk about anything really without giving away major spoilers. They gave some vague insight into what season 8 could hold, and did mention they would be stepping back from the heavy mythology of the past few seasons, which is something I am actually looking forward to – as long as I get to keep Castiel and Dean.

Despite their limitations, the cast was quirky and adorable, Misha is just a giant troll and Jared is a big ol’ moose ham. But Jensen is still a surreal level of gorgeous.

Mark Sheppard, Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki, Misha Collins

This is taken without zoom. WITHOUT. ZOOM. Crazy!

So in the end, I have decided that this bout of craziness was, in fact worth it, to have the experience and to say I have done it. But would I do it again?

No.

I will probably not go to another big panel at Comic-Con until there is a way of getting in that doesn’t include me needing to sleep outside on the sidewalk. I’m just too old for that shit.

Pretty much.

What I Managed To See At Comic-Con [Part 1]

I had the opportunity to go to Comic-Con this year, though it was for my day job. Due to this, I wasn’t able to see a whole lot, but I wanted to share with you what experiences I could. Unfortunately I must keep my day job top secret [I feel like a superhero, that’s kind of on topic, right?], but here is what I can show you!

This post is brought to you by the amazing collage function in Picasa so it isn’t a million pages long. o/

First, one of the most amazing things about Comic-Con is how it takes over all of downtown like some sort of creep [ten points if you get the reference].

 

I did manage to run into some cool people while I was running around on the floor! I may have super fangirl freaked out when I met Claudio from Coheed and Cambria. I also got to briefly say hello to Marie Lu as she was leaving her signing! I blame work for keeping me away! DX

”]And then of course there was all the awesome stuff in the exhibit hall. I want all the Mass Effect statues in existence, especially the one of Garrus. Also, the X-Men display made me want to cry.

SO MANY SHINIES

There were also cosplayers, though not as many as I thought I would see. Though I bet that many of them stayed out of the exhibit hall, because it’s so crazy in there. Also, I’m possibly lame and was at times too tired to register that there were people in costume around me.

Can you spot Fortune Cookie from Defective Geeks? 8D

And then of course, the swag! I had to avoid a lot of the random free stuff because I was mostly always running around working, but I still managed to come away with some cool stuff.

SWAG!

Some items of note:

  • Signed copy of The Armory Wars by Claudio Sanchez
  • The first three volumes of a comic on the Trojan War signed by the writer/artist  [DONT LAUGH history is cool guys]
  • A signed copy of Legend
  • A signed copy of an issue of Arsenic Lullaby, which has humor that is not for the light of heart at all

Stay tuned for my post titled “How Much of a Supernatural Fangirl I Am.” XD

The Fierce Reads YA Author Tour – Seattle, WA

Confession: before tonight, I had never, ever been to Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park. It turns out it’s not actually way outside of town. It’s an easy SoundTransit bus trip (less easy because like an idiot I let my Orca card go empty, but that’s my problem). Anyhow, fun atmosphere, great staff, and I got to meet Flannery of The Readventurer, so that was neat. I will be returning there not to just buy more books I don’t need but for future author events.

The Fierce Reads tour is 4-6 debut authors who write YA. Also I’m totally using the following picture because all of the authors look “fierce” and not because I’m a crappy photographer who took photos with an iPad rather than my canon, which I did not want to carry:

SMIZING.

From left to right: Lish McBride, author of Hold Me Closer, Necromancer; Marissa Meyer, author of Cinder; Leigh Bardugo, author of Shadow and Bone; Jennifer Bosworth, author of Struck; Anna Banks, author of Of Poseidon; and Emmy Laybourne, author of Monument 14.

The presentation started with a book trailer for every novel and then a few words from the author about the book’s plot and where its inspiration came from. They went right to left, but I’m going to stick with this order and go in reverse. (Direct quotes are in quotations, otherwise I’m paraphrasing and/or summarizing.)

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