On Sunday at BookCon I was honored to moderate a panel called, The New Mainstream: Diversity & Activism In Four Colors with Thi Bui (The Best We Could Do), Marjorie Liu (Monstress, X-Men), Joe Illidge (Catalyst Comics) and Magdalene Visaggio (Kim & Kim) to talk about making comics and how today’s rise in extremism and political turmoil has affected their work.
Because it was early in the morning, I didn’t thank David Brothers for help with the title and focus of the panel, which I should have done. David runs amazing panels that cover issues of representation without falling into the lame “What’s it like to be a _____ in comics?” othering that so often happens.
At any rate, the panel was livestreamed in two parts on the Lion Forge FB page, thanks to Christina Steenz Stewart, so you can just watch the whole thing yourself – as well you should because I couldn’t imagine a smarter, more connected panel to talk about these issues (Liu and Bui are bother trained lawyers.)
I think the one quote that stuck with me the most is when I asked if having a president who doesn’t speak up against white supremacists, transphobia and sexism makes it harder to get their message out. Without exception, all four said it makes it easier, since the message of inclusion and acceptance is so important now. Bui actually nailed it when she said (paraphrasing) “I think it’s even easier because people need to be reassured that everyone isn’t horrible!”
And now, a little editorial.
In the last week two friends of mine who are WOC had racial slurs yelled at them. Lebron James had a racial slur spray painted on his door. Boston Red Sox fans shouted racial slurs at an African America baseball player. Transphobia, Islamophobia and good old garden variety sexism are all on the rise. They are being enabled by a government that is, if not supporting, not condemning these kinds of acts. Let’s not forget Taliesin Myddrin Namkai-Meche and Ricky John Best, two heroes who died protecting our freedom.
We all need to stand up for each other. The universal truth of human interaction is still the Golden Rule, the social equivalent of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. What we put out there comes back to us. Treat other people with the respect and dignity you wish to be shown.
End of editorial. And go watch that panel.
Photos by Taimur Dar.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.