On June 30 at the Queens Museum in New York City, the Women in Comics Collective hosted their 5th annual Women in Comics Con. If you’re not familiar with the WinC, they host events that celebrate and spotlight the women that make it happen in nerdy spaces throughout the year. This con is that culmination of women working in the comic book/multimedia industries, with talks about representation on the page and screen as well as behind-the-scenes. The event is also a celebration of fans and PRIDE.
Co-Founder, writer, showrunner and all-around kickass person Regine Sawyer puts together a fun and safe environment for attendees to learn, connect and find other independent artists. WinC also have a growing roster of vendors who come to sell their goods.
I arrived a bit late on Sunday; New York traffic was not my friend that day, so I didn’t have the time to sit down and plan my day, which meant I missed some things like the cosplay photoshoot. However, I was able to catch a few panels. Sometimes, that’s the best way to have fun at a con: being loose with your time.
Here’s a round-up of some panels and their topics from Sunday:
Latinx in Science Fiction Panel, moderated by writer/podcaster Anthony Otero (Black Comics Chat, Puerto Rico Strong), creators Javier Cruz Winnik (A Reason to Smile), and Savannah Zambrano (Unlazy Comic): They took a critical look at the science fiction landscape and the Latinx women and people that live in it (or should). They made some really great points with why we should expect Latinx characters in the Star Trek universe and not Star Wars — they are in a galaxy far, far away.
Lightsaber Demonstration – Rogue Alliance showed off their skills with the most elegant weapon in the known universe, demonstrating the various dueling forms of combat that would be used with a lightsaber. Please know that my basic description does not do them justice; check them out as they do instructional classes in New York City.
Journalism in Pop Culture – Podcaster Janicia Francis (Tea with Queen & J) brought together a hit squad of pop culture and geek media journalists to have a frank and open discussion about being and growing these geeky media spaces. Panelists, who included Foxy Jazzabelle (Nerds of Color, SyFy Wire), Karama Horne (The Blerdgurl, SyFy Wire), Nay Marie (Taji Mag), Valerie Complex (Entertainment Weekly, Variety), and Diamond Stylz (Marsha’s Plate Podcast) spoke about their origins, issues they continue to deal with being the only women or people of color in the room, and imposter syndrome, which lead to a deeper talk about worth in the industry.
The Comic Book Spectrum: Social Commentary in Comics – Tara Nakashima Donahue of Medialia Gallery here in New York, lead a talk with an A-list of creative talents including legendary cartoonist Barbara Brandon-Croft (Where I’m Coming From), caricaturists/artist André LeRoy Davis (The Last Word), multi-disciplinary artist and activist Sharon Lee De La Cruz aka Uno Seis Tres, and comic book artist Ronald Wimberly (LAAB Magazine, Prince of Cats, Black History in Its Own Words). Mind you, this was me just stumbling into this panel, which goes back to the beginning of this in being free flowing with the schedule and catching gems. These panelists spoke about the tricks of navigating the minefields of censorship in their careers, the need for using their talents to give a voice to social justice causes, and dealing with the fallout of the past and current landscapes that we live in.
In addition to the panels, I spent a good amount of time checking out the many independent vendors selling everything a nerd would need, from self-published comics to amazing prints to handmade geek gear, like customized wallets made from your favorite comic pages.