This past weekend I took part in the Black Widow #WeWantWidow flash mob that swept through the world. If you happened to spend the past few days hiding under a really big rock from news sites and Facebook, here are the details about what happened.
This was cosplaying for a cause. Kristin Rielly, of RiellyGeek and formally Geek Girls Network, organized this event as a fun protest to the treatment of Marvel’s Black Widow, in terms of exposure in movies and merchandising. When I asked her the why of doing this event, she stated “After seeing Age of Ulton and Black Widow’s lack of character development (or her abrupt back story scene), and writing several posts for Fashionably Geek about the new Avengers line this and that – almost all missing Black Widow images, I just had enough. And then then to top it all off, Hasbro and Mattel both released action figures of Captain America and Iron Man on Black Widow’s motorcycle in her most badass AoU scene, instead of a Black Widow action figure.”
People from the US, Canada and Australia took part, dressing as Black Widow or in merchandise for the character. I was one of them, participating in the NYC demonstration outside of ReedPop’s Special Edition comicon. At least, that was the plan. The standard rule for most New Yorkers: if you are running late, the subway will make it worse. So I missed out on the big group photo shoot by a few minutes.
However, I lucked out that another late person and a few other Black Widows were out front when I arrived. So I still got my group shot! (I am weirdly proud of the belt buckle that I made. Never underestimate the power of twist ties!)
As I walked the floor of the comicon, some exhibitors remarked to me about the sheer number of Black Widows in attendance. I came to realize that this flash mob was sending a message to the people in the room that we want to see a change. I am so proud that I took part in it, even if I was late. I made a difference in that room.
The truth is that this really applies to all female and minority characters in comics. If DC had done the cinematic universe building first, we probably would have been tweeting We Want Wonder Woman instead. (That outfit would have been harder for me to make though.) I can hope that the industry heard us and saw the aftermath of supporting coverage.
In case you were wondering what to do now, I did ask Kristin how she thought we should continue. Rielly said “Let’s keep talking about it until we can make a difference. Keep sharing the hashtag, keep posting photos online of Black Widow images and cosplay. Maybe Marvel and Disney will see that they really do have a demographic ready for more female superheroines on screen and on the shelves.”
So, it is now in your hands. Go tweet #WeWantWidow. Go tell Marvel, Mattel, Hasbro and any other licenser that you want to see more Black Widow. Or go tell DC that you want to see more female coverage. Go use your voice to make sure that change happens.
Frank Beddor’s The Looking Glass War series, a dark fantasy look at Alice In Wonderland, has had a strong spinoff life in comics with Hatter M, the story of Hatter Madigan who is the bodyguard to the Queen of Wonderland and head of the elite security force known as the The Millinery.
Beddor has debuted a new Young Adult prose series at BookExpo America, Hatter Madigan, which shows his early days at the Millinery. And to mark the occasion, fan of the series Whoopi Goldberg will be highlighting the series and characters on The View on Friday. Beddor literally brought his characters to life on The View by inviting a team of cosplayers dressed up as his characters to appear on the show. “The audience exploded when they saw them come out. Fantasy rules reality. The reaction was amazing.”
The new book, Hatter Madigan: Ghost In the H.A.T.B.O.X, is a prequel to the existing Looking Glass Wars time line and will hit stores in March of 2016.
But we know what some of our readers really care about is the cosplay. Well, fear not– we got our hands on some photos for of the behind-the-scenes of the costumes…
One of our favorite parts of attending cons is watching the cosplayers. We know that not everyone is a fan, and that’s too bad, because it’s such a creative way to show fandom. Though maybe after watching the documentary, Cosplay Dreams 3D, those who haven’t embraced cosplayers will. The film focuses on cosplay celebrities as well as those who just do it as a fun hobby. It’s the stories about the people under the costumes that really make the movie. Though the 3D effects and really cool costumes don’t hurt either.
At WonderCon, we not only got to see a screening of the movie, but we also had a chance to interview the filmmakers Christine and Gulliver Parascandolo (who are San Diegans like us — so we get why they would be inspired by Comic Con to make this movie). It’s very much Tweeks-Approved and once you watch our review, we know you’ll want to watch.
If you want to see Cosplay Dreams, you can find out where it’s playing on their Facebook Page. Upcoming showings are at the LVL UP Expo in Las Vegas on May 31st or on the opening night of the New Media Film Festival in LA.
Last weekend, we totally geeked out at WonderCon Anaheim. So, in this week’s video we bring you the sights & sounds of our adventure.Stay tuned because there will be more to come in the next coming weeks.We kept busy over the three-days finding new comics, interviewing creators, shopping (lots of that), and people-watching.Soak in the experience and then stay tuned for more WCA action.
With WonderCon starting tomorrow, we have been spending a lot of time trying to figure out what to wear. While Hot Topic & Etsy make shopping for geek chic a lot easier, it’s at the cons where we can really get our fangirl fashion on. Like it or not, cons have become a nerd-cool fashion week and if style matters then you need to save wearing just a superhero t-shirt for school. It’s time to step up your geek game! So, in the spirit of pop culture couture we talked with some fashion-forward attendees at Long Beach Comic Expo about designing fan fashions and cosplaying.
There was one point at this year’s New York Comic Con when I almost said, out loud, “Do you know who I am?” That’s because I was having trouble getting my badge.
Here’s why I’m glad I didn’t:
It’s a dick thing to say, the kind of thing that proves a person is self-absorbed to the point of obliviousness.
I might have made a mistake when I registered, so the trouble might have been my fault.
This had happened the day before. I am willing to bet that George Clooney didn’t ask if anyone knew who he was. At all times, I aspire to be at least as well-behaved as George Clooney.
Still, it’s an indication of how much things have changed in the short life of this show that I needed more than my smiling face to get in.
I understand that, with more than 150,000 people expected to attend, that it can be difficult for the staff to keep track of everybody. Unlike their other New York consumer show, Special Edition, NYCC is packed to the rafters.
There was a time when very few people wrote about comics, and I knew all of them. Even now, there aren’t that many people who write about comics every week. The (probably overworked and underpaid) person at press registration treated me like I was some kind of scam-artist trying to put one over on her.
Compare this to the way my pal, David Glanzer, says that San Diego treats press (and they get an even bigger crowd):
“I know press registration is a very difficult area. Heavens knows we’ve had our issues in the past. However we’ve actually received criticism for who we consider for press credentials. The truth is we have always considered independent press and bloggers/podcasters as our mainstream press. They are the ones who write about us throughout the year (not always positively LOL) while the bigger outlets really only tend to write about us once a year or so. The independents reporters have been with us since the start and they really still are the lifeblood for our publicity.”
The Javits Center is simply not designed for this many people. I mean, it’s not that well-designed to start-out with. Unlike, for example, the San Diego convention center, this has rather narrow hallways, and the exhibition floors are not close together. Under the best of circumstances, one must do a lot of walking. In this case, it’s nearly five Manhattan blocks (about a quarter mile) from one end of the building to the other.
When you add 150,000 people, it’s easy to create anxiety.
Still this year’s event seemed to run more smoothly than last year’s, at least according to initial feedback. There were lots of signs saying, “Cosplay does not equal consent,” and, while I don’t know if they make any difference (I’m not in costume), they made me feel more welcome. Perhaps in a related event, there seemed to be just about as many women in attendance as men.
The Mary Sue had a room for Geek Girls, which was a lovely respite in a sea of bodies. The room had signings and press materials, but also comfy chairs and books to read, and a crafts table to make friendship bracelets. I sat for a while with my knitting, talking to strangers about what they wanted to see and do. Truly a delight. I only regret that, by talking about it, I’m probably encouraging it to be more crowded next year.
Here are my suggestions to make this a better show:
Find a bigger venue, or additional venues. Not only was the exhibition floor jammed, and Artists Alley jammed, and various panel rooms jammed, but the hallways were always jammed as well. I didn’t go to any panels because there were lines everywhere and I was overwhelmed trying to figure out which mass of people were lines for which rooms.
The Javits Center is not designed to hold so many people. It was designed – poorly – for trade shows, not mass media events. More space would permit some room to breathe.
Set up special areas for cosplayers to change and to pose. It’s annoying to stand on line for half an hour to use the ladies room only to find that the stalls have been full of people changing, not peeing. Similarly, a lot of the clog on the show floor is people posing for pictures and expecting traffic to stop.
If there were special rooms set aside for changing, and special areas for pictures, then cosplayers and their admirers would have enough room to enjoy themselves, and traffic would flow more smoothly.
I don’t mean cosplayers should be segregated. I love seeing them randomly in the crowd (and on the subway). They make the event much more fun.
Now that fans are getting the message that harassment is not acceptable, can we teach them other aspects of crowd etiquette? For example, if you want to stop and talk to a friend, please step to the side. A bunch of people having a conversation in the middle of the aisle blocks the flow of traffic.
Maybe stop-lights at major intersections? I don’t know. I just want to be able to walk with a normal gait, instead of pivoting at a moment’s notice.
In general, we should remember that we are all humans in this together. Pay attention to your peripheral vision, people.
I get very short-tempered in crowds, but then I’ll see someone I know and be happy again. Klaus Janson talked with me about the blueberries at the Green Market. I brought the world’s most delicious matzo to fellow ComicMixer Marc Fishman and the Unshaven boys. I saw all kinds of creative new ideas for comics and illustration.
And then …
Some oblivious person with a backpack swiped against me hard enough to rip my sweater. My beautiful, one-of-a-kind hand-knit sweater.
September 27 & 28, we attended Long Beach Comic Con for the first time.It was our first smaller-sized con and we LOVED it!It was so easy and fun.We really were able to enjoy the art, the cosplay, and hear about new comics.We also learned how to draw The Simpsons, got the scoop on Afterlife with Archie, played Star Wars laser tag, and maybe did a bit of fangirl shopping on the floor.
As the Tweeks recover from their whirlwind Comic Con 2014, here’s a recap of their adventures at the San Diego Convention Center. There was a lot of fan girl apparel, comic books, and toys purchased, as well as many interviews conducted. Keep a look out for more coverage on their hometown Con.
It’s that time of year again. All the cool kids are getting ready to go to the San Diego Comic-Con. And by “cool kids,” I mean people who are younger, stronger and more patient than me.
Every year, I kvetch about Comic-Con. And every year, I kind of want to go. I mean, not go to the Comic-Con that will actually take place. I want to go to the Comic-Con of 1993, when I was an important part of a major publishing company and everyone kissed my ass and I could get a table at the restaurant of my choice at the time of my choosing.
I would also like a unicorn, but that’s another column.
Anyway, this year, what I mostly regret is the opportunity to meet my future husband, Chris Hardwick, who is podcasting his program from San Diego all week. Not only would I enjoy meeting him, but I’d like to see the look on his face when he realizes we are fated to be. Either delight or horror, it would still be a treat.
Which, in a roundabout way, brings us back to a subject that has concerned this column all year: The changes women make to pop culture, and the way pop culture is adapting to women.
You may recall my previous columns on the subject (here, for example), that women at comic conventions have a problem with sexual harassment. By which I mean, men and boys harassing them. It’s a big enough story that even non-comics news sites cover it.
Many people want SDCC to prominently post its policy on sexual harassment on signage around the convention, so that offenders cannot claim they didn’t know they were doing something wrong. Others would like to make the policy more specific. Here’s what it currently says, according to the website:
“Attendees must respect common sense rules for public behavior, personal interaction, common courtesy, and respect for private property. Harassing or offensive behavior will not be tolerated. Comic-Con reserves the right to revoke, without refund, the membership and badge of any attendee not in compliance with this policy. Persons finding themselves in a situation where they feel their safety is at risk or who become aware of an attendee not in compliance with this policy should immediately locate a member of security, or a staff member, so that the matter can be handled in an expeditious manner.“
For more about the various arguments, here, in a nutshell is the debate.
Now, I love David Glanzer with all my heart and soul, and there is no doubt in my mind that he is completely devoted to making Comic-Con a fun and educational event for all who attend. I understand that he wants to make everyone who comes to the show comfortable, and this includes families with young children, who might be spooked if they see signs warning about sexual harassment. He might also think it puts ideas in the heads of kids who want to show how great they are at this rebel stuff.
Still, I respectfully disagree. I think it’s entirely appropriate to say that, because of incidents at other shows, SDCC wants to assure everyone that they are committed to a safe and friendly show. And I’d make a big deal about meeting with law enforcement before the show starts, so that if crimes are committed on-site, there is a system in place to get rid of the criminals who assault women and others. For all I know, they do this already. Still, I’d make sure everybody knew.
And, as I’ve said before, I’d have more women as special guests and expert panelists. It’s not easy to stop people in comics from seeing women (real and fictional) as simply sex objects. One step to fix that would be to feature them as talented professionals.
Which brings me to the next huge show on the horizon, New York Comic-Con. It’s still a long way off in convention time, but they’ve started to announce guests, which gives us a hint as to what the programming will be. So far, they have announced a dozen guests in the comics category, and two of them are women. That’s better than last year, when only ten percent of the guests were women, but not by much. I should note that there is also one literary guest announced, and that is Kim Harrison, who is female.
Not enough, but a step in the right direction.
So, if you’re going to San Diego, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair. Wait, wrong city. Be sure to have a great time. Bring me back stories.
Convention season is upon us, y’all! Well actually, convention season is sort of year round these days. As Jim Zub observed recently, “There are now so many conventions that you can’t even attend the ‘best’ ones. Too many great shows.” Too true. And technically for me, convention season started with Awesome Con DC, for which I was on the ConCom. But convention reporting season for me really starts with San Diego Comic Con and wraps up with New York Comic Con (because yes, I love HeroesCon, and I know I totally have to try one year, and C2E2 would undoubtedly be great, and OMG ECCC always has so many good voice actor guests so why haven’t I gone yet – but I just can’t do it all, you know? Much as I’d like to).
So for me, it’s now time to Get Serious about prepping for conventions because SDCC is about a month away (eep!). And when I prep for cons, I ain’t kidding around – I arm myself for cons like a general going into battle, because no matter how much you plan for a con, when you get there things are not going to go as planned (kind of like how “no battle plan survives contact with the enemy,” y’know?). And since I’m not the only one who might feel overwhelmed by the wonderful chaos of a con if unprepared, I thought I’d share some of my methods (and madness? and complete OCD?) with you. So here’s how I do things. It may not be how you decide to do things, but at least it might give you a jumping off point.
Step 1: The Spreadsheet
Okay, so depending on how many cons you attend (and how OCD you are) you may not need a spreadsheet. But if you go to several cons a year, like me, a spreadsheet can help you keep track of all of the important stuff for each con. Like, for instance, the dates of the con, when badges go on sale, what you still need to do well beforehand (like booking your travel and hotel), and particular events or plans you want to ensure you don’t miss (like dinner with friends, or, for reporters, interviews you’ve set). Also which friends might be going to the same con (because if I don’t note this somewhere I will forget who’s at which cons), or what costumes you want to wear (and if they still need work before they’re con-ready), your expenses or budget, and anything important that you really don’t want to forget to pack.
So if you want an easy way to keep track of all this stuff, be a spreadsheet nerrrrrd like me. Trust me, it really can help. And you can use other tabs to keep track of other handy stuff you need to prep for.
Step 2: The Schedule
So once you get your badge and travel and hotel figured out (try to get those nailed down first and as soon as you can to ensure you get a badge and hotel, since some sell out quickly; and to get better travel prices), you’re going to want to start thinking about allllll of the amazing things you can see and do at a con. The con’s website should have everything you need to start planning all that out, with guests you might want to meet (and get photos with, or autographs from, or commissions from, or even just tell them how awesome you think they are); and panels you might want to see; and all that jazz. Explore the whole website because hey, it’s fun to look forward to stuff by learning about it, and also you might discover some things you didn’t realize they had (like how Dragon Con lists each fan track they have, what each entails, and what they have featured on each track in the past).
Once you decide what’s going on your con Wish List of Excitement, you might want to keep track of some of it on your spreadsheet. Also for scheduling, you might want to download and use the con’s scheduling app if they have one and once it’s available (many of them use apps now, including at least Awesome Con, San Diego, Dragon Con, and NYCC). It will take some time, but it’s worth going through the whole app and adding things to your schedule or favoriting guests you want to see; and you can generally even set reminders to go off prior to panels. Note that inevitably if you’re going to a good con, you’ll end up with like, five conflicting things in the same slots on your schedule much of the time. That’s okay! You can decide later which (if any) you actually want to attend. Just throw ‘em all on there and see what sticks.
And now that you’ve got your potential schedule figured out, you can also think about:
Step 3: Costumes
(Note that this step can run concurrent with the first two, because it can take a while to get a good costume together.) If you are a costumer like me (sometimes), you may want up to three or more costumes for one con. These may require gathering of pieces, sewing, crafting, and more. I’ve talked before about how I make a convention costume so check that piece out if you want some tips on the finer points of how I do it (which is not to say there aren’t folks out there who do it with a lot more complexity and expertise than me). But generally, you may want to decide on a few costume goals, get your photo references or inspirations together, decide on your wardrobe pieces, and then (if you’re me and you just love making lists) list out all of the moving parts so you don’t forget to pack or wear any of them for the con. Again: add it to the spreadsheet! It’s good for so many things.
Step 4: Packing
Along with your costumes, there are some other things you don’t want to forget to pack for cons. Obviously this is going to depend in part on your own needs, but here are some things I recommend you wear or carry with you at the con:
• A decent-sized shoulder bag or small backpack with many pockets. The pockets are great for keeping your stuff in separate, easy to find places for if you need quick access to something.
• One of those lightweight cloth shopping bags that folds up into another tiny bag, which can later be used to carry whatever you end up buying (because if you are me, you will totally end up buying things.) I found one in the checkout line at an Office Max. You can probably also get one at The Container Store or similar.
• Comfortable socks and shooooes!!!!! And clothes, generally. But especially socks and shoes. You will be walking and standing around a lot.
• A hoodie or light sweater if you tend to get cold. If you are a gal like me, and you want something lightweight that rolls up fairly small and doesn’t wrinkle, I recommend the SeV Ladies Cardigan from ThinkGeek. I love that thing.
• Deodorant? No, seriously. Some of y’all may smell like springtime roses all day and all night long, but if you are at a con for 8+ hours, bustling through warm crowds, rushing to panels, and generally hanging out with a million other people, you might consider taking along a little travel stick of deodorant to use, because you might in fact find yourself being a gradual contributor to the dreaded con funk. And nobody wants to be that person.
• Snax! Ranging from bottled water to granola bars, trail mix, or whatever else your little snacky heart desires. It’s very important to stay hydrated and keep that blood sugar up during the go-go-go of a con. I tend to like chewy granola bars and those little applesauce pouches that look kind of like Capri Suns (which are also handy, by the way) because they aren’t crinkly or messy and are super-easy to eat while trying to be quiet in a panel or while in a hurry and barreling through a crowd on the way to your next fun event. I recommend keeping gum or mints on hand as well. Also, of course, it’s good to have some cash on hand for food and shopping.
• Your badge or badge confirmation, and ID. Seriously, don’t go all the way to the con and then realize you don’t have these. Also any medications you might need.
• Your camera, smartphone, charger, extra battery or on-the-go charging device, or any other tech you may need to communicate and memorialize your fun. Also consider an iPod if you are going to be waiting in line by yourself a lot and don’t always feel like talking to strangers.
• A small notepad, a couple of pens, and a Sharpie or two. They just come in handy, you know? Also anything you might want to get signed.
• Business cards, if you intend to make connections with folks for any reason.
• Aaaaand… anything else you can’t live without. Having all of these things, and having done the other steps prior to the con, will prepare you for the ultimate end game of…
Step 5: Having A Great Time, Even If Nothing Turns Out As Planned
Like I said, no battle plan survives contact with the enemy, and no con plan actually works out the way you expect. You will miss panels you want to see or people you want to meet, you may discover that your costume is way less easy to navigate through a crowd than you would have hoped (oops!), and other things will turn topsy-turvy. But being prepared will minimize any panic, stress, or issues that you might have with all of that.
And after all, things not going as planned may turn out to be the best thing that could happen. Because cons are magical and wonderful things full of fun and excitement, and missing that first panel may mean you run into your favorite actor in an elevator, or step into a less-full panel that turns out to be epically awesome, or decide to roam Artists Alley or the con floor and discover a new favorite artist or an exciting piece of con merch. So if you want to have a good time, it’s great to be prepared; but also, to be flexible – be both and I guarantee you’ll have a great time.
Got some other prep tips that help you out at a con? Feel free to share them in the comments!