Tagged: Robby Barrett

Joe Corallo: Vote!


hillary-1-600x981Over the course of the past week I’ve done some things that would make for easy column fodder. I went to Comics Art Brooklyn with my friend and collaborator Robby Barrett, I went to see Doctor Strange with fellow ComicMix columnist Molly Jackson, and I read some new comics and graphic novels I enjoy like Nobrow’s Sp4rx by Wren McDonald. Under normal circumstances I would be writing about one or all of those things today. Today is different though.

It’s election day.

Here in the United States we are voting for our next President, a third of our Senators, our entire House of Representatives, twelve Governors, 1,212 State Senators, 4,711 State House seats, many judges, municipal positions, and ballot initiatives. It’s a lot to keep track of, I know. It’s in all our best interests that we do keep track.

Better yet, vote!

I know that we get bogged down by the Presidential race to the point where it’s hard to imagine we have to vote on anything else, but it’s true. Let’s focus just on the presidential race for the moment though. While the President doesn’t necessarily directly impact your day-to-day life, they do serve as Commander in Chief of our armed forces, the face of our country at home and abroad, and appoint many important unelected positions including Supreme Court Justices who get lifetime appointments.

modok1-640x480When considering between Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump, please keep in mind that Hillary Clinton was the only one of them that spoke at Superman’s funeral. Where was Donald Trump? Perhaps he was too busy being M.O.D.O.K. I hear that’s what people are saying.

All joking aside, this really is an important election for multiple reasons. For the first time in our 240-year history a woman is the nominee of a major party and could realistically become president. If elected, she would also be the first Democrat to be elected after a Democrat completed more than one term in office since Harry Truman won the election in 1948 (sorry, Dewey). She’s arguably one of the most qualified non-incumbent candidates.

There is also an outstanding Supreme Court Justice seat that won’t be filled until the new President gets a chance to nominate someone, though Republicans may trip over themselves to nominate Merrick Garland if Hillary wins. When the Supreme Court doesn’t have a majority opinion on a case, the lower court ruling holds as if they never heard the case in the first place. And there are important cases coming up like the trans bathroom bill case. Our founding fathers weren’t always that good at predicting life 240 years in the future, but there is a good reason we have an odd number of Supreme Court Justices.

And as I was saying earlier, there are many other elected officials up for reelection. The Senate could flip. Though it’s not as likely, the House could flip. State Legislatures could flip. Governors could get the boot like Republican Pat McCrory. He deserves it.

Voting is incredibly important, and if you’re an American citizen and you’re reading this please vote. There is no such thing as a “safe state.” Maybe a state that’s more reliable voting for one party or the other for President, but as I stated before we vote for a lot more offices than that. Many of those other offices affect your day to day lives more directly than the President. Believe it or not that stop light they added on that long winding road that saved lives was not a White House decision, or your property taxes, or how much cigarettes cost and where you can smoke them, and a whole lot more.

This is why we all have to vote every single chance we get for every position and ballot initiative we can. It’s our right, and we need to exercise that right or we very well could lose it. Even if you’re not excited by your candidates. You’re not voting for best friend, drinking buddy or most charismatic. Hell, I voted for John Kerry.

I know it sounds crazy that we could lose the right to vote, but it’s happened in democracies before. We’ve already lost our right to privacy so what’s a little less voting gonna hurt you?

Vote. If you haven’t voted early, vote today. Vote in two years from now in the midterms. Vote in off year municipal elections. Vote for water commissioner, school board, and dog catcher.


Joe Corallo: Flame Con Burns Bright

Flamecon 5atc
flamecon 2This past weekend I tabled Flame Con 2 at the Brooklyn Bridge Marriott Hotel with my friend and collaborator Robby Barrett. We premiered our new comic, Saturn’s Call. It’s about a group of witchy queer kids who are trying to come together to protect each other, so obviously Flame Con was the perfect venue to debut this comic.

For those of you unfamiliar, Flame Con is New York City’s first LGBTQ comic convention organized by Geeks OUT. The show premiered back in spring of 2015 at the Grand Prospect Hall for one day only after a successful Kickstarter campaign helped spread the word and launch the show. Flame Con was such an immediate hit that not only was quickly confirmed that they would be back in 2016, but that the show would go from one day to two and move to a larger venue. That’s a very impressive feat.

Although an integral part of Flame Con’s success comes from Geeks OUT’s own planning and organizing, there is no doubt in mind that the LGBTQ community is an underserved community and often neglected part of mainstream comics and pop culture.

For people outside the queer community, it may seem like the queer community is being properly catered to in comics. I bet some people may even feel like the community is over represented with the press hits some queer-led comics get. I’m here to tell you that is absolutely not the case. We may be getting the press coverage when it comes to some mainstream comics and a few indies, but a disproportionate amount of the majority of comics are still very straight, very cis, very male, and very white.

Flamecon 3Flame Con is very much a different experience. Gone are the very straight, very cis, and very male aspects of many comic conventions. And while the show and its guests are certainly pretty white, there were also efforts put in place to be inclusive in every way and there was racial and ethnic diversity both in the people exhibiting and the attendees on the floor. They even had an AFK lounge at the hotel as a quiet space for people to unwind and collect themselves if they felt overwhelmed.

Robby and I spent the vast majority of the convention behind our table, outside of a few quick bathroom breaks. Those bathrooms were designated as all-gender, something everyone seemed very pleased with. I overheard one person who seemed a little confused at first when the convention was just opening, but after that I didn’t hear any confusion at all. It’s pretty simple. It’s arguably simpler than the standard gender designated bathrooms we see in public that are becoming less standard. And, oddly enough, we were not swallowed up into the bowels of hell, much to some people’s disappointment I’m sure.

Flame Con also provided preferred pronoun stickers for people to wear, and many people took advantage of that. Male, female, gender neutral, and “ask me” stickers adorned many fans and exhibitors. This is the only comic convention I’ve seen do something like this despite people of all gender identities attending all different comic conventions all over.

From my view at my table I saw all sorts of people in all sorts of cosplay. Cosplaying was encouraged throughout the con and people got really creative. People of all shapes, sizes, races, ethnicities, abilities, and gender identities dressed up as whoever they wanted and everyone I saw seemed supportive of everyone’s decisions and openly complimented each other appropriately.

I saw a lot of Steven Universe fans, Pokémon fans, as well as fans of older and more obscure comics. One guy was in an Ultra Boy t-shirt on Saturday and a Timber Wolf t-shirt on Sunday.

Everyone myself and Robby interacted with were friendly and supportive. We even sold dozens of comics, and Robby sold a ton of prints. It was honestly the best experience either of us had tabling a convention. I had my friend Nate get me a signed comic, Emma got me coffee, and fellow ComicMix contributor Molly Jackson got me a Princess Leia sketch from the incredibly talented Sophie Campbell while I was stuck at my table. Thanks, friends!

Streaky the Super-CatMany other vendors I know had similar experiences. Mags Visaggio, writer of Kim and Kim for Black Mask Studios, told me that she not only had a great time but she exceeded her expected sales. Magdalena Fox, the owner of the booty shorts shop Booty and the Geek, gushed about how Flame Con was such a positive experience that she wishes there were more queer centric conventions to vend at. Fyodor Pavlov premiered a printed copy of his webcomic, Bash Back, that he’s collaborated on with Lawrence Gullo and Kelsey Hercs, and he offered new prints as well. This was his second year tabling Flame Con. To quote Fyodor, “Long live Flame Con.”

I cannot recommend Flame Con enough. It’s a wonderful, inclusive time with a welcoming group of staff and volunteers and a great mix of both mainstream and indie comic offerings. It was already announced that Flame Con 3 is definitely happening in the summer of 2017. You’ll see a lot of familiar faces in comics, a lot of people you didn’t know you love yet, and you’ll feel safe and included.

I even got to end the show by running into Steve Orlando and jokingly complaining about how Streaky and Comet were not featured in Supergirl #1. I can’t think of a better way to leave any comic convention than to complain about why elements of the Silver Age of comics aren’t in the comics the kids are reading these days.

Really, though. What about Streaky and Comet?