If there was one person who could rival Mark Waid for being mostin-demand at Baltimore Comic-Con 2014, it was Gail Simone. This writer was on multiple panels, gave the keynote speech at the Harveys, and spent nearly every OTHER hour of the convention signing autographs and speaking to her fans. But after reading her first Secret Six arc and her first Red Sonja arc, I REALLY wanted to talk to her. So, I think it was quite fitting that my Red Sonja analysis was one of the shortest I’ve written since the relaunch of the site and this interview is the shortest one I did at Baltimore Comic-Con 2014. I spoke to her about one of the key issues I’ve seen across her work: sisterhood.
She touches on fatherhood in Birds of Prey and if I hadn’t been so nervous from taking away time from an incredibly long line of other fans, I would have mentioned that I also saw fatherhood issues when I read Red Sonja. I think it’s quite important that Gail Simone sees the importance of sisterhood in storytelling. While it’s a real facet of life (I see with my wife and her sister), when it comes to storytelling, we’re left with women fighting with each other and competing for status or for a man. While that also does happen in real life, it’s annoying to only see the negative aspects displayed in most of our pop culture. Many of my other questions about were answered in her otherpanels. (Sometimes asked by me!)
Gail, if you read this, thanks once more for taking time to speak with me, I could have geeked out with you for hours if only I could have poofed everyone away from the convention. Maybe I’ll get Molly to set it up …. somehow.
There were a few cosplayers out on Friday, but today they came out in droves! Lots of amazing costumes! I noticed a few trends this year. First, lots of gender-bending. Especially a lot of female Captain Americas. Second, lots of race/ethinicity bending. This is awesome because something as silly as skin color should never stop you from cosplaying as your favorite character. Finally, lots of victorian, steam punk, and other types of time-bending with the costumes.
I am extremely against censorship, I speak about that more often on my personal blog, but it is can sometimes be a real issue with comic books. Within this interview I mention the panel about the Comics Code and it certainly was harmful to the industry. It is at least partially responsible for the fact that we’re just now getting back to where we were in the 50s in terms of comic book genres. But I wondered, with the Internet around and (in the USA) unregulated, what does the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund need to do? So I spoke with Charles Bronstein about it.
This is an absolutely huge topic that I could have spoken to Charles for at least an hour, if not more, about. Important takeaways from the interview:
If your school district is banning comics, read and distribute this pamphlet and consider talking to the CBLDF about getting some visibility on the banning. As Bronstein said in the panel, as a parent it’s your right not to have your child read something you find objectionable, but it’s not your right to ban everyone else’s child from reading it!
Don’t take freedom of speech on the Internet for granted (even in America!) CBLDF had to fight for your right to have uncensored comics online. Free speech is a never-ending fight!
Comics ratings are OK as long as they’re used as a marketing tool, not imposed from above or used to ban books from being sold
Just like when I spoke with Mark Waid two years ago, he is a VERY busy man at this convention. He is on nearly every panel and is incredibly popular with attendees seeking to speak with him and get his signature. So, first of all, a huge thanks to Mark for taking 5 minutes to talk with me. The conversation focused on the present and future of digital comics this time:
Comic Book Legal Defense Fund: Tales from the Code
There are lots of great books to read about the comics code and why it came into being. I recommend The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How It Changed America. The neat thing about this panel was having Jim Starlin talk about how it did or, often, didn’t affect his writing. It appears that he took the stance that he’d write what he wanted to write and it was up to the editors to tell him to change something because of the comics code. Continue reading →