by Eric Starker
So you’ve chosen your best, flattering spandex outfit (or maybe just an ironic nerdy T-shirt.) You’ve established what character you’re cosplaying as and from what timeline. All systems are go for your attendance at Emerald City Comicon.
But wait – what do you do if you happen to be queer? What’s out there specifically intended for the non-straight crowd? While you can pour through the guide yourself, I’ve highlighted some picks of particular queer interest.
If you’re NOT attending Comicon, read on as I’ll include off-site events too that don’t require Comicon attendance!
BEFORE THE CON
Gay City is hosting a comic themed Meet the Author event called Drawn to Diversity 2, Queer Sexuality, Identity, and Humanity in Comics on Thursday, March 26 at 7pm. Drawn to Diversity is the second time they’ve featured a panel of queer comic artists during Emerald City Comicon. This year they’ll be joined by Charles “Zan” Christensen, Ashley Cook, Dylan Edwards, and Chris Lange. It’s a free event, and a great way to kick off a queer comics weekend.
AT THE CON
If you wander to the main floor of exhibitors, you can find a bastion of queerness at Northwest Press, a queer independent comics label based here in Seattle. It’s a great place to meet up with folks and check out their incredible variety of titles. They are also sponsors of the Pink Party Comicon mentioned later.
Emerald City Comicon has a number of panels of queer interest.
Men of Cosplay (Friday, March 27th, 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM, Hall J (WSCC 3B))
- Not a specifically queer panel, but if you’re looking for some cosplay tips on how to be the best spandex superhero you can be, this should help.
Diversity, Representation and the Changing Face of Mainstream Comics (Friday, March 27th, 3:30PM – 4:20PM, Hall F (TCC 304))
- Featuring ComicsAlliance co-editor-in-chief Andrew Wheeler and artist Phil Jimenez.
Anthony Daniels: The Golden Droid (Saturday, March 28th, 11:00 AM – 11:50AM, Main Hall (WSCC 4A))
- C3PO is arguably the first gay droid on-screen. Of course, there’s no proof of that, but I see an academic piece on it in someone’s future.
The Voices of Avatar (Saturday, March 28th, 11:00 AM – 11;50 AM, Hall A (WSCC 611-614))
Janet Varney: The Voice of a Legend (Saturday, March 28th, 5:00 PM – 5:50PM, Hall A (WSCC 611-614))
- There’s been lots of talk of the LGBT plot twist in Legend of Korra, and this might be a good place to ask the actors about it.
How Can You Help Diversity in Gaming? (Saturday, March 28th, 12:00PM – 12:50PM, Hall J (WSCC 3B))
- Benjamin Williams from Queer Geek (queergeek.org) is represented along with other diversity gaming groups such as the Lady Planeswalkers Society.
Creating Welcome and Inclusive Gaming Spaces (Saturday, March 28th, 12:50PM – 1:40PM, Hall I (WSCC 3A)
- Donna Prior, the moderator, created a group called Inclusive Geekery, playing board games at Café Mox, which is very friendly to LGBT participants, so she knows a few things about creating inclusive gaming spaces!
Push Diversity Forward: Cartoonists, Comic Books, and the Web (Saturday, March 28th, 2:30 – 3:20PM, Hall D (TCC 302))
- Webcomics offer new opportunities for diverse, authentic content.
Rat Queens Social Club (Saturday, March 28th, 3:30PM – 4:20 PM, Hall D (TCC 302))
- Rat Queens is a fantasy comic series that is particularly LGBT friendly (and was nominated for the 2015 GLAAD Media Award).
It’s a (Straight White Cisgendered) Man’s World (Saturday, March 28th, 3:50PM – 4:40PM, Hall I (WSCC 3A))
- Moderator Bijhan Valibeigi (one of the creators of the game Time Wars) is part of the queer community – learn about the experiences of folks in the industry who aren’t straight white cisgender men.
Finn Jones: Surviving Westeros (Saturday, March 28th, 4:00PM – 4:50PM, Hall A (WSCC 611-614))
- Finn Jones plays Ser Loras Tyrell, one of the gay characters on Game of Thrones. Check him out in person!
The Realm of You: How Media Has Positively Affected the LGBTQIA Community (Saturday, March 28th, 6:50PM – 7:40PM, Hall E (TCC303))
- I know I get a special feeling when I see queer characters in the games I play and TV/movies I watch – it’s still comparatively rare. Find out more about the positive impact of this in this discussion.
Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations (Sunday, March 29th, 10:30AM – 11:20AM, Hall B (WSCC 602-603))
- While queer issues aren’t the focus, this talk about how to write characters different from yourself should be valuable.
John Barrowman: The Many Faces of Handsome (Sunday, March 29th, 3:00 PM – 3:50PM, Main Hall (WSCC 4A))
- John Barrowman is an out gay actor who plays a queer character in Torchwood among other roles. He’s also been known to make out with random costumed fellows at various comic conventions, so keep your eyes open.
Discussing Diversity and Representation in Fantasy and Sci-fi Comics (Sunday, March 29th, 3:50PM – 4:40PM)
- Better queer representation in comics! Queer and LGBTQIA folks are mentioned specifically in the description here.
AFTER THE CON
Everyone will be dashing to Neighbours to attend Pink Party Comicon. The Pink Party has been a mainstay of the Penny Arcade Expo for a number of years. Last year’s event more than doubled attendance and brought in special guest Jennifer Hale, voice actress extraordinaire. This year is the first year the party has a Comicon edition, and to celebrate, actor Kristian Nairn, an out gay actor known for his role as Hodor on Game of Thrones, is the special guest at this new installment of a popular party. There’s also a $1000 cosplay costume contest, great DJs, and all the nerdy folks you’d ever want to flirt with. Don’t miss out!
There are two events of particular queer interest. One is the Rat Queens Afterparty, an evening of meeting comic writers and artists primarily from LGBT-friendly comic Rat Queens. This happens at the Raygun Lounge and, while admission is free, donations benefit Gay City Health Project.
Afterwards, jet slightly downhill to the Eagle for the Comicon edition of the popular party Insert Coin. There’ll be video games (with a comic bent), a cosplay go-go boy, and typical Eagle shenanigans.
Not actually part of Comicon, but if for some reason you’re unable to attend Comicon on Sunday, or weren’t able to get a Sunday ticket, there’ll be a gaming option: Queer Geek is holding a board game meetup at the Raygun Lounge. Play all the games!
This is by no means an exhaustive list (although I’m exhausted just writing it up), so feel free to chime in with suggestions!