February is drawing to a close, which means it’s almost time for the first big comic event of the year, Emerald City Comic Con! Emerald City is the premiere comics and pop culture show in the Pacific Northwest, drawing nearly 100,000 fans the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle.

One of the best parts about ECCC is the variety of diversity related panels and events to be found, especially panels featuring queer related content, as well as panels representing accessibility, race, and gender.

Here are some of the best panels to be found on the list. Like always, this list isn’t 100% comprehensive, so feel free to add stuff you think got left off in the comments. The descriptions come directly from event descriptions. For locations, WSCC denotes the Washington State Convention Center, while TCC stands for The Conference Center (directly across the street). All panels require an Emerald City Comic Con badge, but after-hours and offsite events such as Qomix: Queer Comicon Party do not.

QOMIX: QUEER COMICON PARTY »

Wed, Feb 28 / 9pm – 2m
Location: Re-Bar (1114 Howell St)
21+ / $10

Dust off your best Super Suit and fly on over to our Fortress of Fabulous for QOMIX: Queer Comicon Party, presented by Emerald City Comic Con and brought to you by epic event organizers Jetspace Magazine (Pink Party Prime) and Geeks OUT (FLAME CON). Join your fellow queer geeks, along with your host, legendary cosplayer Abie Ekenezar/Babs Cosplay, and hard-hitting DJs Nome Goldie (Darqness Seattle) and Howin 1000 (Darqness Seattle) for drinks, dancing, and the amazing QOMIX Cosplay Contest, where you could win some fabulous prizes. There’s no better way to kick off your ECCC weekend!

BUY TIX »

QUEER COMIC-CON AFTER DARK »

Thu, Mar 1 / 9pm
Location: Kremwerk (1809 Minor Ave)
21+ / $7

DJ sets by DJ Kirky, Robosex Homosex, Cookie Couture. Hosted by Harlotte O’Scara.

DUNGEONS AND DRAG QUEENS GET WET: A LIVE COMEDY ADVENTURE »

Fri, Mar 2 / 6:30pm
Location: Kremwerk (1809 Minor Ave)
21+ / $10

It’s an all-new role-playing adventure beyond your wildest fantasies. Join the queens as they plunge into a maritime mystery on a ship full of perilous puzzles, luscious lip-syncs, and more seamen than they’ve ever faced before. By the time they’re done cruising, there won’t be a dry seat in the house.

WHY IS THE FUTURE SO WHITE? »

12:15 PM – 1:15 PM
Location: TCC L3 Room 2
Futuristic science fiction and fantasy gives creators the opportunity to examine important issues, spinning destructive systems to their natural ends and envisioning futures full of tech for everyone. Yet so often in these narratives, whiteness is centered, diversity relegated to alien races, sidekick characters or set dressing. What does it mean when underrepresented people are left out of the future? What stories do they have to tell and what issues today will make their way to the stars?

LGBTQ GRAPHIC NOVELS: BOOK TALKS »

12:45 PM – 1:45 PM
Location: TCC L4 Room 2
With books like Spinning, The Witch Boy, The Prince and the Dressmaker, and Check Please!, more and more queer graphic novels are being published today – more than ever before. What LGBTQ graphic novels should you have for your library? This program is a set of book talks on the very best.

THE REPRESENTATION BOOKSHELF »

2:00PM-3:00PM
Location: TCC L4 Room 2
This panel will discuss the importance of diverse titles in classroom libraries as well as suggestions for titles to fill that shelf. The participants, made up of educators, publishers, and artists will offer their suggestions on titles that are racially diverse, explore multiple cultural, gender-based, and religious contexts, and will help open the doors to discussion amongst your students about why it’s important for us to not just be different but also to understand these differences.

MIXING IT UP: MULTIRACIAL COMIC CHARACTERS ON THE RISE »

5:15 PM – 6:15 PM
Location: TCC L3 Room 1
From Saga, to Bitch Planet, and Concrete Park to Wicked and Divine, the Mixed Comix Collective explores how Blackness and women of color are being written and drawn in comics today. As comics expand their narratives and characters to be more inclusive and in line with feminist ideals, we have seen a rise of mixed race characters represented within some of the most popular new titles. Join us for an in-depth look at some of the most cutting edge representations of feminist mixed race characters.

XENA, FEMINIST ICON: WHY WE STILL LOVE THE WARRIOR PRINCESS »

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Location: WSCC 604
Xena began as a one-off villain on Hercules: the Legendary Journeys, and soon grew into one of the most definitive queer and feminist icons of the 1990s. We’ll discuss how the Warrior Princess is still a feminist hero, especially for queer women, and how her show carved out space for genre shows like Buffy, Lost Girl, and Wynonna Earp. We’ll also get into what the heck happened with the Xena reboot, what the Xena fandom is up to these days, and why Xena and Gabrielle are still our OTP.

MILK TOAST (MILQUETOAST) REBELS: EXPANDING DIVERSITY IN PROTAGONISTS »

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Location: TCC L3 Room 3
Why are popular movie and television rebellions so often fronted by cis-gendered white women? The Hunger Games. Rogue One. The 100. Why is only one aspect of diversity allowed for our leads? In this panel we will discuss and challenge historical contexts, mantras of white feminism, tropes used to balance diversity, and what we can do as creators and consumers to mitigate it.

REPRESENTATION MATTERS! HOW TO RESPECTFULLY WRITE AND DRAW POC AND LGBTQIA CHARACTERS »

2:45 PM – 3:45 PM
Location: TCC L3 Room 1
The comic book industry and its readers are looking for themselves in what they read. Now more than ever, representation in comics matters. Learn how to write and illustrate people of color, and respectfully depict LGBTQIA characters.

CAN’T NERF THIS! OVERWATCH DIVERSITY »

3:45 PM – 4:45 PM
Location: WSCC 210
Overwatch is making headlines for its inclusion and diversity of various heroes represented across the globe (and moon!) A game bursting with creative characters set in an imaginative world with a vast array of real-world attributes. But how do they stack up against other game developer teams? How successful are they in their message? What pitfalls have they already stumbled upon? We’ll look to dive deep into this world and what it says about our own.

BLACK HEROES MATTER »

4:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Location: TCC L3 Room 3
David Walker (Luke Cage, Planet of the Apes) moderates an incredible discussion between Ryan Benjamin (Brothers Bond, Overwatch), Carl Varnado (Blacks in Gaming) Sanford Greene (Powerman and Iron Fist), Taneka Stotts (ELEMENTS: Fire), and Nilah Magruder (M.F.K) about the roles of black people in science fiction and fantasy and their impact on society.

GENDER IDENTITY: UNDERSTANDING THROUGH ART »

4:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Location: WSCC 611
ECCC is proud to present Anna Silk, the talented actress that brought the fierce and feisty Bo Dennis to life. Join Anna as she talks about what made Lost Girl such a fan fae-vorite, and what’s next for her now that this supernatural drama has reached its epic conclusion. (Editor’s Note: Included because she plays a bisexual character on Lost Girl.)

BEYOND ESCAPISM: SELF CARE FOR GEEKS »

5:15 PM – 6:15 PM
Location: TCC L3 Room 5
Self-care, a concept from Black feminism, has become a trendy hashtag — and it’s often been co-opted and reduced to consumerism. But it’s a lot more than bubble baths and Netflix! Come join a group of geeks for a discussion about what self care means, how escaping to a galaxy far, far away fits into it, why we need it, how it’s different for geeks and how we can make that work for us.

THE POWER OF JOY IN QUEER LITERATURE »

5:15 PM – 6:15 PM
Location: WSCC 603
Positive representation is not only validating, it can be life affirming. Queer representation has moved beyond mere inclusion to many types of stories, but there’s still work to do. Stories such as romance and genre fiction are often trivialized as fluff, but these types of stories that bring joy are especially important for a queer audience. Join authors Taylor Brooke, Corinne Duyvis, CB Lee, Candice Montgomery, Michelle Osgood and Tara Sim as they discuss what it means to be happy, loved, and brave on the page.

WONDER WOMEN: REPRESENTING GENDER AND SEXUALITY IN COMICS »

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Location: TCC 301
Since her debut in 1941, Wonder Woman has redefined the superhero genre. Join Andrea Gilroy and Jaylee Warren for a conversation about the characters who paved the way for Wonder Woman, Diana’s impact, and the superheroes who carry on her legacy of love and empowerment.

BLACK COSPLAY MAGIC: COSPLAYERS OF COLOR TALK »

12:30 PM – 1:30 PM
Location: WSCC 3B
The Must-See panel for cosplayers of color by cosplayers of color that celebrates WOC cosplayers! What inspired our panelists to start cosplaying and what is it like to BE a woman of color cosplayer. We will discuss the pressures of having “that perfect costume” and how they have set less stressful views on their favorite hobby. Maybe we can even create a space that can encourage other WOC/POC individuals to jump into cosplay!

POCS IN FANTASY AND SCI-FI FILM »

1:45 PM – 2:45 PM
Location: TCC L3 Room 4
This is a discussion about an overview of films through the ages and how they’ve become more diverse through time and opinions on why.

PODCASTING FROM THE MARGINS »

2:45 PM – 3:45 PM
Location: TCC L3 Room 5
Podcasting has boomed over the past few years and has become a major source of entertainment, news and creative expression. But there are still major challenges to overcome, from how to get motivated to do it regularly, or booking guests, coming up with topics, getting noticed and being part of a marginalized community. This panel will bring together local Seattle podcasters to talk about their experiences and how they are making their way in podcasting.

EMBRACING BODY DIVERSITY IN COMICS »

3:30 PM – 4:30 PM
Location: TCC L3 Room 2
All bodies are good bodies–but not all bodies appear on the pages of comics. Join writer and editor Casey Gilly, editor Sarah Gaydos, writer Lilah Sturges and other special guests as they discuss the need for body diversity in books and celebrate characters of all sizes.

TAKING FANDOM SERIOUSLY »

4:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Location: WSCC 604
Does being a fan mean you have to shut off the critical part of your brain? Does being a critic mean you can’t just geek out and have fun? These questions get really complicated when being a fan is actually part of your job! Join our panel of writers, teachers, and critics for a conversation about turning fandom into a career and walking the fine line between geeking out and critically engaging with the material we love.

COMICS AND DISABILITY CULTURE »

5:15 PM – 6:15 PM
Location: TCC L3 Room 1
Disability as identity as opposed to mere tragedy or medical diagnosis occupies the work of contemporary disabled comics artists. This panel explores disability culture in the work of ET Russian, Seattle author of the zine Ring of Fire and co-founder of the disability arts collective The Hand; Sabine Rear, Portland’s “blind illustrix” and author of the autobiographical Reverse Flaneur; and Portland’s Alecia Gatlin, author of Joint Spasm, on her experience with rheumatoid arthritis.

FEARS FOR QUEERS »

5:15 PM – 6:15 PM
Location: WSCC 3A
From Scream Queens to Silence of the Lambs, queer representation in horror media runs between the bizarre to the outright offensive. But still year after year, movie after movie, queers return to the horror genre as fans, filmmakers and enthusiasts. The panel will be the exploration of queer representation in horror, the effects of camp, the current problems compared to the past and what we love about the genre.

COSPLAY AND IDENTITY: EXPLORING GENDER AND SEXUALITY THROUGH COSPLAY »

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Location: TCC L2 Room 2
The cosplay community has a strong presence of people who identify as LGBTQIA+, whose experiences within cosplay have been anywhere from good, bad, and ugly. This panel reviews the history between cosplay and LGBTQIA+ communities, personal experiences of exploring gender and sexuality through cosplay, and delves into hopeful aspirations for the future.

ASEXUAL REPRESENTATION IN COMICS »

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM
Location: TCC L3 Room 1
5 asexual people talk about the good, the bad, and the nonexistent Asexual representation in modern comics. A panel of comic pros, creators, and fans talk about what they see (and don’t see) when it comes to ace characters and storylines in comics and pop culture in general.

TELL ME A STORY! THE D&D EXPERIENCE »

12:15 PM – 1:15 PM
Location: WSCC 210
Few games enable friends to come together and experienced a shared story like D&D. Join Jeremy Crawford, Managing Editor of D&D research and design, Chris Perkins, principal story designer for D&D, Chris Lindsay, Product Marketing Specialist, Adam Lee, Story Designer for D&D, and Travis Woodall, Content Manager for the D&D Adventurer’s League as they discuss tips and tricks of how to make a compelling, rewarding shared story for Dungeon Masters and players alike.

SHRIEK!: WOMEN OF HORROR »

1:15 PM – 2:15 PM
Location: WSCC 3A
The SHRIEK team brings their monthly meet up to ECCC, discussing the place of female characters and creators across the horror genre, from classics to cutting edge new releases. Part fandom, part feminist, the SHRIEK hosts ignite deeper intersectional discussions while still geeking out over gore and monsters.

DIVERSITY & INCLUSION IN TABLETOP GAMING »

1:30 PM – 2:30 PM
Location: WSCC 210
Tabletop gaming has long been a place to breed compassion and work on problem-solving skills but even in today’s era of streaming RPG games, podcasts and other services, there is still a distinct lack of diversity. How do intersectional and diverse narratives inform us? Panelists will discuss ways to make games more inclusive and how to make the future even brighter for generations to come.

HOW DO I HUMAN? »

1:30 PM – 2:30 PM
Location: TCC L3 Room 4
Did you know that talking is a skill? That choosing the right words to express the way you feel is actually really, really hard, and not everyone knows how to do it correctly? You can get better at being a human, and we can help. Join Jenn and Trin from Card Against Humanity and the Friendshipping Podcast and their friends for a workshop on How To Human. Bring your most awkward friendship questions, and we’ll sort you out.