LGBT Highlights From Comic-Con International 2013
Comic-Con International, the annual gathering of fanboys, geek girls, and lovers of pop culture, includes a great deal of LGBT and queer-adjacent programming each year.
Advocate contributor Jacob Anderson-Minshall was among the attendees at the 2013 convention last month and has shared several of his favorite LGBT highlights from the annual pop culture celebration.
The Tomorrow People Returns
While there’s no indication that this new version will include the same queer allegories that its 1970s predecessor did, LGBT fans of the British TV show The Tomorrow People flocked to the panel on the CW’s reboot.
The cult hit revolved around a group of young adults who are “Homo Superior” (that is, the next generation of the human species) and have developed skills like telepathy, telekinesis, and teleportation powers. They must hide their true nature or risk being ghettoized (or worse) for being different.
Produced by Greg Berlanti (Arrow, Smallvile, Julie Plec (The Vampire Diaries, The Originals), and Phil Klemmer, CW’s reboot debuts October 9 at 9 p.m. and stars Robbie Amell (cousin of Arrow star Stephen Amell), Peyton List, and Mark Pellegrino.
Husbands Gets a New Home
At the Husbands panel, creators Jane Espenson (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and Brad Bell (who plays Cheeks on the show) revealed that the digital studio CW Seed had ordered a six-episode third season of the same-sex marriage sitcom, which premieres today. Like Comic-Con attendees, you can get a sneak peek — in which Cheeks learns Brady’s shocking secret — here.
LGBT Authors Take Home Awards
Two LGBT titans, Alison Bechdel (Dykes to Watch Out For and Fun Home) and Andy Mangels (Startac, Star Wars, Star Trek, and editor of the award-winning Gay Comics anthology), were honored with Comic-Con International Inkpot Awards,which recognize individuals for their contributions to the worlds of comics, science fiction/fantasy, film, television, animation, or fandom services.
Prism Celebrates 10-Year Anniversary
Prism Comics is a nonprofit organization that supports LGBT comics, creators, and readers. In addition to publishing its annual resource guide, Prism Comics: Your LGBT Guide to Comics, Prism sponsors panels, parties, a silent auction and a booth where fans can interact with their favorite authors and artists, get autographs, or even have notables like Phil Jimenez (New X-Men, Invisibles, Wonder Woman) and Bob Schreck (Legendary Comics) review their portfolios.
This year Prism Comics celebrated its 10-year anniversary with a panel moderated by Justin Hall (No Straight Lines) where Prism cofounders Charles “Zan” Christensen (Northwest Press) and Andy Mangels joined Prism board members in reflecting on the group's history and projecting where it will go in the future. Prism also produced The Gay Agenda, a handy guide to all things queer at Comic-Con, and hosted an art reception featuring fan favorite Joe Phillips.
Friend of Prism Reveals Her Secret Origin
Prism calls Gail Simone (Batgirl, The Movement) “a real-life superhero” for “sitting at our booth to greet her lesbian and gay fans, appearing on our panels, tweeting about us, [and] facing down homophobes on the streets of San Diego.”
Simone works with DC Comics, where she’s been the longest-running female writer on the Wonder Woman comics and also writes for Welcome to Tranquility: One Foot in the Grave and Birds of Prey, At this year’s Comic-Con she was on numerous panels, including “DC Entertainment: All Access,” and “DC Comics: My Secret Origin or How I Broke Into Comics.”
Although Simone has a background in theater and creative writing, she dropped out of college when she couldn’t afford to keep going, and she opened a hair salon. Even her husband didn’t know she was secretly writing about comics, venting on her website Women in Refrigerators about female comic book characters who were victims of violence or whose victimhood was used solely as a plot device for male characters, and penning the weekly column You'll All Be Sorry! for Comic Book Resources.
When Scott Shaw of Bongo Comics tried to recruit her, she initially replied, “I’m not a writer,” but she finally agreed to take the opportunity, first writing Simpsons comics before moving to DC.
Queer Works of Northwest Press and Fantagraphics
Rather than having its own booth, Northwest Press — which exclusively produces LGBT comic anthologies and graphic novels, including Anything That Loves, The Lavender Menace: Tales of Queer Villainy!, Jayson, and Transposes — partnered with Prism Comics.
Meanwhile, Fantagraphics offered another queer oasis, with signings by Gilbert Hernandez (Love and Rockets, Julio’s Day), Justin Hall (No Straight Lines) and Dylan Edwards (Transposes, Politically InQueerect on Tapastic.com), and a wide selection of LGBT graphic novels, including the re-release of Samuel R. Delany’s previously out-of-print love story Bread and Wine, the first American printing of Moto Hagio’s remarkable boys’ romance manga The Heart of Thomas, a translation of Takako Shimura’s compelling trans youth series Wandering Son, and a dozen other titles.
Kevin Keller and Jayson Crossover?
Kevin Keller (by writer-artist Dan Parent, who’s had a 26-year career with Archie Comics) is the first gay character in the Archie universe. During the Kevin Keller panel, which included Jeff Krell (author-artist of Jayson, the long-running gay comic strip about Jayson Callowhill, a skinny farm boy who moves to Philadelphia searching for a job and a man), an audience member asked if Kevin and Jayson would ever meet.
The Advocate then asked Krell about the potential of any crossover.
“Although the question was directed to me,” Krell says, “Archie president Mike Pellerito jumped right in to say he would consider it!”
But Krell has reservations about such a collaboration. He says he “countered with some other ideas for crossovers that would make sense for Archie that I would be happy to write. I mentioned that Glenn Scarpelli, who made appearances in Archie comics in the 80s — he was artist Henry Scarpelli's nephew and a costar on One Day at a Time — recently came out, so it would be cool if he paid a return visit and met Kevin.”
“Then,” Krell continues, “I described the crossover I really want to write: Kevin Keller Meets Sabrina — in which Kevin encourages Sabrina to come out as a witch and leave the stress of the closet behind her.”
It’s not that Krell dislikes the idea of a Jayson-meets-Kevin storyline. “I think it would be fun to write,” Krell admits. “Jayson's cynicism versus Riverdale's idealism — which [would] win out? … Jayson's a cynical optimist, so as much as he really would like to live in Riverdale, he recognizes that the real world is far more disappointing than that.”
Jayson has often been called “the gay Archie,” a comparison that Krell says is “apt in that both are told in a teen humor style, and the naîveté of Riverdale's residents parallels Jayson's naiveté as a young man who flees Farmville for Philadelphia but has no preparation for gay culture or big-city life.”
Mirroring Jayson’s realism, Krell doesn’t even allow himself to really consider a Kevin-Jayson crossover, arguing, “Imagine some kid reading the story and saying, ‘Mommy, Jayson's funny. Will you buy me a Jayson book?’ And she does and it’s not age-appropriate. And then Archie suffers the consequences. That’s why it’s never going to happen.”
At the Bent Con and PECS Drink N' Draw fund-raiser, patrons sketched cosplay models and other willing subjects while Marky Make Up body-painted and airbrushed folks, all to raise money for Bent Con, the queer pop culture convention. Dedicated to LGBTQ contributions in the fields of comics, graphic novels, cartooning, animation, gaming, sci-fi/fantasy/horror writing, filmmaking, and other-related creative mediums, Bent Con is coming to Los Angeles November 8-10.
Comic Bears at the Hole
Fans of Ed Luce's indie comic sensation Wuvable Oaf and comic bears continued their Comic-Con tradition by gathering Sunday at San Diego gay bar the Hole for an outdoor beer bust and barbecue.