Monday, August 24, 2015

Fear the Walking Dead was Great, and Here's Why

*Spoiler Alert for anyone who hasn't watched the pilot episode of Fear the Walking Dead*

The pilot episode of The Walking Dead spinoff, Fear the Walking Dead finally aired last night. Within minutes of the credits rolling I began to see social media posts and reviews popping up lamenting its slower pace and lack of gore. I didn't watch the episode myself until late last night, so I went into it expecting a pretty lame show. That is not at all what I got, and I'm thrilled to be adding Fear to my DVR recordings list. So, why did so many find it dull and boring while I found it to be pretty brilliant? In a word, expectations. Here's my assessment:

Monday, August 17, 2015

Panel at Gen Con Goes Awry, Backlash Begets Harassment

Comic conventions have a reputation for having reputations. Some of them are good: A convention is a place where thousands of people who have been picked on and bullied their whole lives for being nerds can come together to celebrate their fandoms openly. Some of them are bad: If you’re a woman or a minority, you’re probably still going to encounter at least some bullying or harassment. This is not to say that being a geek is still the same tired, old boys club it used to be, but women and minorities still often have to prove themselves before being taken seriously as a “real” geek, and representation is still something we have to fight for. This is why seeing panel discussions about diversity and representation in comics, movies, gaming, etc. at a convention has such a deep meaning. Recently, however, one such panel at the well-respected Gen Con in Indianapolis (you may remember earlier this year when the convention threatened to leave Indiana over their ‘Religious Freedom Bill’) has received quite a bit of controversy.

From the moment it was announced, the Writing Women Friendly Comics panel at Gen Con was getting press. While the panel sounded both interesting and compelling, it lacked a pretty essential component – women. The panel moderator, Bill Willingham, author of Fables comics (a series praised for its inclusiveness and popularity with female readers), and every other panelist were male. Thankfully, after The Mary Sue brought this issue to light, female writers Delilah Dawson and Alina Pete were added to the panel. It felt a lot like a win. Rejoicing occurred. At least, that is, until the panel actually happened.

Apparently, Willingham took issue with the panel being modified, and was not at all shy about voicing his contempt. From the moment he opened the panel, Willingham set the tone by making his feelings about The Mary Sue’s article crystal clear:
“This is NOT a women in comics panel…A certain rabble-rousing website with no journalistic integrity whatsoever tried to redefine this as a women in comics panel…”
From there, he moderated the panel with an iron fist: repeatedly interrupting any woman who spoke, refusing to call on women or people of color for audience questions, and defensively rebutted any mention of male, white privilege. Several first-hand accounts of the panel from shocked audience members immediately began popping up online. One in particular, a blog post by Candice Huber, has not only been shared repeatedly, but has caught the attention of journalists and internet trolls alike. In addition to being a woman and a geek, Huber also happens to be the owner of the popular, geek-centric bookstore, Tubby & Coo’s in New Orleans (you can read more about the bookstore in the article I wrote when they opened). She was so upset by Willingham’s behavior at the panel that she has made the decision as a small business owner to pull his books off her shelves. I spoke with Huber to get a bit of clarification on her decision and how it’s been received:

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Pensacola Comic Convention Happened, and I was There

Pensacola Comic Convention (also known as Pensacola Para Con) was this past weekend, and I have to say that despite a bumpy start, I had a blast! Still a relatively small convention, PCC has grown significantly over the years and seems to be putting forth a lot of effort to bring their con to the next level. They had everything from media guests, vendors, live wrestling matches, and even the real BatCopter and BatMobile from the 60's TV show! There were certainly a few areas that could use some improvement, but overall I'm glad I went and I'm definitely looking forward to next year!