During the weekend of August 11th-12th I was in Seattle for the second annual Geek Girl Con, a convention aimed at lady nerds of all kinds, from those interested in the hard sciences to My Little Pony fanatics, budding webcomics creators, and people whose life goal is to travel with the Doctor. As a comic book fan myself, I found plenty at the Seattle Convention Center to charm and delight, including some truly fantastic cosplay, super-swag, great media guests, and panels that couldn’t have been better tailored to my interests.
Three of the big-name guests were comics creators Gail Simone, Greg Rucka, and Bryan Q. Miller. Miller, as a somewhat last-minute guest, wasn’t featured on any panels, but all three had signing times–and were good enough to meet with fans pretty much any time throughout the con. I was fortunate to attend two panels each for Rucka and Simone: Rucka spoke at “Capes and Canes: Ability and Disability in Superhero Comics” with Jill Pantozzi and Jen Van Meter, two more stars in the comics media sky, and “Writing with a Y Chromosome,” moderated by Susana Polo of The Mary Sue. Simone and Kyrax2, better known as “The Batgirl of San Diego,” rapped about Batgirls one year later and other topics; Simone also appeared on the “Womanthology Continues” panel with some of the creators involved in that wonderful collection. She had a few more panels and a spotlight as well, but I had so many options to choose from that I wasn’t able to get to all of them–would someone invent a Time Turner already? Simone was also available in the Geek Girl Connections room for sessions with aspiring writers.
In notable comic book news, the creators featured on the Womanthology panel (including originator Renae de Liz, editor Mariah Huehner, and writers Rachel Edidin, Jennifer Guzman, Gail Simone, and Jill Pantozzi) spoke about the second wave of Womanthology-related stories. Structured around topics of outer space and space exploration, the new series will be coming out from IDW starting in September. Womanthology: Space! will feature all-new stories and art from both newcomers and established creators like Ming Doyle, Fiona Staples, and Blair Butler. If this sounds like it’s up your alley, remember to ask your local shop to order it! Another anthology now available is Chicks Dig Comics, a revelatory collection of essays by and interviews with women in the industry, such as Colleen Doran, Seanan McGuire, Kelly Thompson, and Amanda Conner. Several contributors, including Jill Pantozzi and Rachel Edidin, spoke on the panel about this book. A great new comics-related film was screened at the con’s closing celebration on Sunday: the documentary Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines, which discusses the conception, evolution, and legacy of Wonder Woman and other superladies. If you’d like to catch it yourself, look for a screening in your area or wait for it to premiere on public television in 2013.
Hearing such luminaries as Rucka, Simone, Van Meter, and de Liz speak on topics close to fans’ hearts–such as the decision to recast Barbara Gordon as Batgirl and the importance of creating relatable female characters–was a wonderful opportunity and reaffirmation of their dedication to their craft and fans. For comic book readers, it sometimes seems that the publishers we love aren’t listening to their fanbase; it can also be difficult to get your voice heard among the thousands of rage-filled Internet message boards and blogs. Endeavors like this convention serve to create spaces for people to connect, speak up, create, and love the things they love. Attendees were free to ask blunt questions and indulge in fits of squee without being ignored or shamed, and throughout the weekend the vibe remained chill, friendly, and welcoming. Geek Girl Con is a credit to its creators, its wonderful staff of more than one hundred volunteers, its guests, panelists, and vendors, and all the enthusiastic fans who attended.