Comic-Con Queer Comics Programming 2010

By: Rick Andreoli

Today is the start of Comic-Con International: San Diego, the largest convention dedicated to comic books, entertainment, gaming and all the popular arts. It’s also a hotbed of homo activity, which is no surprise because the convention has long supported GLBT programming.

For example, Comic-Con hosts the longest-running panel on queers working in the comic book industry. It’s true. This is the 23rd year for that panel at Comic-Con and it’s got some pretty big names attending this year.

We’re also covering the TV and movie panels you’ll love to see (like hot Captain America and Chris Hemsworth's arms in Thor), the big gay “Heroes Vs. Villains Afterparty” Friday night, and the Wonder Woman Luncheon. That’s right, we said “luncheon.” (Both will be in Happy Trail later on today.)


In the Exhibit Hall where PRISM Comics will be taking up spaces 2049/2146/2148. Prism is a nonprofit supporting LGBT comics, creators, and readers, and works as ground zero for all queer activity at the show.

Signing at the booth will be Comic-Con Special Guest Howard Cruse, creator of Wendel and founding editor of Gay Comix. He’s a pretty frickin’ great guy and you should definitely check out his work.

Who is Howard Cruse? Find out here.

Also appearing at the Prism booth are Charles “Zan” Christensen (Mark of Aeacus), Dave Davenport (Hard To Swallow), Dylan “NDR” Edwards (Politically InQueerect), Justin Hall (Glamazonia), Jeff Krell (Jayson), Ed Luce (Wuvable Oaf), Steve MacIsaac (Shirtlifter), Jon Macy (Teleny and Camille), Brad Rader (Fogtown), Chance Whitmire (Fanboys of the Universe, Fanaticon), Sean-Z (Myth), Brian Andersen (So Super Duper), Paige Braddock (Jane’s World), Abby Denson (Tough Love: High School Confidential), Tim Fish (Cavalcade of Boys), Sina Grace (Books with Pictures), and Michael Troy (The Blonde Squad), among many others.

Tons of LGBT and LGBT-friendly creators are appearing at Comic-Con, including Chip Kidd (The Cheese Monkeys), Eric Shanower (multiple Eisner nominee this year for The Wonderful Wizard of Oz), J.H. Williams III (of lesbian character Batwoman) plus many creators working in books, film and television such as Alan Ball (True Blood), Greg Berlanti (Green Lantern), Brian Peterson (Smallville), Samuel R. Delaney (Dhalgren), Lucy Lawless (Xena), the cast of Glee and many more. 

Prism has set up a Portfolio Review for LGBT creators. Howard Cruse will be among those looking at fledgling creators’ works, along with big name comics professionals like Bob Schreck (IDW, Jurassic Park, formerly of DC comics), Paige Braddock and Brian Andersen. This is provided exclusively for those people interested in applying for Prism’s Queer Press Grant.

Writing Queer: Creating and Writing LGBT Characters
Thursday, July 22, 6:00-7:00pm, Room 32AB

Creating genuine and well-rounded LGBT characters is a challenge for writers, as they must give voice to a population whose stories have been kept hidden for so long. How do writers, both queer and straight, as well as mainstream and independent, create narratives that reflect the diversity and humanity of LGBT individuals, as well as the obstacles they face? Moderator Justin Hall (Prism Comics' talent chair) leads a spirited conversation with some of the best writers working in comics today: Gilbert Hernandez (Love and Rockets), Greg Rucka (Detective Comics), Gail Simone (Wonder Woman), Judd Winick (Pedro and Me), Paige Braddock and Howard Cruse.

Queer Press Grant Roundup
Saturday, July 24, 3:00-4:00pm, Room 3

Prism Comics started the annual Queer Press Grant in 2005 to help queer cartoonists self-publish their comics. Five years and many thousands of dollars later, the QPG has helped out an impressive lineup of some of the best upcoming LGBT cartoonists and remains one of the only grants available for comics creators today. Prism will kick off the submission process for the 2010 Queer Press Grant at Comic-Con. Join moderator Roger Klorese (Prism Comic's Publications Chair) and past recipients Justin Hall, Ed Luce, and Steve MacIsaac as they discuss applying for the grant, what they've been up to since receiving it, and what's next for both their comics and the grant in 2010.

Kevin_keller01Gays in Comics: Year 23!
Saturday, July 24, 5:45-7:15pm, Room 6A

An all-star panel examines the rising diversity in the comics world today as Andy Mangels' long-running “Gays in Comics” panel continues into its third decade at Comic-Con. As mainstream companies DC and Marvel continue to frontline gay characters such as Batwoman and Northstar and hire top-level gay or gay-friendly creators, independent publishers and creators are publishing unequivocal content spotlighting gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered characters, to the cheers of the thousands of fans who are out of the comic book closet. Welcome a top-level panel of GLBT and straight creators, who will give amazing insights and glimpses of surprises to come! Moderator is Andy Mangels, with Howard Cruse, godfather of the gay comic movement; Geoff Johns, writer of Green Lantern, Flash, Brightest Day, and DC Entertainment's chief creative officer; Marjorie M. Liu, the New York Times bestselling author and writer of Black Widow, X-23, and co-author of Dark Wolverine; Daniel Way, writer of Wolverine and Deadpool and co-writer of Dark Wolverine; Jim McCann, writer of Hawkeye & Mockingbird, Dazzler, and Return of the Dapper Men; Charles “Zan” Christensen, founding member of PRISM Comics and new publisher of gay-themed Northwest Press; Dan Parent, writer and artist for Archie and Betty & Veronica and creator of Archie's new gay character, Kevin Keller; and Tim Fish, creator of Cavalcade of Boys and writer/artist for X-Men: Nation X, and Iron Man: Designed Intelligence

Gays in Comics Mixer and Silent Auction
Saturday, July 24, 7:15 to 8:15pm, Room 6A.

After the “Queers in Comics: Year 23” panel, PRISM Comics sponsors this event where you can meet LGBT creators and fellow fan. Plus, there’s a special free drawing of a “Comics Gift Basket” and the silent auction of hot comics items!

Comics Arts Conference Session #13: Queer Comics
Sunday, July 25th, 10:30-12:00, Room 26AB.

Northstar_2Lien Fan Shen (University of Utah), the artist of I Will Be Your Paradise traces the production process of her manga, reveals the author's struggles with the publisher, and examines the negotiations of her "queer" identity and Taiwanese identity since publication. Ben Bolling (UNC-Chapel Hill) looks at how the "truth" about Marvel's Northstar -- who he is, whom he loves, whether he lives or dies -- is not simply written by creators and handed down unilaterally to fans, but instead operates in an ongoing and often heated negotiation between creators and Northstar's gay fans. Harry Thomas (UNC-Chapel Hill) argues that rise of the Midnighter to "iconic, breakaway star" status in the Wildstorm universe has been accomplished by the subtle but consistent feminization of his partner Apollo, curtailing the radical potential of a queer couple by coding them as a traditional male-female relationship. Mark Miner (Poet-at-Large) draws on the Greek tradition of underage partners and rhetorical competitions exemplified by Plato's Phaedros to understand Yun Kouga's manga Loveless, which features a similar same-sex, under-age partner relationship.

We’ll have info about the Comic-Con parties in Happy Trail Thursday evening.