I couldn’t be happier about the increase in female-driven content at this year’s Comic-Con International, particularly since it isn’t limited to one token panel. In fact, there are several sessions specifically dedicated to Geek Grrrls, as well as many that will appeal to both female and male audiences.
While I’m not yet ready to proclaim this “The Year of the Woman” at Comic-Con (especially since I hope we’d get more than a year) I am glad that Con programmers have recognized not every girl is there because her boyfriend dragged her, or there to parade around as a sexual object, but that women are Geeks too, that we have discretionary income, know how to utilize the Power of the Internets to create buzz, and we should definitely be marketed to. I love what GeekaChicas has to say about the idea that women aren’t really Geeks, or that their Geekiness somehow isn’t valid, in their VERY thorough, and must peruse, guide to the Con:
“Handy tips for men (or, How To Not Be One Of THOSE Guys)
• Do not assume she’s being dragged along under duress. See Goddess of All’s post last year on what this feels like.
• Do not assume that she’s new to geekdom. Maybe she is, but then again maybe she’s been at it longer than you.
• Female geeks are under no obligation to date you. They’re there for their own reasons, and they are emphatically not there so that the male geeks can fish from a stocked pool.
• Refrain from classifying other attendees as trufen or posers. Here I am thinking specifically of Twilight fans, the pariahs of last year’s Comic-Con. Twifans aren’t interlopers in your convention; it’s their convention too. Besides–remember when you were an awkward teenager who’d discovered something you thought was wonderful but that everyone else viewed with contempt?
Do not assume that she’s only interested in paranormal romance / Twilight / manga / kawaii / other stereotypically girly things. She’s a geek, just like you.”
Us Grrrl Geeks have to stick together – - especially if we want to make sure that there continues to be content at the Con, and within popular culture and entertainment media, that reflects OUR desires, interests, and fantasies. So if you see me, be sure to say “Hi,” and if you happen to have a copy of Ink-Stained Amazons and Cinematic Warriors with you, I’d be honored to sign it.
Here’s a list of Ink-Stained Amazon picks for Geek Grrrls, that are sure to induce the “Squee.”
10:30-11:30 Divas and Golden Lassoes: The LGBT Obsession with Super Heroines— Why do LGBT comic book fans, especially gay men, worship female superheroes? Going beyond just collecting the comics of Wonder Woman, Batgirl, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Donna Troy, Saturn Girl, and many more, LGBT fans intensely identify with and take great inspiration from these iconic heroines. To discuss this phenomenon, moderator Charles “Zan” Christensen (Mark of Aeacus) has assembled an esteemed panel featuring Marc Andreyko (Manhunter), Phil Jimenez (The Essential Wonder Woman Encyclopedia), Andy Mangels (founder, “Wonder Woman Day”), and Michael Troy (The Blonde Squad). Room 8
1:00-2:00 Spotlight on Charlaine Harris— Author and Comic-Con special guest Charlaine Harris gathered a huge fan base with her novels and stories featuring her characters mystery-solving librarian Aurora Teagarden; Shakespeare, Arkansas resident Lily Bard; and the telepathic barmaid who befriends vampires, werewolves, and various other odd creatures, Sookie Stackhouse. Once Sookie and company moved to the small screen with HBO’s True Blood, Harris entered the superstar realm. Be a part of the very first Spotlight panel devoted to Charlaine and hear what she has to say about what comes next for Sookie and everyone else! Room 6BCF
1:00-2:00 Sony Pictures Entertainment: Battle: Los Angeles and Salt— Two great new films from Sony Pictures Entertainment are showcased in this Hall H presentation!
Battle: Los Angeles — When unknown forces suddenly and mercilessly attack the City of Angels out of nowhere, it’s up to a local Marine staff sergeant (Aaron Eckhart) and a new platoon of unseasoned soldiers to meet the threat. As the invasion hits the streets of LA, these Marines become our first and last line of defense in an intense battle against an enemy unlike any they’ve ever encountered before. Appearing in person are Michelle Rodriguez, Aaron Eckhart, Neal Moritz, and director Jonathan Liebesman.
Salt — Opening in theaters everywhere tomorrow, Columbia Pictures brings an exclusive and surprising look at Salt to Comic-Con today, featuring some very special guests. As a CIA officer, Evelyn Salt (Angelina Jolie) swore an oath to duty, honor and country. Her loyalty will be tested when a defector accuses her of being a Russian spy. Salt goes on the run, using all her skills and years of experience as a covert operative to elude capture, but her efforts to prove her innocence only serve to cast doubt on her motives as the hunt to uncover the truth behind her identity continues and the question remains: “Who is Salt?”
3:00-4:00 Spotlight on Jenette Kahn— For 27 years Comic-Con special guest Jenette Kahn steered the course for DC Comics as its president and publisher, the youngest female executive in Warner Brothers history. Her time at DC resulted in a renaissance of publishing for fans and creators alike. Former DC president and publisher — and fellow Comic-Con special guest — Paul Levitz interviews Jenette about her years at the company and her new career in the movie industry as a producer of such hits as Gran Torino. Room 5AB
3:30-4:30 Entertainment Weekly: The Visionaries— A discussion with geek gods J. J. Abrams (Star Trek) and Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) on the future of pop culture. EW presents an in-depth conversation with these two creative geniuses about how technology, gaming, and global culture are reshaping how we tell and consume stories on television, film and the web. Plus: Is the superhero movie waning, or is it on the cusp of reinvention? And what do they think the pop culture universe will look like a decade from now? Moderated by Jeff “Doc” Jensen. Hall H
5:30-6:30 Geek Girls Exist— Really? Kristin Rielly (Geek Girls Network) leads a discussion about growing up geek, turning passions into careers, and who shot first. Representing the many awesome aspects of the geek culture, panelists Morgan Romine (The Frag Dolls), Bonnie Burton (The Star Wars Craft Book), Marian Call (singer/songwriter), Sarah Kuhn (One Con Glory), Jill Pantozzi (Has Boobs Reads Comics blog), Veronica Belmont (Qore), Kari Byron (MythBusters), and Kiala Kazebee (GeekWeek.com) school you on what it means to be a real geeky girl and even make you LOL IRL. Room 8
6:00-7:00 Writing Queer: Creating and Writing LGBT Characters— 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 (Glamazonia, Prism Comics’ talent chair) leads a spirited conversation with some of the best writers working in comics today: Paige Braddock (Jane’s World), Howard Cruse (Stuck Rubber Baby), Gilbert Hernandez (Love and Rockets), Greg Rucka (Detective Comics), Gail Simone (Wonder Woman), and Judd Winick (Pedro and Me). Room 32AB
10:30-11:30 Spotlight on Moto Hagio— Comic-Con special guest Moto Hagio is considered to be the mother of shōjo (young girl) manga. Her large body of work is renowned the world over, and Fantagraphics Books is publishing a new collection of her short stories, Drunken Dreams. Celebrate her first-ever visit to the U.S. at this special Q&A session, moderated by Matt Thorn, associate professor in the department of manga production at Kyoto Seika University in Japan. (Thorn decided to translate shōjo manga into English after reading Thomas no Shinzō by Moto Hagio in the mid-1980s). Room 5AB
2:00-3:30 Comics Arts Conference Session #8: Where Are the Action Chicks?— Katrina Hill (ActionFlickChick.com), Jill Pantozzi (MTV Splash Page), Adrianne Curry (America’s Next Top Model), Cindy Morgan (Tron), Luci Romberg (Zombieland), Jen Stuller (Ink-Stained Amazons and Cinematic Warriors), Gina Misiroglu (Encyclopedia of Women in Popular Culture), Marjorie Liu (Black Widow), and J. Michael Straczynski (Wonder Woman) discuss why comics, television, and movies do not depict more action heroines and look specifically at why movies starring traditional comic book superheroines are nearly nonexistent. Room 26AB
2:00-2:45 Bones— Creator and executive producer Hart Hanson and star David Boreanaz are on hand to discuss what went down in Season 5 of Bones and the cliffhanger finale as well as what’s in store for Booth and Brennan in the exciting new Season 6! The panel will be followed with a Q&A session. Ballroom 20
3:00-3:45 The Joss Whedon Experience— Every year Joss Whedon, the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Dollhouse, and Serenity, comes to Comic-Con to give fans a wide-ranging and digressive look into what’s keeping him busy. Join Joss and a few thousand of his closest friends for the Q&A. Spoiler Alert! Ballroom 20
4:00-5:00 Entertainment Weekly: Girls Who Kick Ass: A New Generation of Heroines— EW moderates this discussion with Jena Malone (Sucker Punch), Anna Torv (Fringe), Chloe Moretz (Kick Ass), Adrianne Palicki (Red Dawn and Friday Night Lights), and Ellen Wong and Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) about the next generation of female action heroes and the power and privilege of playing young women who are nobody’s arm candy. Moderated by Nicole Sperling. Ballroom 20
5:00-6:00 Girls Gone Genre: Movies, TV, Comics, Web— Meet and talk with women who write, read, game, and perform in arenas that are historically and statistically dominated by men. What’s it like to try and get a job in a field where most of your competitors and colleagues are guys? Can women write men, and vice versa? And what happens when traditionally “male” genres are reinvented by female writers and embraced by female fans? Sex and the City it ain’t! Meet the women who like to play with trucks and Barbies…and Wolverine action figures. And flux capacitors. Featuring Felicia Day (writer/producer, The Guild; actress, The Guild, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog), Kathryn Immonen (writer, Patsy Walker: Hellcat, Runaways, Heralds), Laeta Kalogridis (screenwriter/producer, Shutter Island, Ghost in the Shell, Avatar), Marti Noxon (screenwriter/producer, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Mad Men), Melissa Rosenberg (screenwriter/producer, Dexter, The Twilight Saga), and Gail Simone (writer, Wonder Woman, Birds of Prey). Moderated by Io9′s Annalee Newitz. Room 24ABC
5:15-6:15 True Blood Panel and Q&A session— Mixing romance, suspense, mystery, and humor, True Blood kicked off its 12-episode third season June 13 on HBO. The series, which has earned two Golden Globe nominations for Best Television Series—Drama, follows the romance between waitress Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin, Golden Globe winner for True Blood season one; Oscar-winner for The Piano), who can hear people’s thoughts, and her soulmate, 173-year-old vampire Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer). Alan Ball (creator of the Emmy-winning HBO series Six Feet Under) created and serves as executive producer of the series, which is based on the best-selling Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris. The series also features Nelsan Ellis as Lafayette Reynolds, Sam Trammell as Sam Merlotte, Rutina Wesley as Tara Thornton, Deborah Ann Woll as Jessica Hamby, Kristin Bauer van Straten as Pam, Denis O’Hare as Russell Edgington, the Vampire King of Mississippi, and Joe Manganiello as Alcide Herveaux. (Note: names in bold will be appearing on the panel.) Moderated by Tim Stack of Entertainment Weekly. Ballroom 20
12:00-1:00 Fang Girls and Fang Boys: The Popularity of Vampire Lit— Authors of vampire fiction for young adults and adults discuss the appeal of their worlds and characters. Authors include Charlaine Harris (the Sookie Stackhouse Series), Heather Brewer (the Chronicles of Vladimir Tod), Rachel Caine (the Morganville Vampires series), Christopher Farnsworth (Blood Oath: The President’s Vampire), Chris Marie Green (the Vampire Babylon series), Richelle Mead (the Vampire Academy series), and Jeanne C. Stein (the Anna Strong series). Moderated by Brian Truitt, associate editor, USA Weekend Magazine/USA Today. Room 7AB
5:15-6:15 Nikita Pilot Screening and Q&A— Comic-Con has gone rogue! International action star Maggie Q (Mission: Impossible III) stars in this sexy and suspenseful series as an agent who has escaped from the ultrasecretive and corrupt government agency that trained her to be an assassin…and then betrayed her. Catch a sneak peek screening of this action-packed thriller, and join Maggie, series stars Shane West (ER) and Lyndsy Fonseca (Kick-Ass), and executive producer Craig Silverstein (Bones) for an inside look at one of the most anticipated new shows of the fall season. From Wonderland Sound and Vision in association with Warner Bros. Television, Nikita will air Thursdays at 9pm ET/PT on The CW. Room 6BCF
5:45-7:15 Gays in Comics: Year 23!— This all-star panel examines the rising diversity in the comics world today as the 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! Joining founding moderator Andy Mangels, the USA Today best-selling author of Star Trek novels and Iron Man: Beneath The Armor, are Howard Cruse, creator of Stuck Rubber Baby and Barefootz, founder of Gay Comix, and 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, co-creator of Mark of Aeacus, 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!
Plus, there’s always a surprise or two! Afterward, stick around for the hour-long gay comics fan mixer/social, hosted by PRISM Comics, with prizes and surprise special guests! Room 6A
6:30-7:30 Her Universe: Shining The Spotlight on Female Fans— Ashley Eckstein (Star Wars: The Clone Wars) brings together some of today’s leading women who are movers and shakers in the various fields of sci-fi and fantasy. Looking at science fiction through female eyes, the panel will discuss what kinds of entertainment female sci-fi fans want to see more of, what strides have been made, what has been missing up to now, what kinds of merchandise female fans want to see, and what female fans can do to encourage more of all of this. Panelists include Jane Espenson (producer/writer, Battlestar Galactica, Caprica, Buffy The Vampire Slayer), Melinda Snodgrass (author, The Edge series; story editor Star Trek: The Next Generation), Erika Kennair (director of development and current programming, Syfy Channel), Cat Staggs (artist, Star Wars sketch cards, Marvel card sets), Bonnie Burton (content developer, Lucas Online, official SW Blog), Katie Cook (artist, Star Wars, comics, webcomic Gronk), and Mary Franklin (senior events lead, Lucasfilm Ltd.). Q&A with audience members, too! Room 24ABC
11:00-12:00 Marvel: The Women of Marvel— One of the most talked-about panels from last year is back! Forget Storm and She-Hulk; meet the real Ms. Marvels of the comic world! Join women from every discipline in the creative process at Marvel to hear what it’s like working as a woman in comics today and how you can join them. Say goodbye to the so-called “Boy’s Club” — these ladies are busting down the four-color ceiling! Panelists include Marjorie Liu (Black Widow), Kathryn Immonen (Heralds), Christina Strain (Shadowland), and others. Room 7AB