Note: One of my favorite guest posters (and fellow Bostonian) Jon E. Christianson is back with a look at the Queer Comics panel from this past weekend’s BCC.
The (convention) halls were alive with the sights of lines this past weekend in Boston’s Seaport World Trade Center. Comic book creators had winding lines. Celebrity panel lines were an ouroboric nightmare.
Boston Comic Con had all the right lines in all the expected places, except for one panel. BCC’s first annual Queer Comics panel, tucked away in a room for maybe one hundred people, boasted a line the convention was not prepared for. It snaked through hallways, around corners, and eventually doubled upon itself.
People were turned away at the door. Hosted by journalist Brigid Alverson, the panel featured four panelists: writer/artist Tana Ford (Duck, New Warriors), writer Jennie Wood (Flutter, A Boy Like Me), podcaster and writer Amber Love (podcast Vodka O’Clock, Holyoak), and Geeks OUT! president and co-founder Joey Stern.
From left to right, Tana Ford, Jennie Wood, Amber Love, Joey Stern. Photo by Ashley Hansberry
Alverson offered a brief overview of queer comics history, noting that societal changes and self-publishing have contributed to the genre’s success.
“What queer works have resonated with you?” Alverson asked the panel.
The point of Holly’s post is that buying works by PoC/LGBTQ/trans writers will literally change the landscape of what’s out there and what’s a bestseller and what’s mainstream. I do sign on to that.
As for the need for more diversity in all books being written, yes to that too. Though, I wish you wouldn’t say I am doing something because “you know that’s what sells.” People think writers do EVERYTHING because “that’s what sells.” People are always reading our minds/explaining our motives—people from every standpoint. Most book banners use the “you do this because this is what sells” in order to denigrate work. My goal for myself is to try harder and do better and make good stories.
But the point remains that diverse writers of diverse books are out there, and by buying their books, the playing field changes. It sounds like maybe you aren’t aware of all these writers. That’s a problem. But it’s something that so many good people are working on now, to bring these writers up to the front of the store/the reading list.
I’m not sure where emayosi is getting that meaning from Holly’s response, because it seemed to me that Holly was encouraging folks to seek out books by authors of color, queer authors, etc., rather than sticking to what “the majority of YA authors” are writing.
I will certainly grant that yes, it’s true that “the majority of YA authors” write books that feature white, straight, abled characters. It’s also true that this is what the majority of entertainment media presents to us every day. THIS IS THE WORLD TODAY.
The point is: THERE ARE OTHER OPTIONS. Even though “the majority” writes about white, straight, abled characters, there are others — aka the minority — who do not. I also grant that it can be hard to find these other options, especially when the mainstream media is busy stuffing our faces with ads, promotions, and the like about white straight abled people saving the world or having romances or just sitting around in ennui having deep thoughts.
HOWEVER. There’s this great thing now called THE INTERNET where you can search outside the mainstream for books (and other media too) about people of color, LGBT people, and disabled people. I have spent a lot of time creating and maintaining websites that make finding these stories easier, and right now I spend a lot of time on one of them, Diversity in YA, and you might want to look at the book lists there to find something you might enjoy.
By buying those books or asking your library to buy them, you can make a change in “what sells.” It is the basic truth of capitalism: vote with your wallet. That is everyone’s responsibility.
From today on Twitter: I often see “I wish [bestselling writer] would include POC/LGBT characters!” But There are other writers who do this. Support them.
Idris Elba for Details, September 2014 Issue by Mark Seliger
Relatability has become widely and unthinkingly accepted as a criterion of value. Where did this start?
To appreciate “King Lear”—or even “The Catcher in the Rye” or “The Fault in Our Stars”—only to the extent that the work functions as one’s mirror would make for a hopelessly reductive experience. But to reject any work because we feel that it does not reflect us in a shape that we can easily recognize—because it does not exempt us from the active exercise of imagination or the effortful summoning of empathy—is our own failure. It’s a failure that has been dispiritingly sanctioned by the rise of “relatable.” In creating a new word and embracing its self-involved implications, we have circumscribed our own critical capacities. That’s what sucks, not Shakespeare.
I talked to Scratch Mag and a bunch of smart people about author marketing. I said exactly what you’d expect me to say.
I recently took part in a panel at a @ByteTheBook event in London. The title of the debate was “What are the most effective ways to market your books?” on the panel with me was Mark Edwards (self-published author with a string of No.1 best-sellers under his belt) and Mark Rusher (marketing…