I had a fun time at NYCC, I got to meet some great artists, a bunch of creators I know from Twitter, meet some readers and hang with some fellow bloggers. Sure it was incredibly crowded, and the network sucked and the food is expensive but that’s just about any popular convention.
But still I left the show puzzled. And what I’m puzzled about is why there is such a dichotomy between who we hear is buying comics, and I mean monthly comics from the major publishers, and who is showing up at this convention, going to comics panels and spending money on comics.
We’re told it’s mostly men that women are the minority; a nice to have that is not a focus of sales.
Certainly a look at the comic creators who were “guests” at the show should have told me what I was in for. As I wrote before the show of the thirty-two “Spotlight Guests” not one was a woman. And less than 10% of the invited comics guests were woman (although since I wrote that post the total number rose from 10 to 14 guests).
But as I walked around the halls I saw so, so many women. The same on the convention floor. And I’m sure many were there for the entertainment panels like Park Avenue or for Anime and Manga. But I saw a lot of women cosplaying as comic characters from Marvel and DC. And, no, they were not all Catwoman and Black Widow from the movies. And flipping through long boxes. And getting comics signed by creators and artists.
And when I sat in the few DC panels I attended, I saw the same diversity in the those audiences. In fact when I went to the Grant Morrison panel (which was a Friday panel but was still crowded, I had women sitting on either side of me. On my left was a teenage girl who seemed so overwhelmed to be there she couldn’t speak; her mother, who clearly was there for her daughter, spoke for her. On the other side of me two women, one a women of color, who discussed with me what were their favorite Grant Morrison works.
And that wasn’t the only panel like that. I went to the new 52 panel on Saturday and I saw lots of women. The same with the panel that focused on bringing Wonder Woman issue from concept to page.
Of course, while I saw women in the hallways and on the show floor and in the audience at panels, I saw fewer on the dais of the comic publishers.
For some it made sense. While you could point to the irony of an all-male Wonder Woman panel it was easy to explain; Wonder Woman currently has an all-male team from editor to colorist.
That’s not to say there weren’t women on any panels. The new 52 panel had Christy Marx and editor Bobbie Chase. And Amanda Conner was on the Before Watchmen panel. And they had Karen Berger moderate the all male Vertigo panel.
But it was still a lot of male panelists. After a while of seeing that it got, well, tiresome. It’s not that I don’t like and enjoy the work of many of those male creators, but going to another DC panel with a dais of dudes … meh. So on Sunday I decided I would skip the DC panels and seek out alternatives where there was more representation. And, lucky me, both Image and Marvel had panels focusing on women in comics.
“Tiresome” is a good word for it. Though I think I like “SWM fatigue” better… but yep, would explain why I used to look forward to SDCC more than halloween and christmas combined every year, and now I can’t stand that show. Why I was so painfully underwhelmed by NYCC. Why I’m sick of the whole idea of bloated pop culture expos that still hide behind the name of “comics”. Most of it is a bunch of straight white dudes celebrating straight white dude culture, and it kinda grosses me out when I think about it in any capacity.
We need to start a con for everyone but SWMs. :P