ComicsVerse at Flame Con 2017

Recently, I attended the third annual Flame Con. Flame Con is otherwise known as the world’s largest LGBTQIA+ comic book convention! Three years ago, I previously attended the first Flame Con. To my delight, I discovered a space that combined two subjects dear to my heart. At Flame Con, diverse representation and comic book culture combine a magically nerdy way. As a journalist at ComicsVerse, I was asked to explain what Flame Con meant nerds like me, and I am here to respond!

ICEMAN Writer Sina Grace Interview at Flame Con 2017

What Flame Con Means

Flame Con is a queer nerd’s paradise. The convention spans two days. It celebrates the best in LGBTQIA+ representation in popular media. Flame Con showcases queer artists and creators in serious panels and discussions. It engages fans in cosplay and fandom. With all the various shows, movies, and comic books out there, one often runs into an abundance of geek-culture. Often one can find canon queer representation lacking.

When it comes to LGBTQIA+ representation, a number of problematic tropes, such as queer baiting or the frequent death/abuse of queer characters continue to leave a bitter taste in many fans’ mouths. However, Flame Con celebrates the best of what’s out there. You can count Marvel’s fabulous PATSY WALKER, A.K.A. HELLCAT! or queer icons such as Batwoman and America Chavez among them.
Flame Con Superheroes

The Importance of Flame Con

Now more than ever, the geek community needs safe places for minorities. In this tumultuous political environment, popular culture has the powerful ability to provide both a needed fictional escape as well as a mirror to validate the existence of people that much of society would rather not see exist. When often left to consume queer leftovers from an overly heteronormative agenda, Flame Con is a wonderland of queer comics and merchandise, as well as a safe place to validate gender expression and sexual/romantic orientations. Here, one can hold their partner’s hand in safety, cosplay to their heart’s content, and consume media directly created for them.

ComicsVerse and Flame Con

In our website statement, ComicsVerse states its mission to use “comics as a platform to discuss social issues of our time like race, sexuality, gender, and inequality. Our goal is to promote positive social change in the world through acceptance and tolerance.” As nerdy journalists, we stand together to celebrate what brings us joy, as well as maintain a critical eye and in-depth analysis that promotes the need for accurate and inclusive representation.

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ComicsVerse Flame Con Panels

At this year’s Flame Con, ComicsVerse presented two amazing panels, “ComicsVerse Podcast: Celebrating Minority and LGBTQ Superheroes” and “ComicsVerse Podcast: How Comics Saved My Life.” The first panel featured Justin Gilbert Alba, Alex Bisignaro, Kat Vendetti, Rachel Davis, and Kay Honda. ComicsVerse members discussed the legacy and importance of diverse characters. These characters included X-MEN’s Storm and America Chavez among others.

The second panel featured Justin Gilbert Alba, Kay Honda, Anika Hassain, and Morgan Slade. They discussed various comics that brought wonder, relief, and much-needed comfort to them when they needed it most. Justin Alba discussing his experiences as a queer man of color, experiencing bullying in his youth particularly struck me. He talked about how comics, like X-MEN, showed him that people the world considered “outsiders” could be heroes, that anyone could be brave.

The Best Part? Flame Con is for Everyone!

Flame Con
Namesake Webcomic

The convention itself is an amazing experience everyone should be exposed to at least once in their lifetime. The convention provides a much-needed service to a specific intersectional community, queer fandom. Queer fans too often feel neglected and malnourished. Flame Con provides amazing exposure to queer media and artists for them.

Here, one can meet and connect with a variety of beautiful and nerdy individuals to simply celebrate the art form they love as well as their own identities. So next year, I will definitely attend again! Who knows, maybe you’ll see me on a panel?

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