LGBT Geek Year In Review – The SDCC 2014 Panel

By Joe Glass

Starting a little late on Thursday night, due to the popularity of previous panel on Trans representation in comics, the first ever LGBT Geek Year in Review started, thanks to PRISM, an LGBT in comics activism and support group.

Featured on the panel were P. Kristen Enos as host, and Diane Anderson-Minshall (The Advocate), Trish Bendix (AfterEllen.com), Matt Kane (GLAAD) and Sean Z. Maker (founder ofBent-Con) as they ran through what was hopefully thirteen moments of LGBT note in the past year in comics and media.

Blue is the Warmest Color – The panel discussed the film based on a popular graphic novel, and how very different the two entities in the different media were, and the controversy surrounding an incredibly graphic lesbian sex scene that even led the the actresses complaining about how they were treated.

Fun Home -again originally a graphic novel by Alison Bechdel that has been transformed into new media, this time as a popular Broadway musical. There was also controversy when a university in South Carolina added the GN to the syllabus, only to see the funding for the program removed, to the exact cost of what the university had spent on the books. Thankfully, stars of the show performed charity performances at the university to raise funds and support instead.

LGBT Characters in TV popular fiction – Looking at the whole range of increasing diversity and representation of lesbian, bisexual and gay characters, they discussed information that Renee Montoya is included in Gotham and with a bisexual lover, and she is very much the moral compass of a show with questionable morality; the rumours that there will in fact be two gay characters in the new The Flashseries, and Wentworth Miller's recent casting as an openly gay actor; Once's Mulan, Agents of SHIELD's Victoria Hand, Arrow's Canary were also discussed but noting that the characters appearances have often been fleeting, or in Hand's case, their sexuality never addressed in the show at all.

Life With Archie – the panel looked at how important it wa to have Kevin Keller as a character in those comics at all, and moreover how protecting him elevates Archie to a level of heroism when Keller himself is a war hero in that title. The panel also touched on how some media twisted the story to make it seem like Keller was responsible for Archie's death, and not the shooter, yet again showcasing how elements of the media would choose to portray LGBT people as villains.

Batgirl – Whilst the panel loved the new look Batgirl series and the new direction, whilst also laudingGail Simone as a real and true ally of LGBT in comics, they did note their concerns over the possible loss of trans supporting characters, Alysia Yeoh. They noted how important Alysia is as a character as she's true trans representation, and not a character who gets gender swapped against their will, through powers or some accident. (NB: on twitter, writers Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher have said that Alysia still has a part in Batgirl…just no longer as Barbara Gordon's room mate).

Sailor Moon – soon to come out in the US in an edition much truer to the Japanese original, maintaining lesbian characters who had been made out to be close cousins in the previous edits, and the inclusion of the Sailor Stars series, featuring male characters who became female when activating their powers.

The Tomodatchi Life Controversy – Nintendo released a patch to 'fix' the game when they revealed the ability to include gay characters was a 'glitch' and the uproar which sprang up when they said that, the panel went on to praising EA who, whilst getting a lot of flak from fans, have actually been one of the most supportive and inclusive game developers ever, with games like Dragon Age and Mass Effect.

Queer-baiting in horror – from Hannibal's strong homo-erotic overtones, to Dracula and their gay and lesbian characters, and the soon to finish True Blood, the panel discussed the inclusion of gay and lesbian characters in more horror series', and how at times it can be problematic as events can gratuitous or can often fall into the stereotypes of gay men and women as victims.

Lost Girl – popular Canadian TV show featuring an openly bisexual lead character, and how the pairing of her and her lesbian lover had been voted Best Couple by a landslide in a recent TV poll.

We sadly had to end the panel early here, a shame as the banter between panelists wa truly entertaining, and they touched on a number of topics new and familiar, helping the audience to learn new things to check out or maybe see something they already knew in a familiar light.

They're hoping to maybe do another of these panels at NYCC, and I really do hope they get the chance.

Joe Glass is the creator and writer of LGBT superhero comic, The Pride, available on Comixology andThe Pride Store. He is also co-writer on Welsh horror comedy series, Stiffs, now available on Comixology and the Stiffs Store.

About Dan Wickline

Has quietly been working at Bleeding Cool for over three years. He has written comics for Image, Top Cow, Shadowline, Avatar, IDW, Dynamite, Moonstone, Humanoids and Zenescope. He is the author of the Lucius Fogg series of novels and a published photographer.

globe