By Joe Glass
A little while ago, I wrote one of my Tales from the Four-Color Closet about the large number of LGBTQ representation and panels at SDCC, and how it seemed there was nowhere near as much, if any, in the UK cons.
Well, it would seem that someone agreed with me and has decided to do something about it.
Inspired by the article, Biserka Stringer-Horne and the team at Thoughtbubble and the Leeds Comic Art Festival have arranged The Rainbow Age: LBGQT* Comic-Book Club. An informal comic book group style event, readers new and old looking for titles with LGBTQ themes and content and wanting to share their love of the medium and characters can enjoy cake and coffee and each others' company.
I'm loving that this event is not just a straightforward panel, but more of a social event to help fans connect, and maybe bring comics with LGBTQ representation to readers young and old who've maybe found it sorely lacking.
Organiser Biserka writes,
I'm really excited about this because I know how powerful comics and their messages can be, so the thought of even one kid who's struggling with their identity finding solace in one of these books is really heartening.
The other wonderful thing about the event is afterwards, all the books and comics, including my own submission to the LGBTQ superhero genre, The Pride, will be donated to the Leeds Libraries, creating a totally unique LGBTQ comics resource, the first of its kind in the country!
All of this is made possible by the generous people at local comic store, Travelling Man, I cannot stress enough how amazing that is of Travelling Man, so they really deserve a pat on the back and tons of future support from the community.
Biserka says of the event,
I'm really looking forward to it and I think the book collection especially is going to have a really positive impact on our local community.
I can't help but agree. It's a truly outstanding show of support and ingenuity and innovation, and I hope this is just the first of many new panels and events celebrating LGBTQ comics, characters and the fans across the UK.
When making my own comics, the most amazing things for me are not so much people enjoying the comic (though, naturally, that's also great, and every positive review means so much to me), but more when readers tell me about what it means to them, the inspiration if can give them and how the comics can speak to them. I didn't ever imagine that my articles may also do the same, but I am so glad they did. And if this is the start of positive change within the UK comic scene for representation and inclusivity of the LGBTQ community, then any my small part played makes my day. I hope I'll be able to help out more and take part in the future.
The Rainbow Age will be taking place on Monday, November 10th at the Wharf Chambers in Leeds between 18:30-20:30. If you can get there, be there!
Joe Glass is a Bleeding Cool contributor, and creator/writer of LGBTQ superhero team comic The Pride, which is available on Comixology and at The Pride Store. He is also a co-writer on Welsh horror-comedy series, Stiffs, which can be bought at the Stiffs Store and is now also available on Comixology. You can follow him on twitter and tumblr.