After dropping out of this year's Thought Bubble to protest the inclusion of Frank Miller as a guest, Zainab Akhtar announced the 2021 iteration of her own comics festival, Short Box Comics Fest.
Regarding Frank Miller's inclusion at Thought Bubble, Akhtar said:
[A]s a proud Muslim woman, I cannot in good conscience attend a festival that deems it appropriate to invite and platform Frank Miller, a person who is responsible for the propagation of abhorrent anti-Muslim hate, particularly via his work. Anti-Muslim bigotry is repugnant and condemnable yet has become so deeply rooted, so widely accepted in society that it is not even given a cursory consideration, as evidenced once again in this situation. I cannot comprehend how time and time again, festivals and communities within comics espouse values regarding inclusivity, diversity, 'comics being for everyone', zero tolerance on hate, but all that lip-service evaporates when they are asked to enact those same values.
Akhtar will hold Short Box Comics Fest online from October 1st through Halloween, at shortbox.co.uk. Akhtar promises new material between 16 and 60 pages from each of the many artists attending digitally. Those works will premiere on the ShortBox Gumroad site with blurbs and preview pages for only October, it appears.
The artists attending Short Box Comics Fest 2021 include:
Molly Mendoza, Killian Eng, Hana Chatani, David Lafuente, Joe Sparrow, Cynthia Cheng, Kiku Hughes, Philippa Rice, Allissa Chan, Joe Decie, Jean Wei, Molly Fairhurst, Nicolette Bocalan, Jennifer Xiao, Jana Ribkina, Victoria Ying, Sas Milledge, Isaac Lenkiewicz, Mariel Rodriguez, Sunmi, Abelle Hayford, Arantza Pena Popo, Diigii Daguna, Elle Shivers, Becca Tobin, Mochipanko, Aatmaja Pandaya, Rowan MacColl, Ben Sears, Sophia Foster-Dimino, Jamie Kinroy, Nuria Tamarit, Warwick Johnson Cadwell, Helena Covell, CAP Ward, Sarula Bao, Sathya, Anabel Colazo, Riddle, Lizzy Stewart, Hamish Steele, Bianca Bagnarelli, Steph Bulante, Eve Liu, Niv Sekar, Tom Kneeshaw, Joy Ho, and Sarah Webb
For October 2nd through 3rd, Akhtar promises special prices on the Short Box catalog. She also suggests she may have limited edition merchandise like pins or wall hangings ready in time for the sale.