The NerdGirl Chronicles: Day Two of Queering Comic-Con


Greetings, geektastic readers! This weekend I went to San Diego Comic-Con, where I saw/did/screamed at/selfied ALL of the things. I mean, not ALL the things—that would require a time-turner, a TARDIS, and at least four clones of myself. Join me on my multi-part journey down the rabbit hole, where I recap all the nerdly things you need to know.

It’s Friday morning, and I make my way into the San Diego Convention Center amidst various Harley Quinns, Master Chiefs, and Princess Bubblegums. Kudos to the hardcore cosplayers, who refuse to let the San Diego heat dampen their spirit or their spirit gum.

First up is “Hermes Press: A Celebration of Women Artists in Comics During WWII”, featuring Trina Robbins (Women in the Comics, Pretty in Ink), Ramona Fradon (Metamorpho, Brenda Starr), Nicky Wheeler-Nicholson (comics historian, co-author Lost Hero), Maggie Thompson (editor of the Comics Buyer’s Guide) and Daniel Herman (publisher, Hermes Press, Silver Age: the Second Generation of Comic Artists).

Trina Robbins, Nicky Wheeler-Nicholson and Ramona FradonIMG_4013

The panel shed some light on the unsung female writers, creators, and artists who rarely get recognized for their role in comics history. Ramona Fradon discussed her experiences drawing for DC Comics in the ’60s, and at 88 remains witty and sharp as a tack. She talked about creating the character Metamorpho and took some time to share her pride in the USWNT’s World Cup victory.

I had a moment to talk to Trina Robbins, who was there to promote her latest book, Babes in Arms: Women in the Comics During World War Two, a history of the women writers and illustrators who kept the comic book industry running while the men were at war. Trina has long been a feminist voice in comics: in 1970 she created the first all-woman comic book, the one-shot It Ain’t Me, Babe Comix. She went on to spearhead the Wimmin’s Comix anthologies, where her story “Sandy Comes Out” featured the first ever out lesbian comics character.


AfterEllen: Tell us about the creation of “Sandy Comes Out.” What was that like?

Trina Robbins: Ah, my infamous “Sandy Comes Out!” Well, you know, it’s funny, at the time that I drew it, I wasn’t thinking, “Oh wow, I’m making history”—I didn’t think that, I just thought, “This is a story I want to tell.” Sandy was a real person, as I think most people know by now, she was my roommate, and it was her story. I thought it made a good story.


AE: Now that we have so many queer comics/web comics/queer characters, do you have a favorite current queer female character?

TR: Probably that would be the Alison Bechdel character as drawn and written by Alison Bechdel.


AE: You’ve been going to comic-cons for many years now—what has changed most about the experience for you?

TR: I mean, look at the women! It’s wonderful, you have no idea what it used to be like! I mean, it was terrible, and if they had a women’s panel, they’d have to dredge up me and then find somebody’s wife or something to sit up there who knew nothing about comics except that her husband drew them.


AE: Did you hear about the Denver Comic-Con panel on “Women in Comics” that was all men?

TR: I was there, my dear—it was four guys! I didn’t know about it until it was over, and the convention people were great, because what they did was they found a room for us, and on the last day we had a panel of women, with some really cool women, and it was standing room only. It was great!


AE: Who is your all-time favorite super heroine?

TR: Well, it has to be Wonder Woman, who else could it be?

Trina Roberts and ChelseaIMG_4018

After the panel, I spent some time wandering the exhibition hall. Between signings, panels, and strolling through the main hall, it’s impossible to see everything Comic-Con has to offer. I couldn’t even see everything queer that the con offered. Seriously, who booked the Scream panel in the same time slot as Sense8 AND Orphan Black? This is lesbian nerd madness. I skipped the first two panels so I could secure a spot in line for Orphan Black, which was a good call as it was easily one of the most popular panels at the Con. The audience was filled with cosplaying sestras: there were bloody Helenas, prim Alisons, and even a couple of Cosimas in traditional Ukrainian garb.

The crowd went wild as favorite members of the Clone Club came out on stage, but everyone collectively lost their shit when a smiling Tatiana Maslany took the stage. Notably absent were Ksenia Solo (Shay) and Evelyne Brochu (Delphine). Creators John Fawcett and Graeme Manson were cryptic when pressed about Delphine’s fate, so Cophine shippers will just have to stay tuned for next season. In other queer clone news, Jordan Gavaris (Felix) expressed interest in bringing back trans clone Tony, who he would like to share more scenes with.

Thus endeth day two of Comic-Con. Join me tomorrow for my third (and final) Comic-Con recap, and share your favorite #SDCC2015 memories with me @ChelseaProcrast

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