In the ancient days of anime fandom, it was a given that your very first time at a con was the best. It was all exciting and new, and being unable to differentiate between our own enthusiasm and others’, we remember it as being the most amazeballs thing. After that, we find ourselves going back, not liking the new anime, not caring about the cosplay as much, nothing in the DR is new, blah blah blah….
In direct reversal of that trend, I can’t help but notice that the cons I’ve been to this year are actually getting better. Toronto Comics Arts Festival (TCAF) has a reputation for “this year is the best year ever” and I’m pleased to say that Flamecon seems to be headed in that direction, as well. Under the guidance of Geeks Out, this third year of Flamecon was the smoothest, most pleasant and fun so far. The volunteers were all wearing fetching little capes, which I though just perfect!
As I entered, I was given a special variant cover issue of Your Pal Archie #1, drawn by Dan Parent and written by Ty Templeton, that included Flamie, the Flamecon mascot on the cover. It’s all still very Archie inside, so sadly, not Betty and Veronica realizing they would make a great couple – which is literally the only thing that would get me interested in an Archie comic. ^_^
The dealer’s room is well laid out, with enough room for people to comfortably get to both sides of the aisle.
I began my day talking to Cat and Erica from Margins Publishing, who were promoting Dates 2: Anthology of Queer Historical Fiction which I and many others supported on Kickstarter. I asked them if any of the stories were continuations from the first Dates Anthology, Cat said that a few of the illustration pieces were following on from stories in the first collection, but that what they really tried to do was give people a little more space to develop characters and stories in this volume.
I was able to meet Yamino, an artist I was introduced to by Ted the Awesome some years ago on Twitter. I had a lovely conversation with June Kim, who is an incredibly talented artist and creator of Tokyopop’s manga 12 Days. She’s working on food comics these day that look super fun and tasty. Take a look on her site for some examples.
Northwest Press was repped by owner Zan Christensen, who always has a bunch of exciting new projects on the stove. I enjoyed working with him for Absolute Power!: Tales of Queer Villainy and hope to work with him again. He and I agreed that for a hotel full of queer folks, the drama level at Flamecon was very chill. I ran into a pile of fanart by Janet Sung for Yu Yu Hakusho, with much love for Kuwabara, which made me happy.
Also in the DR was Justin Hall, editor of No Straight Lines, , co-chair of Queers & Comics 2017 and a great cartoonist in his own right. He was doing a booming business. I picked up a decidedly Utena-esque sticker from Kate Leth and a comic called Gamer Girl & Vixen about two young costumed criminal working out who they are and what they want to do. I was finally able to meet Megan Rose Gedris, and we spoke about Spectacle, her upcoming project about a circus, coming next year from Oni Press.
Magdalene Visaggio, one of the creators of Kim & Kim: This High-Flying Glamorous Rock Star Life, was at the show. She and her team are working on selling the book and it’s sequel as pamphlet comics as well as GNs.
The highlight of my foray through the DR was getting to shake the hand of Tee Franklin, the powerhouse behind the upcoming Bingo Love. I am not joking when I tell you that this is going to be THE book of 2018. It’s already gotten a ton of press and ran an incredibly successful kickstarter…because the world needs and wants this book. I strongly recommend you pre-order it. Tee is a talented woman and I’m pleased to have shaken her hand.
I presented one panel at Flamecon this year, Discovering New Yuri, which included so many of the amazing books and anime and cartoons and comics we have available. The room was full and the crowd was fantastic. Those of you who know my panels know that I strongly suggest people not ask me an opinion on a specific series, and I give prizes for good questions. It always works to get thoughtful, interesting and fun questions. Included in the presentation are several video clips, including the full Kase-san animation clip, Kimi ni Hikari. Listening to the reactions of the queer and queer-friendly audiences at Yurithon and Flamecn while watching this was fun for me. It has some amusing moments, but I know that people are laughing at themselves and that moment when they felt that, as much as they are that it’s just goofy. ^_^
For Flamecon I added in Do It for Her/Him from Steven Universe and it became a full-on sing-along, which thrilled me to no end. All in all a very satisfying panel, made even more so by being approached by some folks from Yen Press who were happy to see that the recommendations included their work.
I was able to connect with two dear friends, Kerry and Jude, who had come down for the con, and we had a lovely time at lunch chatting about our various bits of research and writing and conning. It was a lovely way to wrap up another lovely Flamecon!
If you are in, near or willing to travel to Brooklyn, New York next year, I wholeheartedly recommend Flamecon as a uniquely queer comic con, with lots of fantastic, queer-friendly cosplay.
As I was wrapping this all up I had the most extraordinary thought. Every single con I have attended in 2017 to date has been overtly queer-friendly or queer-focused. Queers & Comics, TCAF, Yurithon and Flamecon. What an extraordinary year 2017 has been for LGBTQ comic creators, publishers and readers. A blessing on all our heads, may we continue to flourish.