WonderCon@Home 2021 – Recommended Watches – Theme: Diversity in Comics

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By: Casea Smith | @coffeewithkrow

About the Event

Panel: “Creating African Superheroes for A Global Audience with YouNeek Studios and Dark Horse”

LINK: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQVYuj0dOIA&ab_channel=Comic-ConInternational 

Panel Description: Dark Horse Comics and YouNeek Studios present a deep dive into the African superhero universe from YouNeek Studios with creator Roye Okupe, along with artists Sunkanmi Akinboye and Toyin “Morby” Ajetunmobi. Listen in on the conversation as they immerse themselves in the world of Malika: Warrior Queen, Iyanu: Child of Wonder, and E.X.O. The Legend of Wale Williams – a YouNiverse spanning centuries centered around African stories, crafted by African creators.

Why Watch?

YouNeek Studios has recently partnered with Dark Horse Comics, widening the reach of their stories and characters. Their work is based on African culture and mythology, but is still intended for audiences around the globe. This panel showcases the creators, their processes, and how they got to where they are now. They also express their goal of inspiring others on the continent of Africa; giving opportunities to those who wouldn’t otherwise be given the chance to create comics. They hope to expand to film and animation in the future as they proudly create the representation they want to see in the world. It’s a perspective that isn’t showcased very often in media, making this an interesting watch!

About the Event

Panel: “LGBTQ+ Comics and Social Activism”

LINK: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UuWzcUoj7pw&ab_channel=Comic-ConInternational 

Panel Description: Are comics mightier than the sword? Can comics change hearts and minds and entertain at the same time? Now more than ever, LQBTQ+ comic artists and writers are claiming their diverse identities, writing their own stories, and using the art form to build empathy and inclusion. Prism Comics moderator Justin Hall (No Straight Lines; professor, California College of the Arts) along with a diverse panel of queer comics creators explore comics as a source of social power and community. Panelists include Tara Madison Avery (We’re Still Here, Alphabet; publisher, Stacked Deck Press), Trinidad Escobar (Of Sea and Venom, Tryst), Jennifer Camper (Juicy Mother; founder, Queers & Comics conference), Lawrence Lindell (From Truth with Truth, Still, Couldn’t Afford Therapy, So I Made This Again; co-founder, TheBAYlies), and Anand Vedawala (100 Years From Now Our Bones Will Be Different; executive director, San Francisco Zine Fest). 

Why Watch?

This panel is a must watch for those interested in queer issues and the depiction of queerness in comics. Representation, both positive and problematic, are brought to the forefront. It is an interesting and informative panel on LGBTQ+ representation and diversity in comics.

About the Event

Panel: “Diversity Isn’t the Story: Inclusion and Storytelling in Comics and Graphic Novels”

LINK: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXVxIbTLaKg&ab_channel=Comic-ConInternational 

Panel Description: Rodney Barnes (Quincredible, Killadelphia, @TheRodneyBarnes), Stan Stanley (The Hazards of Love Vol. 1: Bright World, @snakewife), and Nadia Shammas (Squire, HarperCollins 2022, @Nadia_Shammas_) come together and chat about how their identity and the identities of their characters aren’t separate from the stories they create, and how in doing so they offer a richer work for the readers and the industry as a whole. Moderated by Amanda Meadows, senior editor at Oni Press (@amandonium).

Why Watch?

This panel is a good watch for those seeking to widen their idea of what diversity in storytelling actually looks like. While also expressing the kind of pigeon-holing that they experience, the creators of this panel showcase the importance of having someone of a similar cultural background as the character being portrayed in stories.

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