I attended the Khan of the Dragon today for the first time is several years, literally just to see Kelly Sue. (I spent most of the rest of the time napping, avoiding the incessant din, or finding something to eat in the incessant din.) She showed up for the Geek Girl Run, gave the keynote speech to kick off the Comics Track, and presided over the Carol Corps meet-up. It was fantastic.
(The rest of the con was less fantastic, plagued as always by zero crowd management, only slightly beastly Atlanta weather, and, by mid-afternoon, copious amounts of inebriation. Still no signs of even lip service to a harassment policy. All of the vendor and exhibitor areas are stuffed into a building by themselves, with no walk-in factor to attract business and even worse traffic flow problems than the rest of the con. Dragoncon is probably the worst big con in the U.S.)
Apparently, some angel spoke in the elevator on Kelly Sue’s way down in the morning, saying, “San Diego is the con you go to for spoilers; Dragoncon is for secrets.” She felt the need to contribute to this aspect of the con, telling us some awesome stuff that I can’t repeat because she has cameras in all of our houses. (I’m pretty sure THAT wasn’t a secret… It’s how she knows when you’re slacking off to send you a #BGSD text.) The takeaway was this, though: Captain Marvel will get more amazing and Bitch Planet will be fucking spectacular.
She spoke at length in the keynote presentation on the matter of representation in media, the fallacy of the “default human,” and the jackass in the seat next to her on the plane ride down here who eagerly explained feminism and the situation in Ferguson for her in “terms she could understand.”
She talked about the invisibility of oppression to the unoppressed. (Relevant note: Chrome didn’t have the word “unoppressed” in its dictionary. Only “oppressed.” Because people don’t use a word for the people who aren’t oppressed. They’re just “normal” people.) A father wrote to her, telling her that his daughter had said she’d never realized a girl could be a comics writer. HE had never realized his daughter would have reason to think otherwise, but now he was starting to realize that our society sections off the parts of life that are restricted from women, while men, the “default” people, are assumed to have carte blanche access.
She talked about how representation in media encourages the represented people to not just challenge the boundaries imposed upon them, but it also encourages them to become more active and proactive. The former is the morally and ethically good reason for such inclusiveness, but it’s scary to the the privileged classes, who see such disruption as harmful to their comfortable way of living. The latter, on the other hand, is a reasoning that shows them that this isn’t just good for the oppressed; it’s actually good for everyone. A society in which everyone is encouraged to take action accomplishes more and therefore has a universally higher standard of living.
She talked about Jess & Carol’s friendship. She talked about the possibility of Carol and Kamala meeting. (She’s working toward it, but she’s not sure how long it’ll be.) She talked about David Lopez’s love of Lila Cheney and America Chavez. (Lila will be showing up in CAPTAIN MARVEL #9, as previously announced, and Kelly Sue’s trying to figure out how to work Miss America in, as well.) She talked about the Flerken. She talked about Marvel’s commitment to representation. She talked about how she’s still learning the ropes of writing comics, promising that her work will just keep getting better. (Which is a daunting prospect!)
She talked at some length about the issue with SPIDER-WOMAN #1 and the variant cover. She said that, basically, people weren’t wrong to be upset with the cover, but she was saddened by the fact that all this negative media coverage was overshadowing the actual book itself. None of the journalists or commenters has read even a preview of the book.
I happen to agree with her, possibly for slightly different reasons. I’ve never really understood why people get so worked up about covers at all. Some of them are nice pieces of art in their own right, such as CAPTAIN MARVEL (2012) #9, but everyone knows that the cover and the contents of the book have little, if anything to do with one another. The book has a different artist 99% of the time, the cover artist usually hasn’t read the script when they draw the cover, and whatever action, if any, is taking place on the cover, isn’t actually part of the story’s continuity. So… aside from attracting or deterring interest on the shelf, who gives a damn what’s on the cover? I suppose there’s an issue to consider if people are seeing you read the comic, and the general social perception of the character, the book, comics in general, blah de blah, but, as a reader, it has nothing to do with my experience of reading.
She recommended a bunch of comics. VELVET, THE WICKED + THE DIVINE, SHUTTER, LUMBERJANES, ODY-C, SEX CRIMINALS, LAZARUS, PRINCELESS, and others I can’t remember, probably because I’m already reading them and didn’t take note. She concluded by saying that anything Kate Leth has even been near is basically a must-read, which I agree WHOLE-heartedly with, and not only because I have an enormous crush on the aforementioned Kate, who is lovely and talented and witty and lovely and talented. And lovely.
My sweetheart and I made a pair of simple red t-shirts with gold Hala stars spray-painted on, and Kelly Sue very much liked them. I got her to sign them, too. Maybe I’ll post pictures of them later. Very giddy about this aspect. Did not take duckface selfie, due to reasons.