5 Most Disastrous Comic-Con Panels In Recent Memory
5. Women In Comics--Characters And Creators, Denver ComicCon, 2015
Not all comic-con panels are so troubling, though. Some are merely mortifying. An all-male panel isn't necessarily a crime against diversity, especially when there are only three participants. Sometimes the available pool of potential panelists is too small for gender balance to even be a problem. But if you're doing a "women in comics" panel without women on it, and if you've advertised your convention as the only comics convention with a "diversity mission," you'd better have good excuses. Denver ComicCon's excuses were as lame as they come. Its spokesperson, Jason Jansky, claimed this was a "historical" panel, not one that covered the contemporary scene, as if women would have nothing of interest to say about female creators or characters unless they were contemporary. Kevin Robinette, who dominated the panel itself, claimed it was a last-minute addition to the schedule and he didn't know any women to invite-- but earlier in the panel, he had mentioned comic-book writer, artist, and historian Trina Robbins' work and her presence at the convention, and as authorities on women in comics go, Robbins is about as good as one gets. Even the "last-minute" claim is odd, since the year before, Denver ComicCon had featured 10-12 women in a similar panel. The content wasn't much better, including such nuggets of old-fashioned "conventional wisdom" as "boys don't want to read about girls" and "girls get bored easily with comics," claims which don't align very well with current sales numbers or reader demographics. The silver lining that makes this only #5 on the list is that it led to a much improved "Women in Comics" panel at that very same convention, organized and led by Robbins, with Crystal Skillman, Hannah Means-Shannon, Amanda Conner, Marguerite Bennett, Meghan Hetrick, Joëlle Jones, and Emily Singer. With such a turnaround, Denver has the chance to put this incident behind them. #4 on our list will have no such opportunity.
T Campbell has written quite a few online comics series and selected work for Marvel, Archie and Tokyopop. His longest-running works are Fans, Penny and Aggie-- and his current project with co-writer Phil Kahn, Guilded Age.