There’s a fierce debate going on in comics today. Some might even call it a war. A war between those who believe that diversity and social justice issues in comics are ruining the art form and those who think quite the opposite. Comic book writer/publisher Richard Meyer, author of the Diversity & Comics YouTube channel, has been at the forefront of a band of fans and pros known as ComicsGate. They have been harassing comic creators they are convinced are out to destroy the medium they love with their liberal agenda. As a result, Meyer has since found himself unable to find work from publishers, collaborate with other pros nor get bookings at comic conventions. Earlier this week, he filed a law-suit against prominent comic book writer and editor Mark Waid whom he alleges coordinated his blacklist status.
In response to all this, a group of creators have chosen to celebrate rather than altercate. Diversity Comic Con will be held on Thursday, Oct 11 at SUNY Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT). Among the featured guests are Vivek Tiwary, author of The Fifth Beatle – about the gay manager of the Fab Four; Trevor Von Eeden, DC Comics’ first Black artist and co-creator of Black Lightning, currently a hit show on Netflix; and Heather Antos, a former Marvel editor and the biggest target of ComicsGate’s ire.
“I’ve been promoting diversity awareness for decades before this issue even came up.” says Ramon Gil, a writer and professor at FIT, who is organizing the event. “While I’ve been wanting to put on a diversity comic con for years, now seems to be the perfect time with this controversy on everyone’s minds.” In fact, all of Ramon’s comics work feature minority lead characters.
The “diverse” roster of guests artists include Adriana Melo from Brazil, Dennis Crisostomo and James Jimenez from the Philippines, Jerome Walford from Jamaica, Cristian Aluas from Romania and Sasha Matthews, a 14-year old cartoonist from New York City. One of the early volunteers and the artist for the program book cover is Chase Bluestone who is transgender. There will also be panels covering everything from overseas comics, LGBTQ comics, careers, self-publishing and more.
The host school being FIT, The event will also feature a cosplay pageant at the end of the day where students will showcase home-made costumes of their favourite characters.
Diversity Comic Con happens on Thursday, October 11 at the FIT Conference Center at 28th Street and 7th Avenue.
For more information, visit http://diversitycomiccon.com