It has been waaaaaaay too long since I’ve written a blog post, BUT I’m crossing my fingers and hoping that the next couple of months will totally eviscerate by blogger’s block. I have tons of nerdiness planned: LA Times Festival of Books, YALLWEST, FanimeCon and lots of time to read/be crafty during summer vacation.
I went to WonderCon with my friends last week, my first con since MetroCon, which I attended before starting at my new university.
Unfortunately, our preferred day (Saturday) was sold out, so we only attended on Sunday. The last day at every con is typically slow, but we still had a great time!
Margaret Stohl’s hella awesome feminist panel
To be honest, I only went to one panel on Sunday because I was underwhelmed by the lack of Marvel programming (sorry DC fans), and my friends pretty much only wanted to go to Star Wars panels. The panel I did attend was totally worth it, however, because it was “Beyond Marvel’s Black Widow with Margaret Stohl” *cue YA fans screaming*.
Margaret, along with moderator and comic book writer Mark Waid, talked a lot about women in comics and in the comic book industry. Here are some particularly quotable moments:
“Oh, look, the stripper’s here.”
–Margaret Stohl, on comments toward women in male-dominated industries (e.g. video games)
Although Margaret said she has had more than her fair share of sexism over the years, female (and male) comic book fans will be relieved to know that the comic book industry — contrary to how it might be perceived — gave her a “warm welcome.”
“[The Marvel Creative Summit] is a little bit like the first day of school [because] you can see the way everyone sits together … It’s Sana [Amanat], me and 40 guys … The room is full of mad geniuses, well, full of mad people.”
–Margaret Stohl, describing the Marvel Creative Summit
As a person who constantly worries if she’s overdressing, underdressing or just plain messing up, I really appreciated one particular anecdote: Margaret, on her way to the summit, started worrying about looking too feminine because her shirt had a yarn flower on it, so she took it off and “tried to look as ‘dude-y’ as possible.” Fortunately, her worried turned out to be totally unnecessary.
Still, she and many other females have struggled with being the only woman in the room before, and those experiences are no different for superheroines.
“Captain Marvel fought through being the only female in the room and [succeeds].”
–Margaret Stohl, on Carol Danvers, the protagonist of her new comics
Margaret and Mark discussed some of the more troubling *cough* sexist *cough* moments in comic books of the past:
“Betty and Veronica were two prizes to be won, they were two objects … to boost Archie’s ego”
–Mark Waid, on “Archie”
“Yeah, at least Natasha could kill people. She was in fishnets, but at least she could kill people.”
–Margaret Stohl, on Black Widow
Naturally, the panel couldn’t end without Margaret explaining what it’s like writing about the iconic Black Widow:
You read everything … and discover the nature of her heart and why she does things.”
–Margaret Stohl, on preparing to write Black Widow
And, somewhere near the end of the panel, she discussed the differences between writing YA lit and comics and her weaknesses (if you believe she has any):
“I use too many words in comics … I’m not very good at it …
[and] I have a slightly deranged Tony Stark making bad jokes on my shoulder at all times.”
–Margaret Stohl, on her weaknesses as a writer
Sadly, we ran out of time before Mark could call on me to ask my question, but I didn’t stay upset for long. Margaret, graciously signed every book and comic she had with her and passed them out to attendees who had raised their hands.
Meeting Margaret Stohl
I can’t even begin to describe how great it was to meet Margaret Stohl. She is fantastically witty and great at engaging with her fans. For half of the panel, she was walking around the room, handing out autographed work and taking photos with fans. At the table, she gave fans plenty of talking time and walked around the table for each photo.
Considering I could barely utter a sentence the first time I met an author when I was a sophomore in high school, I’m still amazed by the opportunity to ask what it’s like to write a book with strong female protagonists knowing the effect it can have on young women, especially given YA’s reputation for increasing diversity. We also chatted a bit about con culture, the differences between the YA and comic book communities and how awesome it would be if YA fans started cosplaying their favorite characters.
Now that I’ve finished reading “Black Widow: Forever Red”, I hope I’ll have the chance to talk to her again at YALLWEST because I definitely have more questions about Natasha and Ava!
I wasn’t planning on buying any books this semester because they’re a hassle to pack up for summer vacation, but I couldn’t resist getting a copy to have signed.
Keep kicking butt!
–Margaret Stohl, in my copy of “Black Widow: Forever Red”
Plus C.B. Lee!
While in line for the signing, I also had a wonderful conversation with someone who turned out to be C.B. Lee, a YA author.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with her, she is a super personable person an an advocate for diversity in fiction. Her novel “Not Your Sidekick” features a protagonist who is Chinese-Vietnamese-American, female and bisexual. I added it to my TBR right after we parted ways!
If you’re super cool (i.e. a big X-Men fan), you’ve probably already realized that I chose to cosplay Jubilee at WonderCon. The rest of my group cosplayed Star Wars characters, but I’ve been wanting to cosplay Jubilee since I saw “X-Men: Apocalypse”.
First of all, her costume design in that movie is totally 80’s and hella cute! And, if that’s not a good enough reason to cosplay a character, I also admire her fun attitude, ability to throw fireworks, delightful comebacks and great storyline in the comics. I also love that Lana Condor who plays her in the movie, is Vietnamese like me.
I wasn’t stopped for photos half as many times as I was when I cosplayed Sailor Mars, but I heard “Hey, Jubilee!” all day. A bunch of people told me I look just like Lana Condor, which is so flattering because she looks beautiful, especially in her Jubilee wardrobe, and I always strive to represent the characters I cosplay well.
Although, I think one of the day’s best highlight was the guy who jokingly — at least, I think he was joking — hit on me by saying, “Is it just me, or do you see some sparks flying? *gestures at the two of us*”
I post cosplay photo shoots and lots of con-related stuff on my Tumblr, but I’ve also provided a few photos from WonderCon here for your viewing pleasure (click to view larger images):
More cosplay photography fun
Despite all of the photogenic locations Los Angeles has to offer, my precious DSLR hasn’t gotten a ton of use since the school year started. WonderCon was a great opportunity to refresh my portrait skills, thanks to Star Wars-obsessed friends and Haven, who is shown below as Suzie Q (“Jojo’s Bizarre Adventures”).
If you’d like to see more of Haven’s cosplay, you can find her on Instagram. And, you can find Alex (Han Solo) on Tumblr.