The latest episode of The Big Bang Theory (yes, I know) had lead character Sheldon running around, desperately trying to find celebrities willing to come on board as panelists for a fledgling comic book convention. Sheldon and his friends, you see, failed to score tickets to this year's upcoming San Diego ComicCon. Rather than attempting to purchase tickets from a scalper, Sheldon decides that the next best thing is to start his own comic book convention. As the saying goes, if the mountain won't go to the prophet, the prophet will make his own mountain; so while Sheldon's friends set off to find a reputable scalper (ha!), he set off to woo none other than The Voice of God himself for his fledgling convention. Er, not *that* VoG, the other one, James Earl Jones.
Which got me thinking, ComicCon is great and all, but isn't there a sizable contingent within all nerddom clamoring for changes to the convention, and more importantly, to the industries that the convention encompasses? I'm referring to, of course, the ladies. We make up half of the comic book, comic-book movie, sci fi, high fantasy, etc. fandoms, and yet, despite all the money we bring in, we're still treated as an anomaly; a non-entity. Even worse, we're treated with open hostility.
After all, women and comic books don't mix, amiright? We don't debate endlessly over the minutia of comic book canon, and of course, we'd never dream of flying or driving hours to camp for days outside of a convention hall just to catch 2 seconds worth of comic-book movie footage. As this same episode of The Big Bang Theory reminds us, we girls are put off by the boys' strange, pop-cultural obsessions and we have better, totes more grown-up ways to spend our time. Hey, TBBT, didn't you have an episode just last season featuring a heated debate between Penny, Amy, and Bernadette over whether or not Hulk wields Mjolner via the transitive property whenever Hulk wields Thor as Thor is wielding Mjolner? So what gives?
The fact is, we do read comics, we do obsess over comic book canon, we do watch comic book movies, and we'd like to be taken seriously as an audience. We'd like more and more representation in this world: more women writers, more women helming adaptations, more adaptations featuring women as the lead character. Lord knows there is a bevy of superheroines to choose from. You can't tell me that Captain (formerly, Ms.) Marvel is a less interesting character than Iron Man, if not a less obscure one. And yet the alcoholic, jingoistic, hippie-hating, weapons manufacturing war profiteer with the 'Nam-era origin story and the Yellow Panic archnemesis gets his own trilogy, but one of the strongest and most powerful members of the Avengers doesn't have one film to her name. Great.
Which brings me back to Sheldon and James Earl Jones. We're clearly not served by supporting Cons that don't take us seriously as mainstream, as opposed to niche, consumers. And we need to make our numbers known. So why not start our own convention? One that features women writers, both of the Gail Simone level of notoriety, as well as those indy and up and coming writers that need that extra push to get them through the door of the big publishing companies (or just a bigger audience). One that has panels featuring the few, but beloved, female-led films and shows out there, as well as those featuring the female cast members of male-dominated shows. More importantly, one featuring panels engaging in critical discussions of our favorite shows and films; namely, what it is they're doing right, what is they're getting wrong, and how they can fix it.
What would it look like and what shall we call it?