On -isms: Con Haul

By | Thursday, April 30, 2015 Leave a Comment
Super Sikh
Here are the books I picked up at C2E2 this past weekend...
convention haul
Two graphic novels and one book by women primarily featuring women, a comic by two Muslim-Americans starring a Muslim superhero, two comics by two Asian-Americans, two anthologies with work by Chinese-Americans with one of the books featuring a gay protagonist, two comics by Black men, a graphic novel about a Korean general by a Korean-American, and finally two books and two graphic novels by white men.

As I was going through the convention, there were some things I was specifically on the look-out for. Misfits of Avalon and Super Sikh, for examples. I was aware of them before I went, saw the creators had tables set up, and made a point to seek them out. Others, like Yi Soon Shin and X-Key, came to my attention via aggressive sales pitches ("Hey, can I tell you about my book?") but looked interesting and different enough for me to pick up. Partially based on the quality of the work, but partially in a deliberate attempt to support creators that weren't white men.

That's not to say I'm buying work that I don't like, or ignoring work that I do like because it's made by a white dude. One of the books I specifically sought out was Rocket Robinson, a story about a white guy written and drawn by a white guy. He happened to have some of his original art at the show as well, and I purchased a page of the story from him on top of the book. Similarly, I completely stumbled across Northwest Passage by chance, and it struck me as interesting and well-executed to make it worthy to support the creator -- again, another white guy.

But I'm on the lookout for views and perspectives that might be different from my own. I can't experience everything personally, but I can use books and comics to tap into the experiences of others. How does the superhero genre look when it gets filtered through a Muslim lens? What are the issues that women have to deal with in fandom? What was life like in feudal Korea?

I spent many years reading about white, male superheroes and if that's what you're interested in, Marvel and DC do a damn fine job in that department. And, while not as prominent, there's a lot of thematic overlap with science fiction as well. So why would I bother looking at some independent guy's variation on that same thing? Give me something different and (hopefully) interesting. I'm sure I won't enjoy everything I picked up equally, and I may even find I flatly dislike some of these books, but it's still worth lending some support to women and minority creators who are hustling in an industry that historically did not want to even acknowledge their existence. Some of the work may ultimately be crap, but not everything Marvel and DC puts out are gems either!
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