A geek guy at GeekGirlCon

A geek guy at GeekGirlCon
Photo by Will Harris

GeekGirlCon honored contributions by women to comics, sci-fi, game play, game design, science and tech in Seattle last weekend.

This passion-filled event was about female creators and fans. Organizers celebrated female geeks by giving them special guests, inspirational and insightful panels and a way to share and express their passion for comics, games and all things geeky.

Gail Simone is a trailblazing comic book writer beloved for her for runs on Birds of Prey, Wonder Woman, Secret Six and the new Batgirl series. The acclaimed writer was joined by the “Batgirl of San Diego.” This fan donned the cape and cowl while asking pointed questions to DC Comics about the lack of female representation in comics at San Diego Comic Con last year.

Simone and this Batgirl discussed the state of comics. Simone pointed to the critical and commercial success of the New 52 Batgirl, Batwoman and Wonder Woman titles and how it will lead more titles starring strong female characters.

Almost one year ago DC Comics and Simone brought the paralyzed Barbara Gordon out of her wheelchair and back in the cape and cowl in the New 52. (For the non-comic book reader Barbara was shot by the Joker but became the computer genius crime fighter known as Oracle in Birds of Prey.) The relaunched Batgirl has been acclaimed for being a great superhero comic but a story of overcoming trauma. Simone joined the discussion about the lack of heroes with disabilities in comics and shared how the time was right for Barbara to become Batgirl and the empowerment story she could tell.

There were debates on geeky sexiness versus liberation and objectification. Super Style: 70 Years of Comic Book Fashion was a hilarious and enlightening look comic book costumes and their influences. Why do female super heroes charge into battle in high heels and skimpy swimsuits?

The Supergirls: Fashion, Feminism, Fantasy and the History of Comic Book Heroines author Mike Madrid kicked off the discussion with a perfect real world example: Jennifer Lopez at the Grammys in that famous green dress side by side with Phantom Lady. Madrid took us decade by decade and showing how high fashion was inspired by Wasp of the Avengers, how the early days of MTV inspired hard-core heroines and how supermodels of the 90′s led to the impossibly unrealistic heroines.

The biggest surprise was just how many looks Wonder Woman has had and how feminist icon Gloria Steinem led to Princess Diana from pantsuit (yes Wonder Woman actually wore a white pant suit at one time) back into her classic look.

GeekGirlCon offered huge opportunities for Buffy, The Vampire Slayer fans including a first look at a mammoth new book Buffy: The Making of a Slayer including new photos and rare artifacts from the series. The beloved Buffy musical episode Once More, With Feeling was screened with the chance for fans to sing along. Buffy team writer Jane Espenson (and Battlestar Galatica, Warehouse 13, Once Upon a Time writer) and the stars of her new web series Husbands, a hilarious gay twist on the waking up married in Vegas story.

Espenson is just one great example of female creators making their own success. Renae De Liz was the force behind Womanthology. This 350 page anthology of stories all by women demonstrated the power of Kickstarter. There was a panel of how to use the platform to make your creative dreams a reality.

Acclaimed novelist and comic book writer Greg Rucka was recruited for the Why Men Write Women Poorly, and How to Get a Clue panel. The man praised for his portrayals of Detective Renee Montoya, Batwoman and spy Tara Chace ranted and raved in one of the insightful, funny and inspirational panel I’ve attended at the con. Rucka declared we have the power to demand more strong female characters, GLBT and characters of other ethnicities with the comics we buy and social forums. If you face harassment on the forums then never underestimate the power of a letter to the editor of DC or Marvel.

Geek Girls showed their cosplay play for their favorite characters. For some fans it was a family affair as mom, dad and the kids donned Star Wars costumes. In a gender twist on the Avengers that wowed the crowd, a guy played the Black Widow while geek girls portrayed Captain America, Thor, Iron Man and Hawkeye.  An all-girl version of the Titans was my favorite costume display.
From comics to sci-fi to gaming, robotics and entrepreneurship GeekGirlCom is a source of empowerment and inclusion.

By and for geek girls, but good for all geekdom.

Will Harris is the creator of comicsblend.com, a website dedicated to comics and other geekery.