New York Comic-Con season is upon us, and with the gift of NYCC taking over Manhattan comes thousands flocking to the Javits center in cosplay. Some folks drive up north to see the foliage change for autumn, I prefer watching cosplayers flood the city to let me know fall has come. Cosplay is one of the many things New York Comic Con has to offer, but the main thing it brings? Panels. There are all types of panels every year in Comic-Con, and I’m here to talk about one I was recently part of HBO’s It’s Time: A Conversation on Representation in the Comic Genre and What’s Next for The Culture. HBO’s “It’s Time” panel took place in the Watchmen lounge (and I just wanna state how great that lounge was; the lighting was immaculate and the playlist went mad hard in the sensual).
Moderated by DJ BenHaMeen (of For All Nerds), the fellow panelists were Cheyenne Ewulu (of Pretty, Brown, And Nerdy), Jourdan Barnett (of Blerd Vision Podcast), and myself (y’all know who the hell I rep). We got together to talk across the board about representation not only in comics, movies, and television, but also behind the scenes as well. Naturally, there are a lot of questions that arise when diversity comes into the conversation: Is there enough? Is it a trend/ploy now? How about the process of getting our stories right? Who should be the ones to tell these stories of people of color? When touching these topics I love to have a panel of people from different portions of the nerd spectrum.
DJ BenHaMeen was making them questions rain down o’er us, and one question was what can be done about diversity offline. Cheyenne’s answer was not to sleep on how powerful the internet can be.
Had a great time talking representation in Hollywood and comics today with my fellow Blerd fam. Thank you @Watchmen for the opportunity. I’m ready to see my girl Regina King KILL IT in Watchmen! Y’all just wait. #HBOPartner #WatchmenHBO
— Cheyenne Ewulu ✈️ NYCC (@CheyenneYoutube) October 5, 2019
On the topic of white characters being the default for heroes, Jourdan expressed the success of Miles Morales’ Spider-Man: Into The Spider-verse (Yeah, I said Miles Morales. In my eyes he owns it, not Sony) as a clear example of the success and acclaim that can occur with a hero of color as the centerpiece and not a white male, as is usually the case. I should also mention that I am forever indebted to Jourdan for catching the large cardboard cut out on the stage that I tipped over. (I told him before we got on stage that I would. He looked at me and said, “You did call it.”) Listen, I make things interesting alright. This is me.
The Q&A segment went by oh-so-smoothly, as I’m happy to report that no one got up and said, “this is more of a statement than a question.” My favorite question brought up Craig of the Creek: I had mentioned how they had a kid of color always in the background as well as front and center. The question was (not said in any malicious manner at all, ’cause they love the show, too), how do you feel about that when the two creators are white? To which I responded with an earlier point about putting your people on, especially if you know they won’t get the chance because they are a bunch of storyboard artists that are people of color. Craig of the Creek was inclusive in their hiring, which is what the game needs more of.
This was a fun panel to be part of and a great group of nerds to party with. As we went to the Watchmen afterparty, I walked in and saw a DJ set on top of Owl Man’s ship. The big owl lights on the ship were on, too. I… don’t even know what to say after that, man. There ain’t nothing left to say, really. Except ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE (especially diversity, representation, and inclusivity of all orientations across the board in all major media).