The Chicago Comics and Entertainment Expo (C2E2) remains my favorite Chicago con for a number of reasons. It was the first con I ever ran a panel at and for the past two years, I’ve been extremely lucky to have had my panel submissions accepted and presented in front of supportive, welcoming audiences. Seeing that line stretching all the way down the hall more than 30 minutes before start time for the “Exorcising the Spectre of the Fake Geek Girl” panel last year was one of the proudest moments of my life. It showed me that there was a definite hunger in fandom for exploring issues of diversity and inclusion, so this year, I decided to go for broke and submitted two panels to C2E2, both of which were accepted.
One panel, “Glass Ceilings, Missing Stairs & Gatekeepers: Geeks Still Deal With Sexism,” will continue some of the conversation we started with our fake geek girl panel, and really delve into the different ways sexism is still a problem in geek culture, and what we can do to push back. Many of the original fake geek girl panelists are back for this, including Carlye Frank, Laura Koroski, Kate Lansky, Dawn Xiana Moon, Erin Tipton and myself, with Susheela Bhat (who was on that very first panel about geeky women being artists) as our moderator. As always, I’m thrilled to be able to work with these amazing women and I’m looking forward to a lively discussion. This panel is scheduled for Saturday, April 26, 2:45-3:45pm.
The other panel, “Opening the Clubhouse Doors: Creating More Inclusive Geek Communities,” will focus on the need for encouraging diversity and inclusion among fandom communities, creators, and SF/F lit/comics/art/gaming. Chicago Nerd Social Club Founder/President (and a good friend of mine) Jeffrey Smith will be moderating, and I’m thrilled to be working with both Karlyn Meyer (another fake geek girl panelist) and Mary Anne Mohanraj (my former writing teacher who was also on that first panel in 2012). Also joining us will be Mary Robinette Kowal, Hugo-award winning author, former VP for the Science Fiction Writers of America, and someone I’ve been fortunate enough to get to know as a friend. This panel is scheduled for Friday, April 25, 6:30-7:30pm.
Now, you’d think this would be big enough news but being the chronic over-achiever that I am, as I saw the guest list for C2E2 growing, I got to thinking. Ok, pie-in-the-sky, “I’m probably reaching way over my pay grade, but what the hell, why not?” scheming’s more like, but the point is, if I’ve learned anything at all from putting together these panels and doing outreach and advocacy work within the geek community, it’s this: Nothing will ever happen unless you try, no matter how scary it is or how inconsequential you think you are.
So I screwed up my courage, drafted a few emails, sent out a few Tweets, and held my breath. And as of last night, I received confirmation that at least the first part of what I’m aiming for worked out and it’s this:
SCOTT SNYDER, DC’s writer for Batman and Superman Unchained will be joining the “Opening the Clubhouse Doors” panel!!
How did this happen? After Snyder’s gracious and unbelievably awesome appearance at our “Exorcising the Spectre of the Fake Geek Girl” panel at Wizard World Chicago Comic Con, when I saw that he was going to be a guest at C2E2, I thought that there was a chance he would be interested in taking part on a panel promoting diversity and inclusion in geek communities. So I sent him a Tweet, reminding him of the Chicago Comic Con panel and asked if he’d be willing to join us at C2E2, and then tried not to break out in a cold sweat of nerves waiting for a reply. You can imagine I nearly fell out of my chair when I received an enthusiastic answer – I just had to wait for Snyder to confirm the panel time would fit into his schedule before saying anything. Also, this happened:
So yeah. This is part of what I’ve been working on to make our C2E2 panels even bigger and better than last year. I’m unbelievably excited that Snyder will be joining the panel and I really appreciate the courtesy he’s extended by agreeing to do so – I imagine that his schedule as a C2E2 guest is already extremely busy! Now I just need to see if the rest of my
schemes for world domination plans for the con will succeed as well. Keep your fingers crossed for more big news, folks, and in the meantime, mark your calendars for C2E2 because it’s going to be an EPIC one this year!