LGBTQ Guide to Comic-Con 2016.

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Every year for the past 29 years, the Gays in Comics panel has graced a stage at Comic-Con International, the annual celebration of pop culture held in San Diego. During this time the convention has expanded from a comic books-only focus to include other mediums like TV, film, and games. And the presence of LGBT people, once relegated to that single panel, has exploded to a point where every day offers a variety of queer content and the breadth of topics continues to grow. Here are some of the best things about 2016, Comic-Con’s queerest year yet.

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You Don’t Even Have to Be in the Convention Center: One of the best things about this year’s Comic-Con? You don’t need a ticket to take advantage of some events and panels. Organizers have long recognized that the demand for Comic-Con tickets far exceeds availability (as does demand for space for exhibits and presenters). Over the years there’s been a growing number of events outside of the convention hall — including in local bars and even the public library (see above for examples). This year Comic-Con has launched this access into hyperspace by introducing a new premium digital network, ComicConHQ. In association with Lionsgate, the service will live-stream select Comic-Con panels and make others available later; it will also offer classic sci-fi and fantasy titles, and it reportedly has original programming in the works, including scripted series and news shows.

This is a long list, people! Stuffed with great events and panels. Wish I was there. Click on over to The Advocate for the full scoop.

Iron Man: Female and Black.

Marvel.

Marvel.

Yes! Now I want to see Riri on the big screen.

Tony Stark is stepping down as Iron Man and will be replaced by a young black girl named Riri Williams at the end of the comic book event series Civil War II.

According to Time, “Riri is a science genius who enrolls in MIT at the age of 15. She comes to the attention of Tony when she builds her own Iron Man suit in her dorm.”

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Bendis claims that some of the most die-hard fans have been willing to at least give the casting shake-up a shot, thanks to his involvement with other diverse heroes such as Miles Morales (aka black Spider-Man) and Jessica Jones. He admits, though, that while there are still some bizarrely racist comments out there over Marvel’s increasingly diverse roster of characters, that’s changing.

“There was a part of an audience crawling through the desert looking for an oasis when it came to representation,” he said, “and now that it’s here, you’ll go online and be greeted with this wave of love.”

And from what it sounds like, Iron Man is in good hands with Riri. “Her brain is maybe a little better than his [Tony’s],” Bendis adds. “She looks at things from a different perspective that makes the armor unique. He can’t help but go maybe I should buy her out.”

Via Out.

Carla Hayden: Technosavvy public warrior.

News of the Nerdy kind, the best kind of news! For those of us with a deep and everlasting love of books, of libraries, of books about libraries, and *deep breath* okay, there is amazing news. Carla Hayden is the new Librarian of Congress, and for the first time in its 200 year history, not male, and not white. Dr. Hayden is also an actual librarian, which will make a change from the usual scholar appointments. This is making history, and it’s history a lot of people will miss. Don’t be one of them, read up on Dr. Hayden, and the importance of the Librarian of Congress. Think Progress has a great article up.

Pokémon Go, Native Style.

Vincent Schilling at ICTMN would like to see eight native style characters in Pokémon Go.

Native Land Take Backer-FrumU.

Well, it is safe to say the 'Native Land Take Backer-FrumU' is my favorite character. I don't think an explanation is necessary. (iStock)

Well, it is safe to say the ‘Native Land Take Backer-FrumU’ is my favorite character. I don’t think an explanation is necessary. (iStock)

He may look like the original Pikachu, but don’t be fooled, this character has the power to reclaim any former Native land (essentially all land) and have it become Native land once again… bye-bye tall building behind him in that photo!

FryBread Thrower-Oopa.

Oh look, its a FryBread Thrower-Oopa. Watch out for the flying fry..OUCH..bread. (iStock)

Oh look, its a FryBread Thrower-Oopa. Watch out for the flying fry..OUCH..bread. (iStock)

Not to be confused with the ‘Hoopa” character, this is FryBread Thrower-Oopa – who can only be found on the Rez, hiding among Bluebird flour bags. He can take down an army of Pokémon Go turtles by flinging his frybread that was left out a little too long. Even a quick microwave doesn’t soften these circular discs of carnage. Although they can still be eaten with a bit of maple syrup.

You can see and read about the remaining Native style characters at ICTMN. Unlike the rest of the world, I haven’t played this, but these characters could change that.

Star Trek Beyond: Hikaru Sulu is Gay.

Image: Star Trek Beyond poster, Paramount

Image: Star Trek Beyond poster, Paramount

Sulu Is Gay in Star Trek Beyond and It’s Not a Big Deal.

Or, at least, Star Trek Beyond is presenting it like it’s not a big deal and praying fans follow suit.

The news comes from the Australian paper the Herald Sun, which says that the movie—rightfully—treats Sulu’s private life, in which he has a male partner and a child, as no big deal. (This daughter had better be Demora, is all I’m saying. Because Demora is awesome and deserves to exist in the alternate universe, too.)

According to John Cho, the decision was of course a nod to the original Sulu, everyone’s favorite Facebooking dad, George Takei. “I liked the approach, which was not to make a big thing out it, which is where I hope we are going as a species, to not politicize one’s personal orientations,” Cho told the Herald Sun.

YES! Full story here.

Casting Trump As A Marvel Villain.

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Donald Trump is the latest villain in the pages of Marvel Comics. The presumptive nominee for the Republic Party in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election appears this week in Spider-Gwen Annual #1, as a new take on the classic villain MODOK – a villain, it should be noted, known for his gigantic cranium and tiny hands.

In this alternate Earth, where Gwen Stacy has become Spider-Woman after receiving the spider-bite that got Peter Parker in the regular Marvel Universe, Donald Trump becomes M.O.D.A.A.K., the Mental Organism Designed As America’s King. In the original conception of the character, he was Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing, for those keeping tabs.

In the story, Trump-MODAAK yells at some vaguely brown-skinned people to get “back on your feet, foreign filth!” to which they reply that they’re from Waco, Texas. The Captain America of that world smashes him in the face with her shield, while the aged Steve Rogers of that world narrates, “It’s a weird new world out there, Cap… Full of enemies that look and think and act too much like the demons in my mirror. The monsters men like me have never been able to defeat alone. This nations’ anger and greed and fear are still very real.”

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Full story and some pages at Comicbook.com. Women superheroes? An all too realistic villain? Sign me up.

Cool Stuff Friday

An enchanted forest! Oh, what a wondrous thing it would be to walk this forest. I love things that can make me feel like a small child, completely lost in wonder, and I had that moment a time or two just watching the video.

Stock up on breadcrumbs and magic beans: inspired by folklore and fairy tales, Foresta Lumina is an illuminated, spellbinding night trail created by new media and entertainment studio Moment Factory. Transforming Parc de la Gorge in Coaticook Canyon, Canada, into a multi-sensory installation, the dark forest becomes the canvas for an immersive public exhibition. Step into this mesmerizing environment in our new documentary, above, and join us on our private tour of the magical woodland—we just hope you’re well enough versed in The Brothers Grimm to find your way out.

Open through October 11th, the semi-permanent installation is a supernatural symbiosis of varying arts media, set along the route of one stunning pathway. As visitors enter Foresta Lumina, they’re brought on a mile-plus-long journey wherein light art, video mapping, architectural installation, and more fuse within one seamless environment. Split into seven sections, each folk tale and character arc is represented by a unique multimedia effect.

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Full Story at The Creators Project.

Midnighter and Apollo Reuniting this Fall.

 The cover of Midnighter & Apollo No. 1, which will go on sale in October. Credit CD Comics

The cover of Midnighter & Apollo No. 1, which will go on sale in October. Credit CD Comics

Gay Pride Month ends today, but DC Comics is giving fans something to look forward to this fall. In October the company will publish Midnighter & Apollo, the first part of a six-issue mini-series that reunites the two heroes, who are gay and have an on-again off-again relationship.

“They have a firmer idea of who they are, and they’ve become stronger and more confident together,” said Steve Orlando, who will write the comic, which will have interior art by Fernando Blanco and covers by the artist known as ACO.

The characters, who made their debut in 1998, were gay analogues of Batman (Midnighter) and Superman (Apollo). They dated, eventually married, adopted a child and, thanks to comics, had their history rebooted. Midnighter most recently headlined his own series, which ended in March. The comic, written by Mr. Orlando, was lauded for its portrayal, which balanced the hero’s volatile global adventures — and a friendly flirtation with Dick Grayson, the former Robin — with a domestic life that included using dating apps and being sexually active.

I’ve never been much of a DC fan, but when they do something like this, I’m happy to get onboard. Way to go, DC! Full story here.

By the Power of Grayskull…

there just might be a He-Man reboot.

Kellan Lutz.

Kellan Lutz.

Human thirst-trap Kellan Lutz tweeted about meeting with the filmmakers behind a reboot of Masters of the Universe, prompting the internet to subsequently geek the fuck out.  […] Hollywood has been trying to churn out a He-Man reboot for a while, with several directors and writers attached to the project, but it now seems like it’s finally got some momentum. McG, of Charlie’s Angels and early-00s music video fame, has been working on getting He-Man to the big screen and recently Lutz met with him and producer Mary Viola:

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Out has the full story.

The Case for Queer Superboy.

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…One of the (many) consequences of the CCA and Wertham’s ideology is the reenforcement that queer characters are somehow “adult” and “inappropriate” by default. “What about the children?!” bigoted pearl-clutchers ask.

Yes, what about the children — namely, the queer ones? Do they not deserve the representation — something curative in the face of adversity — that their straight and cis peers get every day on TV, film, and comics?

A great many (though not all) LGBTQ people realize that they’re queer at a young age. Maybe it’s through childhood crushes on fictional characters or an intrinsic knowing that they’re not the gender they’ve been assigned. Many who discover their identities later in life wish they had the language and representation to understand themselves at an earlier age.

Media needs more representation of young LGBTQ kids — Lumberjanes and Steven Universe and Boy in Pink Earmuffs can’t carry that burden alone. That’s why I argue that Jonathan Samuel Kent, current Superboy and ten-year-old child to Lois Lane and Clark Kent, should be queer.

The full article is at Comics Alliance. There’s also The Case For Gay Miles Morales.

Gay Superhero: Union Jack.

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Marvel’s increasing knack for inclusivity is going multi-platform, spreading to the popular mobile game Avengers Academy with their “British Invasion” which includes gay superhero Union Jack.

The cartoon video game, which appears to be geared toward a younger audience, reimagines the Avengers crew as students at a school under the tutelage of Nick Fury.

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In the world of Marvel comics, Union Jack has been around since 1976, and was dating fellow super hero Dyna-Mite when he came out.

Out has the story.