x programming | GeekGirlCon - Part 3

Make Career Connections at GeekGirlCon ‘14

Written by GeekGirlConnections Manager Susie Rantz.

Did you know: In communities with a higher percentage of women working in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), high school girls are as likely as boys to take physics (and sometimes more likely)? Yet, women comprised just 28 percent of science and engineering workers in 2010.

Did you know: Up to 80 percent of jobs are landed through networking? Connecting with mentors can be a great boost for your career.

Did you know: As early as second grade, kids begin to associate math words with boys? As a “mathlete” in high school, this breaks my heart.

Did you know: Since our first convention in 2011, GeekGirlCon has been committed to drawing attention to these disparities? Last year, we introduced the GeekGirlConnections Program as a way to help elevate STEM career opportunities for women. The program was such a hit, we are continuing it for GeekGirlCon ‘14.

GeekGirlConnections is dedicated to providing career mentorship and networking opportunities for women and girls. The program aims to help connect women with professionals in their desired career fields, as well as encourage women and girls to pursue their passions, develop leadership skills, and enter careers where women are currently underrepresented.

Guest Contributor
“Rock On!”

GeekGirlCon ’14 Don’t miss panel: Double Others

Photo by Serene Careaga. L-R: Lali DeRosier (@LalSox), Raychelle Burks  (@DrRubidium), Danielle Lee (@DNLee5), Stephen Granade (@Sargent), and Kristine Hassell (@GermanCityGirl).

Photo by Serene Careaga. L-R: Lali DeRosier (@LalSox), Raychelle Burks (@DrRubidium), Danielle Lee (@DNLee5), Stephen Granade (@Sargent), and Kristine Hassell (@GermanCityGirl).

Written by Adrienne M. Roehrich, Manager of Editorial Services

Last year, GeekGirlCon held the excellent panel “The Changing Role of the Character of Color” with panelists Danielle Lee, Kristine Hassell, Lali Derosier, Raychelle Burks, and Stephen Graanade. I had the privilege of attending this panel in its incarnations both at GeekGirlCon ‘13 and Emerald City ComicCon ‘14.

At GeekGirlCon ‘13, “The Changing Character of Color” panel featured three panelists from The Curly Haired Mafia, who review sci-fi and horror films viewable on youtube. The Curly-Haired Mafia examines these movies from the perspective of people of color (POC). How are characters developed? What tropes exist and how are they carried out in these movies? How has screen time for POC changed since really early movies? Has it evolved? Are advances authentic or are they just pandering?

At #GGC13, the panel and attendees went through a number of movies and television from the 1950s to current day, examining them in the light of the previous questions. It was educational and fun! The panel discussed making changes at at source – Hollywood producers and actors. It matters who is attending film school, because they make films with their friends. It matters where films are made (US vs UK).

At both conventions, this panel could have gone for hours and remained as informative, educational, and entertaining as it was for the short 50 minutes allotted.

GeekGirlCon ‘14 is delighted to have panelists Kristine Hassell, Raychelle Burks, and Stephen Granade return, along with Adverbia, Ashlee Blackwell, and Desiree Schell with the panel “Double Others.” This time the panel asks, “What if the character isn’t human? What if they’re non-human and a character of color? Does being non-human (alien, robot, vampire, werewolf, etc.) heighten or negate racial identities?”

They have a whole new slate of movies and television to discuss with these new questions. You don’t want to miss this panel. I sure won’t!

Buy your passes today!

Eric Mack
“Rock On!”

GeekGirlCon ’14: Our Staff Presents…

Written by Adrienne M. Roehrich, Manager of Editorial Services

GeekGirlCon’s all-volunteer staff works all-year round to throw a fun event for our community, our annual GeekGirlCon convention. But we also love to contribute to the programming at the con. This is a selection of the panels our staff (and former staff) are contributing to.

We’ve got science coming your way with “Notable Women in Science,” which I am presenting from my role as the chemistry editor at Double X Science.

It’s no secret GeekGirlCon loves comics! Current GeekGirlConnections Manager Susie Rantz and former staff Adrienne Fox and Sabrina Taylor discuss where to start with reading comics in “Curious About Comics? We’ve Got You Covered!”

Andy Munich runs games at GeekGirlCon ’14.

We also love games! Play RPGs with Andy – our Gaming Events Coordinator Andy Munich, that is! New and seasoned RPG gamers are welcome.

Of course the geeks on our staff speak up as consumers of pop culture. Manager of Programming, Meg Humphrey, along with other panelists discuss how to speak out both positively and effectively, using the diversity in the Star Wars franchise as a framework in “Fangirls Find the Force: Star Wars, from Episode VII and Beyond.”

There are no fake geek girls, and Manager of Programming Meg Humphrey, Merchandise Manager Shubz Blalack, Board Member Terra Olsen, and former staffer Tammy Vince Cruz tell us about their project, “The Unicorn Files: Debunking the Myth of the Female Geek, One Geek at a Time.”

Meg Humphrey (left) and Terra Clark Olsen (right) at GeekGirlCon '13

Meg Humphrey (left) and Terra Clark Olsen (right) at GeekGirlCon ’13

With the prevalence of the assertion of fake geek girls, there are pros and cons to self-identifying as a geek. No “geek cred” is required to attend the panel “Geek Identity: Exploring What it Means to be a Geek in Today’s Society” with Manager of Programming Meg Humphrey and Board Member Terra Olsen.

Sometimes you want to take the geeky thing you love and do it for a living. Join four geeky women including GeekGirlCon co-founder Jennifer K. Stuller discussing just that in “Geeky Careers: Advice from Four Geek Girls!”

Another group of women are doing that geeky thing they love for a living by creating nerd music. At “Women in Nerd Music,” Merchandise Manager Shubz Blalack is joined by other nerdy artists to talk about getting started with creating nerd music.

Speaking of careers, former staffer Anastacia Visneski presents along with other panelists all about “Careers You Never Knew You Wanted.”

And if you are a lover of words, join former staffer Anastacia Visneski with other panelists who have careers with words to chat all about those careers at “Women in Words: Presented by the Northwest Independent Editors Guild.”

After finding out all about these careers, you can brush up your resume with “One-on-One Resume Review” with GeekGirlConnections Manager Susie Rantz and other helpful panelists.

Sometimes the life of a geek is not all fun and games. The geek community can be a hostile and exclusionary space for people of size. Visual Merchandise Designer Amber Bushnell and former staffer Rachelle Abellar cover just this topic in “Fatness & Fandom.”

Race is an additional place of exclusion in the geek community. “Is 2014 the Year of the Asian?” presented by Social Media Manager Kristine Hassell delves into Asian and Asian-American representation in media history and the present day.


Raychelle Burks at GeekGirlCon ’13.

What about non-human characters that are also characters of color? How does that affect racial identities? “Double Others” will look at exactly those questions, with Social Media Manager Kristine Hassell and DIY Science Zone Project Manager Raychelle Burks.

Former staffer Donna “Dancia” Prior also discusses making the geek community inclusive and friendly with “Geeks Got Your Back!”

GeekGirlCon staffers cosplay as well! I am joined by other panelists presenting a panel about “Cosplay, Parenting, and the Word ‘Appropriate.’”

We can’t wait to see you at GeekGirlCon ‘14! Get your passes today and join us at these amazing panels!


Eric Mack
“Rock On!”

GeekGirlCon ’13 Programming Round-Up: Geeks With Disabilities

Written by Adrienne M. Roehrich, Manager of Editorial Services

Not too many weeks ago, GeekGirlCon ‘13 was held in Seattle, WA. ‘Geeks With Disabilities’ was a late addition to the programming at GeekGirlCon ‘13. Half-blind and half-deaf geek Elsa Sjunneson-Henry led the panel with ally Stevi Costa, a graduate student in literature who’s work focuses on disability in literature.

In case you missed the panel description on the Fresh Sheet: “From cosplay to comics to literature to superheroines, Geeks with Disabilities explores both the real life experiences of persons with disabilities (both visible and invisible) and their fictional media counterparts.”

Elsa Sjunneson-Henry in cosplay at GeekGirlCon ‘13. Image courtesy of Elsa Sjunneson-Henry.

Elsa Sjunneson-Henry in cosplay at GeekGirlCon ‘13. Image courtesy of Elsa Sjunneson-Henry.

First up, they tackled, “Why we should be talking about disability in pop culture. Why is it important to us, why is it important to have at a con like this.”

The use of disability in mainstream media is often used as a narrative crutch or as inspiration porn, and is usually something that happens to a character, not as a birth trait (unless the character is supernatural or a superhero.) And then the focus is on overcoming the disability. Stevi points out that an able-bodied viewer then reads that as an inspiration for overcoming obstacles. Elsa says as a person with a disability, she “dreams about things I want to do, not the things I can’t do.”

This led into a discussion about Glee, a show they love to “hate-watch.” Glee was chosen as a place to start because it is promoting a neo-liberal, multi-diversity, body-positive, all-inclusive environment. Critiques included having an able-bodied person play the wheelchair using character, who, in one episode, gets out of his wheelchair and dances. The episode is doubly unfortunate because it completely obliterates the previous effort of the show up until that point of normalizing this situation.

In another episode, an outrageously expensive piece of equipment, the ReWalk, appears. This is an amazing tool that creates an odd juxtaposition that it is never seen in the series again. Elsa says, “If someone gave me a bionic eye for Christmas, you can be sure as hell I’d be wearing it every single day.”

Yet, they later do other things right. For instance, two paralyzed characters get together and crack what Stevi calls “a great joke afterwards that nobody gets unless they were a person with a disability or an ally in that community.”

Elsa points out the episode in The Glee Project where a music video about bullying was being made, and the cane of the blind character was taken away as a bullying moment. This moment was painful to Elsa, who has experienced the same situation where bullies have taken her cane away in order to make fun of her. In addition, the show handled it very poorly by not admonishing the actor who made this decision, which could have hurt his scene partner.

They moved onto the character Becky Jackson, a character with Down Syndrome played by an actor with Downs. Stevi particularly likes her sassiness. Her character was well-developed, and then inexplicably she becomes a school-shooter. Her action and motivation are inconsistent with the character. Her motivation is given as she is afraid to graduate, which implies there is no life for those with disabilities after they leave the support of high school. Elsa points out “I survived, I went to college, I did all of the things I wanted to do, and now I’m sitting in front of you because I actually have a profession.” She clarifies that she was afraid to leave her very supportive high school where she was given tools to excel, but that she went out into the world, and it didn’t require blowing fear out of proportion into harming those around her.

Comics were delved into, with specific mentions of Oracle, a character that had been paralyzed and then was cured in the reboot of her storyline. She is the most high profile woman in comics with a visible disability, and the creators took that away. Not only was she in a wheelchair, she was drawn correctly, which got a thumbs up. Daredevil was well-liked because he was blind and used a cane and was super awesome and had some extra-sensory stuff going on. Unfortunately, he never used his cane while in his superhero costume. Elsa wanted to see a superhero’s cane, so she had someone make her one. Notwithstanding, the movie, with its Braille credits, didn’t even keep Elsa viewing for more than the first couple minutes.

Photo by Tyler Pruitt.

Photo by Tyler Pruitt.


This brought the panel into a discussion of disability and cosplay. “People with disabilities should be able to cosplay. We should be able to cosplay as whoever we want. And I believe we should not be told, ‘you cannot play that character because you are blind’,” says Elsa. When cosplaying, able-bodied people can fall into some issues. One of which is asking those with disabilties where they got their props – such as a cataracted eyeball. Elsa has been asked exactly this about her blind eye which she has from birth as a Rubella baby.

Another issue becomes that of cultural appropriation. While cosplay in cultures involving race and ethnicity has a voice, one that is still silent is that of disability. Disability does have a culture. So, when able-bodied people put on a disability, such as an eye patch, a cane, a wheelchair, as a costume, when they disable themselves for fashion or costuming, it makes Elsa and many of her friends very frustrated. They need legitimacy. They need to be recognized and read as people with disabilities. The more that able-bodied people use disability as a costume and fictionalize it, the more the disabled have to explain themselves. Elsa says, “Also, I really like it when people treat me like a human being and not like a fictional character.”

From there, the discussion moved onto what happens when able-bodied actors play disabled characters and then are rewarded for doing so. It intensifies the fictionalization problem. Examples include Daniel Day Lewis playing Christy Brown in My Left Foot, Al Pacino’s oscar for playing a blind man (badly), and Tom Hanks who is rewarded for both Forrest Gump and Philadelphia.It is pointed out that there are many actors who have the disabilities these able-bodied actors are wearing, that directors could be using. When The Miracle Worker appeared on Broadway a few years ago, a call went out for visually impaired actresses to play Helen Keller. Unfortunately, they were slated to be an understudy for an able-bodied actress. This is problematic. An attendee mentioned that name recognition is a part of that cycle. Stevi says that the ‘cult of personality’ that arises around actors doesn’t happen with disabled actors because it is seen as a limitation.

The panel asks, Can we shift from seeing disability as a limitation to seeing what we can do with people of various bodies?

The panel moved onto discussing conventions (cons) and accessible spaces. GeekGirlCon got some kudos for having Introvert Alley, a place for people to go to relax and find some peace away from the crowds, and also because the community of GeekGirlCon is respectful. Elsa mentions seeing many people with disabilities present who seem pretty comfortable. She relates the story that someone recognized her SteamCane as a White Cane and moved someone out of the way for her, which was a novel experience for her at a con. Other cons were called out for a lack of accessibility. Cons can do well to think about things like how to get around, having ASL interpreters, having the hearing aid link into the sound system available, and including panels that discuss these things.

A question arose about how to read if a disability exists and if the tool that is being used is necessary. This discussion did spark a bit of ire in the attending group. Generally it came down to trust. It’s inappropriate to request someone disclose their disability – visible or invisible. Unfortunately, there is enough stigma surrounding having a disability requiring a tool, such as having a therapy dog present, that people are highly uncomfortable self-identifying with those disabilities. There becomes a line where someone who is trying to be an ally can cross into policing. Again, trusting people to be using a tool to take care of their own (likely invisible) disability, of which there are many, rather than abusing such a tool or putting on the tool as a way to get something they want, is necessary.

This transitioned into the topic of policing. We moved a little out of the realm of geek culture into life in general. Stevi brings up the topic of able-bodied people becoming angry at someone for using a handicap parking space who doesn’t appear to need it, but it isn’t really the place of an able-bodied person to take on that issue. There are those who don’t need their cane every single day. Just because Elsa can wear glasses and read her smart phone does not mean she isn’t blind. She is blind and having an able-bodied person ask her if she is really blind or pick up her white cane because he is curious infringes on her person. She says, “It isn’t okay.” It isn’t okay for any person to investigate her disability and inquire as to how she became disabled. (Disabled cred, anyone?) Generally, socially, people with disabilities are seen as public property, and not as the human beings they are.

Bringing it back into media, Stevi points out that much of the viewpoint of people with disabilities being investigated comes from the narrative of the able-bodied become disabled through some event is the dominant paradigm. So therefore people who are unaware of this cultural conditioning feel free to ask about this life event, regardless of if there is one or if it is appropriate to ask.

About this time, the panel opened the discussion up to the floor. While this post doesn’t cover all of the topics brought up by the floor, here are a few highlights:

  • Covert Affairs” is mentioned, not as a good show, but because the character is blind and has a sexual storyline, which is rare and happens to be done correctly.
  • Yes, people with disabilities are sexy. Yes, they know they are sexy. How? As Stevi points out, Elsa has hands.
  • Recommendations for shows, media, comic series where characters have disabilities but they aren’t focused on as an issue: Switched at Birth, The Michael J. Fox Show,
  • The actor who plays the forensic doctor on CSI gets a mention.
  • Hawkeye having lost 80% of his hearing in a storyline in the 1980s (estimated.) Fan culture embracing it both problematic and also excellent.
  • Flynn/Walt Jr. on Breaking Bad.
  • Back to cosplay – there’s no issue with those who have a disability cosplaying able-bodied characters. However, able-bodied people cosplaying characters with disabilities need to find a way to cosplay without using the character’s assistive devices, says Elsa. While Stevi says that intention and respect is important. She feels that one can use assistive devices in a respectful way, and a way that actually makes the device clearly not real. E.g., Jordi LaForge’s visor gets a pass because it isn’t a real assistive device.
  • Mental illness being married to violence in the media. Some good representations are “The West Wing” with PTSD flashbacks, Ellen Fourney’s Marbles, Mercy, Orange is the New Black wheelchair moment.
  • Elsa does video game reviews from a disability standpoint at Feminist Sonar.
  • The more narratives we see where someone’s physicality is treated like the color of their hair, a t-shirt they are wearing, and just normal, the better.


Did you attend the Geeks with Disabilities panel at GeekGirlCon ’13? Tell us about your experience in the comments here.

What do you want to see at GeekGirlCon ‘14? Subscribe to the Newsletter to find out when programming calls open to put your ideas in.


Eric Mack
“Rock On!”

All the Programming for GeekGirlCon’13!

GeekGirlCon '13

GeekGirlCon Strategy Guide!

It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for—ALL THE PROGRAMMING for GeekGirlCon ‘13!

You’ve got your plans for Friday evening—starting off at the Tap House Grill with beverages and camaraderie with fellow geeks from GeekGirlCon and Seattle Browncoat Charities, then heading out to The Bechdel Test Burlesque. And you’ve made your plans to attend the Saturday evening concert.

Now you can strategize every minute of your GeekGirlCon ‘13 experience! Check out our programming guide to make a detailed quest guide of what workshops, panels, and spotlights to attend on Saturday and Sunday. Remember to fit in time to visit our Exhibitors and Artist Alley.

We’ve got a fantastic Strategy Guide waiting for you in your swag bag, but in the meantime, be sure to check out all the programming! And don’t forget to buy your passes.

Laurel McJannet
“Rock On!”

Preview the Gender through Comics SuperMOOC Panel

by Adrienne M. Roehrich, Manager of Editorial Services

On August 23, GeekGirlCon announced that Christine Blanch will be presenting a panel at the 2013 Con on her Super Massive Open Online Course (SuperMOOC), Gender Through Comic Books. Expected appearances on the panel include Jen Van Meter, Mark Waid, Greg Rucka, and Kelly Sue DeConnick. I caught up with a few of the panelists to get you a preview of what you can expect when you attend the panel. I asked about the motivation for the course itself and why our panelists participated in the course.

197601_202725813095673_8317619_nBlanch: Gender through Comic Books was a class that I offered in the Women and Gender Studies department. The iLearn department at Ball State came to me and asked if I would be interested in teaching my class as a MOOC (a massive, open, online course) and since I love teaching any class using comics as the texts, I jumped at the chance. I think there is a huge need for courses like this because media is so instrumental in how people think about everything and most of us don’t even realize the impact. This class makes you take a step back and really consider the context of what we are reading and how we are processing it. I think it really did fill an area in the industry and in education for those who know that comics are more than ‘picture books’ and that want to have educational discussions about them without any negativity.”

Van Meter: “I’ve known Christy Blanch for a few years now, and been an admirer both of her involvement in the developing academic discourses around comics as texts and also of her really innovative approaches to using comics as teaching tools in a variety of classroom settings.  She’s got, I think, a really fearless and imaginative sense of how to use comics to invite student engagement and interaction with the topic and the text, and she has a passionate interest in comics as a fan, creator, and scholar.  I would have been honored to be of use to her for any project, so when she asked if she could interview me for something as ambitious and exciting as the SuperMOOC, I was absolutely on board.

I expected it would be a deeply rewarding experience, and it truly was; even as only an interviewee and remote observer, seeing some of the participant interactions, commentary and final projects just blew my mind. When I was in grad school, an advisor once told me that when we’re teaching well, we’re learning more than we’re teaching and our students are learning as much from one another as they are from us; I really feel like the MOOC became a fantastic example of that, and of the amazing potential of web-based learning environments.”

Waid: “I honestly thought it was a great cause. I had faith in the instructor; I’ve spoken in her classes before. And I was eager to see how effectively comics’ highly developed and effective social media networks would deliver the message and deliver students, and I was NOT disappointed.”

DeConnick: “Ooh, Christina asked, and it was about two of my favorite topics! So I wanted to see what I might learn from it.”

MAY120693_1GeekGirlCon ‘13 is a great opportunity for these amazing professionals to reunite and talk about some of the highlights of this innovative and popular course. I asked our panelists why they chose to bring a panel about the Gender through Comic Books SuperMOOC to GeekGirlCon ‘13.

Van Meter: “It’s kind of self-evident that a course devoted to looking at how we talk about gender by looking at the way one of our popular art mediums—with a huge fan culture and quite a lot of influence on TV and Film—talks about gender seems to me the sort of thing a lot of [GeekGirlCon] participants would be interested in; there’s a lot of obvious crossover.

That said, what I think is maybe more special about the MOOC is that, while there are great classes using comics to talk about gender, race, class—all kinds of things, really—in college classrooms all over the world, it’s still pretty rare, and what happens in those classrooms tends to stay in those classrooms or get shared with smaller communities of, usually, other academics. There’s not a lot of ‘drift’ from the academic discourse about comics out into the world of general fandom, from what I’ve seen. With a 7000-participant MOOC, a lot of people took the course who wouldn’t have had access to it any other way, which is great in and of itself, but also a lot of people who took it only because they were fans of the writers and artists participating were exposed to a mode of talking and thinking about representation and replication of cultural attitudes that is often missing or misunderstood in the dreaded comments sections or on the message boards.”

Blanch: “I have always wanted to go to GeekGirlCon. Always. I was on the fence about going then Greg Rucka said that he and Jen really wanted me to go, so I did! I am bringing my 13-year-old geek girl, and I hope this is a great experience for her, too. She was picked on in school because she is not a ‘normal’ girl as she loves comics and video games, so I think this will be just what she needs. For the community, the whole class was really about community and gender. We had discussions about geek girls and why there is a divide between males and females in the fan base. I think GeekGirlCon is a perfect venue to talk about the same things we discussed in the class.”

Attendees of the panel will get to see how the comics industry professionals interacted with students in the MOOC.

Blanch: “We will walk through the entire class and how it was presented. We will focus on the interviews somewhat as we have such great guests on the panel that participated in the course. However, several of our panelists were also enrolled in the course, so we can get their thoughts about the material and the reaction in the comics industry.

I cannot say enough about how supportive the comics industry has been with the MOOC. I even had to turn people down because we didn’t have enough time. The students were so excited for the interviews and all of the professionals were floored by the awesome questions the students asked. I think it was refreshing for the pros because the questions weren’t the same questions they get asked all the time. Several of the questions stumped the pros. And also many of the pros went on Twitter and answered the questions that we couldn’t get to in the live interviews. It was amazing. And every pro sent me a note about how enjoyable the interview was and how impressed they were with the students. I was so proud of both the comics industry as a whole and of my fantastic students. This group of students never ceased to amaze me.”

Waid: “I loved the rapid-fire nature of the tweeted questions, for which I had no answers prepared in advance; it forced me to go with my gut and be definitively honest with my answers rather than risk giving out ‘canned’ responses.”

Each professional involved in the course had different topics to focus on. Kelly Sue DeConnick was interviewed for the course on a week entitled “Who is producing comic book culture?” and the theme was comic books as a medium of communication.

DeConnick: “I guess I don’t consciously use it as a tool of communication because it’s not a dialogue. Hmm, there’s no way to talk about this without sounding wildly pretentious—yes, I understand this is not a high art, but I approach it as an artistic endeavor, and I try to make my stories about something. And even when I don’t try to make my stories about something, they tend to be about something. I tend to find there’s a theme I’m exploring whether I’m conscious [of it] or not. Anytime there’s something I have mixed feelings about, those tend to be my best stories, because it’s me turning it over in my head trying to figure it out. So I guess I don’t use it very well, as a method of communication!

Now I am communicating with my artist, because it’s a collaborative art form. So in producing the script, I’m writing them a letter that is an exploration of this idea, and then they take that letter and they explore the idea and the visuals. Then the thing we have produced, we have produced in equal parts and I suppose it is a dialogue between the artist and I. But I don’t view it as a dialogue with the reader. Then the reader can take those ideas and make their own.”

AUG030194Mark Waid participated in the course on a week entitled “Gender and culture: How we learn our gender.”

Waid: “Well, first off, by not being obvious and shining a spotlight on it, I think anything is best learned through the arts when it’s part of an entertaining story, not the subject of a treatise. Comics does its best job teaching gender roles when it isn’t trying to, when it’s just letting characters be characters and people be people and stories be stories, without a message.”

Van Meter has a strong presence in comic books’ counterpart manga. She explores a hypothetical situation of what a similar course on manga would look like.

Van Meter: “With any text-based syllabus, figuring out where to draw the boundaries, just so you have something you can work with in terms of time, text-cost, reading burden, it’s so hard.  I don’t envy the task Christy set for herself when she sat down to choose a reading list and a framework for the discussion.

My sense—and this is by no means an expert or well-researched conclusion, just a gut feeling—is that you would need a fairly significant chunk of ‘classroom’ time devoted to some expert presentations on genre within manga, tropes, codes, and traits within the form, as well as some really articulate and respectful assessments of the different ways comics work and have been viewed in their ‘home’ cultures.  If you could get enough breadth and depth of understanding there, it could be really interesting to then dig into what’s going on with distribution, narrative styles, and gender representation that has made some American/Western readers, especially young women, find manga to be the more welcoming or engaging entry to reading comics.”

In general, Waid had a great time in his participation in the course.

Waid: “I’m always eager to help spread knowledge and talk about what we do. I stayed as long as I could after the class and answered questions via Twitter; another week, I’d taken it upon myself to help out the instructor because I knew she was encountering some technical difficulties with that week’s interviewee and figured I could keep the students entertained for a bit with an impromptu Q&A. I’m here to help!”

Didn’t get to participate in the SuperMOOC? Check out the panel at GeekGirlCon ‘13. Did you participate in the Gender Through Comic Books Massive Open Online Course? Hear details you may have missed ‘behind-the-scenes.’ Either way, there’s more to come from Blanch.

Blanch: “Through my comic book store, I am starting a comic book of the month course we are calling SuperMOOC squared—Super Massive Open Online Comics Community. We will choose several books for the month and on our webpage have lectures, articles, videos, and more, very similar to the Gender MOOC. We will also have live interviews with comics creators once or twice a month! The great thing is that we are getting comic book stores around the country involved, too, by including them. All they have to do is sell the books and give their customers that take part room to meet and have a roundtable discussion once a month! We are also going to make the books available through Comixology so that people overseas can also participate! We are still setting everything up but it’s going to be so great!”

Buy your passes today to be a part of all the excitement!

Eric Mack
“Rock On!”

GeekGirlCon ’13: Do you love Muppets?


Red Fraggle and Karen Prell

Did you know it is the 30th anniversary of Fraggle Rock? We know you remember rockin’ out and dancing your cares away! GeekGirlCon ‘13 is excited to be involved with the celebration!

We welcome back the phenomenally entertaining and talented Karen Prell (remember her from GeekGirlCon ‘11 and the Labyrinth Sing-A-Long?) along with her very special friend direct from The Jim Henson Company, Red Fraggle!

“We’re excited to meet Red and Karen when they take the stage together at GeekGirlCon ’13!” says Director of Programming and Events, Jennifer K. Stuller. Prell is as excited as we are. She said, “Performing Red in my hometown in front of a bunch of girl geeks? That’ll be amazing!”

We think so too!

Red Fraggle

Red Fraggle

Red Fraggle is as active, energetic, and competitive as the color red itself denotes. According to the Jim Henson Company, “Red Fraggle is a nonstop whirligig of activity. To her fellow Fraggles, Red is often seen as a flash of crimson racing to her next athletic pursuit. She is Fraggle Rock champion in Tug-of-War, Diving while Singing Backwards, the Blindfolded One-Legged Radish Relay, and a number of other traditional Fraggle sports. She is outgoing, enthusiastic, and athletic, but take note – her impetuosity can get her into real trouble.”

 Karen Prell embarked on her first career as a puppeteer with Jim Henson and the Muppets in 1980 and performed popular film and television puppet characters for 16 years. Her most well known characters are fan favorites Red Fraggle in Fraggle Rock and the Worm in Labyrinth. Her puppet credits also include Sesame Street, The Muppet Show, and several classic and recent Muppet movies. Her second career as a computer animator included work on the award-winning Pixar films Geri’s Game, For the Birds, A Bug’s Life, and Toy Story 2 and Disney’s Enchanted through Tippett Studio.

 Karen is now well into a third career in video games at Valve, animating characters as well as tackling game testing, merchandise design and development. She was the main animator for Wheatley the mechanical companion sphere in Portal 2 and also contributed to animation for GLaDOS and the co-op bots Atlas and P-body. She is currently animating a wide variety of creatures for DotA 2.  Karen’s career has come full circle and she continues to celebrate 30 years of Fraggle Rock.


Come get to know Red when Karen performs her for our community at GeekGirlCon ‘13! Buy your passes before Saturday’s price increase!


by Adrienne M. Roehrich, Manager of Editorial Services

Eric Mack
“Rock On!”

GeekGirlCon ’13: Deconstructing the Mary Sue

We’ve all seen female characters in movies, television shows, books, and comics who are “too” something—too perfect, too pretty, too smart, and too angry are a few examples. Fanfiction and critics of these media have branded such female characters as “Mary Sue.” Where did this come from? Why is it happening with female characters specifically? What can writers, actors, and especially fans do to combat this negative stereotype?

GeekGirlCon is proud to present a panel titled “Deconstructing the Mary Sue Myth” at our upcoming convention, October 19 and 20, 2013. This panel will “…explore the idea of the Mary Sue and how it relates to the creation, interpretation,and reception of female characters in genre and geek-centric works.”

Pictures of Sarah Kuhn, Javier Grillo-Marxuach, Amber Benson, Cecil Castellucci, and Andrea Letamendi

From left to right: Sarah Kuhn (photo credit), Javier Grillo-Marxuach (photo credit), Amber Benson (photo credit), Cecil Castellucci (photo credit), and Andrea Letamendi (photo credit)

Panel presenters include:

Sarah Kuhn: freelance contributor to Alert Nerd, Star Trek.com, Geek Monthly (now known as Geek Magazine), Back Stage, IGN.com, Creative Screenwriting, the Oakland Tribune, and The Hollywood Reporter; author of the geek romantic comedy novella One Con Glory, now in development as a feature film.

Javier Grillo-Marxuach: writer and producer of television shows such as Lost, Jake 2.0, Medium, Charmed, and both the comic and ABC Family series The Middleman; co-winner of Emmy and Writers Guild of America awards for work with Lost.

Amber Benson: actress widely known as Tara Maclay from Buffy the Vampire Slayer; writer of The Ghosts of Albion books and television movies; author of book series featuring Death’s daughter, Calliope Reaper-Jones; playwright, actress, director, and producer in numerous projects. Recent projects include a guest role on Jane Espenson’s web series Husbands, and Blood Kiss, a vampire noir film starring her and fantasy author Neil Gaiman.

Cecil Castellucci: also known as Cecil Seaskull from indie rock band Nerdy Girl, which can be found on iTunes; author of books The Year of the Beasts, First Day on Earth, Rose Sees Red, Boy Proof, The Queen of Cool, Beige, and The Plain Janes.

Andrea Letamendi: clinical psychologist, scientist, and convention addict/speaker. She has spoken at San Diego Comic Con, New York Comic Con, Wondercon, and other conventions.

Come see this panel of amazing and talented peeps at GeekGirlCon ‘13! I know I’ll be there.

Written by GeekGirlCon Staff Copywriter Sarah Grant

“Rock On!”

GeekGirlCon Wants You!


GeekGirlCon is seeking programming submission ideas, performers, and professionals for GeekGirlCon ’13. Are you interested in being a part of our convention this year? Please fill out one of the forms listed below!

Programming Submission Form: for all convention programming

GeekGirlConnections Submission Form: for our GeekGirlConnections room, a resource to help professionals connect with and mentor convention attendees

Events Submission Form: for musical talent at the convention

Do you have any questions? Please direct them to programinfo@geekgirlcon.com.

Guest Contributor
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