Published on July 9th, 2015 | by Katy Evans


Destiny City Comics queers the con as part of Tacoma Pride

Every year, the Pride celebration in Tacoma grows with programs across the City created to engage and inspire new audiences to stand together in support of LGBTQA rights. So it is definitely time for comics to join in the fun.

This year, Destiny City Comics owner Mike Fitzgerald developed the first ever Destiny City Queercon to celebrate LGBTQA creators and themes in comics. The event takes place July 11 from 12 – 4 pm and is included in the great line-up of Pride programming.

Perhaps comics is not the first place you would think to look for progressive support and representation of queer communities and themes; if that’s your first response, I think it’s definitely time for you to start reading more comics!

2012 cover of Astonishing X-Men #51

2012 cover of Astonishing X-Men #51

Queering comics

Gay themes have steadily increased in creation and acceptance, especially as major comic publishers moved away from adherence to the Comics Code Authority: a problematic and outdated regulatory agency that banned everything from the word “terror” to storylines involving werewolves in order to protect young, impressionable readers. The 1954 criteria censored any “illicit sexual relations” or “sexual abnormalities;” derogatory and homophobic coded references.

The CCA may have kept gay themes out of major comics through the mid-century but through adversity comes innovation: the 60s and 70s saw the emergence of independent, small press comics exploring LGBTQA experiences, relationships, and gay rights (among other themes the CCA deemed inappropriate or dangerous. Like glamorous criminals, bad cops, and zombies).

Our flourishing indie comic and graphic novel culture today is possible in large part because of artists who ignored censorship and shared their vision, regardless of distribution and money.

Kate Kane (Batwoman) meets her future girlfriend Maggie Sawyer in Detective Comics.

Kate Kane (Batwoman) meets her future girlfriend Maggie Sawyer in Detective Comics.

Mainstream comics remained censored until 1989 when major comic publishers (like DC and Marvel) began to change with the times, finding the CCA stamp didn’t matter as much to their advertisers or readers.

Destiny City QueerconI also like to infer that this shift meant that not only did major publishers recognize that adults read their comics, but that young readers deserved content that encouraged sensitivity, acceptance, and support. Comics have matured as an increasingly inventive and creative medium for readers of all ages and exponentially grown in themes and perspectives. (Check out this great round-up of the best recent LGBTQA comic book characters.)

What to expect at Destiny City Queercon

Come see the culmination of our thriving and diverse comic scene at the Destiny City Queercon this Saturday. Mike shared with me his inspiration and what we can expect at the con:

“I wanted to celebrate Pride with my new business, partly because I’m a gay man but also because I’m working on filling my calendar with cool events – so why not be an affiliated with Tacoma Pride, the city’s biggest festival?” Mike explained.

tyler_cat by Mark Brill

“Tyler” by Mark Brill

“Queer creators are a great part of comics with growing influence. For example, a Broadway play based on Alison Bechdel’s graphic memoir Fun Home just won five Tonys including Best Musical. Fight Club 2 is doing well in the comic world from queer author Chuck Palahniuk,” Mike shared, “I know we have tons of great queer creators here in the Pacific Northwest, so all I had to do was ask to get them here.”

Mike booked a compelling line-up of creators to complement his excellent comic selection for Destiny City Queercon.

Here’s who’s coming, in Mike’s own words:

“Mark Brill illustrated The Power Withina great anti-bullying comic released through Northwest Press and his work has also appeared on quite a few Magic: the Gathering cards.

From Terry Blas' webcomic "Briar Hollow"

From Terry Blas’ webcomic “Briar Hollow”

Terry Blas is an illustrator who has worked on popular comics like Adventure Time and Bravest Warriors, has a weekly webcomic Briar Hollow, is a member of Periscope Studios; oh yeah, and he has a fun podcast where he talks about experiences like vending at RuPaul’s DragCon. He’s coming up all the way from Portland and is excited to visit Tacoma for Pride.

“Seattle artist Brian Britigan will be here as well to debut his new zine, Miss Space Teen Queen Supreme, which has to be good based on title alone.”

So can we expect more events like this from Destiny City Comics? Mike says, “Yeah, absolutely. I take inspiration from all the cool events put on by my good neighbor King’s Books.”

Here’s what he’s hosted recently and what he’s looking forward to:

Illustration by Brian Britigan for "Only Lost Boys are Found"

Illustration by Brian Britigan for “Only Lost Boys are Found”

“I just had an impromptu horror convention at the shop called Freakycon that went pretty well, and I’m always looking to book interesting comic creators like local author Greg Smith who has a new YA graphic novel called Junior Braves of the Apocalypse, we’ll be having him for a signing on July’s third Thursday.

“Colleen Frakes will be here for a signing with her new book about life on nearby McNeil Island, the last prison island in the US. I also will invite guests for things like Halloween ComicFest, a free comic day that’ll be going on October 31 this year. You can visit my shop’s events page to see more stuff that I have coming up including our monthly book discussion.”

Add Destiny City Queercon to your Pride activities this year, read some rad comics!

Destiny City Queercon
July 11, 12 – 8 pm

Destiny City Comics
218 St Helens Ave, Tacoma, WA 98402

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About the Author

Founder and Co-Managing Editor at Post Defiance, Katy writes and fundraises for Tacoma. Follow her @katynicoud.

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