Denver Comic Con 2015 - Fun with Tropes!

This was also my first Comic Con ever and it surpassed every expectation. Inventive and creative cosplay interpretations were everywhere, including complete sets of Borderlands and BioShock casts, flocks of secure men sporting Jayne hats and flouncy prom-dress interpretations of both a TARDIS and a steampunk Dalek. I attended a fistful of panels, especially those on the literary track. They were interesting, although I did miss a couple of questions as I was busy reading Ms. Marvel over my friend Ted’s shoulder.

Panelists discussed what we love about Anti-Heroes—as long as they're good at what they do, we don’t seem to mind so much if they are psychopaths; Sidekicks—their mission is the interpretation of the protagonist to the reader; and Native American Artists—we’ve gone way beyond Frybread Mancheck out Kagagi: The Raven, the Anishinabe superhero authored by Algonquin artist Jay Odjick and beware SuperIndian’s nemesis the vampire Blud Kwan’Tum, written and drawn by Starr and Francis.

Comics and the worlds they inspire are often defined by the tropes that prompt their dismissal as a lowbrow medium. There is rampant stereotyping, objectification and gravity-defying female bosoms [ed.: check out this horror], not to mention all-male panels discussing ‘Women in Comics.’ But these tropes have a bright side. They allow a frank revelation of the prejudices of dominant culture that other, perhaps more subtle, media politely ignore or outright deny. At the same time, the possibility of exploring diverse characters in diverse roles is more acceptable because of the boundary-pushing that's the most enjoyable part of comics. Plus, good comics are always fun. Comics that suffer from terminal cases of humorless sincerity soon lose their audience. Get your hands on Ms. MarvelLady Killer and Kagagi. Good, gritty, trope-busting fun!

Mixed among the new voices are some of my favorites from years gone by. In the next two posts I thought I'd give a shout out to the work of two authors who've inspired me: Isabel Greenberg and Gene Luen Yang ( 杨谨伦).


Excerpted from Field Notes from Denver ComicCom 2015. To read more please visit