Comics, Art, Feminism, Media and More at King Con Brooklyn

by Sarah J.

It seems like only yesterday was New York Comic Con. But this weekend Brooklyn is hosting its own comics convention, with its own unique Brooklyn flavor. Indie creators and some of the mainstream folks too will be at the Brooklyn Lyceum for King Con this weekend doing panels, sitting at tables, selling art and comics and chatting with YOU about their work.

I spoke to Regan Jaye Fishman, one of the directors of the event, about how it got started, what’s special about it, and why BUST readers especially should make the trip out to Brooklyn.


Can you give BUST readers an overview of King Con–what it’s all about, who will be there, why we should be excited?

King Con is Brooklyn’s FIRST big Comic Con, the largest of its kind in the borough, featuring fifty-plus exhibitors and some pretty heavy hitting comic talent: Chris Claremont, Jonathan Ames, Sarah Glidden, Dean Haspiel, Brian Wood, Becky Cloonan, Raina Telgemeier, Rick Parker, Kyle Baker, Bob Fingerman–to name a few, plus a series of LiveComix readings featuring Joan Hilty, Paul Pope, Jeff Newelt and others Friday night.

It’s a really friendly, chill event where people can get a lot of face time with the talent they admire, plus there will be food and music and as always a TON of fun.

The con will take place Saturday and Sunday, November 6 and 7 with special events and panels on the 4th and 5th.

Admission is $7 per Day, $10 for the weekend ($3/$5 for kids) and $3 for the Thursday and Friday events.
How did you get involved with the event?

In 2009, the Brooklyn Lyceum hosted the ‘Zine Fest, which, curiously, had almost as many independent comics artists as ‘zinesters.

Eric (the building’s owner) wondered what the temperature might be like for a proper Comic Convention. I was friends with quite a few of those tablers. One of them, Mike Zagari, thought it was a great idea and reached out to a number of his contacts in the Comicsverse.

The response was instant and staggering. It seemed it had been something Brooklyn was hankering for for a long time, and given how many established comics artists and writers come from, or relocated to the borough, it only made sense.

I think that there was a definite warmth to the first one that stemmed from this, it was literally the kismet of a bunch of people going “YEAH, let’s do this!!” and bearing with the bumps and knots of a new show. It was really great…The energy was so positive.

I’ve noticed that indie comics events tend to be more woman-friendly. Is this something you notice about King Con? Something you try for?

This year for sure.

I had let Mike lead the first one, because I felt I should defer to his considerable knowledge as a veteran con-goer. He created a really great event that sort of meshed the traditional con structure with the how-to paneling of a more independent event. It was woman-friendly, but not woman identified.

This year, now that I get to drive a little more fully, I’ve tried to create something that has a little more of my definitive mark…that is to say, you will see a lot of female tablers and comics that tell female stories, both relatable and fantastic, and the sort of nudge-wink cheesecakiness (Dr. Sketchys! LIVE featuring Model, Ms. Paigey Pumphrey) that, I think, people have come to associate with me. I want it to have an every-walk-of-life woman power vibe.
You’ve got some interesting panels booked, including special discussions on the death of print media* (something we are all deeply concerned about here!) and of changes in Brooklyn and the relationship to art, that reach well beyond comics and illustration and into larger social issues. Can you tell me more about these?

The Death of Print Media came up because the Lyceum has long relationships with established journalists and Bloggers alike, and its hard not to notice how often the two can be at odds. It isn’t just as simple as the Kindle killing Conde Nast…It’s watching people be put out of jobs because a kid with a camera phone has made them irrelevant…Papers closed, or went on-line only, small papers who carved out an on-line presence and were gobbled up by the very same publications that were collapsing of their own dead weight.

Some people say the digital age is leveling the playing field for upstarts…but a lot of people are having a hard time making a living. We want to discuss why this is happening and how…and if the mediums can be married in a way that could ultimately be beneficial for everyone.

The Atlantic Yards, Comics and the Changing face of Brooklyn, comes from a very deep place. I was born and raised here, Brooklyn is my life’s breath. The landscape of my childhood never included a repetitive sidescroll of Starbucks and strip malls.The New York that enamors writers and artists alike is a city that sprung up, largely, organically. It  has always been something of a silent main character in novels both graphic and non, but what would Batman be if his Gotham was all Gap and Bath and Body Works?

We see the after effects of what Robert Moses tried to do…the way the BQE bisects us by our income levels, and here is Bruce Ratner doing it all over again. People have lost homes and businesses…the anxiety is palpable, and it is inevitable that it finds its way into the stories coming out of the borough. It’s the oft told David and Goliath story, we just want to tell it from as many perspectives as possible.

And of course, a panel right up BUST readers’ alley: # Hips, Lips, and Pencil Tips: The Sexual Female as Feminist Focal Point a conversation with female artists Paige Pumphrey, Laura Lee Gullidge, Jennifer Hayden and more moderated by Rachel Kramer Bussel.  What a fascinating topic…

This one was my baby.

Around March of this year I came across an art exhibit called “The Visible Vagina” which was, a feminist celebration of…well, you know, ladybits. Later in the spring, I found myself in an argument with the very same woman I had gone to see it with, over whether or not porn was exploitative. I didn’t understand how a highly sexualized photo of a woman, when presented under the umbrella of feminism was not exploitation…but that same photo under the guise of presumed entertainment for a man, was.

Surely feminism is not that narrow! That we have the choice to express our sexual being however we want IS ITSELF the victory of feminists! Women are being lashed in Iran because a magazine ran a photo of someone ELSE without a veil…Our sexuality IS so much a part of our power!

I want to discuss how the way different women relate to sex and sexuality affects the stories they tell. The way their formative sexual experiences translate to the page and how the woman-created sexual character differs from, if also evolved of, the empowered but objectified ladies of Comics past, and how feminism can reconcile the idea of pure cheesecake. How, perhaps, the most feminist idea of all is be whoever you want….even if other women don’t agree with it.

Hope to see you at King Con this weekend!

*In the interests of full disclosure, I’m now going to be on the Death of Print Media panel.

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Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

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