By Gail Worley
Life in Manhattan is like living at Disneyland, with endless opportunities to immerse yourself in an experience that’s unique to this City. I’m always down for a new adventure, so when my convention-buddy Ken suggested that I try for Press credentials to attend Flame Con — which I had never heard of, but which he described to me as being “the LGBTQ Comic Con” — obviously, there was no way in Hell I was to going to miss it. Happily, Flame Con organizers approved my badge, and Ken and I made plans to meet up at the Times Square Sheraton on a beautiful Saturday morning, where the convention floor would open to the press one hour before they started letting other attendees in. I am way more of a music geek than a comics geek, so I had absolutely no idea what to expect, but after about 30 minutes of absorbing the vibe, I arrived at this conclusion: Flame Con fucking rules!
Organized by Geeks OUT, a non-profit that produces LGBTQ events at comic conventions, Flame Con is an annual two-day, multi-genre entertainment and comic convention focused on fans and creators of pop culture who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer. That said, Flame Con is the most inclusive event I’ve ever attended — everyone is welcome — and you would have to be dead from the neck up to not have a fantastic time.
Beyond hundreds of artists, authors and assorted exhibitors, Flame Con also features panel discussions and workshops, but this post will focus on the rad exhibitor-floor action, because that’s where we spent most of our time. Now, as Frank N Furter once said, ‘Let me show you around!’
Flame Con is a BFD! Launched in 2015, Flame Con is the first LGBTQ comic convention in New York City, and the largest LGBTQ comic convention in the world. No matter what pop culture passion you favor, you’ll find an insanely diverse selection of exhibitors showcasing LGBTQ-inclusive Comics, Graphic Novel, Anime, Manga, video games, movies, television and more! Most importantly, everyone is at Flame Con to have fun and let their freak flag fly!
Look How Much Fun This Fan is Having?!
The exhibitor floor is great place to chat up and expose yourself to the works of amazingly talented pop-culture artists. Since there were so many tables to visit (and we hit each one) the photos I chose for this post depict art that really spoke to me and my personal aesthetics. The above artwork of a teen devil and his cat, which is just fantastic, is by Sam Schechter.
Wonder Woman is such a bad ass. She totally gets it: Dump sucks! Art by Joseph Giampietro.
Here and Queer, Bitches! GoGetARoomie is a web-comic by French artist Chlove.
Kylo Ren; he does that little thing to me, you know? Art by Lauren Moran.
Do you like Hedwig? I sure do. She’s a fucking icon! I wish I had paid closer attention to who made this fantastic portrait of Hedwig as portrayed by actor / playwright John Cameron Mitchell. If you know, please clue me in in the comments!
Here she is again! This Hedwig is by Kate Brezzy.
Best. Quote. Ever. Drawing of Pearl from Steven Universe by Pixel Wayve Digital Art.
Gay, Straight, Bi, whatever; everyone loves Androgynous Pretty Boys! These amazing Post Cards of the members of South Korean Boy Band BTS, by Seattle-based artist Julia Reck, were a huge hit.
I love this Marceline (The Vampire Queen) Poster that you can find at the Gay Breakfast online store for just $10! What a bargain!
Flame Con is the best place on Earth to get turned-on to new and fun queer fiction in the form of comics, zines, novels and graphic novels. Artist and author Michelle Gish was on the scene, selling and signing copies of her graphic novel We Are Here Forever. Michelle writes a blog of the same name, where she sells her art. I love her illustrative style!
Being a young adult is hard. Thank god for YA authors like Jennifer Dugan, whose latest novel is Hot Dog Girl. It looks both hilarious and totally relatable. I am old, and yet I want to read it.
Uneaten By Sharks by Masha Zhdanaova is a graphic travelogue chronicling the author’s adventures from December 2018 to January 2019. If you’ve ever traveled to an exotic foreign land to stay with relatives that you barely know, this book will speak to you.
Do you need dating advice? Check out Things I’ve Learned Not to Say On Dates by Liam Donnelly (Sad Gay Boy Comics).
Don’t Ever Say This.
Is dark humor your thing? My Future Murder by Stevie Wilson looks like a fun read!
If you are looking to be uplifted and inspired, you might enjoy The Cloud by Chad Sell, which is a short, all-ages comic about a cute cloud who becomes a super hero. The Cloud was inspired by an afternoon’s walk that Chad took during the summer of 2017. Oh, the cuteness.
Consider this hypothesis: If Dinosaurs Were Sexy They Wouldn’t be Extinct. I’m not sure if this Coloring Book by John Curtis Jennison Jr. is all-age appropriate, but with a title like that who gives a shit?
As a pink-haired lady myself, I am curious to know what Diary of a Pink Wig, by Bianca Xunise, is all about.
Actor Nicolas Cage is one of the most polarizing celebrities on the planet. Just being serious. But whether you love him passionately him or hate him, the Why I Love Nic Cage Activity & Fun Book (by K. Sheldon & Kendra K.) will keep you entertained. This activity book includes coloring, drawing, a maze, a word search and more! Rated not-safe-for-kids due to a hilariously raunchy centerfold! Nic Cage!
This is ‘burlesque goddess’ Agent Wednesday. I wish I had taken her up on her offer to draw me as a naked baby.
Five dollars in exchange for this service, offered by Orcamode, seems like a reasonable price!
Just a couple of Furries in love!
Do you like to shop? I sure do. Flame Con has a ton of insanely cool stuff for sale that make great gifts for friends (or for yourself)! I shopped for three friends’ birthday gifts at one vendor alone! This David Bowie As Ziggy Stardust Coffee Mug is certainly irresistible. Want!
Night Owl Designs sells Switch Plates featuring the likeness of characters and celebrities like Frank N Furter (which is now on the wall in my bathroom), David Bowie, Prince, Freddie Mercury and Divine!
A rainbow-hued He Man Zip Bag could hold school supplies, or make up, or whatever you want!
You can find all sorts of cool, hand-crafted jewelry like these fun Pink Animal Earrings by Prince Peacock.
Stickers by RVSSIA (@rvvssia).
Nothing allows you to express your individuality quite like a fun T-Shirt, and Flame Con hosted tons of expressive T-Shirt vendors. I love this Punk Salior Moon shirt by Patabot.
One of the most unique T-Shirt concepts I’ve seen is Ask Me About My Ship, by Fox Estacado (aka Art By Fox), which allows you to realize your fantasy relationship (aka ‘Ship) between two fictional characters. The phrase “Ask Me About My Ship” will be visible while the shirt is being worn but, once you are asked, you can lift up the bottom of the shirt slightly, revealing your dream couple.
For example, the Stucky is for fans who ship Steve Rogers’ Captain America and Bucky Barnes’ Winter Soldier (Steve + Bucky = Stucky). So Hot!
At last, we arrive at the Cosplayers, who do so much to make Flame Con extra fun and exciting with their finely-detailed costumes of popular characters, and also their own mash-ups and DIY outfits.
This lady was well over six feet tall, and hard to miss, though I don’t know if she is dressed as a character or just her own Ghoulish Goddess. Update: someone just told me that she is dressed as Sarah Sanderson.
1976-era Freddie Mercury! Amazing!
Pokemon Jiggly Puff takes a time-out to check his social media! It’s necessary!
Princess Bubblegum! My favorite!
Who are these characters? They look great! Thank you for posing for me!
A couple of Transformers Autobots.
Unknown Anime Characters.
Harley Quinn — what a cutie!
Martian from Mars Attacks!
At the end of the day, we had all kinds of crazy fun, made new friends, and learned a lot at Flame Con! A shout out is owed to Ken for showing me the ropes! Please check out this rad blog at Piercing Metal Dot Com! Special thanks to Michelle at Geeks OUT for the Press Badge action! I can’t wait for next year’s event!