In yesterday’s post, we talked about how great Pensacon was. Making this con so good was two of the panels that we attended. One helped us realize how much our website has grown and will grow. The other combined two of our favorite things: comics and social studies.
The first panel, entitled Make it Sprinkle, discussed how to monetize your blog /podcast/YouTube channel. Before you can make money, you have to have followers. For us, that was more important. We are dedicated to doing this website again now that grad school is finished, and, of course, we want to grow. We have recently bought podcasting equipment and upgraded our camera. Our twitter, Instagram, and Facebook accounts are now being utilized regularly. The moderators of this panel, the guys from Chimichanga Talk, spoke mainly about to grow your audience and then explained how you can make some money, which mainly offsets the cost of your blog. The hosts were quick to point out you probably won’t get rich, but you might make enough to be #flickingnickels. Their advice was good common sense advice about marketing yourself. Doing NolaNerdCouple.com is doing our hobby as a second full-time job, and if you are going to make it your job, make it rewarding by watching it grow. Cristina was wearing our NolaNerdCouple.com shirt and was asked to go up front to show it off. Thankfully, she wore it instead of me because she makes a better model. At the end of the panel, it reminded me why we enjoy comic cons so much. The people leading and attending this panel have similar interests,and comic cons allow for us to have a place to actually meet in person.
The second panel was presented by three Comic historians. The panel focused on “Horrible Horrible Horrible Horrible Stereotypes in Comic Book History” which unfortunately has plenty of source data. The hosts were extremely knowledgeable. Comic books, like movies, often tell you more about the time they were written then the time they take place. The panelists shared how in the 40s and shortly after Japanese characters in comic books were brutally subjugated to racial slurs both in their appearance and in their speech. Next, the panel focused on the treatment of African Americans. Joining the panel for this segment was comic writer Tony Isabella. Isabella has numerous credits including, Captain America, Luke Cage, and Hawkman. He also created Black Lightning, one of DCs first major black superheroes. Isabella relayed the story of how the original story line involved a character call the Black Bomber who actually was a white racist that became a black superhero if he became stressed. Thankfully, Isabella rejected this idea and created Black Lightning. All of the panel moderators were great storytellers who obviously have a vast knowledge of comic book history (and you should really check out their podcast). In the question and answer section, they expanded to other horrible stereotypes and tropes especially focusing on how women were and, sadly, still treated in comic books. Mr. Isabella also pointed out the dangers of going too far in making minority characters too perfect. Perfect often has a lack of drama which is boring. The panel pointed out how the new Ms. Marvel is an excellent example of taking a minority character (a teenage Muslim American girl) and making her believable. They are right; it’s one of the best series in the current Marvel universe because Kamala Khan is so real.
Attending panels at comic cons (or any convention for that matter), should have the audience leaving with a call to action. If it is an actor panel, you should want to go watch their movies. We left both of these panels inspired. The first panel made us want to keep up NolaNerdCouple.com. We hope we are lucky enough to find people who find our nerd adventures interesting enough to keep coming back. The second panel made us want to do two things. First, we want to read more comics. Second, we want to see how to incorporate comics in our teaching. I teach AP Computer Science and just last year a graphic novel was published discussing the work of Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace. This sounds like perfect summer reading instead of a boring book on alogrithms. For Nola Nerd Gal, she teaches civics and on the car ride home we discussed how comics, especially post 9/11 comics, bring up many of the topics she covers in class.
Who knows, maybe we can develop a panel that could be presented at both a comic con and a teachers convention?