One of the missing aspects of many of this year’s handful of virtual comic cons is the social element. Creators love to meet with other creators. Diversity Comic Con at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) will have interactive panel discussions and Q and As and will feature virtual speed networking sessions on Friday and Saturday nights where attendees get to meet and talk to each other one-on-one. The convention will use a service called Meetaway that matches participants with other attendees and will have a set amount of time to get to know each other. A prompt will be given to help the conversation along.
The FIT Diversity Comic-Con itself is in its third year, growing by leaps and bounds. This year’s keynote speaker is artist Shawn Martinbrough. Publishers joining many for the first time include Scholastic, MacMillan/First Second, Magnetic Press, Ahoy Comics, and Random House.
This year also marks another inescapable issue, the Black Lives Matter movement. The con has always been part of FIT’s Civility Week which has as it’s theme this year “Social Justice.” In fact, some of the panels will be dealing directly with the Black Lives Matter movement. As part of the event, a comic anthology will also be produced called “Black Stories Matter.” Comic creators are invited to contribute.
Diversity Comic Con is happening n October 16-17. The event is completely online which means anyone, anywhere can attend.
For most of his adult life, Professor Ramon Gil has worked towards more visibility for Asian Americans and minorities in general. Also being a comic book writer and artist, Ramon is merging these two passions by organizing what will be Diversity Comic Con at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT).
The event will be held on Thursday, October 11 from 10am to 6pm at the Great Hall of FIT’s Conference Center. There will be professional artists tables, panel discussions on a wide range of topics and cosplayers parading their latest fashion fantasy creations. Special guests include award-winning author of The Fifth Beatle – Vivek Tiwary, Batman artist and Black Lightning Co-creator – Trevor Von Eeden and comics editor and diversity advocate – Heather Antos.
Many more creators will be exhibiting, including Larry Hama, Heidi MacDonald, Dean Haspiel, Robyn Chapman, Reilly Brown and Janice Chiang. Many of whom have worked for top comic publishers like DC, Marvel, Image, Archie, IDW and more. There will even be animators, graphic novelists, storybook authors and publishers on hand. All professionals will be giving reviews to students who bring their portfolios.
With help and support from other FIT faculty and students, namely Prof. Kyunghee Pyun and senior Chase Bluestone, the Diversity Con is mere weeks away from reality. The convention launched on the advice of Gil’s fellow FIT faculty and is made possible by a grant.
The event is open to the FIT community who need only present their school IDs for admission but the general public will have to reserve free tickets.