Reading rainbow! Thousands of geeks gather at queer comics fest Downtown

Reading rainbow! Thousands of geeks gather at queer comics fest Downtown
Photo by Jason Speakman

Finally — a place to let your geek and rainbow flags fly!

Thousands of comic-book fans and artists from across the country converged on Downtown’s Marriott hotel last weekend for the second Flame Con — a now-annual celebration of queer pop culture and the people who love it — and cartoonists said it was awesome to take part in a convention where being gay, bisexual, or transgender is the rule, not the exception.

“It was amazing!” said Josh Trujillo, a comic artist who came all the way from California to promote his titles “Love Machines” and “Death Saves.” “Flame Con is such a welcoming environment — at many of these shows we queer creators are the singular gay unicorn, so it’s nice to finally find your pack.”

Around 3,500 people flocked to the venue over the course of the weekend to check out the festival’s more than 100 artists — whose ranks included this paper’s own inhouse illustrators Bill Roundy and Sylvan Migdal — and three dozen events, including a cosplay contest, film screenings, panel discussions, speed dating, and stand-up comedy, according to the celebration’s creator Joey Stern.

This year’s crowds dwarfed those of last year’s inaugural one-day fest, he said, and it was a special feeling knowing he’d provided a place for so many queer nerds to be themselves.

“It exceeded our expectations,” said Stern, who is the founder of Geeks Out, the organization behind the convention. “It feels great not only to participate in something, but also feel like you’ve created space for people to have these amazing experiences.”

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at lgill@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill