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Flame on!: Gay comic con comes to Brooklyn

The Brooklyn Paper
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These comic book fans are burning with pride!

A group of progressive nerds are throwing the city’s first queer comic and pop-culture convention — Flame Con — at Park Slope’s Grand Prospect Hall on June 13.

The gathering will let creative folks from the gay community interact on an unprecedented scale, one artist said.

“It’s harder for people who are queer to find a home in terms of festivals,” said Bedford-Stuyvesant illustrator Hayley Blatte. “So this is a great opportunity for people to exchange ideas and create an even tighter community.”

Comic conventions — home to foam sword wielders and superhero cosplayers — are generally judgement-free, but the city’s other festivals struggle to engage the queer community, organizers said.

“The 2010 New York Comic Con only had one queer panel, and it was packed to the gills, but at the end everybody left — nobody hung out and talked,” said Joey Stern, who that year formed Geeks Out, the group behind the convention.

At Flame Con, expect all-gender bathrooms, a cosplay pageant, name tags with a space to write your preferred pronoun, queer readings of Sherlock Holmes, and panel discussions that go deeper than conventional convention conversation about the queer community, Stern said.

“They’re not ‘Gay 101’ panels,” he said. “The sort of things that might be hard to find at other conventions — we’ve got that front and center.”

Among the cartoonist luminaries exhibiting at the show will be “X-Men” artist Phil Jimenez, “She-Hulk” cover artist Kevin Wada, and Brooklyn Paper arts editor and resident bartoonist Bill Roundy.

And the con has its own mascot — Flamey — a spandex-clad super hero with imposing pauldrons and a shock of flaming hair. The fiery hero was a fait accompli, Stern said.

“You put seven queers into a room and tell them they’re going to put an event on and someone will make a costume for it,” Stern said.

And his power embodies the spirit of the meet-up.

“Flamey is all genders, goes by ‘they,’ and can be worn by anyone,” Stern said.

Of course, if you happen to be straight, you’re more than welcome — Flame Con is all about inclusivity regardless of proclivity, Stern said.

“We’re definitely not checking people at the door to make sure that they’re gay,” he said.

Flame Con at Grand Prospect Hall (263 Prospect Ave. between Fifth and Sixth avenues in Park Slope, www.flamecon.org) June 13 noon–6 pm. After party 8 pm–midnight. $10-$25.

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at mjaeger@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–8303. Follow him on Twitter @MJaeger88.
Posted 12:00 am, June 11, 2015
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