It’s Totally a Real Job: Teal Sherer, Actor

it's totally a real job...

I can’t really remember what made me tune in to The Guild for the first time, but all I can remember is that I fell in love with the show immediately. I loved the character so much, and often times related a bit too well with Felicia Day’s character, Codex. While I may have related better with the Knights of Good, I was obsessed with the show’s clan of evil gamers, The Axis of Anarchy. The Axis is hilarious, every character bringing something uniquely hilarious to the Axis. One of my favorite Axis members is Venom, played by Teal Sherer. Venom is hilarious. She’s hysterically angry all the time, and her furious outbursts are some of my favorite things to watch. I knew that I had to learn more about Teal after falling in love with Venom, and I stumbled across her series My Gimpy Life where the plays a paraplegic actor trying to make their way in show business. While Venom is hilariously ridiculous, Teal’s character in Gimpy Life (also named Teal) is real. She’s dealing with real struggles, fighting for real dreams, and she’s genuinely likable and funny. I knew that I had to talk to Teal for the series, ask her about being an actor, making her way in show business, and the amazing ways that she’s breaking down stereotypes of what it means to be a disabled person. She’s amazing, kind, and inspiring, and I’m thrilled to feature her here.

Teal Sherer

When did you decide you wanted to be an actor?
I started acting in college at Oglethorpe University. I had to take a theatre class as part of my Communications major and fell in love. My professor, Troy Dwyer, was so supportive and encouraging. He cast me in my first play, “The House of Bernarda Alba”, playing a character that wasn’t written to be disabled. I’ve been acting ever since.

I was first introduced to you through your character on The Guild, Venom. What was it like being a part of a web show that has become such a cult classic?
It’s super special. Felicia Day’s show has impacted so many people and The Guild fans are the absolute best! I miss playing Venom – she’s so cool.

Teal and Felicia

Screenshot of Teal and Felicia on My Gimpy Life

You created your own web series, My Gimpy Life. Did you want to keep that show web-based, or did you try to get it on TV first?
I would love to make My Gimpy Life for broadcast or cable or HBO or Netflix or Hulu or anywhere we could reach a larger audience. After we shot our pilot, which we released as episode 3, we did festivals and took all the meetings we could get, but we weren’t able to find a home or traditional funding for a series. Luckily, we found a partner in Steven Dengler and Dracogen to finish our first season.

What are the advantages you’ve found from doing a show online rather than through a television network?
Some people might say the silver lining in web producing is that you don’t have to compromise, but that’s not necessarily true. I look at shows like Louie and Curb Your Enthusiasm and I don’t see them compromising at all. With web projects you often have to make compromises because of limited time and money.

What was the most challenging part of creating your own web series?
The biggest challenge is finding your audience. By the time you reach the finish line, you probably don’t have a marketing budget. There are so many web series now that people have poured time and money into and they’re lucky if a thousand people watch the show. We hear a lot from new fans “how have I never heard of this?” and it’s because people are bombarded with major marketing all the time, and the only way our show breaks through is word of mouth.

What advice do you have for aspiring creators hurting for funding?
If you’ve never produced anything, crowd funding probably shouldn’t be your first avenue. Start small. Maybe try a 48 Hour Film contest in your city. Make friends, borrow and rent gear. Outside of Hollywood, people get excited about volunteering to be part of an indie project. If you’ve got more experience, crowd funding is a great way to expand and engage your fans.

What advice do you have for people wanting to start creating a web show, participate in one, or create something original online?
Don’t wait for the perfect time, just make something. Even if you shoot it on your phone. And emerging platforms are a great way to get noticed. YouTube is saturated, but if you can be one of the first people on whatever becomes the next hot app, you’ve got less competition.

I’m sure you’ve faced your fair share of struggles finding work in Hollywood as it isn’t always the most inclusive place. Though disabled actors feel it quite acutely, the industry has also come under fire for other ways it isn’t inclusive to women, people of color, or transgender individuals. How do you keep from becoming cynical and overwhelmed by that, and have you started to see any positive changes towards inclusiveness in Hollywood?
Creating my own opportunities, like My Gimpy Life, has helped me keep the cynicism at bay. And, yes, I have started to see positive change. For example, Ali Stroker is the the first wheelchair user to be on Broadway (in Spring Awakening playing a role that’s not disability specific), and I loved Target’s Halloween ad that featured a girl with a disability as Princess Elsa.

One thing I loved about Venom–apart from her constant rage–was that she wasn’t “the token character in a wheelchair”. She was real, and though her wheelchair was mentioned from time to time, her character really had very little to do with being a paraplegic. Even in My Gimpy Life, a show about a paraplegic actor, your character was a person with dimensions rather than a token character. How do you hope characters like those inspire other aspiring actors with disabilities?
In real life, people with disabilities are more than their disability – they are athletes, doctors, actors, moms, etc… Seeing this in the media helps break down stereotypes, and shows aspiring performers with disabilities that there is a place for them in the entertainment industry.

Where can we find you online?
You can follow My Gimpy Life on Facebook and Twitter, and you can check out episodes on Youtube. If you like an episode of My Gimpy Life, please please please show it to a friend!

My Gimpy Life

Thanks so much to Teal for taking the time to chat about acting and creating a space for yourself in your dream career. If you haven’t already, definitely check out My Gimpy Life–you won’t regret it. Don’t forget to check out the other amazing women I’ve spoken with (like IGGPPC co-founder StewieAmy, writer extraordinaireJordan, the creator of the amazing Jordandene fashion lineKathleen, author of the upcoming bookThe Fangirl LifeMari of Sent From Mars, the Geek Girl Brunch founders and Meli from Melificent) in the rest of the series, and stay tuned here every week for another women who proved success doesn’t always come in a cubicle. And if you want to continue the conversation on Twitter, use the hashtag #RealJob. 

WiSH Con: A New Convention All About Women In Sci-Fi And Horror

There are some really amazing outlets for women in the geek industry these days, from Geek Girl Con to the newly-formed Wayward Daughters Academy, and now there is a new, up-and-coming convention dedicated to celebrating women in horror and science fiction: WiSH Con.

wish con

2016 will be the convention’s inaugural year,  and I could not be more excited about what the convention has to offer. The guest list is shaping up nicely with guests like Kim Rhodes from Supernatural, Nicki Clyne and Leah Cairns from Battlestar Gallactica, Gracyn Shinyei from Supernatural, music from Destiny Whitaker and The Salty Caramels, writers and directors will be there, there will be yoga and panels on geeky wellness, fan-led panels, a costume contest, vendors, a red carpet, and much more. I could not be more excited about this convention. I love how the founders are making an entire convention just for celebrating the women who help make horror and sci-fi a genre we all love so much. I got to chat with the convention founders to learn a bit more about the con. Here’s our conversation:

Where did the idea come for starting this convention?
Being fans ourselves, we have gone to many different conventions throughout the years. We have noticed, in those years, that there has been a lack of support for the women in front of and behind the camera that make these shows great. With all of that in mind, we wanted to make a: for fans by fans event. With all of us being conventions goers it seemed like the natural way to go.

How did you take WiSHCon from idea to actual convention?
Kerry (co-chair) and I were talking about it hypothetically for a few weeks to see if it could go from a dream to a reality. First, we came up with the concept with the name following soon after. After we came up with the WiSHCon name, we started to throw out our dream list of shows that we wanted to see participate. Once we took a step back and saw the vast list we had created, we knew that this is a much bigger opportunity than we had initially realized and there are so many women that need to be honored. After that we added in Deb (head of Vendor Relations) and Emma (Head of publicity) as well as a couple of assistants to help make this event work a bit smoother.

What was the most challenging thing you encountered while starting this convention?
In the beginning stages, with this being our first year, the challenge was where to start first and how make sure each step did not become an overwhelming event. Each stage we encounter can lead to ten more things that need to be accomplished. That alone presents multiple challenges that seem to reproduce in the blink of an eye.
Once we got to the point where our website went live and we started sending out invites for panelists, our biggest obstacle was being taken seriously. We have been seen as only fans trying to put on an event for other fans just for personal entertainment or as a hobby. To be clear, we are a: for fans by fans event, but that is not the sole purpose of WiSHCon and it is taken a lot more serious than just a hobby. Along that same line, it’s been quite difficult being taken seriously as women in a male dominated business.

Currently, our biggest challenge has been financial side of things; being that we are not privately funded like a lot of other conventions. So our present-day obstacle is getting sponsors, fundraising on Indiegogo, and maintaining broad exposure.

What do you hope attendees will gain from WiSHCon?

We really hope attendees get an appreciation of what women experience not only in Hollywood but in business in general. It’s not about showing that women are superior but that they are equals and should be treated as such in Hollywood and in life. On a lighter note, we want fans to have fun meeting these amazing women, making lifelong friendships with other fans from across the world, like all of us have.

Who are some of the celebrity guests we can expect to see at the con?
The ones we have currently signed are Kim Rhodes best known for Supernatural, Star Trek Voyager, and the upcoming show Colony. Claudia Christian best known for her role in the Babylon 5 franchise. Shannon Eichorn who is a science fiction author. Luvia Petersen best known for Continuum and Battlestar Galactica. Marita Grabiak – writer/director – who has worked on Firefly, Dollhouse, Smallville, and Battlestar Galactica among many others. Leah Cairns best known for Battlestar Galactica, the movie Interstellar, and Kyle XY.

What kind of panels will you have at the con?
We will have a mix celebrity guest panels and fan panels representing shows past and present. Besides panels, we will have an eclectic vendor room, costume contest and red carpet, Saturday night concert, trivia contest, and a special VIP breakfast with celebrity guests on Sunday.

Where do you hope to see WiSHCon in five years?
In five years, we hope to see an event that happens more than once a year in multiple states across the country.

Where can we find you all online?
You can find us on Facebook,  Twitter, on our website, or just shoot us an email: WiSHConInfo@gmail.com

Can we help fund the con? Where can we donate?
Absolutely! Anyone can contribute by visiting our Indiegogo page where we have perks listed for official swag, discount weekend passes, and autographed merchandise. There are also once in a lifetime opportunities listed among the perks. Fans can also donate through our website, Red Bubble store, and an ongoing Represent campaign.

Where can we buy tickets?
Currently, the only place to buy tickets is through our Indiegogo campaign. Once our campaign has successfully ended, regular price tickets will be available come April 2016 link will be posted on our sites. In the meantime, the hotel location where the convention will be held, The Hilton Columbus Downtown, is currently taking reservations at a discounted price, rooms are limited.

Thanks so much to the WiSH Con team for taking the time to chat. Be sure to check out their website, and donate to the con if you can! What do you think of WiSH Con? Do you think you’ll attend? What would you like to see at the con this year or in future years? Let me know in the comments!  

We Aren’t Done With Jessica Jones, Right?

I am a seasoned Netflix-binger. When I decide to Netflix a show, I commit. I have no time for those people who watch an episode or two a week. If the generous Netflix gods are keen to provide us with several episodes of a show, you bet I’m gonna jump in, face first, and watch them all as quickly as I can.

next episode

When it comes to watching shows like Supernatural or X-Files, it’s not a huge deal to pound through episodes because there are SO MANY to watch. But when it comes to Netflix originals, once you chug through a season, you’re done for like a year.

I finished Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt in about a month.

I finished the new season of Arrested Development in a few weeks.

I finished Master of None in a few weeks.

I was not going to do the same thing when it came to Jessica Jones. No, I was gonna make this show last. The thing is, that show is hella addicting, so I zipped through the first ten episodes crazy quickly. Then, I freaked out a little.

I was nearly done with the series, and there isn’t any word on season 2. I couldn’t keep up with this breakneck pace, so I decided to STOP. I stopped watching the show for about a month. Jessica Jones can’t end for me if I never finish the season, right? I had unlocked the key to Netflix binging: binge until the final few episodes, and stop cold turkey to avoid ever ending the show. Great plan, right?

brilliant

That awkward moment when you use a Tennant as Ten gif in a Jessica Jones post…

Well, I couldn’t stand it anymore, and I finished season one of Jessica Jones yesterday. What did I think of the show? Here is the official summation of all my feelings for Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones and the entire show in general:

jessica jones

I won’t bore you with my thoughts on the whole season since there have been plenty of others who’ve written about how the show is the best thing ever. Suffice it to say that Jessica Jones is a solid superhero, and she seriously breaks out of the mold of most of the superhero stuff we see on TV today. She’s complicated, she’s damaged, she can be mean, she’s sarcastic, and I love her so much. Krysten Ritter unsurprisingly does a stellar job of bringing her to life. With the news of Daredevil season 2 getting a teaser trailer and release date, I figured we couldn’t be too far from hearing about season 2 of Jessica Jones. But not only do we not know when Jessica Jones season 2 is coming, we don’t even know if Jessica will even get a second season. That’s right. Netflix hasn’t even gone as far as to renew the show.

disapproving look

Reasons for the lack of renewal have been things like the focus on launching The Other Avengers Defenders (which will be comprised of Matt Murdock/Daredevil, Luke Cage, Jessica, and potentially others). Since Jessica will be in that, Netflix is focusing on featuring her there rather than expanding on her crazy successful show.

You-have-got-to-be-kidding-me

Don’t get me wrong, I dig crossover stuff, and I love the Avengers and how heavily those guys play in each others films. So yeah, Defenders sounds rad, but…why can’t we get more standalone Jessica and have Defenders? You know, like they’re doing with Matt Murdock? Maybe time and resources are an issue, but why not even say the show is renewed? Why is Netflix deciding to sit on a show that fans are obsessed with and actually differs a bit from every other superhero show and movie out there? Ultimately, I have no idea. Money, resources, and actor availability are real things that Netflix is juggling, but I know one thing for sure: we need more standalone shows and movies about female superheroes.

elastigirl

There are lots of dudes in that space, and losing Jessica would be a huge blow. Krysten Ritter has already expressed that she’s more than game to reprise the role, so I really hope Netflix doesn’t cast Jessica Jones aside to focus more on stuff like Daredevil and Defenders. They’re building a really great and diverse group of superhero shows on Netflix, and I’d hate to see them toss out a great one that’s meant so much to so many people.

What did you think of Jessica Jones? Do you want Netflix to renew the show, or do you think one season is enough? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

It’s Totally a Real Job: Melificent, Blogger

it's totally a real job...

I’ve gotten to meet some amazing women since I’ve started blogging, and one of the coolest women I’ve had the pleasure of interacting with is the lovely Meli from Melificent.com. Meli has managed to create a blog that celebrates her favorite forms of fandom and geekery, but she also brings her signature style in with some amazing and inspiring fashion posts and writes about her newest adventure: parenting (geeky parenting, of course). She’s created a brand and a true community with her readers, and it’s not only inspiring for someone like me who’s also trying to create a brand and community, but seeing her build something and truly succeed is inspiring to anyone who comes in contact with her. Even more awesome, her hard work paid off in October when she was given the Geekie Award for best website and blog. I’m so excited to start off my newest series, It’s Totally a Real Job with her. Meli has been a huge source of inspiration to me in my writing and blogging, and I know she’ll inspire you, too. So without further ado, let’s chat with her!

Melificent
What were your big dreams for Melificent.com when you first started your blog?

That someone would actually read it!
No, seriously – I didn’t know what I actually wanted when I started the blog other than to share. I had always had some sort of blog, whether it was a Livejournal account or a blogspot. At that point in time, I was just using blogs to chronicle my life so starting a “big girl blog” was a little daunting. I also started it without much of a focus, but I always knew I wanted to connect with others – something I had always loved about blogging and the Internet in general.

Did you always have an interest in fashion, or did that develop in time?

I had always loved fashion, playing with patterns and colors, and expressing myself through my wardrobe. I decided to start posting outfits as part of a 30-day challenge a few years ago, and I got such good feedback that I started incorporating them into my blog. Before I knew it, I had a fashion blog!

You recently won the Geekie for Best Website/Blog. Did you ever imagine getting an award like that? 

Not in my wildest dreams!!!! I’ve been blogging for so long, and have worked so hard to make my content original and special, that it was incredible to finally be recognized. When I got the news, I seriously thought I was dreaming (granted, I was on a couple of hours of sleep right after my daughter’s birth). 😉

One of the tough things about starting a blog and website, especially when fandom is involved, is finding your niche. It’s tempting to write about all the things and have a crazy, scattered site. Obviously being a geeky mom came from being pregnant, but even before Luna, how did you manage to settle on a theme and idea for your blog?

This was very tough for me. As I said, I’ve been blogging for a very long time, but I could not just focus on one topic. My blog was everywhere. The biggest criticism I received when asking for advice from other bloggers was that I needed a focus, but I didn’t believe them. Boy, were they right.
One day, I realized that I had ventured down a road that I was unfamiliar with. I felt disingenuous, which was the last thing I ever wanted to be. It was then that I sat down and thought of what I really love and who I really am. That’s when the Melificent you all know and love was born. I’m geeky. I like geeky things. I’m a fangirl. I love fashion. It’s incredible how easily posts are written when you are focusing on something you absolutely love.

Not only have you set yourself up as a reliable voice in “geek chic” and being a geeky mom, you’ve really created a Melificent.com community. What is the thing you want your readers to take away from your site? 

Aw, well thank you!
Most importantly to me, I want to be real. I want to help others, whether it be in superficial ways, like putting together a great outfit, or delving a little deeper, like sharing my experience of loss and growth. I don’t want to present a facade because I feel like that’s too prevalent in the blogging/social media culture. No, my life is not perfect. No, I’m not perfect, but that’s OK.

What has been the biggest lesson you’ve learned since starting your site? 

That working hard pays off. No matter if it takes 2 days or 2 years. You will see the payoff.

You also work a “normal” 9-5 in addition to your work on your site, correct? How do you balance a job, a life, and a site? 

I get asked this constantly!
It really isn’t hard work for me, and I attribute that to being a little OCD and anal about scheduling. I have, and always have had, excellent time management skills. My 9-5 is also not necessarily 9-5, which makes it easier for me to keep up with writing posts. I’ve realized that if you love something, you truly will make time for it. I was worried about falling behind when I gave birth to my daughter, but I found it pretty natural to fall into a routine again (aka; blogging during my late night/early morning shifts). I’m sure the same will apply when I have to go back to work after maternity leave. If you want to make it happen, you will.

What mistake did you make in the formative years of Melificent.com that you’d like to help other aspiring creators avoid?

Write about whatever you love. Do not start a blog (or anything for the record) because it seems to be working for other people or is popular. Follow whatever you are passionate about. You will always speak and create from the heart.

If you could impart one piece of advice to others aspiring to follow in your footsteps, what would it be? 

Similar to the above, be yourself. You’ll never go wrong. 🙂

Where can we find you online? 

Facebook, Twitter: @somelificent, Instagram: @melificent, or Pinterest.

Thanks so much to Meli for taking the time to answer these questions. Be sure to check her out on her blog and follow her on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. Her OOTD posts alone are worth the follow! Have questions for Meli or other geeky girlbosses I’ll be talking to in the future? Let me know in the comments, or ask me on Twitter with the #RealJob hashtag! I’ll be back next week with another awesome woman talking about her unique path that is totally a real job. 

Introducing “It’s Totally a Real Job”

When I was a kid, I had a dream of being an actor. When my obsession with the Mission Impossible franchise started, I was certain that I would be the first kid actor to be on the franchise…as the youngest villain the IMF had ever seen. It was going to be awesome. I was certain of it. I just knew that, after watching Tom Cruise get to do stuff like this onscreen:

tom cruise

…I just knew that I had to someday live a life where leaping from a mountain face to a precarious outcropping of rock was “just another day at the office”.

For lots of reasons, I didn’t end up becoming a professional actor. I acted in high school, a bit in college, and then I was done. Every now and then I have times where I wish I had really given my all into my pursuits of acting, I don’t think I would have been able to really hack it as a professional actor. Still, the desire to be creative, and to make a space for myself is one that I don’t think I’ll ever shake, which is why I cram ballet classes and writing into a pretty crammed schedule–I love creating.

With women like Sophia Amoruso and Sheryl Sandberg coming on the scene, encouraging women to lean in and become a #girlboss, it’s a pretty empowering time to be a woman making her way in the business world. Still, there are some of us who don’t count “success” as landing a corner office in an 8-5 corporate gig. Some do–and, to be clear, there’s nothing wrong with a traditional, corporate career if that’s your jam–but some want something a bit different. I’ve got more and more friends dropping out of their corporate gigs and starting their own businesses, freelancing, creating, and doing work that not only puts food on the table, but also fills their soul and creativity. That kind of bravery, vision, and creative energy inspires me to no end. Because of that, I decided to start a blog series called “It’s Totally a Real Job”.

it's totally a real job...

In this series, I’m going to be talking to women who have created their own place in the business world by creating their own business or embarking in a geeky/creative career. These women are brave, creative, bold, determined, and super inspiring. I hope that hearing their stories will inspire you to chase after your passions, whatever they may be, and create something beautiful.

I’ll hope you’ll head back here each week to see who I’m talking to and learn about some of the awesome women doing amazing things in the world of business and art.

What are some of your personal goals, and who are some of your biggest inspirations to achieve them? Let me know your thoughts in the comments, and keep the conversation going on Twitter with the hashtag #RealJob. 

Denver Comic Con & The DC Comics Interviews: Marguerite Bennett

DC Collage

I had a brilliant time at Denver Comic Con this year, and I was so thrilled to get the opportunity to interview some amazing writers from DC Comics. DC is doing some pretty rad stuff with their comics, and I am so excited to get to dish with you, my shiny readers! I was able to sit down with Becky Cloonan (Gotham Academy), Jim Palmiotti and Amanda Conner (Harley Quinn, Power Girl, Starfire), and Marguerite Bennet (Earth 2, Bombshells). I’ve already shared my interview with Becky Cloonan and Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Palmer with you all, and now it’s time for my last interview with the fantastic Marguerite Bennett. I’m so stoked for her latest project, and she also has some awesome advice for young women interested in breaking out into comics:

Kendall: Let’s talk a little bit about Earth 2. This one had quite a few writer on it, Daniel H. Wilson, yourself, and Mike Johnson, so what did the writing process look like for you guys? Was it collaborative, did you work on your own and come together? 

Marguerite: Well, Daniel was the one who wrote the story, so he came up with sort of the massive bible on what the death of this world was going to be. And then we all broke it down into the plot and the characters, and tried to track where the emotional journey was going to be in addition to the action, and then those pages were sort of divvied up between who was sort of going to focus on who. We didn’t really want to do it by plot, because we really felt that jumping around would interrupt the emotional momentum each character had, so instead we gave a group of characters to each writer so they could keep it consistent and never lose sight of what the beginning and the end of that emotional journey was.

K: Did you guys know each other before working on Earth 2?

M: No, I’ve met Mike Johnson sort of briefly. It’s actually sort of funny, he’s such a sweetheart. When I was talking at a party with an editor at Marvel, he had worked with Mike in the past, and he sort of teasing said, “Oh, that Mike Johnson, what a jerk!” And I got sort of really cold and frosty with him and said, “Excuse me, I think Mike is a lovely person!” And he was kind of like, “I…I was kidding. We’re bros.” So it’s funny, you’ve got this sort of foxhole situation, and then it’s the bootcamp that unites you.

K: As we know, Earth 2 is ending and they are going to bring forth Earth 2: Society. What can you tell us about that, if anything?

M: I actually can’t tell you anything. I’m so sorry!

K: No, that’s okay! So are you still going to be writing on it?

M: No. I’m switching over to a different series entirely. It’s called Bombshells and I’m really excited about it.

K: Can you tell me a little bit about that?

M: Sure! Bombshells is going to be a digital first series like Injustice that is a completely new story that is based on the bombshell variants that you may have seen, these bombshell statues with this wonderful retro style, designed by Ant Lucia.

Bombshells

M: It’s going to be all the DC heroines in this alternate history of WWII. So the whole conceit is that the heroines came first. So on our very first page it starts with the Waynes going out to see Zorro one summer evening, and a gangster jumps out of the shadows with a tommy gun, and Batwoman comes crashing down and prevents the murder of the Waynes–prevents the creation of Batman. And so, that sets the tone for the entire series, where no heroine is a derivative of a male counterpart. So the women came first, and they defined this world.

K: [fangirls, collects self] That’s awesome! Oh my gosh. I’m so excited for that. So is it just you writing on this?

M: Yep! It’s my first ongoing, and I’ve been sitting on this since last September! I’ve got 21 issues plotted and broken, and I cannot wait. Our interior art is done by another Marguerite, the only other Marguerite I’ve found, so far, Marguerite Sauvage. Her stuff is so tremendous. We’ve got variant covers by Emanuela Luppachino, and it’s just such a killer story. We’re having so much fun.

K: How did you come up with this story?

M: I was approached by Jim Chadwick, who is our wonderful editor. I did some work with him while I was working with Tom Taylor in Earth 2 in the annual for Injustice. And I was so in love with Bombshells, and I never made it any secret how in love I was with Bombshells. So when they made it clear they wanted to move it into a proper ongoing, I was the first one on their list. There is no version of this, I can honestly say, that is more up my alley. How crazy to get to go into this new world.

K: Man, I’m so excited! So when can we expect to see this?

M: The first digital starts, I believe, July 12, and the first print version will be out August 12. Also, every Wednesday there is going to be a ten-page story release, and then on the last Wednesday of the month, we’re going to have a full thirty-page print issue that will be available at comic book stores. So if you want to wait and get the full thing or you want to follow Wednesday by Wednesday, you can do it. And how every ten-page story is going to operate is it’s going to focus on a different character. Our first ten-pager is going to be about Batwoman, our second ten-pager is going to be about Wonder Woman, third will be about Supergirl. So each time, we’re trying to make sure there is something for everyone in this comic. So Batwoman it will be an action-adventure story, with Wonder Woman it’s a war story, with Supergirl its like a propaganda film. With Hawkgirl its an Indiana Jones-style story, with Vixen it’s a rebellion, Aquawoman its a romance, Zatanna its a hammer movie. So we want to make sure to fund this complete world with the art and the genres that define the forties and the war.

K: That’s great. I am so excited about that. Well, you’ve done a lot, with Bombshells now and stuff you’ve done with…another unnamed comics publisher…lots of awesome stuff with women in comics. And, for instance, with A-Force, there’s been a lot of pushback. How do you respond to that? I mean, I’m excited about all of the awesome women in comics right now, as you can see. How do you respond?

M: Make a martini and enjoy my right to vote.

K: That’s good.

M: We’re here to stay!

K: Did you grow up with comics?

M: I did. I mean, Batman animated series when I was five years old is the whole reason that I’m here today. I absolutely fell in love with that style of the stories and the depth, the art, and the level of the emotionality in all of them. There were times that I couldn’t afford to keep up with comics, and there were times that I felt unwelcome in the comics community, but sort of when there was that social media boom of Tumblr and DeviantArt and fan fiction–I wrote so much fan fiction. I’ve got binders full of it. When I found that there were other nerdy girls who loved this, or other nerdy people who accepted me in spite of the fact or ignored that gender bias, we sort of built our own community. And we’ve been trucking ever since.

K: You’ve written a lot of really awesome female characters, especially now with Bombshells, you’re going to touch on All of the Things, which is rad.

M: I’m putting my stick fingers over all these toys!

K: You are! Is there a favorite that you like to write on?

M: Oh, Kate Kane. She’s my favorite heroine, period.

K: Why?

M: Oh my gosh, you know I feel like every hero and heroine has one defining thing about them. That if you were going to boil them down, all of their wants and needs and damage and virtues, there would be one thing. For Batman, a lot of people would call it his need for justice, but I’d say it’s more about obsession. For Batgirl it’s more about recovery, and for me Batwoman is more about service, about what you sacrifice, what you give of yourself and your abilities to redeem others. Whether its more the world at large, or more intimate, personal damage, but that selflessness is the thing that pulls her through. It gives her strength as much as its her greatest vulnerability, and that always really resonates with me.

K: What would you say to, like you said, there are a lot of girls that don’t feel welcome in the comics community. How would you encourage them to overcome that?

M: You know, no one’s going to write this story for you. You’ve got a story in you that only you can tell, and you need to tell it. Do not let somebody tell you that your story is invalid. Do not let someone tell you that your story isn’t worthy of being told. Don’t let somebody have that control over your life and your self-worth. You have just as much of a right to be here as anybody else. Don’t get scared. You can do this.

***

I had to also mention that DC is doing some really exciting stuff when it comes to becoming a more inclusive environment for women. In addition to Bombshells, DC also has another new project coming up. This time, it’s for those comic book fans who are young girls. DC is going to be releasing a full universe aimed at young girls, complete with digital content, TV specials, made-for-video publishing, toys, and apparel called DC Super Hero Girls in fall of 2015.

Yep. You heard right, we’re finally getting some female action figures and apparel. Yes, please. FINALLY. We can expect the digital content this fall, and the rest of the products (apparel, toys, books, etc) will launch in 2016. You can head to the DC site to read more about it, but I am so excited and impressed with the ways DC is working to create products for its female fans of all ages. Ten points to DC.

I cannot tell you how STOKED I am for Bombshells and Super Hero Girls. I don’t know about you, but I’ve already got Bombshells on my pull list at my comic book store. If you haven’t done that already, you most certainly need to remedy that! You can check out more info on the comic on the DC website. If you aren’t following Marguerite on Twitter, you should definitely remedy that as well. So what do you think of Bombshells? Will you be reading it? Is it already on your pull list? What do you think of Super Hero Girls? Let me know your thoughts on all things Marguerite, Bombshells, DC, and Superhero Girls in the comments! 

Book Review: The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy

I’m all about lady geek empowerment up in here, so when I had the opportunity to review Sam Maggs‘ upcoming book, The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy, I jumped all over it. I first met Sam through my Walking Dead recapping at The Mary Sue, and I was thrilled to see that her awesomeness had transferred over to the book world. Here’s a basic summary of what the book is about:

Fanfic, cosplay, cons, books, memes, podcasts, vlogs, OTPs and RPGs and MMOs and more—it’s never been a better time to be a girl geek. The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy is the ultimate handbook for ladies living the nerdy life, a fun and feminist take on the often male-dominated world of geekdom. With delightful illustrations and an unabashed love for all the in(ternet)s and outs of geek culture, this book is packed with tips, playthroughs, and cheat codes, including:

• How to make nerdy friends
• How to rock awesome cosplay
• How to write fanfic with feels
• How to defeat Internet trolls
• How to attend your first con

And more! Plus, insightful interviews with fangirl faves, like Jane Espenson, Erin Morgenstern, Kate Beaton, Ashley Eckstein, Laura Vandervoort, Beth Revis, Kate Leth, and many others.

Fun fact: Female Geek Blogger G+ group co-founder, Fandom 5 co-inventor, and Nerdy Girlie herself Megan Gotch is also featured in Sam’s book!

This book is a great read. It’s fun, it’s easy to get through, and it is empowering. Even better, it’s got some great artwork. Check out the cover:

Fangirl Cover…and check out the dustjacket/hardcover:
Fangirl coverEvery inch of this book has design in mind, and it’s awesome. Still, the content is what makes this book shine. Sam takes the time to talk about all the different areas of fangirl-ness, and she takes the time to explain and validate all of them. I saw my own fandoms represented incredibly well in the book, and I was able to learn more about fandoms I’ve heard about, and some I didn’t even know existed. Even cooler, she offers her readers tons of ways to get involved in the geek girl community, and gives readers tons of resources to get involved in the geek girl world in whatever way they’d like.

In short, Sam Maggs’ The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy is a celebration of the female geek, it’s an explanation to some of those new-fangled fandom terms you’ll find on the interwebz, it introduces various fandoms to readers, and it helps readers take their knowledge and make some friends IRL. This book is truly a fangirl’s guide to the galaxy. I highly recommend this to any geek girl out there, or anyone who has a geek girl in their life that they love and want to understand better. Her book hits stores TODAY, so you should go and buy yourself a copy!

Of course, with a book as rad as this one, no book review would be complete without a chat with the author. So I shot a few questions Sam’s way, and she graciously took the time to answer them. Here’s what she had to say:

sam maggs

Kendall: What inspired you to write Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy
Sam: I really wanted to write the book I wish I’d had when I was 15 and liked comic books and video games and felt like I had no one to talk to about it! I hope that this will make some other girls feel more confident in who they are and what they like.
K: You are a pretty prolific blogger. What drew you to turning Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy into a book rather than a blog series?
S: I actually had never considered writing a book before my agent approached me! She found me through Twitter and liked my writing, and asked me if I had any ideas for a book project. Fangirl’s Guide came to mind right away!
K: What are some of your favorite parts of geek culture? 
S: I love the passion, and I love the sense of community. It’s great to be able to be unapologetically excited about the things you love with other people who love them too!
K: Who are some geeky women that inspire you–women that are alive and shaking up the geek world today, women of the past, or even fictional women?
S: Felicia Day is a huge inspiration to me as someone who blazed her own trail in the geek community. Amanda Tapping is a wonderful role model for women as an actress and director and mom, too! Hayley Atwell is my current favorite – she’s so eloquent about women in Hollywood and in history.
K: What is the best piece of advice that you’d give to young women pursuing some sort of a so-called “geeky” career. be it something in tech, writing, games, comics, or anything else? How would you advise them to stand out in an often male-dominated field, and have their voices heard?
S: Never let anyone tell you that you can’t because you’re a woman. You can. You should. You will.
K: Because you’re vocal on the internet and you write for The Mary Sue, I’m sure you’ve gotten some hate on the interwebz for your intersectional feminist ideals. How do you deal with that?
S: For me, the number one thing is to keep yourself safe. If you feel like you can fight back and still keep your mental health and your safety, then you absolutely do it. For me, the block button is my best friend.
K: If readers only takeaway one thing from reading Fangirl’s Guide, what would you like it to be? 
S: Be who you are, and if the people around you don’t like it, there are a million other people out there who will.
K: What was the most surprising thing you encountered, moving from blog writing to book writing?
S: The back-and-forth process of working with an editor! Blair Thornburgh, a full-fledged geeky girl herself, edited the book, and constantly improved upon my writing and though of creative new ways in which to organize the book. It was such a positive and exciting experience.
K: What advice would you give to young writers–bloggers or future book authors–on how to succeed in this field? 
S: Be prolific! You don’t have any of the barriers to success that we used to have, because of the internet. Put your writing on a blog, put your art on Tumblr – before you know it you’ll be making your own books and comics too!
K: For all the awesomeness, there can also be some awful stuff that happens to women in the geek world. What advice do you have to offer women on combating it? 
S: Find a supportive community, either in person or online (or both!). It is so helpful to just be able to vent to people who understand you and have even had some of the same experiences you have.
K: Where can we find you online? 
Y’all, Sam has crafted an awesome book, and it’s definitely a must-read for any geek girls, fangirls, and young nerds. It celebrates the awesome diversity of the female geek community, and it helps bring us all together. If you haven’t done so already–and if you haven’t, what are you waiting for–head over to the Quirk Book website to buy yourself  a copy from your favorite retailer!

GeekGirlCon 2014 Wrap-Up: Part II

geekgirlcon

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out my first post about a few of the highlights of GeekGirlCon ’14, and if you haven’t checked out my two pre-con posts, you can see those here and here. In my last GGC post, I talked about 5 highlights from the con. In this post, I’m going to talk about what I learned after my first convention as a member of the press.

1. The Red-Eye Flight 

GGC was in Seattle, so I had to fly to get there, which was fine. However, I didn’t leave myself a bunch of free time in Seattle before and after the con. I flew into Seattle super late the day before the con, and super early the morning after the con. I’m a bit of a night owl, so I had no trouble with the late night. Plus, going to the airport late in the evening does have its perks. Namely? No lines at security:

DIA

This was the nearly deserted security line at the airport. Beautiful.

Going to the airport in the unholy hours of the morning, however? Not quite as special. First off, there are significantly more people taking an early morning flight. Still not as many as more reasonable times of the day, but they are still there. And a great deal of them are morning people.

plague

Secondly, if you are like me and you didn’t rent a car, that means you must take a shuttle to get to the airport from your hotel, as it is cheaper than a cab. So that means the shuttle will pick you up at 3:45 in the morning to ensure you make your red-eye flight on time. And, of course, since the airport is about an hour and a half drive from your home, by the time you finally arrive at your house?

tired_george_michael_arrested_development

2. Cons are Crazy

Part of the reason I was so spent when I got home, and why a red-eye flight was a bad idea is because I was busy all weekend. It was a great busy, and a super fun busy, but that entire weekend, this was me:

BusySince I had a press pass, I wanted to attend as much of the convention as I could. Minus a migraine that came on in the afternoon on Saturday, I spent all day either at the convention center or asleep. I felt like everything was a bit chaotic while I was there because though I had a rough idea of what panels I wanted to attend, my schedule was pretty murky. Which leads me to point number three…

3. Pre-Gaming

joker

As far as I know, every single convention releases their schedule early. GeekGirlCon not only had a schedule up online, but it also had the schedule up on GuideBook. Instead of thinking about my schedule ahead of time, I kind of noted all the panels that sounded cool to me (which, of course, all overlapped). Once I got to the convention center, instead of taking a second to plan out my day, I continued flying by the seat of my pants (ex: like I said in my previous GGC ’14 post, I was pleasantly caught off guard by Anita Sarkeesian’s presence at the con, as well as Marissa Meyer’s). Con planning is a consistent problem with me. If you remember my Denver Comic Con ’14 post, I mention how I had plans to meet up with friends–a thought that never came to fruition because nothing was actually planned. So press or not, I need to get better at making a game plan for cons.

4. Packing Well

hotel room

My hotel room had two beds, so the second bed became the “toss crap here” bed.

Part of the pre-con pre-gaming is planning out the packing situation a bit better. I attempted to pack light, but things just got a bit out of control. I’d love to say that in the future I’ll pack on the essentials and I’ll have a highly organized packing system in my luggage, but I know that will never happen.

monster

However, once I arrive at my hotel, setting my stuff in a more orderly fashion will help me find things quickly, especially when I have to pop back in the room for something between panels. The other thing that would have been helpful was having a better organization system for all my stuff while I was actually at the con. I only had my giant purse, and that got cumbersome and annoying after a while. I scoffed at the Nerdist/Her Universe con hoodie when it first came out, but now it kinda makes a lot of sense.

HU-Nerdist-SDCC-ultimate-convention-hoodie

I also should have paid attention to the tips given to me from The Nerdy Girlie and Nerdist.

5. Connecting with Others

I’m an introvert, and I can be shy, especially in situations where I don’t know anyone. So attending a convention alone in a brand new city was a bit…intimidating. I can get really quiet and awkward when I’m uncomfortable, which is not a great way to make connections with others.

shy-ronnie-o

The great thing about GGC was that everyone was incredibly friendly and super welcoming. For instance, when I attended the press and panel mixer at the Raygun Lounge, I ordered a drink, and immediately had one of the other bloggers there tell me to pull a chair up to her table. So while I should definitely work on being more outgoing at future cons, GeekGirlCon is awesome in that it makes even the most awkward and shy among us feel welcome.

GeekGirlCon ’14 was a truly amazing con, and attending was so fun experience and a great learning experience. If you’re interested in learning more about GeekGirlCon, head to their website. Everyone who works for the con is a volunteer, and they rely largely on donations. If you’re interested in donating to the con (they even have prizes if you donate certain amounts), you can do that here.

GeekGirlCon 2014 Wrap-Up: Part I

geekgirlcon

I’ve been so pumped for GeekGirlCon 2014 for months now, and I’m still in a bit of a haze now that it’s behind me. If you haven’t seen them yet, go here and here to see my pre-con posts. This was the first con I attended as “press”, so this was kind of a giant learning experience, but ultimately it was amazing.

Fancy badge! This means I'm officially a member of the press, right?

Fancy badge! This means I’m officially a member of the press, right?

I experienced so much amazing stuff at the con, so I’ve been having some hardcore writer’s block when it comes to recapping.

writing-is-hard-gif

So instead of doing one master post, I’m gonna break my con coverage into a couple of posts. In this post I’ll talk about a few of the highlights of the con. So here goes:

1. Anita-freaking-Sarkeesian!!!

I was fully unaware that Anita was planning to attend the con, let alone that she was going to have her own panel.  So while I had originally planned to attend a different panel during that time, as soon as I saw her name on the schedule I high-tailed it over there.

femfreq

Please enjoy my crappy iPhone pic of Anita speaking!

Hearing Anita speak was equal parts inspiring and discouraging. While she’s trying to do some really cool stuff, starting a conversation on feminism in pop culture (she’s focused a lot on video games recently), she’s gotten a TON of pushback, hatred, and threats of violence. In fact, she even received a threat at GGC, and recently received another threat regarding her scheduled talk at USU.  Polygon talks about it here. So while it was inspiring to hear her goals and dreams for her non-profit, Feminist Frequency, and it was so cool to hear how strong she is being in the face of some truly scary stuff, it was so discouraging to see how many people react to her with such hatred and violence. Regardless, I’m stoked that I got to hear her speak.

2. Fierce Reads Panel

Fierce Reads

And another crappy panel iPhone photo! Whee!

I love YA, I’ll admit it. So I was so excited to see the Fierce Reads panel featuring 5 amazing YA authors, Marissa Meyer, Nikki Kelly, Lish McBride, Jessica Brody, and Gennifer Albin. I’ll be honest, prior to this panel I had only heard of Marissa Meyer, but these women were so hilarious and engaging that I’ve put each and every one of their books on hold at the library (yes, libraries are still a thing). While I’m not looking to become a YA author, I am fairly certain I’ll always be a consumer of YA literature. It was so much fun to hear about their process, and, if nothing else, listen to Nikki Kelly and her lovely English accent.

And, of course, I got autographs.

cinder

3. Nerd For a Living

N4aL

The Nerd for a Living panels were in pretty high demand at the con. This particular one ran out of seats, and folks like yours truly had to stand at the back.

A group called Nerd For a Living also held several panels about starting and growing a geeky business. As someone who runs her own geek blog, I was quite interested in these panels. I was expecting to find these panels stocked with various bloggers, but N4AL was able to grab women from a wide variety of “geeky” professions, from makeup artists to cartoonists, and even yarn-makers. The panels offered a really wide range of professions, so the perspectives and experiences were quite varied. It was great. Here are two of my favorite quotes from their How to be a Nerd for a Living panel:

4. Community with a Capital C

You guys, there were so many amazing people at this convention. One of my favorite parts was getting to meet up with other bloggers at the fabulously named Raygun Lounge. I spent the most time chatting with Jamie Broadnax from Black Girl Nerds and Sarah Beck from Women in Game Studies. The folks that are a part of the GeekGirlCon community are brilliant, hilarious, and so kind. As a painfully shy introvert, I wasn’t sure what kind of connections I would make, but everyone was so welcoming and friendly that the shy introverted part of me didn’t even have a chance to take over. If you’re interested, you can read Sarah’s recap of the Feminist Community Building panel she moderated here.

5. Amazing Cosplay (also, Daleks)

con dalek

There were So. Many. Daleks. This particular Dalek was made by a con volunteer, and it was remote-controlled.  It would rove around the con, and it even had built in music to make it extra-menacing as it scooted along. The scope also moved, which was amazing. I was also a huge fan of how many parents dressed their kids as Daleks. If I’m ever a mom, you can bet your bottom dollar my kid will be spending a great deal of Halloweens dressed as a Dalek. As for the rest of the con’s cosplay, my camera failed me, so I didn’t get the stellar cosplay shots I had planned on getting. So, if you want to check out some of the truly awesome cosplay featured at GGC (because there was a lot), go here and here.

***

GeekGirlCon ’14 was a truly amazing con, and these five points barely scratch the surface of how awesome GGC is. If you’re interested in learning more about GeekGirlCon, head to their website. Everyone who works for the con is a volunteer, and they rely largely on donations. If you’re interested in donating to the con (they even have prizes if you donate certain amounts), you can do that here.

I’ll be posting again tomorrow with more info on the con, my everday cosplay endeavors, and what I’ve learned after my first foray into being a member of the press at a convention. Stay tuned!

GeekGirlCon 2014

geekgirlcon

I’ve talked a bit about my own personal preparations for GeekGirlCon 2014, but with the con coming up this weekend (this weekend!!! yeaaahhh!!!) I thought I’d talk a bit more about the con itself. So what is GeekGirlCon? In short, GeekGirlCon celebrates and honors the legacy of women contributing to science and technology; comics, arts, and literature; and game play and game design by connecting geeky women world-wide and creating community to foster continued growth of women in geek culture through events. I’m all about celebrating and honoring women in various aspects of geekery, be it science, tech, or the arts. The con is 100% about building community. No “geek cred” required; it’s all about supporting one another. I love that. Obviously, this is my first time going to GeekGirl, but the brains behind this convention (made up largely of volunteers, by the way) have got some pretty awesome stuff planned for this year’s con. They’ve got programming for everyone, guys, girls, young, and old. Here are some of the highlights:

1. The DIY Science Zone
science

Okay, this is the coolest thing. The DIY Science Zone is open to all ages, and it is a place where con attendees can go to get some hands-on experience when it comes to the world of science. At GirlCon ‘13, there were more than 350 people playing in the DIY science zone, and the experiments ranged from making your own neurons, to crime-scene fingerprinting, to dancing raisins. This year the con plans to bring in some invisible ink, DNA extraction, dice roll science, slime-making, Cartesian drivers, making light, laser rules, and pocket solar systems, to name a few. The DIY Science Zone is run by men and women in different scientific professions, and they will be there help coach and guide those participating. While I think it will be totally fun to play around in the Science Zone, I love that this will make science seem more fun and accessible for younger kids, especially girls. We can definitely use more Jane Fosters in our world, right?

2. Career Connections

jobSadly, we live in an era where a lot of people are either unemployed or underemployed, and job hunting is one of the most awful things in the world–especially if you don’t have any “contacts” with whom you can network your way into a job. GeekGirlCon is trying to help its con attendees find a job, and a job they love. Networking can be huge in finding a new gig, so the con will be hosting various Career Connection events for con attendees to hopefully make some meaningful connections. It’s tough to be a woman in a “geeky” field if you don’t have a job, right? GeekGirlCon is trying to help fix that, and I think that’s awesome.

3. Programming for Parents, Too

IT CrowdParents are geeks and nerds, too. GeekGirlCon has stuff for geeky parents or parents of geeks. From the DIY Science Zone to kid-friendly games on the gaming floor, paint and take miniature paintings, or lively readings, there will be a ton of geeky stuff for your kids to do. However, just because you’re a parent, it doesn’t mean that you don’t get to have your own fun. There are also panels about “Geek Girl Transformation to Geek Mom”, panels equipping parents to talk to their kids about representation in comics, books, and film, and cosplaying as a parent/parenting a cosplayer.

4. Jamie Broadnax of Black Girl Nerds! 

black girl nerds

If you’ve never checked out the site Black Girl Nerds, you should probably remedy that right now. Jamie runs an awesome site filled with great geeky content, and brings her unique perspective as a woman of color in the geeky/nerdy world. Though there are some exciting changes within the comic book world with things like Storm getting her own comic, Kamala Khan’s reign as the current Ms. Marvel, and Sam Wilson taking over as Captain America, there isn’t a great deal of representation of people of color within the geek world. Jamie works actively to fix that. I cannot wait what she has to say on her panel at GeekGirl.

5. Programming for Writers

writing-is-hard-gifThere are a ton of geeks out there who have the perfect comic book story line, the next big fantasy novel, or the next big YA story camping out in their brains, and GeekGirlCon wants to help them out. The con will have a ton of programming helping writers with editing, discussing fan fiction, a YA author panel, panels discussing female heroines in sci-fi and fantasy, and live readings and spoken word sessions for kids and grownups alike. Another cool offering this year is a panel bringing the connection from writing stories to creating games. As a pseudo-writer and gamer myself, I can’t wait to check out that panel.

These are just a few AWESOME things that are coming up at GeekGirlCon this year. Check out the con’s website to learn more, and you can view the official schedule here. Also, if you’d like to donate to keep this awesome convention going, go here.

One last thing: I’ve officially decided on my outfits for the con. If you didn’t check out my last GeekGirlCon post, I mentioned that I’ve decided to attend the con in “everyday cosplay” rather than full-on cosplay (which history says I suck at). While I’m not going to post any pictures of my actual outfits until the con, my official decisions were:

Sam Winchester

I all but confirmed this choice in my last post, but I’ve officially decided on Sam everyday cosplay. Jeans, boots, and flannel? It was too easy to pass up.

 

sam winchester everyday cosplayThe Twelfth Doctor

This one wasn’t on my original post, but after an searching for other everyday cosplay choices on Pinterest, I found everyday cosplay choices for Twelve that seemed too cute to pass up.

Everday.12th.DoctorI’ll be putting my own spin on these two outfits, but I think they will both be awesome choices for the con. I can’t wait to share outfit pics! Stay tuned here on the blog and on my Twitter for con updates. I’ll be using the hashtags #GeekGirlCon and #KenAtTheCon.

Are you going to the con? Have you attended in the past? Let’s talk about it in the comments!