After that was a CBLDF panel on the fight to defend manga. The short version of the issues is that since a lot of manga characters are in high school and are often depicted in “sexual fashion” that some agencies are treating it as child pornography. Despite that there are no real people depicted and there are no actual sexual situations or nudity in these manga. And yet no one has issues with Twilight which has a 17 y/o being mentally and emotionally abused by someone more than 80 years older.

Ash Ketchum, Captain America and Quailman, picture by Jennifer Bevan

I had to cut out a little early to catch the JMS (Joe Michael Straczynski) panel with his big announcement. He is starting his own studio! He also talked about a number of upcoming projects, but I don’t really care about previews. I am excited that he is starting his own studio as I hope this means he will doing more of his own projects. Ok, I’m really hoping for more Babylon 5 but I don’t really expect it to happen. I’d be happy with more series like Rising Stars or Midnight Nation. The other thing I took from the panel was advice he gave to someone who was just getting into writing and was worried that is was all bad. He told them that everyone’s early writing is awful and you just need to keep at it to get better. Inspirational?

Later we caught the year’s best and worst manga. This was interesting just to see what the different panelists value in a manga and what they consider bad. We took notes and wrote down a few names for later reference.

Lego Gandalf, picture by Craig Gordon

Then we tried to go to the Gays In Comics mixer hosted by Prism comics. We had a good conversation with Tara Madison Avery earlier in the day at the Prism booth about the complete lack of bisexuality in comics so we were looking forward to talking to more people. I say tried because it wasn’t much of a mixer. The previous Gays In Comics 25th Anniversary Celebration ran long and the events kind of blended. So we ended up managing to catch some of that panel, which was cool.

We had to skip out of the mixer/panel shortly after the raffle to head off to the after party at The Stage: Rock Bar & Grill. It turned out that the band which was supposed to play had van trouble, but the replacements were pretty good anyway. It seemed a little disorganized. We weren’t sure who was there for the after party and who was just there anyway. We got to talk to one of the co-founders of the blog on the way out. The most interesting part was the bartender who decided we were very interesting and seemed even more impressed that we had met at Burning Man.

Sunday there weren’t really any panels we wanted to see and we were very drained, so we just spent some time in the dealer room, took some pictures, and then spent the afternoon at the beach with a friend and her puppies.

So this is where I talk about the dealer room.

This is where the crush of people was at its worst. Several times we had to leave the room for a bit just to breathe. The major vendors has large displays. Lots of places were giving stuff away to crowds of people. We hit up a select few areas (Doctor Who lunchbox) but I mostly stuck near the Independents area. I didn’t get to all of them. I walked the aisles to see what grabbed my attention.

Craig, the guest blogger and Keith Knight

Keith Knight was there. He writes “The K Chronicles”, “The Knight Chronicles”, and “(Th)ink”. I think all 3 of them are syndicated in different papers around the country. I had only gotten to read a bit of “The Knight Chronicles” in our local paper. It is amusing, no punches pulled commentary on politics and American society. “The Knight Chronicles” is apparently the more family friendly, character driven version of “The K Chronicles”. So I picked up a copy of the “The K Chronicles” of course. Go check out his page. And I can vouch for this strip actually happening. I was on the next aisle over talking to the makers of Princeless when the commotion started.

Princeless is my next highlight. This is an awesome book. It is the classic story of a hero rescuing princesses trapped in towers and seeking to overthrow the oppressive king. Except the hero used to be one of those princesses and she’s only 14. Annoyed at her father locking her away to wait for a prince and the way women are treated in the kingdom in general, she befriends the dragon which was guarding her (a dragon that was none too pleased to kind out it had been hired just to get ultimately offed) and sets off to rescue her sisters. All of the characters have depth and personality. Even the dragon. The whole thing is cute, funny, and awareness raising at the same time. Only 4 issues / 1 collected volume is out so far. Check out the tumblr page and get your comic shop to keep the new issues on hand.