This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending FlameCon for the first time ever. I won’t get into to much detail about my full trip to New York in this article, but I will say that I was in the city for about 24 hours and was only able to attend Saturday of the convention due to scheduling commitments back home. As someone who has never attended Flame Con before I went in knowing just the basics of this year’s convention: it had moved to Time’s Square for this first time and that a number of guests, a number of whom were comic book connected, had been announced. Krista, my girlfriend and writer for StarryMag, had been tapped to do some press and had urged me to also apply to go. I decided I would just roll with whatever happened, since the trip would be so short, and even though I wasn’t there long I had an amazing time.
With the time crunch, Krista and I headed to the convention on Saturday near the time that the day kicked off at about 12:30 in the afternoon. We had decided that we couldn’t really guarantee we’d be able to make panels, but we did definitely want to check out the vendor floor. I had seen the map in advance which showed a huge area designated for artists and vendors, but this map did not prepare me for just how epic it was. The area was enormous! There were so many impressive pieces of art on display and I was just constantly gawking at everything around me, which did lead me to accidentally bump into some people during my salmon-esque upstream movement through the crowds in the area. Anecdotally one of the volunteers mentioned that this year they thought they might hit capacity on Saturday, I don’t officially know what the final number was, but the line to get in was was wrapping through the streets so it would not surprise me if they did.
I had done minimal research into which vendors were in which areas, Krista and I had decided we would walk the entire floor so I wasn’t too worried that I would miss anything. I did offhand know that Kate Leth, whose recent comic Spell on Wheels was on my pull list as soon as the first issue dropped, though I only knew she was going because she had tweeted about having bisexual and pansexual identity cards. I had seen pictures tweeted from conventions she had previously attended and I really wanted a bisexual card. When I made my rounds I was so excited to successfully find her and get the one specific item I had wanted to pick up. I then just wandered with Krista and kept my eyes out for booths that had comics or work that struck my fancy. The first thing I actually picked up was a small zine written by Caitlynn Fairbarns and illustrated by Sophie Paas-Lang all about Orphan Black and science fiction tropes. Admittedly I saw Sarah Mannings face and stopped in my tracks.
The rest of my vendor stops were entirely comics related and I was just so happy to see so many things that I could read. As I was walking I happened to see a comic that’s been recommended to me online a number of times titled Taproot. The creator Keezy Young had a booth and I had seen this comic mentioned so often that I decided I needed to pick it up. The story focuses on a gardener who is love with his best friend, who also happens to be a ghost. The plot intrigued me and the art is gorgeous so I can’t wait until I have time to sit down and read it. I then saw a booth with copies of the super fun and cute comic The Backstagers, which blends high school theater with mysterious portals and cute male/male coupling. Illustrator and co-creator Rian Sygh was there and very sweetly signed a copy of the Valentine’s Intermission issue with a little illustration of my favorite character Sasha. I have recently been binge reading comics, I had some down time and felt frighteningly behind in my LGBTQ+ comic reading and recently read Moonstruck from Image Comics. I was beyond shocked to see copies of it, including the recent issue 6, in the vendor area and had a chance to chat with Shae Beagle about the series and how much I had loved the trade paperback. The main character is a female werewolf who is dating another female werewolf and the first storyline focuses on a magic show gone wrong and a centaur’s missing butt. The first issue of the new story arc, which I picked up at FlameCon, has a fairy frat party and at the end a great interview with Shae about being non-binary and the creation of the non-binary centaur character, Chet, for the series. It is so fun and if you like a little spooky with your sweet you will love this series.
I have also recently read Bingo Love and I knew that one of the creators, Tee “Vixen” Franklin would be attending FlameCon and as soon as I saw her booth I immediately headed over. She and I talked about that book specifically and also about her upcoming mini series Jook Joint, which has a lead female character, voodoo, and murder. When she described it I was immediately super excited and I cannot wait for it to come out. While I didn’t grab a comic at the booth I did pick up a super cute sticker of the two protagonists from Bingo Love. On a more indie front I chatted with two creators who happened to have booths next to each other. Megan James is the creator of Innsmouth, which is an H.P. Lovecraft inspired comic where door to door occultists are trying to end the world, but failing miserably. I love H.P. Lovecraft connected stories, his original work is definitely a bit problematic, though the horror elements are eerie, and this seemed like such a perfect work. I also wound up with a super cute Cthluhu plushie sticker. Next to her booth was Jen Hickman, who had a number of comics that blended genre with some mature elements. I picked up Divination, which focuses on a magic practitioner who uses sexually based magic. The work is definitely 18+ though the booth itself had some self-sensory so that it wouldn’t upset the young’uns.
Just walking the vendor floor took Krista and I very close to two hours, once we left the area was happened to run into some of the directors of ClexaCon, keep an eye out for an interview I did with them about ClexaCon London next week, and we chatted with them a bit before we had to head out for the day. While we were there we also saw some amazing cosplays, which included two Batwoman cosplayers who I really hope found each other. They both had such epic outfits and one was from the Batwoman comics and the other was Bombshells Batwoman. Once we were back out in Time’s Square Krista and I happened to run into a couple who saw her Support Positive LGBT Representastion shirt and as we got to talking we wound up getting them to buy tickets for FlameCon. They were so excited to learn that an LGBT+ focused convention was happening and thanked us tremendously for letting them know. That was such a heartwarming moment to end my con related experience on and Krista and I were just buzzing after that interactions. While we couldn’t stay for very long, we both had an amazing time. We’ve already agreed we definitely want to go back to FlameCon in the future. I’ll have some FlameCon related reviews and hopefully an interview for you all in the not too distant future so make sure to keep looking here for more FlameCon articles.
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