Muslim Fandom Geeks, Nerds, Cosplayers & Creators
At my first panel of the day, me being Zanib, I sat down to an hour of words of individualism, and self empowerment from fans, and creative leaders in comic book, cosplay, and literary fields. Panelists consisted of: Sara Alfageeh (SQUIRE, Star Wars: Women of the Galaxy), Maliha Fairooz, (Hijab Hero, cosplayer), Farah Zulaikha (supermodel, United Nations Ambassador), Kareems Dreams (cosplayer), Aya Krisht (Maalmoul Press, Arab American National Museum), Omar Mirza (The Last Ansaars, The Incapable Trump), and Deena Mohamed (Qahera the Superhero). Moderated by Dr. Shamika Mitchell (State University of New York, Rockland / Women in Comics).
While I got a recording of this panel that you can check out on our podcasts soon, I can summarize that the topics discussed were some of the challenges of representing faith when cosplaying, hence Fairooz creating Hijab Hero-where Muslim cosplayers can feel included to express their fan obsessions and faith. It was like listening to myself being interviewed when they spoke to the main barriers they face. Stuff like the physical perception people have of me as a woman with a Muslim name. People have this idea of me looking the way I do and not wearing the hijab or that I drink wine on occasion (GASP!), which everyone on the panel was speaking to in the same ways I experience.
Even the audience was raptly listening to these personal stories panelists had to share about their work. If I had to find one moment that stood above the others was when during the Q&A portion a person from the audience, a fan of comic books for over 35 years, was in awe and close to tears at seeing brown people like him, representing POCs in the comic book world.
Lincoln: Search for the Bone Collector
Photo by: Cindy Ord/NBC
We (Lorena and Bob) got to attend both the panel and press room for this NBC show that airs in January 2020, and it was exciting! It’s an adaptation of Jeffrey Deavers Bone Collector book series, which was also made into a film in the 90s starring Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie. This version modernizes it and tells the story in a way audiences today will expect, meaning it’s entirely character-driven. The main plot centers around the relationship between retired detective Lincoln Rhyme (Russel Hornsby) and beat cop Amelia Sachs (Arielle Kebbel).
Lincoln is a quadriplegic after an incident the serial killer known as the Bone Collector orchestrated for him. Three years after the incident, Amelia discovers a body and some odd evidence during her usual rounds in the subway. The fact that she’s the one to discover it, and risks her life to preserve the crime scene, sparks Detective Rick Sellitto (Michael Imperioli) to bring her in to meet the infamous Lincoln Rhyme. Their dynamic is immediately great, and the series will follow it along with the crimes their solving to a satisfying conclusion, the executive producers promised. We got to interview the cast and creative team, so look for those in the coming week!
While we couldn’t make the panel for this one, we still got some press interviews with the CW-attractive cast and executive producer for CW’s summer show Pandora. If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s all on the CW’s site for binging! According to the EP and several cast members., the show is an optimistic look at the future. It’s set in 2199, but looks what could happen in a good way. Oliver Dench (Xander) told us that it’s nice to be on show that’s not a dystopia and presents a positive outlook. Everyone involved with the show really seemed to enjoy their time on it, so be sure to check out our full post on it with all the interviews this coming week! Be aware that both male actors are indeed very English… One may even perform some Shakespeare for us 😉
Drawing from Other Cultures: Orientalism and Comics
This panel went into detail on the barriers writers of color face when wanting to portray culture in graphic novels. Panelists consisted of a few familiar faces from the Muslim Geek Panel I had attended earlier in the day. In a discussion with G Willow Wilson (MS. MARVEL), Erica Henderson (SQUIRREL GIRL), Nadia Shammas (SQUIRE) and Sara Alfageeh (SQUIRE), these writers took time talking about their personal hurdles when pitching ideas to publishers and then being placed in a label box based on their religion or ethnicity, which pissed them off even further. Rightfully so. These hurdles of being placed in a label is an ongoing struggle that they hope to surpass and along the way educating the public on how they can appreciate POCs and be an ally.
If there is one thing that viewers can get away from this panel is that it’s good to educate yourself on the culture and voice of characters that are often stereotyped in comics, movies, and the general media. Even though inclusion of different voices and diverse cast and characters are introduced in comics like Marvel, and Dark Horse, the trials and tribulations that writers of color face in publishing is unfortunate and often not discussed.