Conventions are one of the best ways to discover independent and creative small businesses sharing their love of all things geeky. Last year I brought you my choices for just some of the amazing booths featured at GeekGirlCon.
This year, I picked five more with online storefronts so that you too can pick up some of their amazing and unique creations.
GeekGirlCon in Seattle, WA, sold out again this year! GeekGirlCon might have a reputation as one of the year’s most relaxed and family-friendly conventions, but that doesn’t mean that cosplayers don’t bring their A game.
Here’s a gallery of some of the best costumes on display on Saturday, October 10, at GeekGirlCon 2015.
—Oh! I guess I need to put the holiday away and look back on the year. Each of my family members is interested in different geeky avenues. It is exciting to me when my kids, or husband, find something new that the rest of us missed. For instance, when I go to a convention with my daughter, if I don’t know what a costume is in the crowd, most of the time my daughter can fill me in.
Because each of my family members gets excited about different geeky things, I received quite a bit of input from my family members as to what were the best geeky things this year. Pictures indicate which family members voted for what favorites.
Skull and Shackles: This one is a biggy for me personally. I have had a BLAST playing through Pathfinder ACG with GeekDad Jonathan, and we recently started the next installment: Skull & Shackles. To memorialize the occasion, he gave each of the players a miniature of their character for Christmas. My husband in turn agreed to paint the miniatures. I’m so freakin’ excited to start up playing again in 2015 with a trick’d out mini—complete with peg leg and hook hand (I’m playing Ranzak the jerk-face goblin who avoids fights and loves loot)! Also starting in 2015, my husband and I are playing through the Skull and Shackles Pathfinder scenario with the Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition mechanics (also playing Ranzak—can’t go wrong with a jerk-face that I can roleplay the crap out of). #MindBlown #GeekyRPGMashUp
Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition: AKA, D&D 5e, keeps sneaking into our lives. We play-tested D&D Next which was recently released as 5e. I am a true believer that any game, especially RPGs, are only as good as the group you play with, so we have been very lucky to have excellent players and GMs in our groups. Besides the Skull and Shackles/5e mashup, we will be playing in a standard campaign with another set of friends. I’m excited for this campaign because my daughter will also play with us.
GeekGirlCon: All of the fan-girl is right here. It was a girls’ weekend out, I met more of the GeekMom writers I have worked with for over four years, there was science, cos-playing, games, cool stuff…the list goes on and on. Next time, no cos-play, and I will probably drive rather than take the bus. The next GeekGirlCon will be October 10 & 11, 2015.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Yet another mother/daughter connection this year. After my husband and I saw this movie in the theater, my daughter saw the dancing Groot bit on the internet. She does a good job of handling violence/language so I warned her of all of these points, and off we went to the movie. Soon after, plans were made for us to cosplay as Rocket and Dancing Baby Groot for GeekGirlCon and Halloween. It was such a neat and geeky way for my daughter and I to bond.
Rocket RaccoonComic: When a comic book has this much fun with sound effects and story lines (including an entire book dedicated to Groot telling a story), it was a no-brainer to add to our subscription list.
Lego Research Institute: After the limited edition set sold out, fans were surprised when the popular female-scientist-themed Lego brick set came back for a second run before Christmas. I’m being a little selfish: This Lego, along with Groot and Rocket, are being kept on my desk so they are not lost to the depths of the Lego collection of miscellaneous bricks in the toy bins…
Angry Bird Comic: I think this one is all for my son. It is inspiring him to learn to read, and he loves the characters.
Super Smash Bros. Wii U: New characters, amiibo miniatures, and the promise of more new things to unlock have made the newest Smash Bros. chapter an instant favorite among all of my family members. All four of us can play together, there are things easy enough for my five-year-old son to do, and events complicated enough to keep my husband’s and my interest.
The Flash (show): It’s silly. It isn’t going to win any awards. Yet, The Flash has quickly become our go-to show for evening family entertainment. My kids love that the main character is a science geek. I really like that there isn’t quite as much sex/violence as other shows of the same genre (like Arrow).
DayTV Mostly Walking: My husband and I are mostly loving this YouTube series hosted Sean Bouchard, Bill Graner, and DayTV’s Sean Plott. The trio plays through old school PC adventure games, drinks, and makes comments. It is interesting and entertaining. The series airs on Twitch on Monday evenings, and then is divided into two-or-three episodes and put out on Day’s YouTube channel for after-the-fact viewing.
Don’t Starve: The game came to my attention after watching an episode of Games With Hank on YouTube. It soon after was on sale over at Good Old Games. Every game has something new that I’ve never seen before. The wiki is really helpful. Even though it is a challenging game, it is still possible to progress in the game and unlock new characters who have different abilities.
Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!: This well written, quirky, FPS video game ended up being a birthday present for me this year. The holidays quickly followed, so I haven’t had much time to have in-home-date-night-game-play with my husband, but it is sure to have some GeekMom Plays episodes sometime this year.
The Lego Movie: Holy cow. My husband and I saw this movie the week it came out, because there was nothing else in the theater we wanted to see, and we had free tickets, and hey—Lego! Of course, we instantly fell in love with the movie. We took the kids to see it as soon as it hit the cheap theater. It came out on disc a couple of days later. This movie came out at the perfect time. My son graduated to the normal-size Lego bricks this year and builds between four and eight hours a day. This movie was such a huge inspiration for him, and so much fun for the rest of us. Where Guardians of the Galaxy was a bonding experience for my daughter and I, The Lego Movie was a bonding experience for my son and his parents.
Kickstarted Board Games: Most of the games that we backed on Kickstarter in the last 20 months showed up in the few weeks leading up to Christmas 2014. There some games that have already been played multiple times (like Machine of Death), and others that are certain to become favorites (like Yardmaster). So. Many. Board games. #TooMuchFunFor1GameRoom
When my daughter and I went to GeekGirlCon earlier this month, there was a science area. My daughter’s favorite experiment in the science area was extracting DNA from fruit. She enjoyed the experiment so much she decided to replicate the experiment for her homework.
If you would like to try the experiment at home, follow my daughter’s video above. What fruits will you try?
GeekGeekCon was this past weekend. This gamer mom was so busy with new adventures, I didn’t have time to play—let alone look at—a board game the whole weekend.
New adventures—there were many. My daughter and I went together for a girls’ weekend away. On her request, we did a themed cosplay. Plus, I roomed with people I had never met before. Since I sat at the GeekMom table, I spent a lot of time in the exhibition hall and visited a couple of favorite vendors—and met several more!
We started the weekend with the GeekMom panel. Panelists Tristan J. Tarwater (of Back That Elf Up) and Ariane, Kelly, Corrina, and I (of GeekMom) answered questions on how to help our kids pursue their interests without losing our identities.
Determined for my daughter and I to show our identities with pride, we dressed up as our favorite characters from Guardians of the Galaxy (it should be noted that my husband did 99.9% of the work on our costumes and is the most incredible person I know). Our costumes seemed to be a hit with convention attendees. We were stopped for photos many times. The Groot costume was even mentioned in a couple of different GeekGirlCon blog updates.
Sharing of pictures was more a thing this year than in past years. Though, when I checked Twitter, #GGC14 images weren’t easy to find. But I was given several cards and flyers when our picture was taken telling me what outlets our picture would be on. A couple of these sites included Perzephone Cosplay, Studio5Graphics, SharcTank, and 1darkjedi.
Apparently, Studio5Graphics’ image of my daughter and I received a viral amount of hits on Twitter.
Then there are the videos. GeekMom Corrina took a video and posted it to GeekMom’s Facebook page. It went a little bonkers, too. Plus, she danced with Iron Man (truly nice couple, check out the blog, too!). My point besides bragging rights? Cute Groot gets attention. Family cosplay shows a family bond and that parenting can be fun. I think sometimes parents forget that they were once kids and we need to practice the kid skills or lose them.
We spent a great deal of time on the exhibit floor. My daughter saved her allowance for several months in preparation for the event. Did she find find ways to spend the money in her pocket? I would say so.
Other table visits included the GeekGirlCon merchandise table for a sweatshirt and t-shirt and a trip down to Artist Alley for a bookmark purchase of Rocket and Groot at Ashleigh Popplewell‘s table followed by a series of Doctor Who and Guardians of the Galaxy button purchases from Iguana Comics & Buttons. We were tempted to buy a fluff ball cat from Careful It Bites, but in the end, we ran out of funds. Groot’s major purchase for the weekend was an 11th Doctor sonic screwdriver purchased from Comics Forge (aka Studio5Graphics). I made one additional purchase from a fellow Wazzu alum at JBM Press. He and his wife made these awesome shirts for RPG players that I couldn’t pass up for my husband and me.
GeekGirlCon 2014 sold out both days of the show, and the exhibition hall was bustling with geeks of all ages. The show floor was filled with dozens of unique vendors, and here are just some of the few that really stood out for their wonderful wares.
Friday Afternoon Teas
GeekMoms Cathé and Corrina both raved about Friday Afternoon Teas when I chatted with them at the convention, so of course I had to make the booth my first stop.
The one-of-a-kind loose leaf tea blends are inspired by a variety of fandoms, including Firefly, Dungeons and Dragons, Harry Potter (the Slytherin blend sold out quickly both days), and more. Keep an eye on GeekMom for a full review soon!
The nail polish is formaldehyde-free, which makes me feel good about putting it on my 5-year-old’s nails. I picked up a glow-in-the-dark polish (in the middle of the photo above) that I absolutely adore.
Lucky 13 Lacquer
There were more dazzling, glittery nail polishes to be found at the Lucky 13 Lacquer booth on the GeekGirlCon show floor.
Lucky 13 Lacquer isn’t shy with the glitter, which my daughter and I are fond of, so I had to pick up their special GeekGirlCon glitter polish. Not only are the red, gold, and blue flecks a great reminder of a fun-filled weekend, they also go great with my Carol Corps T-shirt.
Digital Soaps are so darn cute and eerily accurate—I actually had to look twice at the SNES cartridge soaps to make sure they weren’t real games.
My 5-year-old and I have had a longstanding battle about washing her hands, but now that she has a Pokéball soap with a Pokémon hiding inside, she can’t wait to run to the sink. (And they assured me that the soap is gentle for her skin.) Thank you, Cleangeeks.
The incredibly cuddly creations from Dorklandia are just begging to be snuggled. If you can’t get a real kitten, these fuzzy toys might just be the next best thing.
Welcome to this week’s adventures climbing the cliffs of insanity. There was much I could’ve ranted about this week, from the sexist superhero t-shirts, to the weird fanboy meltdowns about the new female Thor, and my own frustrations with my health care provider. (Hint: if you want an insurance cover to cover stuff, never have a chronic condition.)
But I had a rough personal week and then, I didn’t, because awesome nerds stepped up and made it all better. So this week is about stuff I adore that I hope you’ll love too.
This con is my favorite, from the fascinating, feminist and thought-provoking panels to the DIY science zone, to the kid-friendly atmosphere, and to the GeekGirl Connections area, for career advice and networking.
GeekMom will be there in force, holding down a convention table, and we’ll have some serious goodies to give away. Stop buy and chat, let your kids colors for a bit, and sign up for our newsletter.
We will also be giving a panel at 10 a.m. on Saturday, “Geek Girl Transformation to Geek Mom,” which features me, GeekMoms Kelly Knox, Cathe Post, Ariane Coffin, and special guest Tristan J. Tarwater, novelist, comic book writer and freelance RPG writer.
On a personal note, I’ll be part of another panel Saturday, at 7 p.m. called “Sex Scenes From the Female Gaze.” There might be smutty readings. If you’re curious as to what kind, feel free to check out my own Phoenix Rising, a superhero romance story that’s only 99 cents for a limited time on Kindle, Nook (B&N), and Samhain Publishing. (As DCWomenKicking Ass tweeted: WOC lead, nuclear explosion sex? You MUST read @CorrinaLawson book.)
I could tell you Larime’s story, of how he draws with his mouth because of his disability, of how he’s had national media coverage of his comic, and how the support of friends and fans helped him survive, though finances remain a struggle.
But I’d rather tell you how awesome this comic is.
Because it’s dark, layered, intense, and brings us deeply into the mind of Zoey, a young woman who murdered a woman in revenge for damage done to Zoey’s best friend. Zoey got away with that murder but now has another problem: she discovered she likes killing. The story takes Zoey to college where she fights her murderous impulses and then comes to the attention of a serial killer who ‘admires’ her work.
This is brilliant crime drama. Those enjoying Ed Brubaker and Greg Rucka’s noir graphic novels must read this.
I can plot, I thought. So I can write a comic story. Not so fast because that panel-to-panel storytelling is a skill, one distinctly different from writing a prose novel.
But Sarah Beach’s new guide is perfect, with chapters about graphic novel terminology, the different kinds of scripts, how to break the story into panel by panel pieces, to business elements like who does what in the story and how to find an art team, marketing, contracts and overall storytelling.
Buy this book and you’ll never have the excuse of “but I don’t know how to make comics” again.
One is a collection of stories about young superheroes and how they learn to cope with their powers. The other is, well, about a fake comic book company. What do they have in common? They both wear their love of comics on their sleeve. They are written, yes, by friends. Which only shows that I have awesome friends.
I’ll likely be dark next week but I’ll be back in two weeks with a GeekGirlCon report.
Happy October, awesome nerds. Now I think I’ll go watch Pitch Perfect again.
For the first time, GeekMom will have a table at GeekGirlCon,which is taking place October 11-12 in Seattle. Several of us will take part in the panel, “From GeekGirl to GeekMom,” about making the transition to life with minions. My own panel, “Sex Scenes From the Female Gaze,” was also accepted. It includes a group of fellow romance writers and there might be some, um, examples of said female gaze scenes.
Neil Gaiman’s American Gods has a script-to-scene commitmen from the Starz Network. Bryan Fuller (Hannibal) and Michael Green (Heroes and The River) are the writer-producers developing the novel for television. This is good news for those who thought the project was dead after HBO passed on it.
In unexpected but welcome news, DC announced this week a new monthly series, Gotham Academy, written by Becky Cloonan and Brenden Fletcher and drawn by Karl Kerschl. Look! It seems like this story is focused on girls who look like teenage girls. It will begin in October.
And while girls and women are the target market for this book, I hope it appeals to everyone. Why?
Equality For All, Especially in Role Models
Last week on the GeekDad writers’ loop, we had a short discussion about covering Ms. Marvel. GeekMom has already reviewed this wonderful series several times and the question came up about whether a more, well, male-oriented site like GeekDad should provide similar coverage.
The answer was a resounding “Yes.”
Because role models shouldn’t be limited by race, gender, or orientation.
This point is implicit in calls for inclusion, but often not stated outright. Yes, we absolutely need to provide young girls with role models like them so they can see it’s possible. We want girls to see women being superheroes and scientists and coders and gamers and, well, everything.
But we also need boys to see women as role models too.
Women often have male role models. A famous fictional example would be Barbara Gordon, aka Batgirl, who fights crime not because of Batman, but because of her stalwart father, Commissioner James Gordon. J.R.R. Tolkien and Walter Farley were as influential to me as writer Anne McCaffrey.
It was never a question that boys could be whatever they wanted to be. But we also want boys to grow up knowing that women can be whoever they want to be as well.
We want them to be inspired by women as much as men.
All of society is far better if anyone is seen as a possible role model/inspiration for everyone.
My adventures in climbing the cliffs of life’s insanity this year have included ConnectiCon, PAX East, Boston Comic Con, and New York Comic Con.
But the experience attending Geek Girl Con was different.
I’ve been trying since I left Seattle last weekend to put my finger on why. It’s not that I saw friends I never get a chance to see. I’ve been able to do that at every con. It’s not that it’s all about geekery. All the cons were. And it’s not even that there were more girls at Geek Girl Con, as there were lots of women at the other cons too, especially the college-aged kids at ConnectiCon.
I finally came upon the answer when comparing the New York Comic Con program book to the Geek Girl Con guide.
The other cons were largely about what we consume: books, shows, movies, comics, games.
Geek Girl Con is about who were are and who we could be.
GGC was a conversation about how geeks of all types interact with the world. And that includes children, too. Maybe that’s why GGC, instead of wowing me or overwhelming me, created a huge number of “aww…” moments that warmed my heart.
Here’s a sample of the workshops available on Saturday at GGC:
Turning Your Art Into An Online Business; Labor of Love: Why Women Make Transformative Works; Women in Gaming: A New Frontier; Geek Etiquette, Everything I Thought I Knew About Fashion History Was Made Up by Victorians; Strong Female Characters in Young Adult Literature; Geek Girl Style; Helen of Troy Unlimited; We Are Fandom, Hear Us Roar; Deconstructing the Mary Sue Myth; Octobriana, the Black Heroine and Wonder Woman: A Comic History; Race in Costuming and Performing; You and Your Connected Kid; Geeks in Education; Making Giant Robots Go; Home Geek Home; Fan Studies, Past, Present and Future; Making Science Fun.
Here’s a sample of Saturday’s programming at New York Comic Con, excluding the major television shows:
50 Years of Doctor Who; IGN Presents X-Box Fun; The Mythbusters; Comics for Everyone: Creating Stories for All Ages; IDW: The Ultimate Panel; Mad about MAD; Avatar Press Uncut; Justice League Forever Evil; We are BOOM; Kodansha & Funimation; Rocket Girl; Thief (a new video game); Spotlight on J. Michael Straczynski; Sword Art Online; Diamond Select Toys; Celebrating 36 Years of Judge Dredd.
In essence, most of the panels were about things we’ll eventually purchase or pop culture items we already love. There were a few more academic discussions, such as Geeks of Color Assemble! and The Mary Sue Presents Representation in Geek Media, plus one on Breaking Into Comics, but it’s easy to see the difference in programming comparing the two lists. That doesn’t make NYCC wrong or evil but it explains the far different vibe between the two cons.
There was also a consideration for children that I didn’t see evident at the other cons. NYCC had a kid’s day and this year they added a kid’s room, but it was one of the conference rooms downstairs. It’s a decent start and the kid’s room had some programming, but the entirety of GGC seemed set up to allow the younger set to have fun too.
The DIY science area at GGC had seven stations, designed to not just teach science but give the kids something hands-on to do in an interactive way. At the lower level, gaming areas were set up like at PAX and PAX East and a few other cons, but they seemed designed to also let parents and kids take a break instead of walking around.
Sure, some people tried to sell stuff and GGC had a nice exhibition area with a lot of cool crafts, from knitted cats to artwork, to geeky jewelry and t-shirts. Right outside that area was a signing area for those who wanted to visit with the creators who attended. Yet the placement of those tables seemed designed to encourage conversations rather than move along fans.
Basically, I went expecting a regular-style con only with more women. What I found was a community basically throwing a huge getaway weekend. Instead of being exhausted at the end, as I feel like at most cons, I left energized and excited about the future.
I need to find a way to get back to Seattle next year. And I need to bring the minions and my husband this time.
GeekGirlCon returned to Seattle on October 19-20, and this year’s event was completely sold out as over 6,000 attendees celebrated geeky gals.
GeekGirlCon is a convention unlike any other. This year, attendees were treated to not only family-friendly activities like the DIY Science Zone, but also one-of-a-kind vendors, panels with some of the comic book industry’s brightest talents, concerts featuring artists like Marian Call and The Doubleclicks, an area called GeekGirlConnections to give attendees the chance to network with companies like BioWare… the list goes on and on.
Here are a few photos from the convention, including memorable cosplay, fascinating panels, and the indomitable Carol Corps.
At New York Comic Con earlier this month, Marvel Comics announced a surprising relaunch of a book not even a year and a half into its run: Kelly Sue DeConnick’s beloved ongoing series Captain Marvel. At GeekGirlCon a week later, Kelly Sue talked to GeekMom about what that means for the series and character, starting with the last issue before the hiatus.
Warning, minor spoilers ahead for the current run of Captain Marvel.
Captain Marvel #17 is the first chance readers (and Carol) get to breathe after the whirlwind of “The Enemy Within” storyline and the “Infinity” crossover issues. “We didn’t get to see it because of the ‘Infinity’ tie-ins,” began DeConnick, “but [after losing her memory during ‘The Enemy Within’] she would have been in the hospital, she would have been re-learning who she was out of books. So she would read, like, here is a list of X-Men powers to memorize, and here is your basic history. She’s re-constructed this stuff, but she’s not felt it, she’s just learned it.” It takes the help of Carol’s biggest fan, said DeConnick, to rebuild her identity.
The double-sized issue is billed as an ode to the Carol Corps, who greets DeConnick with warmth and enthusiasm at every convention–including GeekGirlCon.
When the All-New Marvel Now Captain Marvel #1 begins in March 2014, Carol Danvers sets off on a new journey, but she won’t forget her home and friends in New York City. “The next arc is called ‘Higher, Further, Faster, More,'” said DeConnick. “The words are taken from Helen Cobb’s letter to Carol from the first issue, where she says that these are the traits she’s recognized in her sisterhood–although she doesn’t define it as purely feminine. We’re taking [Captain Marvel] cosmic. We’re not entirely abandoning her life in New York.”
Adventures in the cosmos seem like a natural fit for the character, who has long had her eyes on the stars, and seemed at home in the combat blasting off the pages of the “Infinity” tie-in issues. And while Captain Marvel might have a new focus in space and new allies in the form of the Guardians of the Galaxy, she’s still the Carol that the Corps adores. “I describe Carol as being heart-driven, and everything about her faces skyward,” DeConnick said. “That star on her chest is always to the sky, chin up, eyes up, heart up, arms open. Everything about her is trying to go up. Her approach to any problem is to try to go through it. She’s a juggernaut.”
DeConnick also reflected on what drives Carol upward, citing The Mercury 13: The True Story of Thirteen Women and the Dream of Space Flight, written by Martha Ackmann. In the book, “[Ackmann] is describing the part of Oklahoma that [aviator] Jerrie Cobb comes from,” said DeConnick, “and she says that everything in that part of the world is trying to take flight. And it’s so beautifully written. She talks about a discarded candy wrapper floating up into the air, and the signs on the side of the road shaking as they try to take off. And that so resonated with me.
“Re-launching Carol’s book, the idea of her, I want her to be like that sign post–everything about her wants to go up. So let’s let her go and see what happens.”
GeekGirlCon is back for its third year supporting and celebrating women who deem themselves geeks. There are no cries of “fake geek girl” here: The Seattle convention prides itself on welcoming geeks of all stripes, and offers a variety of panels, events, and exhibitors to make it all happen. There’s even a DIY Science Zone for attendees of all ages.
Notable guests for the convention include Denise Crosby, who played Lt. Tasha Yar on Star Trek: The Next Generation; puppeteer Karen Prell; Jane Espenson writer for Buffy the Vampire Slayer and producer of the hit web series Husbands; Captain Marvel and Ghost author Kelly Sue DeConnick; and professional cosplayer Chaka Cumberbatch.
This year you can find GeekMom contributors on a Saturday afternoon panel, “Home Geek Home.” Corrina Lawson, Jenn Fujikawa, and I are teaming up with Tara Theoharis and Bonnie Burton to talk about incorporating your geeky love into your home with decorating, entertaining, baking, and crafting. Take a look for the complete programming schedule for more information and details on other intriguing panels. (I’m crushed that I can’t make it for the entire SuperMOOC panel on Saturday!)
We hope to see you at GeekGirlCon 2013, October 19-20!
Be still my heart! There is actually a convention for us girls now! It’s in Seattle, so those of you on the East Coast have a ways to trek it (haha, I made a geek funny), but there is indeed a convention made “just for her” and it’s called GeekGirlCon!
That said, I’m dragging my husband with me this weekend to the maiden-voyage of the event. I was looking forward to the GeekGirlCONcert, but it is on Friday night and we won’t make it into Seattle until Saturday. The rest of the weekend proves to be just as entertaining though, with celebrities like Star Wars crafter Bonnie Burton and TV writer Jane Espenson. (I might have a small geek-out if I meet either of these ladies this weekend.) D&D blogger and podcaster @SarahDarkMagic will also be there, and I’m crossing my fingers to run into her and meet her in person (since I have been following her on Twitter FOREVER).
There are a slew of workshops and games to play in the gaming room. With names like Steve Jackson and Looney Labs on the playlist and workshops like “How to Paint a Miniature,” I have a feeling a major part of our weekend will be spent here (since our daughter will be attending too).
There is a Masquerade on Saturday that my daughter and I might take part in or at least attend for photos. We will be wearing our matching Pokémon skirts that were a hit at PAX, but whether we make it depends how tired we are by Saturday evening.
My list of vendors to visit is HUGE. I’m quickly becoming a comic book fan as my daughter is interested in them too. There will be several female comic book authors and artists there to visit. I’m also looking forward to seeing what the Cute Factory is all about and Geek Stained Glass.