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Comic Fest 2018 Frankencon: Mary Shelly 1818-2018 Celebrating Creative Women

June 1, 2018

Comicfest 2018 brochure



Comic Fest was a celebration of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelly’s novel Frankenstein. Much has been and continues to be written about the symbolism of its characters and its author’s state of mind. Her work pushed back barriers to what a woman could or couldn’t do in her era’s sociopolitical culture.  San Diego Comic Fest’s celebration included today’s like-minded women (and men) in sci-fi, horror, surrealism, gothic novels, and afrofuturism, explorers whose work also pushes the envelope of current “isms’ in artistry/media.


Delores Fisher blogger and Comic Fest 2018 presenter















Cosplayers at Comic Fest 2018
























Supergirl and friend





Author Tone Milazzo (in a kilt)





Inside the Exhibition Hall


Special guests of honor included Karen Berger, editor of Berger Books, six time Nebula award winner Nancy Kress, comic book critic Maggie Thompson, Cosplay guest Jacqueline Goehner.  Adriana Hernandez, Hugo A. Castro, Gabriel Reyes, Daniel Guti Sebastian Llapur, and Juanelle from Mexico added to the international diversity of participants.  And of course, I stopped by to talk with and get an autographed photo from Sara Karloff, daughter of iconic movie Frankenstein Boris Karloff.

Sara Karloff



An artist who pushed back the past’s media barriers and today’s envelope was writer, producer, director and story boarder Larry Houston.


Saturday morning cartoon storyboarder Larry Houston



In our mini-interview, Larry Houston pointed to the main table display panel. He said it is a visual reminder that he created the original storyboard for The Black Panther cartoon series. During our a mini-interview, Larry Houston noted that he was unaware that he was a pioneer in the Saturday morning cartoon industry until a conversation with a colleague. Houston was one of the first African American story boarders in the industry.


Larry Houston






















Accidental Alien comics is one of several exciting new comic book publishers who are based here in San Diego.



Accidental Aliens table at Comic Fest 2018

Rodney Anderson Jr., Travis Rivas, Andi Dukleth















It was a pleasure to talk with members of Accidental Alien. I’ve been following the work of Rodney Anderson Jr. for several years now. One of his signed works is hangs on my art wall.

I’m now the excited owner of a brand new line of comic books. Meet Travis Rivas

Travis Rivas  with his comic book “Cherub”


Travis Rivas is an artivist. He is an active limb and body difference advocate . For those with body differences, disabilities who are tired on not seeing themselves represented as superheroes, Rivas’ comic books are available on the Accidental Aliens website.

I also had a short interview with San Diego based Grapic novelists/cartoonist Keithan from the new cartoon publisher 

His desire is to create really cool comics that reflect people of color as superheroes. A down to earth artist, Keithan mused about his interest in comics as a child. He saw few superheroes  who reflected people of color. He noted that impact of characters drawn and storied in the now defunct Milestone comics. He also was thankful for pioneers like Larry Houston who paved the way for others, especially African Americans to consider a career in the comic industry. Today, Keithan is hoping to create a positive impact on young reader’s lives with his comics company. I got an autographed poster of the Power Knights from Keithan founder of Kid-comics.

Keithan Jones founder of kids-comics














His desire is to create really cool comics that reflect people of color. Keithan is a community conscious artist. I took a casual photo of him at an Afrofuturism Think Tank lecture by Dr. La Wana Firyali Richmond.


San Diego based Cartoonist/artist Keithan Jones (Dr Le Wana Richmond and audience member in background

On a side note, it was fun briefly hanging out with graphic novelist and culture critic Ajani Brown. I was one of  his Afrofuturism panelists a couple of years ago and shared a lecturer’s office in one of the oldest Africana Studies departments in America: the Department of Africana Studies at San Diego State University     A full room of his fans and Fest goers enjoyed Brown’s presentation: the Black Panther as Afrofuturism .  A popular and much in demand speaker, Ajani Brown will present at WAKANDACON in Chicago during the summer.

Culture critic, author, Ajani Brown and Blogger Delores Fisher












And of course, I was delighted to have my panel on Grace Jones accepted at Comic Fest’s women who push the envelope Mary Wollstonecraft Shelly celebration. Grace Jones is a trail blazer. Fashionista, songwriter, singer, performance artist, and the art world’s “wild child”. I have been presenting on Grace Jones for a few years now. This presentation focus was her visual representation on stage, on screen, and in videos.  My panel consisted of Dr. Ante Merritt, African diasporan expert, Mari Williams: Vampyre Fashionista and cosplay performance artist(also the current Ms. Senior San Diego), and me.

Delores Fisher, Dr. Anta Anthony Merritt, Mari Williams

My discussion focus:

A multi-genre performance artist whose intriguing visual representations span from late twentieth century to present, Grace Jones continues to embrace innovative “full body masks” as she inhabits spaces with “graphic novel edgy camp” to “alien futuristic cyborg” evoking an essence of Jamaican Junkanoo Festival. We will explore several of Grace Jone’s “Junkanooesque” embodiments.

Peter Von Scholly provided a short interview about Grace Jones on the film Vamp:

Thanks to literature and women in comics scholar Dr. Yetta Howard, whose panel of powerful independent women cartoonists/writers whose creativity  continued the Mary Shelly weekend celebration. These women saw a need for a space to explore various  characters who were not  represented in comics before their innovative works. So, they developed a space for their narratives. They spoke to an eagerly waiting audience  and made a trend that became a genre happen.

Yetta Howard, Roberta Gregory, and Donna Barr

Before the panel presentation, I bought Grace Jones’ autobiography. It is a fascinating read. She shares her views on womanhood, the arts, life as a performer, oppressive religious practices that highlight God as only a punisher, a wrathful force to be feared in an earthly vision of pain, suffering, torture, a swift who judge  of sin. She hints that she knows a merciful, compassionate God: stern yes, demanding: yes, but a God with whom one has a relationship, who redeems,who can heal the broken. She does sometime hint in the book that she has rested under the “wings of  God’s loving protective relationship even when she had doubts and harsh religious memories. Her song Williams’ Blood speaks to her complex relationship with God and Jesus Christ, salvation and redemption, the power of prayer and faith—-not religion—for  those who believe and those who don’t.

I saw the film by Sophie Fiennes at the San Diego Ken Theater. Grace Jones is another creative woman whose mental,  spiritual, and intellectual flare was questioned in the 70s and is still challenged even today Her genius contributions to stage, screen, Culture Studies, Women’s Studies, female visual aesthetics, Critical Race Theory, and Intersectionality is still vibrant. Based on snippets during the film, with more media/air time, her future contributions to music are so fresh, they could reshape music as we know it in the twenty first century.

Delores Fisher at the San Diego Ken Theater screening of Grace Jones documentary “Bloodlight and Bami”

Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami” is a necessary cultural exploration of women in performance for those who are curious about Jone’s impact on music and visual female representation during the 1970s-today. It’s a must see for all of us Grace Jones fans.

Delores Fisher

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