Tell us about Joon?
Joon is a nonprofit put together by Tristan Tarwater, Sam Marx and myself to promote intersectionality in comics. To accomplish this goal we’re putting together small networking events at various comic conventions. These will provide an opportunity for people to talk about their work, discuss their professional experiences, and learn from one another about what a professional life in comics looks like. These mixers create a safe, positive, and very friendly networking environment. We kindly ask that attendees bring business cards as a first step to growing their networks!
What’s your personal experience with comics?
I started reading comics before I was ten. I read pretty much anything I could get my hands on. In 1994 I made a comic with my friend in Australia. He’d mail the scripts, I’d draw it, then mail it to Australia. I did some zines in college. I currently work as a colorist for a number of publishers. Tristan writes Shamsee & volunteers for Linework NW. Sam works with SPX & Linework NW.
When was the first time comic culture and feminism intercepted for you?
Immediately. My family extending to my great, great Grandma were/are feminists. I was raised Baha’i which puts a strong emphasis on equality between all genders, races and religions. Everything I consumed was always through that context. My mother wasn’t always thrilled with the comics I’d bring home, but things like Ranma 1/2, X-Men or EC Tales of Terror spoke to me in ways that contemporary television didn’t. Women, despite the sexual gaze, always had agency.
When I was in college, and did more academic study of the sexual gaze and representation in media, I was able to put some of my unspoken discomforts into words. Fortunately at this time I made a number of very smart friends who showed me comics like Tits & Clits and other female-oriented underground comics.
As my feminism grows, from an internal process to an analytical process to an external process, my goals with comics change. Right now I’m trying to build self-perpetuating systems which uplift diverse people in a sustainable way.
What are some ways you’d like to see comic culture be more inclusive of women?
Comic culture is not a separate entity from American Culture. I can’t change all of American Culture, but I can set some small goals to facilitate change in comics culture. I’d like to see better intersectionality. I’d like to see gender parity on panels. I’d like to see racial parity on panels. I’d like to see more creators of color getting movie deals. I’d like to see mainstream queer comics. I’d like to see creators of color and female creators feel empowered to ask for the same rewards as straight white male creators, and get them. I want to see iron clad harassment policies. I want to know that when female creators go to BarCon they aren’t having panic attacks first. I want female creators to have safe places to network, because they make great things.
That’s really why we’re doing this – we’re making our opportunities for ourselves. It’s up to us to equip people with the tools and knowledge to not be afraid of those standing in their way. By doing this, we can create the future we want to see now. Lots of people are working towards this same goal and it’s important to clear the path and make it self sustaining.
What can people expect at your event on Saturday?
Our upcoming event at Emerald City will be Saturday 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM with non-alcoholic refreshments provided. We’ve gathered together a lot of really amazing door prizes like an 8lb block of Flagship from Beechers, a Chocolate Dragon’s Egg from Truffle Cottage (booth 2903), Massive: Gay Erotic Manga from Fantagraphics (booth 308), a really cool grab bag from TopataCo (booth 1102) and some great comics donated by local comic shop Fantasium (booth 1512). It will be a business card raffle, so again, be sure to bring those business cards.