First Texas LGBT gaming convention to be held in Austin in April 2015

Haven Con, the first LGBT geek and gaming convention of Texas, announced it will hold its inaugural convention Saturday, April 4-Sunday, April 5, 2015 at the Holiday Inn Screen shot 2014-12-02 at 3.31.23 PMMidtown in Austin.

According to a statement, this is the first LGBT geek and gaming convention held in Texas.

Shane Brown, founder of Haven Con, has been working to bring sci-fi, fantasy, and gaming enthusiasts of the LGBTQA community together since 2012 when he started the social networking group Gay Austin Geeks. Brown said, “Even within the gay community, we often exist within our smaller segmented groups. But comic and gaming conventions are all about the melding of geeks, gamers and nerds of every size, race, age and gender identity.”

Brown continued, “With Haven Con, we’re creating a safe, entertaining and diversity-welcoming environment for people that enjoy comic books, video games, science fiction and more. We’ll have a cosplay contest, gaming tournaments, industry panelists, local artists and writers—all of it while celebrating what makes us both different and special.”

Current sponsors and vendors include Nakatomi Incorporated, Finji Games, Weird Girls, Austin Books & Comics, Monkeys Need Love Too, Kitchen Overload, Outrageous Outfits, Sew Geek Austin, and Gamers Beard. For information on becoming a sponsor, panelist or vendor, visit HavenConTx.com or email Shane(at)HavenConTx(dot)com.

Haven Con is currently running a fundraiser to assist with equipment, event and production costs. For more information or to donate, visit the Haven Con fundraiser on Indiegogo.

Proceeds of Haven Con will go to OutYouth, which is a non-profit organization providing services to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth ages 12 to 19 in Austin and central Texas.

Voice contributing writer Chaka Cumberbatch has written about LGBT geeks and gamers extensively, most recently for our Sept. 19 issue.

—  James Russell

The end of Archie: Iconic comic book character will die saving gay friend

After nearly 75 years with Veronica and Betty and Reggie and Jughead, Archie Andrews will die this week. And he will die saving his gay friend from an assassin’s bullet.Screen shot 2014-07-14 at 11.09.52 AM

Archie Comics officials announced in April that the “Life with Archie” series about the gang from Riverdale would end this year with Archie Andrews’ death. Archie Comics Publisher and CEO Jon Goldwater told AP Archie will die in Wednesday’s installment of “Life with Archie” and that he “dies heroically. He dies selflessly. He dies in the manner that epitomizes not only the best of Riverdale but the best of all of us. It’s what Archie has come to represent over the past almost 75 years.”

Kevin Keller, the first gay character in the Archie Comics world, was first introduced in 2010 in the Archies Comic spinoff “Veronica.” He appeared later in a solo title, and then in the “Life with Archie” series, Kevin Keller is a married military veteran and newly-elected senator who is pushing for more gun control in Riverdale after his husband is involved in a shooting. Goldwater wouldn’t say who it is that pulls the trigger and ends up shooting Archie, only that it is a stalker who wanted to take down Keller.

Goldwater said Archie will die in “Life with Archie” No. 26, and that issue No. 37 will jump forward a year to tell the story of the rest of the gang remembering Archie. Goldwater said that the comic’s authors “wanted to do something that was impactful that would rally resonate with the world and bring home how important Archie is to everyone. … Metaphorically, by saving Kevin, a new Riverdale is born.”

—  Tammye Nash

Things I learned from my first Dallas Comic Con

Over the weekend, Dallas Comic Con went down in Irving. Throngs of people wonderfully embracing their comic book geekdom journeyed to Mecca just off 114. Now, there are people who like comics (like me). And there are people who love comics. And love dressing up like characters in comics. I wasn’t blind to this fact, but when I saw this line wrapped around the Irving Convention Center on Saturday, I almost instantaneously turned my car right back toward home.

After talking to a tiny Asian woman dressed as Obi-Wan Kenobi, I learned that my media credentials were waiting for me inside and with her Jedi power, I could bypass the line. And once I was in, all I could mutter in Keanu-Matrix fashion was “whoa.” After about an hour, my head finally got wrapped around what the hell was going on. I expected a crowd. I didn’t expect hordes. And my conclusions began to draw from my Saturday excursion.

—  Rich Lopez

Zeus Comics mixer tonight at Dallas Eagle

Comic appeal

Bond over Marvel team-ups or Archie love triangles when Zeus Comics owner Richard Neal hosts The Return of the Mighty Zeus LGBT Mixer. The new Leap Year tradition features special guest Tim Fish, the out cartoonist behind such queer comic tomes like Cavalcade of Boys and Young Bottoms in Love. He’ll sign copies of his work at Zeus, but at least buy him a thank-you drink at the mixer.

DEETS: Signing at Zeus Comics, 4411 Lemmon Ave. Ste. 105. 5:30 p.m., mixer at Dallas Eagle, 5740 Maple Ave. 7 p.m. ZeusComics.com.

—  Rich Lopez

‘The Variants’ season 1 on DVD

You could make a case that what The Office is to corporate America, The Variants is to quirky small business on the fringe of society: gay-run comic book store. (OK, maybe The Office is just the corporate version of Clerks, but you get the comparison.) The folks at Zeus Comics who created this webseries make fun of themselves, their customers and their own queer nerdiness, but it never gets mean-spirited.

The Variants began last summer as an experiment, but generated enough traffic that it’s already back for season 2 (the next episode, airing Wednesday, features Celeste Martinez). Until then, it’s a hoot to see all the local people and places in the season 1 DVD, now available.

The DVD contains lots of cool extras — audio commentary, a blooper reel, a slideshow or art and rants from misanthrope clerk Barry — but the best things about the DVD? Watching the entire series play out at once like one long feature … and not having to worry about bandwidth problems interrupting your stream.

— A.W.J.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 1, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

News: Archie Comics, Miners, Sarah Palin, Dinosaurs

 road One of the Chilean miners responds to the rumors that their so-called Pact of Silence has to do with gay sex: "No, nothing like that ever went on. We were too busy trying to survive to think of sex."

Kevin  road Archie Comics's first gay character, Kevin Kellar, has been such a massive success that he will get his own four part mini-series in the summer of 2011.

 road Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel says that her country's multi-cultural appraoch is a failure: "We feel tied to Christian values. Those who don't accept them don't have a place here."

 road Antoine Dodson is squeezing out as much as he can out of his 15 minutes.

 road Former Governor Jesse Ventura bashes former Governor Sarah Palin: "Anybody that would put Sarah Palin to the top of their list will never get me. She's a quitter…She quit in the middle of her term. That's the contract you have with the voters."

 road Bill Clinton's back out on the campaign trail.

Mannish  road Models are becoming less boyish and more Jon Hamm-ish than. Even Jim Nelson, the editor of GQ, tells the New York Times that “The twink thing seems over.”

 road The Tyrannosaurus rex was even more savage than first thought; they wouldn't even think twice about eating their own kind. Said one researcher: "If something is dead, it's lunch."

 road The Scream 4 trailer is coming.

 road That was quick. The lesbian couple asked to leave a mall in North Carolina for kissing get an apology from the owners: "We welcomed the opportunity to sit down with the women and offer our sincere regrets over last week's incident."

 road Jake Gyllenhaal looks great for someone who is about to hit the big 3-0.

 road Alexander Skarsgard wins a giant fang.

 road Maureen Dowd on what she calls "the era of Republican Mean Girls": "Grown-up versions of those teenage tormentors who would steal your boyfriend, spray-paint your locker and, just for good measure, spread rumors that you were pregnant."


Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright

Towleroad Interview: Archie Comics’ Dan Parent

A few months ago, Archie Comics writer and artist Dan Parent announced that the comic book publication giant will introduce it's first openly gay character in the pages of Veronica. Dan chatted with me about the character Kevin Keller, who will make his debut next month, and how he went about creating him.

Dp SP: What sparked the idea of introducing a gay character into the Archie Comics world?

DP: It all started in an editorial meeting.  I had an idea about Veronica going bonkers over a guy who was gay, and the powers that be liked it.  It coincided with our desire to expand diversity in Riverdale, so before long the idea became a reality.

SP: How did you come up with the final visual design of Kevin?

DP: Well, I tried to give him characteristics that some of the other guys didn't have, like wavy hair.  And there aren't many blonde guys in the group either. He's good looking, but has to be to catch veronica's eye. 

SP: How much did you think about stereotypes when creating Kevin?

DP: I was aware of them.  I didn't want him to be clichéd, but I also didn't want to run in the other direction either.  He's the boy next door. He's just gay.

SP: Were any gays or lesbians consulted during the creation of Kevin?

Yes, some gay friends of mine and Archie's were shown early versions of the story.

SP: What kind of feedback did they give?

DP: My gay friends liked where we were going with the story.  They felt that it was important to use the word "gay", and not skirt around the word.  Of course we used the word, thankfully, without hesitation.

Read the rest of the interview, AFTER THE JUMP.

Kk SP: How did the higher ups at Archie Comics react when they learned you wanted to introduce a gay character to the series?

DP: They were fully on board.  This couldn't have happened without them.

SP: Is there talk of giving Kevin a romantic interest?

DP: Right now, I'm still getting Kevin through the door in Riverdale!  He still has to start school and meet a lot more or our cast of characters.  And he does have friends from his hometown that may be brought in.

SP: You've said that you're trying to showcase the contemporary and diverse world of Archie. What other kinds of diverse people can we expect to see introduced in the pages of the comic book series in the future?

DP: Everybody.  Different nationalities, faiths. The door is open to everyone.

SP: Have you or anyone at Archie Comics received criticism since the news was released that a gay character would be introduced into the Archie Comics world?

DP: The response has been extremely positive.  For every negative comment, there are a hundred positive ones.  We seem to be in a much more accepting place in society, which is a step forward for every kid out there who may feel like an outsider.  There's a place for you in this world, including Riverdale!


Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright

Archie Comics Writer: Gay Character’s Sexuality Is A ‘Nonissue’

Back in April, Andy wrote about the impending introduction of Kevin Keller, the first openly gay character in the Archie comic book series. Keller pops up in the pages of “Veronica” next month in an issue titled “Isn’t It Bromantic?” 

VeronThe cover for the landmark issue is now available. There's also a lengthier explanation of Keller's character from writer and illustrator Dan Parent. Apparently, his sexuality will be no big deal to the other characters in the Archie world – as it shouldn't be. He tells the Colorado Springs Gazette:

"The introduction of the character also comes as Archie Comics has been working to bring more diversity to Riverdale."

"'We’re trying to show that Riverdale is contemporary, and that it is a diverse and accepting place,' Parent said. 'At some point, you have to address these subjects.'"

"To the kids at Riverdale High, Kevin’s sexual orientation is a nonissue, Parent said. 'Their reaction is very nonchalant.' It’s a reaction reflective of the real world, he believes. 'My daughter is that age, she’s 16. I see in her high school that there are a lot of openly gay kids. It’s not even like a big deal.'”

"One character who quickly becomes Kevin’s friend is Jughead, but that doesn’t say anything about Jughead’s sexual leanings, Parent said. Kevin and Jughead are fellow foodies."

"'The reason they’re friends is because Jughead is the character you would befriend first, because he’s so accepting of everyone.'"

But don't expect Keller to get involved in any hot action. Says Parent: “We don’t get into sexual situations with the straight characters, let alone the gay characters. It’s still a safe place for kids.”


Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright