As geek interests have gone mainstream, the comic conventions that were once niche gatherings have become massive regional and national events. It can make for an overwhelming and intimidating atmosphere, and given the political and cultural polarization that has seized nerddom over the last few years, the safe space of Flame Con, a welcoming convention for fans who don't fall into the straight white dude geek stereotype, has become more desirable and necessary than ever.
"Flame Con is by and large the refuge for the weird queer kid," convention chair Steve Gianaca says in the latest episode of The Fandom Files. "You go to New York Comic Con and it's a needle in a haystack to find queer content. That's actually how the organization was formed, a lack of representation at New York Comic Con. Everywhere you go, there's open queerness. People are happily in drag as Princess Peach. Last year's cosplay contest winner was Rita Repulsa. It was a dude and he looked fabulous."
Flame Con's fourth annual gathering, scheduled to take place on August 18 and 19, will be by far its largest iteration. Transferring from a Brooklyn hotel to the massive Sheraton in Times Square, the convention could host up to 10,000 visitors, who will take place in activities ranging from cosplay contests (and there will be a lot of cosplay) to panels (this conversation about Sailor Moon looks awesome) to meeting queer creators whose work regularly breaks ground.
The event will also be ground zero for some of the most creative swag and merchandise out there — including a Godzilla T-shirt made to support Geeks Out, the convention's parent organization, a piece of apparel that we will definitely be purchasing.
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