The Abstract Podcast

Comic-con and the future of conventions

In this episode, we discuss the future of fan communities and what’s in store for LGBTQ superheroes.

Cosplay at Comic-Con.
MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images/MediaNews Group/Getty Images

The ultimate pop-culture convention, San Diego Comic-Con, took an unprecedented gamble in July 2020 with Comic-Con at Home, the virtual attempt to capture geek culture in a bottle (and funnel it to the streaming masses).

While virtually connecting an international “community of fans” proved to be a challenge, the annual event known for bringing together outsiders and celebrating inclusion still managed to bring some core issues to the surface.

Whether it’s highlighting the social importance of shared experiences or celebrating a sense of belonging through collective fandom, Comic-Con@Home can serve as a learning experience for future conventions — pushing organizers to rethink what events like these are really about, who they’re for, and who they should represent in the future.

In this episode of The Abstract, we discuss the future of fan communities and what’s in store for LGBTQ superheroes.

Our first story is about Comic-Con at Home, San Diego Comic-Con’s virtual attempt at recreating one of the nation’s biggest annual fan conventions in the face of Covid-19. As mixed reactions from fans highlight the need for truly interactive experiences, could Comic-Con at Home set the stage for the future of conventions?

Our second story takes a closer look at the future of LGBTQ superheroes. Recent Comic-Con panels have allowed artists to stress the need for more LGBTQ roles in movies and on TV — hoping that increased representation in fantasy and action movies in particular can create better, more inclusive stories on screen.

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Right now, facts and science matter more than ever. That's part of the reason for The Abstract, this all-new podcast from the Inverse staff that focuses exclusively on science and innovation. Three new episodes are released a week, and each covers one theme via two related stories. Each features audio of original Inverse reporting, where the facts and context take center stage. It's hosted by the Tanya Bustos of WSJ Podcasts. Because we're Inverse, it's all true but slightly off-kilter. It's made for people who want to know the whole story. Nick Lucchesi, executive editor, Inverse