Flame Con claims to be the worlds largest LGBTQ comic con with an estimate of over 7,000 attendees in 2018. Since I first attended three years ago, the event has only seemed to grow in a positive direction.
The con started out in downtown Brooklyn but was able to move into the heart of NYC at the Sheraton hotel near Times Square. The con had expanded to encompass nearly a whole floor filled with artist and another with panels. It’s also free on Sundays for anyone under 21!
So What’s This Con About?
The con describes itself as being “a two-day comics, arts and entertainment expo, showcasing creators and special guests from all corners of the LGBTQ fandom.” It was started by Geeks OUT, a nonprofit organization. Their mission is to “empower the queer geek community” and they do that by making accessible spaces and events for LGBTQ fandom lovers.
Panels, Meetups, And Events
The sheer diversity in the panel options is nothing to scoff at. There were career based panels for artists and writers. Some of the more serious panels tackled topics like “Cosplay and the Straight Male Gaze.” Additionally, there were panels centered around queer poetry and others about getting into witchcraft. The panels I attended were made accessible designated sections for people with disabilities. This was also the first event I attended where there was live captioning.
Each day of the convention, there was a cosplay contest hosted. Interested parties sign up that day and give a quick strut to show off their hard work. Needless to say, people went hard. There wasn’t a corner of this convention that didn’t have a cosplayer. Thankfully, the con also had a cosplay repair section and staff that helped guests do any quick fixes that they needed.
The meetup options were great too. Being a brand new Nintendo Switch owner, I was happy to see a Switch meetup where fans could talk about their favorite games. There were also meetups for QTPOC, lesbians/sapphics, and the like. The goal of meetups like those was to foster an even greater sense of community.
Flame Con also had a “Gaymer Lounge ” where attendees could play on a multitude of console games. Tabletop games like Dungeons and Dragons were also available to play. It was a chill area room to go to for a little break from the convention.
View this post on Instagram
A post shared by Flame Con (@instaflamecon) on
For older guests, there’s a 21+ party called the Fire Ball on Saturday night that featured burlesque, drag and musical performances.
You know an artist alley is good when you walk in and immediately pat your wallet. This year’s lineup featured not only fan artist but also many artists that were promoting their own original work.
My only gripe about the artist alley is that the space was kind of dark. It was very low lighting and that made it harder to see what everyone had to offer. That complaint might have more to do with the venue itself rather than the con but it’s still something to keep in mind. My other complaint is I’m broke now.
There was a good amount of industry and cosplay guest. For example, art professionals like Kate Leth and Jen Bartel held a panel on making merch. Vita Ayala, a writer for DC, Dark Marvel, and more. They held a panel on identity in comics. Cosplay guest included Geishavi, Sara Spookystitch, and Java.
This is one of the cons where I can say the atmosphere is totally friendly and welcoming. Some people might balk at the idea of an LGBTQ comic con but there’s nothing to be apprehensive about. Everyone from the con volunteers to the security, to the attendees were super nice. It’s the first con where I was able to start and engage in so many conversations. It was just an easy-going environment. Because the basis of the con is centered around marginalized groups, it’s an open and accepting space.
Flame Con is fun and definitely worth a try if you’ve never been. Right now it’s a good mesh of the events, panels, artist and more. It accomplishes its mission of being a space for LGBTQ fandom lovers. It’s a con that’s small enough that it’s not too overwhelming but still has a good enough crowd that there’s never a dull moment.