As much as I, for the most part, appreciate my acquaintances in the comic industry, it’s sometimes hard to be around them because, invariably, their worship of white-bread colonialism always will come up and, invariably, cause so many untenable problems. It’s one of the reasons that I was so relived to be back at Thunderbird Casino, 15700 E. State Highway 9 in Norman, for the Third Annual IndigeNerd Native Comic-Con.
It’s too bad, however, that such a good idea like this has apparently turned to dust in the wind, like so many unburdened souls after a Thanos-esque finger-snap.
The first IndigeNerd conference was a fun outing that gave me hope for the future of funny-books, not only for the Indigenous comic fan, but for the Native stars of the comic world, coming out and pressing the flesh with their many four-color wares. And while I missed last year’s due to circumstance beyond my control, there was no way I was going to miss this year’s, even if it was unfortunately placed during the July 4th holiday season.
With a start time of 11 a.m. this past Saturday, when I arrived around that opening time, the volunteers were still setting up what little comic-related properties they had, an aura of unpreparedness dirtying every super-powered crevice for the rest of the day, or at least until three o’clock; the feel of seemingly being put together at the last minute was definitely a dark cloud hovering over the day’s proceedings.
The outside was properly stocked with Batman and Justice League bounce-houses that were fully inflated but, sadly, typically empty. As a few children sauntered around looking for things to do, the costumed adults tried hard to raise the spirits of the long-bored, Indigenous or otherwise, who showed up to support the burgeoning comic-con, the requisite Harley Quinn and another character I couldn’t place posing for a few pictures.
Probably the most hurtful aspect was the lack of any and all comic artists or writers; now I’m not sure if it’s because they weren’t invited this year or if they were and turned the invitation down—anything is possible—but the lack of talent like Arigon Starr or Johnnie Diacon, as well as youngbloods like Adam Youngbear, to name a few from the first year, were a blip that was definitely felt.
Instead of fandom creators or even fandom dealers, there certainly were an ample amount of arts and crafts on display, from beaded necklaces and bracelets to potholders and towels of every shape and size; I think the cooking abilities of the average comic nerd has been greatly overestimated. Still, I’ve got to give them kudos for trying to appeal to a market when no one else, apparently, will.
Leaving after only an hour or so, as I sat back there in the casino part of Thunderbird, wasting a five dollar bill on the Wonder Woman slot machine, I tried as best I could in my head to rationalize what I had just seen, to no real effect. So, instead of complaining as usual, I’m going to publicly offer my services for, if there is one, next year’s convention: listen up, Thunderbird and affiliated partners, if you want—or need—help putting together next year’s IndigeNerd comic-con, contact me so we can set up a meeting and talk ideas.
Maybe we can, like a time-traveling team of Avengers, right the many wrongs that this year’s comic-con unknowingly caused for future generations. Excelsior!