San Diego Comic-Con 2018

This July, one of my biggest nerd dreams came true — I went to Comic-Con! I’m a huge comics fan, so when Dent invited me to be on a panel called “Creating the Future at the MIT Media Lab: How Comics Inspire Students’ Work (and Vice Versa)”, I could not have been more excited.

Comic-Con was a great opportunity to share the research we do at the Media Lab outside of traditional academic venues. On the panel with me was Danielle Wood (head of the Space Enabled research group), Katy Croff Bell (head of the Open Ocean Initiative), and Selam Gano (an MIT grad who co-directed an amazing video inspired by Riri Williams and the real-life superheroes we have on campus). The panel was moderated by Cady Coleman, a NASA astronaut and member of the Media Lab’s Space Exploration Initiative. Our discussion was very wide-ranging — we talked about the relationship between speculative fiction and our research, visions for more inclusive technology design processes, exploring the deep sea, advancing social justice on earth through space technology, and the comics and science fiction that inspire us to build a better future.

The Media Lab panel at San Diego Comic-Con 2018: Cady Coleman, Selam Gano, Katy Croff Bell, Alexis Hope, and Danielle Wood.

I shared a few storytelling projects I’ve worked on at the Lab — Sensory Fiction and FOLD — as well as our efforts with the Breast Pump Hackathon to bring together a diverse community to hack technology, policy, and more in support of breastfeeding parents and babies. My work at the Media Lab focuses on transforming the culture of technology innovation to be more inclusive and equitable, and I see a similar transformation happening in the world of comics, which is flourishing with new stories told from a wider spectrum of perspectives than ever before.

Beyond the panel, Comic-Con was a great experience. My sister (and fellow comics-nerd) Josephine Hoy joined me, and we had a blast walking around, learning about new comics, and checking out all of the cosplay. For the panel, I decided to dress up as Shade the Changing Girl, the main character from one of my favorite comics. After the panel, I had the opportunity to meet Marley Zarcone, the artist behind Shade, and Mags Visaggio, the writer of Eternity Girl, another comic I am currently in love with. It was a true fangirl moment to meet the creators of two comics that really inspire me and speak to important parts of my emotional world and identity.

Some of my other favorite comics are Alan Moore’s run of Swamp Thing, Tank Girl, Paper Girls, Mother Panic, Abbott, Black Cloud, Godshaper, Monstress, Long Lost, Snotgirl, the Archie reboots…and many more. I guess I’ve got a bad comics habit…I can frequently be found wandering around Comicazi, an amazing and super-friendly comics shop/community in Somerville where I pick up my weekly subscriptions! I’m always looking for recommendations — if you’ve got any suggestions, send them my way 😊

Me dressed up as Shade, my favorite heartstruck teenage bird alien antiheroine 💕
Signed copies 😍