Conventions are rapidly growing. For supporters of diverse representation in comics, there’s nothing better than conventions dedicated specifically to those ends. A sense of belonging is a curious thing in comics lately, and if you’re on this site you probably nerd hard in the paint and consider representation important. Enter: MECCAcon. You won’t find a better atmosphere and more opportunities to support your favorite writers, read diverse characters and meet spectacular nerds, so it’s obvious your trip to the Midwest should be scheduled for September.
Black Nerd Problems talked with Maia “Crown” Williams, the founder and organizer of MECCAcon, to learn more about your next favorite convention.
Black Nerd Problems: What is MECCAcon?
Williams: Midwest Ethnic Convention for Comics and Arts – or MECCAcon – is a large comic book and artist convention held annually in Detroit. I started developing it October 2013. The primary reason MECCAcon was established was to instill knowledge primarily in the younger art culture. I also wanted to show Detroit that women know about this stuff, too. We read and watch other things besides romantic mumbo jumbo. It is my mission to make sure that children know that all “heroes” do not look the same; that many actually look just like them. It is also important to learn the origin of comic books, what the historical facts come from, and what the word “hero” actually derives from. I am very much into knowledge of self, and I love to share my knowledge, but in a fun way. Children in all communities love comic books and art. Unlike many “comic cons,” we don’t focus only on comic books. Art has several mediums, especially in Detroit, and we want to highlight them all. MECCAcon aims to highlight comics, science fiction, steampunk/steamfunk, fine art, music, graffiti, Black speculative fiction, DJ artists, handmade artisans, urban gardening, fashion, African martial arts and more.
BNP: What is the biggest challenge you face organizing a convention like this one?
Williams: Money is the biggest, and being taken seriously as a woman in this business comes second. Funding is crucial in all aspects. All of the finances weigh down heavily, especially for the simple fact that 90 percent of it comes from my own pockets. It can be stressful, and sometimes mentally draining at times. I like to focus on the children’s faces every time I get that moment of “what the hell was I thinking?”