I would have wanted to attend a panel on women in the sci-fi, horror, and comic book genres anyway, but the fact that it was moderated by Kevin Smith just sealed the deal. And I didn't realize I was in for such a comedy show. Smith was, as one might expect, hilariously droll, sarcastic, kinda bitter but not quite hostile. But that Lucy Lawless (you may know her as Xena, and/or D'Anna Biers on Battlestar Galactica) is sassy! She's gregarious and smart and has an incredibly cutting sense of humor that she used to repeatedly take Smith down. It was informative, but also one of the most entertaining panels I've attended yet.
In addition to Lawless, the other panelists included Jaime King (Sin City, The Spirit) Pia Guerra (the awesomely smart and creative illustrator of a comic that I'm slightly obsessed with right now, Y: The Last Man) and producer Gale Anne Hurd (Terminator, Punisher: War Zone).
Smith asked each of the ladies some prewritten questions (not written by him, and clearly not questions he was happy asking) about their experiences as women in such fanboy-dominated universes. To see what they had to say,
- Lawless referenced Sigourney Weaver multiple times as both an influence on her as an actor and in terms of Weaver being a pioneer of sorts for women in the sci-fi genre.
- Jaime King admitted that doing her first horror movie was "sort of traumatizing," and that as much as she was supposed to try and detach from it all, it still seemed real.
- Lawless said that the key to great female characters in these genres is "all in the writing," and that if people want to see more quality characters, they need to write quality characters for women. At this, Pia chimed in to say that the great writing of female characters requires writing them as "humans first."
- Jaime King said she read a comic book aloud to Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller when she auditioned for Sin City. She thinks some people have a misconception of what Miller is like, and she said he's "actually a very gentle, caring, loving man."
- At Gale's mention of Aeon Flux, the crowd went crazy cheering. It was nice to hear this character so warmly appreciated.
- In response to the question, "Would you like to see more female directors in these genres?" of course Lawless, King, and Guerra all of course said "yes," and encouraged women to "step it up." Actually, Lawless said aspiring directors should "get off your arse, use your digi [camera], and do it your own self."
- When asked who his favorite female character of all time is, Kevin Smith replied, "God." So, yeah. I'm kind of in love with that Kevin Smith.