You're all familiar with Larime Taylor by now. We've written so many stories about him he deserves his own category on the site. But in case you haven't been paying attention, his book, A Voice in the Dark, is in stores this month from Top Cow, and it comes with the highest recommendation from us. It's right up there with other Outhouse favorites like The Sixth Gun and Mind MGMT, in this reporter's opinion, and Larime is going to be huge by this time next year (so we'll have to interview him at least once more before he stops talking to us). Find out more about Larime and A Voice in the Dark in Luke Anthony's latest interview with Larime and this previous interview I did earlier in the year.
In any case, just because A Voice in the Dark exceeded its Kickstarter goals six times over and got picked up as an ongoing series by Top Cow, that doesn't mean Larime has been resting easy. He's been busting his ass promoting the launch of the book, calling up stores to increase orders, doing press, working the social media, talking to losers like us, and going to conventions. Well, he recently attended Comikaze Expo, and if you follow him on social media (which you should), you may have seen that things didn't go smoothly.
Well, Larime's not taking this sitting down!
Ok, he technically is, but you know what we mean!
From his new Tumblr blog, Super Gimp:
And that’s why having a free badge for an assistant is vital to me. When I go, I have to arrange travel, lodging, food, and badges for two. It’s not a choice or an option. By acknowledging that I need - yes NEED - a care provider present, the convention is allowing me to enjoy myself just like anyone else. I’m not at the mercy of casual friends or strangers to see to my basic needs.
I’m hardly the only one, either. There are lots of us, more and more each year.
So when I see a convention like Comikaze Expo, and it doesn’t even say the WORD disability on its website, I get frustrated. When I email them to find out the policy on care providers and never get an answer, I get angry. When it takes the wife of an industry legend to help me get through to someone who can help, I get depressed. Life in a wheelchair is hard enough. I shouldn’t need the incredibly awesome Bridget Silvestri to get a simple concession from a convention with Stan Lee’s name attached to it.
Comikaze isn’t the only one. Hardly any of the small conventions have any info for disabled attendees, and even Wizard World pretty much ignores the subject.
Oh, you done fucked up now, Comikaze Expo. Larime asked his friends to share the story, and he's got some powerful friends.
No, not us! We're peons! Bleeding Cool ran with it though.
So spread this around on social media, follow Super Gimp on Tumblr, and let's put some pressure on cons to do the right thing here, like San Diego Comic Con and Wondercon already do, according to the post (have you not read it yet? Get going!).
(Photo from The Independents)
UPDATE: So it looks like we might have been a bit... overzealous in our call to arms. Larime posted an update to his blog detailing the fallout from today's events. He points out that the problem with support for the disabled is not a Comikaze thing, but an issue with the convention industry in general. Comikaze, as it turns out, are not so bad after all. They contacted Larime today, "serious about fixing things:"
It was hardly the way you’d want to start a collaboration, but that’s what it did. Comikaze is serious about improving disabled access, and I’m serious about helping conventions do better. If I’m going to complain, I’m also going to put my money where my mouth is and take action when given a chance. To be honest, I also feel an obligation as the first disabled creator to get this far to smooth the road for those who come next.
We haven’t worked out the specifics, but I’ll be advising them on ways to make their convention more disabled-friendly, and that includes donating my art and time to help expand the services they can afford. I hope to have details for you soon.
So there you have it. Larime Taylor. Making great comics. Conquering Kickstarter. Getting signed to Top Cow. Making the convention scene a better place. What did you do this year?
We'll update you on this story as soon as we know more on Larime and Comikaze's specific plans. A Voice in the Dark #1 is in stores November 20. Buy it, or feel the wrath of the internet!
Bravo to Comikaze for doing the right thing.