Wizard World San Jose presented a lively discussion of body diversity in comics hosted by Chunky Girl Comics’ creator Marisa Garcia. Joined by fellow Chunky Girls, Lori Myers and Gia Guzman, as well as Ray Zepeda of Tragic Hero Comics, the panel discussed the origins of Chunky Girl Comics and their attempts to counterbalance the lack of body diversity in the industry. One thing the panel stressed was how social media is changing how we talk about and celebrate different types of bodies. Recent hashtags like #fatkini, and hobbies like cosplay becoming mainstream and providing the ability to show people of all body types being comfortable in their skin have helped people see that their bodies are beautiful.
The panelists all discussed coming into their own and accepting themselves at various times in their lives. Zepeda cited the punk scene with helping him feel attractive as a teen and helping him realize he was happiest when he was being himself. Garcia talked about covering her body and even bullying other kids to compensate for being bullied herself, but eventually being encouraged by her mother to show who she truly was to the world. These stories resonated with the panel attendees who have been on the receiving end of bullying and backhanded compliments.
Chunky Girl Comics was borne out of a need to counteract these societal norms and Zepeda’s Tragic Hero Comics celebrates body and racial diversity with a lot of the characters being of Mexican descent. They are creating the superheroes that they wanted to see as kids.