As part of our coverage of ACE Comic Con Northeast, Nerds and Beyond had the opportunity to talk with Karama Horne! She is the creator of the blog theblerdgirl and hosts several podcasts, including Who Won The Week for SYFY Wire, The Radical Geeks, and theblerdgurl Podcast. Horne is also a moderator who has hosted panels for New York Comic Con, San Diego Comic Con, and ACE Comic Con among others. We discussed comic heroes, diversity in comics, dream panel guests, and more!
Nerds and Beyond: What was the first comic you remember reading, and what was the first comic you loved?
Karama Horne: I feel like the two of those might be the same. It was Spider-Man Annual #16 and featured Monica Rambeau in her first Spider-Man appearance. She was phenomenal. Outside of X-Men’s Storm, she was really the first Black woman in a comic that wasn’t a side character that I had seen and she was holding her own against the bad guys! Even Peter Parker was impressed. And when she went on to become the first human Captain Marvel and then leader of the Avengers I was hooked!
Nerds and Beyond: What comics are you currently reading and enjoying?
Karama Horne: I’m a huge Indie comics fan and I will read anything that Kieron Gillen writes. So I’m currently reading his Arthurian adventure Once and Future. I’m also reading Pretty Deadly by Kelly Sue DeConnick. It’s such a beautiful, lyrical story and I even got a chance to talk to her about it recently. Of course, I’m reading all the new X-Men stuff. Hickman is a genius, and Hox Pox got me back into reading X-Men regularly. I’m a little bit behind though, so I’m just finishing up Dawn of X. I’m also reading Marvel’s Voices #1 (not just because I’m in it!) because I’m a huge fan of just about everyone in that book!
Nerds and Beyond: You have been a moderator for several conventions, including ACE Comic Con. What is your favorite aspect of moderating panels?
Karama Horne: Honestly, I do a lot of research and prep when I’m hosting panels so that we have plenty to talk about when on stage. I think it’s great when a guest is so comfortable that we can talk about anything. I LOVE it when they drop little nuggets of trivia that we might not have known before. Like at ACE Midwest last year when Kit Harington shared how he was still a little bitter about HBO not letting him keep Longclaw. Or Taron Egerton’s hilarious story about how he filmed his underwater singing scene in Rocketman.
Nerds and Beyond: You can assemble your dream panel to moderate. Who would you want on that panel?
Karama Horne: Wow. I think Aisha Tyler, Andy Diggle, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Mike Mignola, RZA, Jim Lee and Jason Aaron. We’d talk about our favorite comics from 2000 AD, DC, Marvel, Image, everything! (It would be a 6-hour conversation with catering and an intermission of course.)
Nerds and Beyond: You’re the co-host of the podcast The Radical Geeks alongside Angélique Roché, whose Marvel’s Voices podcast has been adapted into a graphic novel anthology (now available.) You contributed an essay on Isaiah Bradley, the first black Captain America, and mentioned that the character “had a profound effect on [you].” What is something you want everyone to know about the character, and what about Isaiah’s story spoke to you?
Karama Horne: When I first read Red, White and Black and was introduced to Isaiah Bradley, it was the first time I had read a story with real African-American history woven into a fictional comic book story. (I mean this was years before HBO’s Watchmen.) I had family members who had talked about things like the Tuskegee Experiment, and segregated military regiments and Isaiah’s story mirrored those real-life stories. Stories I never heard outside of my family. I was fascinated by the one issue of The Crew that continued the story through Isaiah’s son Josiah, who was given up for adoption by his mother for his safety. He never knew his father or the super-soldier serum that he inherited. And then finally in the 2004 Young Avengers run we see young Elijah Bradley confront Steve Rogers and the moment he takes off his cowl, Steve recognizes him as Elijah’s grandson. I literally teared up when I read that, because at that moment, this little stand-alone story I had fallen in love with became canon.
Nerds and Beyond: What was your favorite MCU moment, storyline, or character in the third phase of the MCU?
Karama Horne: Oh wow. That’s really tough. They’re all in Black Panther though. Storyline: Black Panther. Moment: When I saw T’challa’s ship fly through the trees for the first time and see Wakanda. (That part “never gets old”.) Character: Okoye.
Nerds and Beyond: Who are you hoping to see in the MCU in the future? Are there any unexplored storylines you’d love to see on screen in phase 4 or beyond?
Karama Horne: I have three. I’d love for Storm to finally get her own movie (because COME ON!). I would love to see a Daredevil live-action that introduces Echo, Daredevil’s other ex from the comics. She was a Latina First Nations character who was a mimic who also happened to be deaf. I would also love to see the Young Avengers get a live-action movie.
Nerds and Beyond: Do you have any advice for women, especially women of color, hoping to make a career in the world of comics?
Karama Horne: Don’t wait for an invitation because it rarely comes. Start creating content that you want to see. Grow your fanbase on social media, write or draw for an anthology, create a webcomic, just START. Build your audience and it will be harder to be turned down.
If you’re looking to do what I do, which is geek journalism and live hosting, again just start. I was paying my way into conventions, hosting panels, interviewing people for my own podcast long before anyone hired me to do it.
Nerds and Beyond: For anyone who is interested in following more of your work, where can they find you?
Nerds and Beyond: We are a site for nerds, so we have a few rapid-fire nerdy questions for you:
What color would your lightsaber be?
Purple. (I’m with Sam Jackson on that one.)
Nerds and Beyond: If you could gain the powers of any MCU superhero, whose would you choose?
Nightcrawler. It would make commuting, and leaving awkward conversations at parties SO much easier.
Nerds and Beyond: You have been given the power of the Infinity Gauntlet. What’s the first thing you do?
Take the time stone, roll everything back, let Thor take off Thanos’ head and get rid of the threat properly. Then, teach a proper class on time travel with Tony because Endgame was ridiculous.
Nerds and Beyond: You can have dinner with up to three fictional comic characters. Who are you inviting?
Adam Brashear (Blue Marvel), Shuri and Lunella Lafayette. Three of the smartest people in the Marvel Universe. I have no idea what we’re feeding that dinosaur though.
Karama Horne will be moderating several panels at ACE Comic Con Northeast, including panels with Hayden Christensen, Bonnie Wright and Rupert Grint, and Shameik Moore. ACE Comic Con Northeast will run from March 20-22 in Boston. For more information and to buy tickets, check out ACE’s website.