Sunday, May 19, 2024

Ngozi Ukazu, creator of the web comic “Check, Please!” is among LadiesCon panelists this year. (Photo: LadiesCon 2020 via Facebook)

What’s normally a one-day event held in Somerville has been forced online by the coronavirus, expanded into an even broader five days of discussion on comic books, science fiction, fantasy, cosplay and other aspects of pop culture, still focused on creators who are women, non-binary, LGBTQ and people of color. (But open to all.)

LadiesCon 2020 starts off slow, with two or three panels a day – then explodes Saturday and Sunday with a stunningly rich set of talks, all free. It culminates each weekend night in online games and afterparties, the only events with suggested donation.

The Zoom and YouTube events include everything from “A Women’s Guide to Outsmarting Sherlock Holmes” (4 p.m. Thursday) to a look at the influence of the one-season Fox TV show “Dollhouse” a decade after it was canceled (8 p.m. Thursday). The most abundant veins of discussion are around how pop culture is served and shared by diversity, and its use in specific areas of storytelling: history, medicine and general education, as well as immigrant stories and romance. The sessions give wisdom on the moment (“Distance Collaborations and Creative Isolation,” 11:30 a.m. Saturday, and “Community in the Time of Covid,” 4 p.m. Sunday) and the eternal (“Writing for Comics From the Artist’s Perspective,” 2:30 p.m. Sunday, and “Inspiration in Comics,” 4 p.m. Saturday).

Panelists include stars of the indie world as well as of the Marvel-DC poles, including the Eisner- and Hugo-winning Tana Ford, who’s worked on “The Amazing Spider-Man,” Sophie Campbell of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and “Jem & the Holograms” and web artist Ngozi Ukazu, whose “Check, Please!” is the most funded webcomics Kickstarter ever for a printing campaign.

There’s also a virtual vendor’s row.

This is the fifth year of the event, founded by the Ladies of Comicazi – a group centered around the Comicazi comics and gaming store at 407 Highland Ave., Davis Square, Somerville. The Women in Comics collective and Boston Comics in Color Festival are fellow organizers.