It is not often that I wish I were in Texas. I drove across the state on my cross-country move from Atlanta to Los Angeles, and I swear I went through some kind of space-time vortex that doubled the pre-calculated time/distance.

However, this weekend, I wish I were in Austin, Texas if only so I could go to these panels happening at STAPLE!.

STAPLE! is Austin’s Independent Media Expo, and this year (its 11th) they are focusing on celebrating women and their work, as well as exploring what it means to be a woman in the male-dominated world of media, both of which are pretty gosh darn awesome, especially considering that the first day of the event falls on International Women’s Day.

Their lineup of panels and guests is also pretty stellar, and after perusing it, I picked out the five panels I’m most sad to be missing, and wrote the five questions I would ask if I was going to be there.

5) Spawning Diversity in Games. Saturday, March 7th 4:30 PM – 5:30 PM. Featuring Hall Hood (Bioware), Lynnea Glasser (Bioware, Made Real Stories), Fabian Parker (Bioware), Kathryn Long (Bioware), and Jennifer Bullard (Captivate Conference).

Panel description: Experienced game developers discuss the process and challenges of including diversity in the games they make, and the industry that makes them.

The question I would ask if I was there: How long before we get the games version of the Dwayne McDuffie Award (which was awarded to Nilah MacGruder this past weekend at Long Beach Comic Expo for her webcomic M.F.K.)?

 4) Life in Panels: Autobio Comics. Saturday, March 7th 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM. Featuring Jess Fink (We Can Fix It!), Kate Leth (Kate or Die!), and Dean Trippe (Something Terrible).

Panel description: Indie comics hotshots discuss the process and effects of recounting their personal origin stories in comics form.

The question I would ask if I were there:  Will you share with us something that happened to you that you decided not to write about in your comic, for whatever reason?

 3) Pitching Comics. Sunday, March 8th 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM. Featuring Janelle Asselin.

Panel description: None given, but you know anything featuring Janelle Asselin is going to be good.

The question I would ask if I were there: How can I get a studio interested in my adolescent lycanthrope spinoff series?

 2) POC/Queer/Women in Zines. Sunday, March 8th 2:30 PM – 3:30 PM. Featuring Isabel Ann Castro (designer of st. sucia zine), Sixto J. Zavala (designer of raspa magazine), and Ashley Hicks (designer of kwueen shadez).

Panel description: Check out this AIGA Austin-organized panel on the relationship between illustration and zine design from a POC/women/queer perspective. Topics to be discussed are what illustrators need to know when working with graphic designers, vice versa, issues of diversity in independent media and design, and whatever you bring to the conversation #DiverseZinesAIGA.

The question I would ask if I were there:  What do you say to people who question the universal relatability of zines written by people from groups outside of their own identities? For example, why should a white, cis, straight man read these zines?

 1) Hire This Woman. Saturday, March 7th 1:30 PM – 2:30 PM. Hosted by Janelle Asselin and featuring Jamie Kinosian, C. M. Bratton, E.K. Weaver, Maria-Elisa Heg, and Jeanne Thornton.

Panel description: Based on her Comics Alliance column of the same name, guest Janelle Asselin will moderate the Hire This Woman panel featuring these five talented up-and-coming artists and writers.

The question I would ask if I were there: How can I get on next year’s panel?

For those of you lucky enough to attend, all answers to your STAPLE!-related questions can be found here on their website.