This past weekend I attended the 3rd Annual Khem Comic Book Fest in New Jersey, and I had a blast!
This annual convention features creators of comics, books, film, and other media with a focus on artists and characters of color.
This event was jam packed with art, games, live music, comics, cosplays and more! Khem Fest is very kid friendly, full of many fun activities for both children and adults alike. There were numerous vendors, guest speakers, panels and workshops for attendees to enjoy.
“The day is filled with entertainment and activities such as: Comic Book/Education workshops, a marketplace, a comic book library and panel discussions and screenings with industry professionals. The goal of the event is to use comic books, films and popular culture to develop youth literacy and expression through S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology Engineering, Arts and Math). In addition, all proceeds from the Khem Comic Book Fest will go to the Central High School Engineering Academy Program.”
The festival was founded in 2014, by comic book creator and educator Naseed Gifted; with a goal to develop youth literacy and expression through reading, writing, drawing, and related media. The event is co-sponsored by PBS Media and Central High School of Newark, NJ. –https://www.khemfest.com/about/
“The Khem Comic Book Fest is growing exponentially and I revel in the fact that through the festival we’re providing an opportunity to bring the entire community together.”
— NASEED GIFTED – FOUNDER KHEM COMIC BOOK FEST
Throughout the event I met so many talented and inspiring people; from artists, to writers, to even other bloggers. I had the opportunity to speak with many creators about their work and even picked up some new comics that I can’t wait to check out.
There was something for everyone to enjoy! Whether you like mainstream comics, indie comics, toys or even video games. Some of the activities included were face painting, a full- on NERF challenge, cosplay workshops, and even a gaming lounge. There was also a live-music segment featuring hip hop Underground artists; Spencer Sterling, Deuce H Wood, and ThaGataNegrra. Some of the panels this year were Black Women in Comics, and a cool segment on the Behind the Scenes of the hit Marvel Netflix Series Luke Cage (featuring professionals in special effects, video/audio and acting/stunt team).
Black Women in Comics panel
Moderator: Karama Horne (AKA TheBlerdGurl)
Regine Sawyer (WiNC, Lockett Down)
Micheline Hess (Malice in Ovenland)
Ariell Johnson (owner of Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse, Inc.)
Shauna Grant (Shawna Draw)
I was super excited to attend the Black Women in Comics panel. This panel featured some very strong and motivational women in the comic book industry that I look up to.
The ladies spoke about their comics, the process of creating comics, and getting their work out there. They also spoke about their contributions, working together, what inspires them, and trials they have faced in the industry. They discussed the importance of presence and representation, and being an inspiration to young females that may feel underrepresented in geek culture.
- The panel was moderated by Karama Horne (TheBlerdGurl)!
Whom, I had the pleasure of meeting. She is a such an inspiration to me, and I really believe in her vision, and what she represents. TheBlerdGurl was a great moderator, and kept the discussions with all these lovely ladies and the audience lively.
-TheBlerdGurl: blerd/writer/fangirl “Karama is a freelance commercial film/video editor by day and comic book reading, anime watching, TV live tweeting, K-Pop listening, blog writing, geek gurl by night. She uses her blog to shine a light on sequential art, comic books, graphic novels and pop culture with a focus on characters of color primarily created by people of color (POC).” -aboutTheBlerdGurl
- Regine Sawyer (WiNC, Lockett Down)
I know Regine from her totally awesome collective WiNC! Regine is also the Owner and Founder of Lockett Down Publications. At this panel Regine spoke about her company, and how she likes to look for submissions from artists to work with her and what she entails in her process for hiring.
–The ‘WinC’ Collective “is an artistic and informative initiative serving to educate communities about the role and merit of women working in Comics.”
Lockett Down Publications “is a multimedia company specializing in Comic Books and promotional apparel. It was established in December 2007 by Owner and Founder Regine L. Sawyer, and was first publicly debuted at the New York Comic Con, April 2008.”
- Micheline Hess (Malice in Ovenland)
Super talented, artist and writer Micheline discussed her comic and the process of creating a comic and how she prefers to work. Micheline also does web and game design!
Malice in Overland: Cute action/adventure series about a young, bright girl that loves reading, writing, and is ready for adventure.
- Ariell Johnson (owner of Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse, Inc.)
I was very excited to meet Ariell, who happens to be the first black woman to own a comic book store on the East Coast! During this panel Ariell spoke about her inspirations, her favorite comics, working with distributors, submissions, and kickstarters, and how to get books into the store.
Ariel, first opened Amalgam Comics and Coffeehouse in Dec. 2015, as “a place for comic book fans, hardcore gamers, movie addicts, television connoisseurs, and zombie apocalypse survivalists to meet, and with their powers combined, change the world a little bit.”
The Philadelphia shop provides a comfy space for anyone to read, have conversations, and enjoy a wide variety of comics, as well as drinks and pastries. “We think that comics are for everyone and anyone that loves comics.”–Blavity
- Shauna Grant (Shauna Draw)
Shauna is another talented writer and artist that spoke about her inspirations, her creative process, and about her web-comic/ comic Princess Love Pon:
Check out her adorable story about a Magical Girl.
“Princess Love ♥ Pon is a story about love! Love for your friends, love for your partners, and love for yourself. “
Princess Love ♥ Pon is created by Shauna J. Grant. She is a New York City native in love with all things pink and magical girl and hopes this story bring light to someone’s day.-Princesslovepon
Be sure to follow Khem Fest and see what
is in store for upcoming shows!!
3rd Annual Khem Comic Book Fest NEWARK, New Jersey - March 18, 2017 - KHEM FEST/ PBS Media and Central High School of Newark, NJ 246 18th Ave. Newark, NJ 07108