This past weekend I attended The Schomburg Center’s 7th Annual Black Comic Book Festival!!! The event was Jam-packed all day with lines of super excited fans anxiously waiting to get inside. This free event was held January 18-19, 2019 , Friday and Saturday at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem.
“The Schomburg Center’s Annual Black Comic Book Festival (BCBF) celebrates the rich tradition of Black comix featuring panel discussions, film screenings, a cosplay show, and exhibit tables with premiere independent Black comic creators from across the United States. The annual extravaganza, which drew close to 12,000 attendees in 2017, connects diverse comic readers, creators, bloggers, nerds, independent publishers, and collectors of all ages.” – New York Public Library
This family friendly event featured dozens of independent comic book creators showcasing their talents. I had the pleasure of speaking with so many creators about their work, and even picked up some new comics that I can’t wait to check out. I saw so many familiar faces from bloggers, to creators and fans alike; an amazing supportive creative community that I am glad to be a part of. I also met many talented and inspiring people that I had the opportunity to see some of their awesome projects. Check out some of the creators below:
COMICS TO CHECK OUT
Taylor J Sterling: Okemus
Okemus is a sci-fi martial art action thriller featuring Cale..a young scientist with latent superhuman abilities that are essential to saving the world of the present and future. Cale is being pursued by 4 mysterious superpowered warriors on a mission to acquire this unique ability Cale possesses. These 5 characters are on a collision course that breeds action, drama and cool plot twists. -RAE Comics
Check out my interview with Taylor here and Okemus featured in 5 NEW BADASS SUPERHEROES IN HONOR OF BLACK COMICS MONTH!
It’s a Bande Dessinée series created by Stephane Metayer about a teenaged girl from Queensbridge. Who’s entire life turns upside down, it’s heavily inspired by both hip hop & anime. The words Tephlon Funk!® means to be strong and always stand out. We really wanted to create a dope, authentic and unique story about New York City set in the 90’s.
A big love letter to all the 5 boroughs Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and of course Staten Island. This is more than just a series, it’s aninternational movement! Here at tephlonfunk.com you’ll find incredible artwork, comics, music and exclusive merchandise. – Tephlon Funk
I first met the creators of Tephlon Funk at Anime NYC and was immediately drawn to this series. I just picked up the most recent issue!
Regine Sawyer: Lockettdown Productions and Women in Comics Collective
Lockett Down Publications is a multi-media company specializing in Comic Books and promotional apparel. It was established in December 2007 by Owner and Founder Regine L. Sawyer, and was first publically debuted at the New York Comic Con, April 2008.
LDP pub has several properties in production: “The Rippers”, its signature series, “Ice Witch”, “Death Mask” and “Chimera”. Each series is interlocking, focusing on the mysterious reaches of outer space and the relationships of the characters that reside in it. – Lockett Down Productions
I have featured Regine and the Women in Comics Collective in previous coverage of the WINC con and Ice Witch in 5 NEW BADASS SUPERHEROES IN HONOR OF BLACK COMICS MONTH.
Jerome Walford: Gwan Anthology/ Foward Comix
Published in 2017, “GWAN ANTHOLOGY” is a collection of creator-owned short stories, centered around themes of foreign lands, the immigrant experience and cultural fusion.
The overall goal for this anthology is to highlight and celebrate comic creators who produce work with a sense of the immigrant/expat perspective, expressing both the joys and challenges of such a journey. The anthology is open to any genre: sci-fi, fantasy or slice of life; open to both real and imagined experiences. –Foward Comix
Shauna J. Grant: Princess Love Pon
Princess Love ♥ Pon is a story about love! Love for your friends, love for your partners, and love for yourself. But what happens when someone loses track of what’s important? What happens when it’s too hard to communicate what you really need? Lia, as the magical girl Princess Love ♥ Pon, navigates her way through love, heals the hearts of others who have fallen into despair, and discovers what it really takes to be magical! Is the love she has inside her enough to stop The Dark Queen from devouring the hearts of innocents? Please join Lia on her adventures and find out! – Princess Love Pon
Whether you like mainstream comics, indie comics, or children’s books there was something for everyone to enjoy! The festival had a number of panels which discussed topics such as diversity and gender representation in comics, how to launch a comic kickstarter, an Into The Spider-verse screening, a Cosplay showcase, how to draw comics workshops, and Black Women Writers in Comics.
Cosplay Showcase: Hosted by Black Issues Issues
Kanene Holder and Aixa Kendrick
This panel was a showcase hosted by Kanene Holder and Aixa Kendrick, full of awesome cosplayers among different age groups.
Scripting Our Stories: Black Women in Comics
Moderated by Karama Horne (The Blerdgurl)
Panelists: Jamila Rowser (Wash Day), Regine Sawyer (Lockettdown Productions and Women in Comics Collective), Vita Ayala (The Wilds, Livewire), Shawnee and Shawnelle Gibbs (The invention of E.J. Whitaker)
This panel discussed what projects they are working on, how to build a support system and how they first got into comics. They talked about how social media plays an important role in getting work out and targeting an audience. They also talked about networking, building a community, joining writers groups and really doing the work for it.
The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, a research unit of The New York Public Library, is generally recognized as one of the leading institutions of its kind in the world. For over 90 years the Center has collected, preserved, and provided access to materials documenting black life, and promoted the study and interpretation of the history and culture of peoples of African descent. Educational and Cultural Programs at the Schomburg Center complement its research services and interpret its collections. Seminars, forums, workshops, staged readings, film screenings, performing arts programs, and special events are presented year-round. More information about Schomburg’s collections and programs can be found at www.schomburgcenter.org.
BE SURE TO FOLLOW Schomburg Center AND SEE WHAT IS IN STORE FOR UPCOMING SHOWS!!
Co-founders Deirdre Hollman, former Schomburg Center Director of Education and Exhibitions; Jerry Craft, Mama’s Boyz; John Jennings, Black Kirby/UC Riverside; and Jonathan Gayles, Georgia State University
SOCIAL MEDIA: Twitter: @SchomburgCenter #blackcomicbookfestnyc