On January 13th & 14th at the Schmoberg Center for Black Research in Harlem, NYC, the 5th Annual Black Comic Book Convention took place. With attendance in the amount of over 10,000, the tightly packed venue showcased some of the very best in Black comics, arts, and story telling.
I managed to attend the festival on the 14th, which definitely had a high turn out despite the snow day (you know you love comics if you’re going to stand in the snow for 30 minutes on a line wrapped around a full block). Given that this was my first time attending such an event, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I’m glad I went. Dozens of artists showcasing beautiful concepts & comics, cos-players abound, & panels speaking on the future of being comic lovers as people of color were the highlights of the entire event.
It’s easy to forget how huge the indie comic book scene is right now since Marvel & DC have had a ressurgence over the past 10 years, but there are many authors & artists of color who are producing works that are as good or better than the big guys, and they are receiving a lot of attention for it. All the more reason why smaller conventions such as the BCCF are a helpful way to connect with the artists & other fans we might get to a chance to relate to often.
My best experience of the day were attending two panels: one on femininity in comics as well as another on hip-hop & comics. The all-female panel of the first one was a stark reminder of how many female artists, authors, and experts are out there producing works on a stellar basis. The other one was a great play on how hip-hop has been infused for comics for such a long time, and also starred Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, as he spoke on his beginnings with RUN DMC & how comics had inspired him to become a rapper, all the way to creating his own comic.
The festival definitely brought out a wide range of comic lovers and reminded all of us fans that the industry hasn’t stopped growing yet; there is so much more to see.