I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Con season for comics starts with the Black Comic Book Festival, held January 12-13, at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, located in Harlem, NYC. Now in its 6th year, BCBF is a free event that has grown into one of the premier destinations for creators and fans of Black Comic Culture to come together.
While Friday is a subdued day, it started the con by welcoming local schools for a morning trip to come experience Black and Latino geek culture, where they learned a bit about the craft and got some insight to the source materials of their favorite comics and cartoons. In their opening remarks BCBF Founders Jerry Craft and Diedre Holdman told the kids that they created this event because “We wanted you to know that there are people like you creating Heroes.“
Like most cons, there were vendors, two full days of panels and colorful cosplayers strutting about, but this celebration was extra special with all the excitement around the upcoming Black Panther movie and Black Lightning tv show. And with that excitement, many panels that address diversity, and not just the problems, but the solutions and benefits of proper representation in media. Speakers gave solid reasoning and understanding of the needs for more diversity behind the scenes, on the page, on the screen, and the power to help shape that goal with our purchasing power.
BCBF also had a lighter side, with more space for independent creators fans had plenty of opportunities to cop some great reads, I know I spent a pretty nickel. Friday capped off with a special featurette from the makers of the Black Panther and BCBF sponsor Lexus, which was followed by Schomburg Director Kevin Young interviewing one of the cast from Black Panther, actress Florence Kasumba, check out GP contributor Elana Brooklyn’s video after this. And Saturday saw the fan favorite Cosplay Showcase, a colorful expression from the Fans who are passionate about their favorite mediums.
This small con still has some growing pains, but it keeps pushing in attendance and star power, spilling out of those marginalized shadows, and making a space for all creators and fans to truly let their blerd flag fly, and I’ll be there to salute next year.
George Carmona III, is an Artist/Designer/Writer, former Milestone Media Intern, former DC Comics paper pusher, book lover, lifelong comic geek, and is the author of the DC Super Friends Joke Book from Penguin Random House. Follow him on Twitter @GCarmona3.