— blicqer (@blicqer) January 18, 2016
— theblerdgurl (@theblerdgurl) January 16, 2016
The Black Comic Book Festival, held at the Schomburg Center in Harlem, just has its 4th outing on Saturday and by all accounts it was jammed with people; as many as 5000 showed up, there was a huge line to get in, and all the photos of the event show huge crowds. It was also a good time, as the Daily News reported::
Groups of children, including those from the Brooklyn-based Akerele Youth Leadership Program, walked through the 35 exhibits with wide eyes and even wider smiles.
“All these kids see in the comic books are white heroes,” said Akerele co-founder Nicola McIntyre. “This lets them know that they can be heroes also.”
Reportedly, the event is looking to move to a much bigger location next year. Artists who exhibited included Kyle Baker, Whitney Taylor, Alex Simmons and many more, including rapper-turned-comics mogul DMC who of course got written up quite a bit himself:
The 51-year-old icon, also gave his origin story about how comic books gave him a first boost into the hip-hop industry. “Before hip-hop, I was a comic book head, that’s all I did. What got me into hip-hop was me and my brother, we had a little problem. Once hip-hop came over the bridge an everyone was buying turntables, me and my brother had a problem because we didn’t sell weed so we didn’t have no money. We had a huge collection of comic books so we did a comic book sale. We bought two turntables and that’s the thing that really got me writing. But before that, all I did was eat, sleep and live comic books.”
With the fast growing interest in comic book that appeal to a diverse audience — and the people that make them and read them — the success of this year’s event should be much of a surprise. It also backs up the idea that a lot of smart observers have been suggesting: that while “comic cons” per se have reached a sort of saturation point, events with a strong focus on a niche are going to increase.
This was the 1st Con of the new year and I thought it was going to be very small and intimate and not crowded, boy was I wrong, the atmosphere was fresh and vibrant and filled with comic collectors young and old. All the vendors and creators were friendly and were more than happy to answer all my questions. I predict within the next 2 years The Black Comic Festival will be one of the best Cons on the east coast. My only gripe I had was with myself as I didn’t even know there were more creators on the bottom floor which I missed grrrrrr Even though I didn’t get to see all of the great Creators at the show I did have the pleasure of meeting quite a few and here we go with some of the stand outs.
Here’s another enthusiastic report
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.