The Schomburg Center’s 10th anniversary Black Comic Book Festival 2022 will now be a wholly virtual affair as Covid once more takes a bite out of the events calendar. The January 13-15 annual event was originally planned as a hybrid physical-virtual affair.
In a post in the Schomburg Connection newsletter, Schomburg Center director Joy L. Bivins said:
“As 2021 draws to a close, I want to express my deep gratitude to each and every one of you. Thank you for following and supporting the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. We are here because of you.
This year has been a series of challenges for all of us and our loved ones, and it seems as if 2022 will also begin with COVID-19 uncertainties. Please know that we remain determined and hopeful as we continue to bring you the richness of Black culture in all of its broad and glorious forms.”
On the Black Comic Book Festival 2022 website, it now reads:
“The 10th annual festival from January 13—15, 2022, will include all virtual events. Due to the changing circumstances with regards to COVID cases, this event will now be fully virtual. Patrons can still register for events and panels online. The exhibition, Boundless: 10 Years of Seeding Black Comic Futures, will be on display at the Schomburg Center from Jan 14, 2022.”
There was a delay in the announcement of the Black Comic Book Festival schedule on the website. Initially it was to be released on December 17 but that date came and went, only to be replaced with a Christmas eve announcement. This likely reflects goings on behind the scenes as the covid situation in New York (and the US) worsened once again.
As the new extremely virulent omicron variant continues to spread, case records worldwide are being broken. The US daily average is now over 267,000 cases and it is believed that 1 in 50 people in Manhattan have been infected in the last week. Among the bleak public (and mental) health implications, staff shortages are causing problems for many businesses and public institutions – either making them shutter outright or limiting entry capacities. The 2021 edition of the Black Comic Book Festival was also a wholly virtual affair, and organisers were likely prepared for this sad, but not unexpected, eventuality.
Still, digital programming means that you can check it out wherever you are – so it doesn’t matter if you are in New York, London or Paris: all can still partake. And the programming already looks rather neat.