There are some people who like comics. There are others who love them. Then, there are those who live and breathe comics. Not as a way to keep copyrights up-to-date for further cinematic use, but who see the comic form as important; as a worthy and necessary part of our collective artistic and cultural life. Professor, scholar, and creator, John Ira Jennings, embodies the latter.
Happy New Year to you all. I hope everyone is well and doing what they need and want to do.
I wanted to share a few things with you.
If you’re in the Bay Area this week, you should attend this conversation. It is one of our events leading up to 2017’s Black Comix Arts Festival, a Co-Presentation of MoAD, Cartoon Art Museum, and Black Comix Art Festival.
Join the Cartoon Art Museum and Black Comix Art Festival at the Museum of the African Diaspora for, “Ajuan Mance in Conversation with Shawn Taylor,” an evening celebration of current Bay Area cartooning sensation Ajuan Mance as part of the SF Comics Fest. Writer Shawn Taylor from The Nerds of Color will chat with Ajuan about her latest projects in illustration, cartooning and writing, her creative process, her recent rise in popularity, and what she plans to achieve next.
Here is his interview from the 2nd Annual Black Comix Arts Festival:
The other is my powerful interview with Dawud Anyabwile and Brian McGee. The artist and colorist of Brotherman: Revelation.
In honor of Black History Month, I will allow three days of free online screenings of the documentary Brave New Souls: Black Sci-Fi & Fantasy Writers of the 21st Century.
From Sunday, February 1 at 12:00am (EST) through Tuesday, February 3 at 11:59pm (EST) you’ll be able to watch the documentary free of charge!
This past weekend was so much more than a con for me. I’ve been to over one hundred cons in my life, and I have never felt like this two days later. Most con experiences are a blur — panel after panel, film premiere, then hundreds of dollars later I go home and the memory of the con evaporates. I read all the books, rock the shirts, find choice places to display the exclusives I copped, and then it is on to the next. But BCAF was an entirely different convention. Convention is too limiting of a word for the inaugural Black Comix Arts Festival that happened in San Francisco over this past the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King holiday. Church? Still too limiting. Black Sacred Space is closer, but it still falls short. BCAF was less a convention than it was a reinvention, commitment, and celebration of the black image in fantastic space. It was a form of resistance.
Get ready. This weekend is going to be a huge one as our very own John Jennings has organized two comic art festivals on either coast that will celebrate Black comic art and artists with day-long events featuring panel discussions, film screenings, and more.
Festivities kick off in New York City on Saturday, January 17 at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture for its third annual Black Comic Book Festival. The scene then shifts to San Francisco on Sunday and Monday for that city’s inaugural Black Comix Arts Festival — which John announced in October. Both events are free and open to the public.
I’m extremely pleased and honored to be a co-organizer of the inaugural Black Comix Arts Festival with the NorcalMLK Foundation of San Francisco! Our committee has put in a lot of work over the last few months to make this happen. Starting in January 2015, in conjunction with the city’s Martin Luther King Day celebrations, the first ever Black Comix Arts Festival will become an annual event.
Brave New Souls is a documentary I wrote, produced, and directed that explores the thoughts, goals, and inspirations of a new generation of Black creators in graphic novels, television, cinema, literature, and digital media. It was a very tough shoot as I did the camera work, sound recording, lighting, and directing ALL BY MYSELF! While the movie will be released on DVD in two weeks — on July 15 — for those that want to watch it via their smartphones, tablets, laptops, and home PCs, you can stream or download it as a high-quality, digital video right now at Gumroad for $7.99!
I wanted to take a moment to thank all the creators I worked with during the production of the documentary and share a few things I learned: