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Comic-Con Fans And Creators

 July 20, 2018 at 10:13 AM PDT

Welcome back to another edition of PBS and I'm a junkie podcast on Beth Accomando. And I'm here at San Diego Comic Con International. This episode is dedicated to Comic Con. I've been going for more than four decades and it's my home away from home and I decided I wanted to share a little bit of what that experience is like now in order to do that. I decided to interview another fan Nathan Donovan moved here from New York because he needed to be closer to comic con. I spoke to Nathan before Comic Con began and he conveys a little bit of what it's like to go to this pop culture mecca. I was living in Brooklyn in 2005 and got a call from my grandfather who was living in San Diego at the time and asked if I ever heard of this comic con and if I ever wanted to go and I said Of course since I was 12 years old I was 21 at the time. I'm not the type of person that likes planning first of so getting an airfare ticket and finding a place to stay and getting out here every year just seemed like too much work so I just decided to move out here so I would never miss another one and four months later I became a San Diego resident. When I came out here it was just paradise it was just everybody it was the Mardi Gras of comic book conventions. I had been you know Wizard World Chicago many years I've been to many comic book conventions in New York City just none of them compared whatsoever to comic con and the feeling you get there just the energy just from everybody around it's electric and everybody's your friend and it's just amazing experience and you don't find that out anywhere else in the world you know. And that's what drives me to come back every year. I just want to have a great time with my friends. And 130000 people there are my friends. It's a great time. When people come into my house they usually say oh wow yes I understand you moved here for Comecon completely by the front door. Have a life size Infinity Gauntlet. I have a Luke Skywalker lightsaber next to me Darth Vader Nutcracker next to an assortment of little R2 2s. And last but not least I have a life size Spiderman wherein all 13 years of my Comecon badges shiny side of the sky. Just like my I am prepping my costumes and making sure my boots are polished my blasters are loaded. Probably try to do some crunches make our costume fit a little bit better. I've always been first and foremost a huge Star Wars fan and Han Solo was my guy. Everybody tells me I look like Mark Hamill but I feel more in-line with Han Solo. I love dressing up as him cos playing for anybody that's ever thought about it. Just just do it. It's so much fun. You get invited to so many more things you can just walk by a door and if they're having an exclusive party they invite you and that's happened many many times and it's just it's like Halloween on crack. But yeah you can get stopped all day long. It's part of the fun though you know expect that if you have a good costume you need to start factoring in how much time it's going to take you to get from one panel to the other. Because if you're doing it right you're going to get stuff. And it's a great feeling. Ansarullah. I to be. Plan plan plan plan get out that way. Looks like you managed to only escape if you like it back in your mind. Cannot plan enough. You're going to have to make sacrifices. There's going to be cool things going on at both times. Unfortunately you can't be in two places at once. You're going to have to pick which panel is more important. Don't take all the swag. You don't need every single poster. I think that was my big mistake my first year as. I tried to take him back to New York. Every single Pann every single T-shirt every single poster every single flyer for sale at a comic book store. I just wanted to take it all home. You don't need it. It's definitely changed it's more hectic it's a lot more planned out. You know when you first came it was okay to buy your tickets at the door and I think it was 2007 maybe 2006 was the first year that they sold out at the door and that kind of changed everybody's mentality and we've got to start buying them online and then the first couple of years that everybody started buying them online. They would come out with the little thermometer to show you how much tickets were left and you could have like a week or so before you purchased your ticket. Now to get tickets you need to have a pool of friends that are waiting at 9:00 a.m. in the morning that they send that laying out and you have to register to buy tickets five months before. It's not as chill of a process as it used to be just walking up and he'd like to go to comicon OK. Here here's your take a go on in its military style planning sometimes to get your tickets. And yeah it's stressful it is just it's part of the it's part of the fun now. Wake up early with your friends you get to click that link right at that time wait in the virtual waiting room and everybody constantly texting each other. Yes. Yes. And you know it adds a fun adrenaline rush to the process. Now I haven't become disillusioned with the con I know a lot of people have. The year I don't get tickets probably that will happen to me. For somebody that's never been that never experienced it. It's you know. It's Coachella or Mardi Gras for nerds. Part of being in line is the fun it's the camp out it's the sleep over effect of Comecon and it takes a certain amount of fandom to do that and you rarely find that just in your everyday life. So having that just concentrated right there in that line. It's great. About 10 people ahead of you and 10 people behind you are going to become best friends for life. You're going to meet some great people that just love the same things as you. You're going to have great conversations. I think it's a blast and I love people that do that. You know the way I sum it up is it's the most important five days for me a year. That was Nathan Donovan talking about his experience as a comic con why he loves it so much. Next up I speak with Keith Jones who's an independent comics creator. This year he's not only running a booth inside Comic Con but he's also running the Afrofuturism lounge outside the convention. Keith gives us an insider's view of what it's like to create your own comment and he emphasizes why it's important to get a diversity of perspectives within the comic industry. Why don't you introduce yourself to people. You are an independent comics creator so what does that mean in the printed comics creator. Well well first My name's Keith Jones. I am originally from Memphis Tennessee but I was raised here in San Diego California. It's. 19 1980. I've been here for a while but I've always been able to draw. It's just been a natural talent of mine. But I always tell everyone the day that I realized I want to do it professionally. After I saw Star Wars my dad took me to see that and that film just kind of turned on the light bulb for me and so I just delved into figuring out how this stuff was made. You know comics films things of that nature. And. Fast forward from Dan. To answer your question. I found myself not really wanting to. Work on other peoples creations. I always just had a strong desire to do my own thing. Although I admired the other stuff I was inspired by. I just wanted to you know create my own legacy. So I created kid comics and which was about. Four years or years ago. A creative kid comics and the first publication under that under that brand is my book that I created when I was a kid called the Power Knights. And I could have just created something new. And from my adult stage. But you know when you become you get older I feel you lose a little insight to what turns you on as a kid. So instead of racking my brain trying to figure out OK what would appeal to children today. Well why don't I just do the stuff I did when I was a kid the stuff that worked for me back then should work now that was my philosophy anyway. And so that's the reason I went ahead and created the power and I dug it out of the dustbin dusted it cleaned it off wrote a story. You know kind of. Data some of the designs and whatnot and went about the business of writing drawing coloring gain it printed. I created the Web site kid dies comics dot com and then started doing conventions around the states. But as far as Detroit. Was San Francisco trying to get out to New York. A lot of shows here in San Diego. First I started solo. I did. I was with me kid. Owner operator for about a year. But I had a gentleman named Chris Ward. He just kept knocking on my door. Hey man I want to be a part of it. I want to be part like what you're doing to be a part of. Kid in the first I resisted him for an entire year and I'm not really I'm not ready to expand I'm still trying to figure this out and do my own thing. And he just he was just very persistent self. OK well let me see what you have to see what we can do. And then of course he brought in one of his other friends with him Michael William Turner and and we brought on one other person Roosevelt did. So now there's just this four of us altogether. So I have the book Power nights. Chris has a book called Vegas baby. Michael has a book called The Dragon Fly and Roosevelt has a book called purge and the four of us have been at it for the last three years on the independent tip where we're just. Pounding it through the different conventions Facebook Twitter. Posting our work talking about our work talking about comics talking about artists and just growing our fan base and it's culminated all we have to what's going on now with the San Diego Comic Con which I've been doing. Think about the last two years now. I've been behind the booth as versus just being a fan and just being one of the fans walking around the place. Now I'm actually on the other side and I have a point of view from that. From that aspect of promoting my stuff. Yeah. So yeah. So it's been an independent. It's out I'll say this is not easy. And as I go there's a lot of times for. I question my decision to do this because it's just a real grind. It's a lot of work. It's a lot of long hours. And I think. Like I tell everyone man if you don't love doing this it will break you. Because there's not a lot you know I'm not I'm not rolling in the dough or anything like this a lot of work. You know it's it's very few of us that that cross over like. What's his name. I can't Cameroun the creator of The Walking Dead. I mean he started as an independent comic book writer in self. And against all odds look what's happened to him. Right. So that's an inspiration for me to keep going. Robert Kirkman yes Robert so yeah he created the walking dead in this and others that are tell you the truth. All the biggest shows on. TV and film are comic book properties. So it's it's a big. It's a big 180 from what. We're from when I originally started getting into comics. They used to be a sideline thing you know comics geeks weirdos. Now over the years. It's because somehow some way has become this the main. Pop culture. So I'm just trying to get in there and make my mark as an independent creator. And also. I want to bring in one of the things I think that separates me from a lot of what's going on out there is that I'm trying to provide opportunity to minorities minorities as far as creators go creators of color. So. Although I'm all encompassing. I really I really have a focus on giving artists who would otherwise not have an opportunity. To Slater work. You know. But that's that's more that's further down the line when I'm more when I've become more established and I can actually start hiring people and backing there being an investor and some other persons or some other artists project and things of that nature. But you know it's a stepping. Stone process. And for you going to Comic Con now as. A comic book creator not just as a fan attending what are the kinds of things that comic con can offer an independent creator. This pros and cons to it. I mean the pros are you're you're you're surrounded by all of these powerful people who have all of these connections who could change your life like that. But the con is. There's all these people and they get you know there's all these people who they could change your path but the chances of you running into these people. Because it's just it's information overload. It's hard for someone to sit down and have a one on one with you. I suppose to when comics say they will come kind of originally started. It was more intimate you know now because it's gotten so popular they don't you know. And it's no fault of their own. These producers and editors really don't have a lot of time to spend with you. So from what I know they hold porfolio sessions upstairs on the top floor so you know if you're trying to actually work for one of these companies companies I suggest trying that path. You know just take you know bring your portfolio. Make sure that it's geared toward getting a job with that particular company. You don't want to have a portfolio with a lot of different. With the word. You don't you don't want it to be too diverse I guess. As far as your talents go like figure out your trade like if you want to be a pencil or hat make sure your portfolio consist of pencilling. If you want to be anchor make sure your portfolio consist of inking things with colors know don't make sure it's a focused. Portfolio which makes it easier for editors. To decide if they can use your talents and where to put you. Because when I originally started showing my stuff. I when I was 16 years old I met Frank Miller the creator of Dark Knight Returns. And he told me that this looks great Keith and this looks really good. Problem is you can't do everything. Because I have samples of inking and pencil lean and coloring and all of this stuff right. And he is trying to tell me that comics are done. Comics have basically done by a team. You have someone who writes If you have someone that inks it you have someone that colors it. And you have someone that edits it you know so and so forth. So as an independent creator I'm used to doing all of those things. And that's okay if I stay in that lane. All right but if you want to work for Marvel Comics or DC or Neiman's comics for instance you want your chances are much better if you take one or both disciplines and just focus on that discipline master that discipline. Versus being a jack of all trades. That makes sense as well and also stylistically and you don't want to be drawing stuff that looks like it's for the powerpuff girls and be applying to someplace else. Whiteman's sorcery kind of is that comics that make sense. Yeah and that's a good point you. If you want to do if you want to work on Spiderman for instance. Have a portfolio of Spiderman art. Right now makes sense and makes makes we don't go to Marvel with Batman. I don't think they're going to question your intelligence a little bit. They're right next them. So yeah just. Like any job. Just make sure that that you make yourself apply yourself that in a way that they can see how they can use you. In their coffers and when when and where did you get to meet Frank Nolan was at the convention. That was the old Diego Comic when San Diego Comic Con back in the old days back in the 80s when they were still at the old convention center downtown. And yeah he was kind of heartbroken because you know I was like. Yeah I'm just trying to get a job. And you know. You know you have to go through that process you had to get your critiques in there and you didn't get it you know you're going to get knocked around a little bit. But I didn't end up getting the job. With an independent create a comic company called Apple comics. And it was an eight page story for Dracula. They were doing a Dracula book. And. That was my first gig you know. I did have to write it or anything like that it just needed someone to draw the pages and that's what I did. And. I asked them. Hey. I don't have them drawing the pencils and whatnot can I think it also. And they were hesitant at first because that's not how they normally do this they usually have an anchor work over the artist's work. You know someone who paid to do that. And so based on my portfolio they thought I was competent enough to do it. And I went ahead it. The problem was when I turned the pages in. Back then there wasn't any photoshop. There wasn't the digital printers we have today and all the technology we have today no internet or anything. So I had to mail it into them. So when he got the pages I had entered so much detail in there and so many fine lines and whatnot. They couldn't print the book. They couldn't use my pages because it would have just printed Mudie. Because of the capabilities back they just weren't what they are now. So yeah I got paid for the job. But the book was published and 12 years later. So did you get that at 16 or when I got my first gig at 16. Yeah I got my first job became professional comic book work at 16 years old. Yeah. And I actually. I didn't have an interesting story. My first exposure to doing something like this like I'm being interviewed by you guys my actual very first interview was when I was in sixth grade. And that came about because. It was. It was Christmas season and art teacher asked us if you could have anything you want it for Christmas. What would it be. And explain why we had to write a paper right. So I went about the business of writing about oh I was. One of my comics for publishers. That's all I want. So my teachers she read that and she happened to know a guy who ran a print shop. So she came back to me said hey would you like to actually try to make this work happen. Sure. OK. So they had me for I think it was about a week and a half they had me. They drove me off campus every day to go to this guy's print shop. To work on my. They gave me pencil and paper and when I go ahead draw my comic. And I ended up doing a Star Wars comic. It was. I created my own sequel to The Empire Strikes Back because we turned in a jet I had not come out yet. So I was like oh OK I'm just going to do my own new in-between sequel. And so that's what I did. And they printed the books up for me and I didn't know they were going to have a TV crew and all that stuff in class because I was I was super embarrassed like that because you know my classmates were there and they had these cameras in there and the reporter kept asking me why I liked to draw and waited. Where did my talent come from. And I remember being super embarrassed I kept looking down and the only thing I could come out of my mouth was I liked to draw. I just like to draw. It's just being persistent. I remember being a little irritated like didn't i answer it of course. I just liked to draw. Can we do this now. So yeah it was it was great exposure a little embarrassing for me. I just I wasn't used to it. It was super nerve wracking. Plus they had me pass out my books to my classmates and I was the type of kid like I didn't want to overshadow my classmates. And want to feel like Dyo. Oh you think you're special or something. You know it's that type of kid so. But everybody it was really cool and patted me on the back and all that stuff. That was my real my first real exposure and connected to my talents. You know back in the day and then little things like that continue to happen for me so I just felt like I was on some type of path felt like I mean it's part of the reason I create a kid also. It's I felt that I owed my younger self. That opportunity to realize that dream because I always wanted to do these comics. I didn't necessarily understand how to make it happen back then or if I even could do it. I mean even into my 20s it was more of a. Oh I can work for someone but I never realized I could actually. Do it myself. You know it took years to realize and had the confidence to just feel like. Maybe I can do this myself. You know there's nothing really stopping me. And so but that was a process you know because you have a lot of insecurities at that age and you still finding yourself experimenting. Because I I worked in video games I did graphic design for many years. I worked on sword. I did some film work as far as like Toy Story board art in. I don't know how many locals I've created for folks. There's hundreds of logos and ads and stuff like that so I just. Happened to fall into graphic design for the last 20 some years but never do anything I wanted to do it was any you it was just a work for hire type of stuff and it was enjoyable work. But it was never anything personal to me. So like I said about four years ago I was like you know what. In my free time I'm always doodling these characters these these power Knights. Maybe there's something there maybe there's something I should be doing with that you know. So I just got really focused. Talk to myself got my courage up and I'm going to I'm going to give this the real shot and then take a gamble on myself. And here I am four years later I'm still at it. And so far so good. Now you said you you know you want to help other minority comic creators. And what's the importance of that in the sense of getting a new perspective out there getting comics that kind of present characters that you're not seeing in the mainstream and getting creators who you're not seeing as much in the mainstream. That kind of segues into. Like I said. The insecurities I was dealing with as far as. You don't see a lot of. Superheroes or comic books in general with lead characters that are black Asian Latino you know they usually decide jerker. That was just the norm. You know and as a kid you just you just accepted as the norm you don't really question it. You know you're too busy enjoying your Spiderman's in your Superman and your bandmates it's not really. A big concern but at the same time. The older you get. And you start experiencing things in real life you start to start putting the pieces together and you start and you start realizing that hey wait a minute. There's no room. There's no black lead characters in any of these books or are any of them or some books don't have any minorities at all. And who they are now. But back then it was really apparent. You know and it's something that you start to. When you grow out of your childhood you start obviously start being more conscious of what's going on around you and what's affecting you personally. So you start going to these different things in your life. So it starts to. Mold your perspective. On the world. You know like. I left high school to go to L.A.. To attend Cal Arts right out of high school sold out. I was 18 when I left here from San Diego to go to college in Los Angeles. And that was between 99 1990 and 1992 93. And if you know anything about L.A. in that timeframe. That city was going crazy. You had the Rodney King incident. You had OJ you had the Northridge earthquake. You had the riots. And this stuff was happening boom boom back to back to back. And I was in the middle of that. I mean I was literally in the middle of the Northridge earthquake. I was at the epicenter because I lived in Northridge when it happened. When the riots were going on my cousin he lives in South Central and I stayed with him during the summer months. So I was in the middle of that mess. I wasn't actually in the right when they were happening. I was on campus. But you know we they they wouldn't let us off campus when that was going on. But obviously. There is a lead up to the riots. I experience those things as far as. Police harassment and stuff like that. Like I actually experience those incidents in real time to myself and my friends. So I can I. When I see those stories on TV about these incidents that are continuing into this to this day I know exactly what happened without them actually giving me all the details. And generally in the case of escalation. You have I tell people. Comply as much as you can. To what the officer is telling you and even though you know 100 percent that you didn't do anything wrong. Don't escalated because that's 99 percent of the time. That's what happens. Even though you know you're right. Just for your own personal safety don't escalate the situation. The problem is most of these cases are with younger folks. And they don't necessarily have control over control of themselves at that age and they don't necessarily understand what's going on. You know they're just you're very emotional when you're young right. When you're a teenager when you're young you're a young adult. Everything is emotion. And you want to solve it right then and there. And usually that's not the time to do that. That's what and that's why these things happen. And it's unfortunate. It's something that is something that we we have to deal with this in this society as far as. Whether it's racism whether sexism on down the line. You know I mean. You see what's going on to see what's going on to me to move men. You know this stuff is not new. It's just now that we live in the Internet era. Everything's on display at the same time. I mean I can't imagine being my daughter's age for instance and having access to all of the ills of society all at once. Just like. How did you know I don't understand how these kids navigate this world like knowing this stuff you know because some of the stuff you should know about. Because you can't fix everything you can't solve everyone's problem. You know you have to live your life. I mean. I'm not saying be a selfish person. At the same time you're not Superman. You know I can't. Help everyone. I have my own issues to deal with you know. I had to get to that. For getting think about helping someone else sometimes you know. So. But I said all that to say that as far as comments go. I want. To bring some I just want to bring perspective bring my perspective. To. Science fiction or fiction or whatever. Because I think it's interesting I think is unique. I think everyone I mean just I I'm interested in other cultures. And you know we watch movies like. We watch movies about. King Arthur for instance we watch movies about. Samurai watching movies about Latino culture and you know you're paying and old and sulphite that's the way I look at it's like it's just a cultural experience. It's not about. I'm not into like oh I'm going to write a book bashing people. Who did me wrong or bashing another race because I don't like them or something like that that's not how I'm built. To me is like why would you cut yourself off from learning about other cultures and comic books as a medium to express that. Both those. Thoughts and feelings and experiences know me like my book personally my the power nights. The book itself it's a book about choices. So. The story. The. The stories about philosophy two philosophies. Getting too deep into it. The heroes believe. It. Even though they have the power to do what they want with this world. They believe everyone should have free will and the liberty to choose or lifestyle. The villain of the story if you want to call them a villain he believes. Well if you have the power to make the world the way you wanted to be and you can force mankind to act the way you want him to act. Why not do that because he believes. Mankind mankind is not doing too shabby anyways. From his perspective. So that's the conflict of the power Knights story. All right even though the protagonist and the antagonist are aliens they're not from Earth. They. Come to earth. As a earth represents a blank canvas to them like oh we can do anything that we want. To this world and its people. So. That's the. Under undertow of the storyline. Yes you can do whatever you want. What does that mean. Should you know. And these two boys these two black kids are older brother and a younger brother. They're just regular kids. They get caught up between the two. Feuding sides. And you kind of see the story through their perspective and how it how it turns their world upside down. And that and how it's split how it causes stress between the two that the two brothers themselves. You see because they're dealing with the loss of a father. The older brother is the legal guardian of his younger brother. But the two of them lost their father. The father died of cancer. And so. They're being raised that they are. One being a teenager the other being a young adult. I'm applying some stuff and some things I've experienced or my own personal life with my brothers. I'm applying a lot of that to this story. Do those two characters. So I'm. Not trying not to give spoilers I don't want to give spoilers but that's the undertone that's what's going on behind the scenes of the story. And when you read it I'm hoping that people can latch onto something that they can relate to. And thus the title of the book The Power Knights is basically seeing the power within the power. We all have our power and I don't want to power this year in addition to working in a booth to promote your own comics. You are doing outside. You were doing something outside of the convention outside of comic con to lure people off the campus to kind of do something after the floor closes and you are going to be running this Afrofuturism lounge. So to start with. Can you explain to people what. How you define Afrofuturism and then tell us about the lounge. OK I get the question why I'm afraid to answer because you know I don't want to get the hate on the Internet. That's not Afrofuturism what is it going on and what is it to you that you may Afrofuturism it's just you know I mean you could just say black people in space. No it's a science fiction with the protagonist being of African descent. Basically I mean it's stories it's fantasy it's it's fantasy stories based around a black protagonist far as I'm concerned. There's a lot of what's out there now it's usually based on. There's some type of. Cultural significance to it. There is there's a lot of his real life history connected to a lot of the stories. I mean this. One comes to mind. They have Harriet Tubman. Harriet Yeah. I can't read. I can't exactly ruin the title of the book but it's based on her it's like a science fiction version of her. Her story you know. There's one there's a popular one called the Tuskegee airs. The Tuskegee Airmen. They're there to show their. Children. Or. Three generations removed or something like four generations removed have planes that transform into robots. And their descendants of the Tuskegee Airmen. That's a super cool concept. That's out there. Probably the thing that most people are familiar with now because of the Marvel film is black panther kind of brought that to the forefront by parameters leading the way for sure black panther was a game changer. I mean I don't think anyone expected that film to do what it did. You know a lot of it is you know I had to give marvel a lot of credit for that because they built a platform. Starting back with Iron Man back in 2008. And they built it to. Allow a black person to have the platform that it has. And by the time it just went to the with it. So yeah that was fantastic. And and we've talked about Black Panther before and one of the things you pointed out that I thought was an interesting perspective is that for you as a kid Black Panther didn't strike you initially as a black superhero because he was African. I mean it had less action to you as an American. That's always been the case with me like. I like Black Panther but. I would say I would say Luke Cage is probably more. Someone I care too connected if I needed to. If I actually consider myself relating to one of these charity will have to be more blue cage than. To challenge. Them like the Black Panther and because the Black Panther is something I look at him. Like an evil within the movie a lot of people say they're related more to kill Mongar. Than just to tolerate because kill Mongar was the African American vs. the. Pure African. But I look at two Chala as the. I really hate putting people in a box and I don't like telling people how they should live and who should be like. But you can look at Italy as a whole person versus kill monger as a work in progress a person that's scarred. He's not he's not obviously he he's he went off course you know. But his reasoning is sound as far as where his anger comes from. That's understandable. His method is not so much. Reasoning yes. To Charlie as someone who grew up with both parents both parents were loving. He's educated. He comes from a well-to-do environment. He's a whole person you know. So I think for him like the movie illustrates. He's not understanding necessarily the concerns of the African-American who is Livedoor died for he the African-American. Is a person who has to assimilate into American culture to survive. Right. So. Whereas someone. Will take an Asian Persian or Latino person or. Although they're having their own personal issues here in America. They can they. They're still intact with their original language. They know they still have their original countries. They have their culture intact and that's very important to the crew to how a person is put together. Right. It gives you pride to get your confidence it gives you a backbone you know where you came from and you can grab from that energy and that knowledge into as you grow into an adult. Right. The African-American doesn't know where the otherness the continent Africa I mean other than that they don't know what tribe they came from they don't know necessarily know which country in Africa they came from. They don't know their language. They don't know. They don't even know the type of food that. They you know. Like you. There's Mexican Mexican restaurants all through southern California right. There's Chinese restaurants and Japanese restaurants. You're not going it's you're not going to find any. African restaurants all over the place. You know I wouldn't know where to begin. You know so. That's part of the I think that's part of the. If you want to say lost or count or confusion that's going on there with the black race in America is just like it's always this who am I. Where am I from. Mansour says in. Why am I here and not this other stuff you know so. And you doing all of that. Like you're just like you're downloading all of that on this side of your head. But the other side of your head is trying to get through the day like I gotta get a job. I had a good car I got to get a house. I got to make sure my boss is happy. I make sure my kids are taking all the normal stuff that everyone goes through. But you also have this other side that who am I. What am I. And I know you know and just coming to grips with that. And that's not something that's easily done when you're a child. You know U.S. finally figure it all out and you grow into it. Like I said I had to grow into having the confidence. To run my own business. You know. Because you have to think about as an African-American I have to think about the demographics. Well. You know I'm. Who's going to buy my book. You know are people going to be. Turned off because to care the lead character is black. You know concerns I didn't really have flown in my head I should just be doing what I want to do because I enjoy doing it and I shouldn't be worried about race relations and watching my tone. Oh you know. I love to pro black. Is that too offensive to someone and stuff like that. You know he said that shouldn't be a concern you should just. Do what you love. Do what you feel at the cause. Let the cards fall where they may. So in a sense I think I think. I think white Americans you know an. Caucasians I guess that's the proper word. White Americans they have. The one thing I think that the. Outside of everyone's normal struggles in life. I think the difference is that they have more of a liberated mind as far as like. I'm going to wake up. Wake up in a day. Go about your day you're not necessarily worried about. Being pulled over by the cops. You know just by walking down the street I mean I've been pulled over just walking down the street to work. Silly stuff like that like really. So you're not dealing with that and then like maybe then I think it's easier for you to voice your frustration with a police officer or with authority period. Like you can do that and not but not and not be worried about getting shot or taken down to the ground. Things like that. And although it sounds crazy that's a real thing. That's a real concern. You know and I and I know it's real because I lived through it and I know a lot of people even black people who don't experience it. They see the stuff on TV and they think well they think it's just too crazy that there's no way you weren't doing anything you were doing something like Don't do it I'm telling you I was literally walking down this street. You know I think I mean OK it was nighttime. What are you doing out here. I lost. I'm sorry. You know it's it's a real thing you know. So that's that's. And if it happens it's OK if it happens once fine. You know you get over it. Keep going. Whatever it is. No one at one bad apple out of the good right. But if it continues to happen that's why you have the situation you have now with them with the police. And the communities having friction. Right. Because it's a continuous. It's a lifestyle. It's a continuous. Volcanic situation. So it comes down to leadership really. You have you have you had to have. You have to have a leader whether that's the camisa the police. Commissioner or chief. Your local congresspeople all the way up to the governor all the way up to the president who can understand that. People are people. No one's perfect. Everyone's got to screw up everyone wants Watson was a part of growing up but they should not be. In the dead. Because some say you know. Run of the mill situation like a speeding ticket you know like how did a speeding ticket turn into this person being dead. That's ridiculous. You know it's a jarring Comecon. What can people expect if they come to the Afrofuturism lounge. What. What are they going to be able to see in doing so. OK. So back Comecon. OK. So. We came up with Afrofuturism Lounge which is a few blocks from the convention center. Sinegal Comecon. I'll be at San Diego Comic Con during the day hours which is. 95. I think the doors at San Diego Comicon closed at 5:00. And I'll be a booth 1943. Kid comics will be there along with my good buddy who I grew up with Barbara Rubio who works at Pixar. And he worked on the blockbuster incredible. Today just came out. He was the storyboard artist so. We realized that not everyone can get into San Diego Comic Con. It's gotten so large that the tickets sell out like that. So it's almost like winning the lottery at this point. So yes I'll get in getting into the San Diego Comic Con. It's like winning the lottery now because it's just so many people trying to get in and. So we decided that well let's just create a comic book show a smaller con join that during the week of sending a comic con in the after hours so that people have time to get to it and enjoyed along with Sinegal come on Comecon called Afrofuturism now. The only caveat is that it's it's based on African-American comic book writers and artists. So there's that. You can go to Saina Comecon and get your smorgasbord of everyone of all the different artists out there. And then if you want a cultural event. You want to focus the band where you can if you're interested in African-American art or Afro futurism. This is your this is your show. We're going to have people like David Walker who currently work writes from Marvel Comics. He's worked for DC he's done work for Lion Ford so on and so forth. We have John Jennings. The. Hope of Sydney Dwayne Duffy. They did da adaption of the kindred. This is going to have a collection of professional African-American writers and artists at the features lounge and we're also going to but it's going to be more of an after party. So it takes place between 7:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. so it takes place after the Sandigo come concert doors close. And have drinks lights are snacks. I believe we're going to have snacks. It's going to be music. And there's also a panel was the one and Richmond and John Jeni's is going to moderate and is called Beyond Wakanda. We call it beyond because. The panel because it's going to be a discussion about. Moving Beyond Black Panther in a sense of black panthers. Owned by Marvel Comics is created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee right. So although we love that film and we love that character and it's a huge landmark achievement for Marvel and. The way African-Americans are portrayed in popular media. We would like to move into the realm of owning our own IPs our own properties and representing referencing that stuff ourselves you know and me. So that's what this discussion is about how to go about doing that. Versus just talking about why we do that for our community in Africa. Well let's talk about how to actually achieve that. You know let's let's take what's happening with black panther. And navigate that for ourselves. Versus knocking on the door. Waiting to get the green light from one of these larger studios. Over and over again and then and then not having it done the way we want. I mean you can't really complain about. Someone else's art that's their art. If you really want it done right. You have to do it yourself. All right so that's what that's what the panel is about. And so that's what offor and Afrofuturism I just basically a way for people when everyone. Everyone and anyone is welcome to it. It's FREE. There's no charge for admission. You come in there. It's a it's a gallery setting as brokers are gallery downtown. It's a gallery setting kind of it's kind of like San Diego Comecon but smaller you go in there you meet these great artists you can chat with them if you have art yourself you can bring bring your portfolio. Show your work. Take out the merchandise that's going to be you know that will have on the table for sale clean T-shirt in comics and posters and all that good stuff and have a drink while you're out. That was Keith Jones founder of kid comics and creator of the power Knights. Thanks for listening to this special edition of PBS and I'm a junkie podcast from comic con till our next film Fixx Beth Accomando your residence and I'm a junkie.

Comic-Con, my home away from home, is this week and I wanted to provide a little insight into why it gives me such joy.
147: Comic-Con, Fans, and Creators
Episode 147: Comic-Con, Fans, and CreatorsIt's Comic-Con week and here's my tribute to my home away from home with a pair of interviews. First fan Nathan Donovan and then independent black comics creator Keithan Jones of KID Comics. Subscribe to the Cinema Junkie podcast on iTunes or your favorite podcatcher.Support the podcast at

Comic-Con, my home away from home, is this week and I wanted to provide a little insight into why it gives me such joy.

First, I want to highlight someone who sums up the enthusiasm of those of us who love Comic-Con, warts and all. We know Comic-Con is not perfect but it is something that provides so much joy to those of us who love pop culture.

Nathan Donovan loves the Con so much that he moved here from New York just to be closer to the pop culture mecca.

Artist and comic book creator Keithan Jones at work on a drawing in his home-office in San Diego.
Beth Accomando
Artist and comic book creator Keithan Jones at work on a drawing in his home-office in San Diego.

Donovan represents the fan side but Keithan Jones represents the creator side. He is the founder of KID Comics and the creator of "The Power Knights." This year he is running a booth at Comic-Con as well as helping to organize the Afrofuturism Lounge outside of Comic-Con.

Jones talks about the challenges of being an independent black comic book creator.