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Black Comix Day: Heroes Rise II

Organizer Keithan Jones talks about what to expect this year

Photo credit: Black Comix Day

Poster for this year's Black Comix Day: Heroes Rise II.

GUESTS:

Keithan Jones, Black Comix Day organizer

Beth Accomando, KPBS arts reporter

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Transcript

Last year the Malcolm X Library hosted San Diego's first ever Black Comix Day. The event returns this Saturday for the Heroes Rise II edition.

Last year, Black Comix Day launched just as Marvel’s "Black Panther" was poised to take over the box office. This year the event comes as "Black Panther" makes history by being the first comic book movie to snag a Best Picture nomination from the Academy Awards and "Spider-Man Into the Spider-Verse" surprised people with its nomination for Best Animated Film.

Keithan Jones is the creator of Kid Comics and the comic book "The Power Knights." Last year he launched Black Comix Day to resounding success. His goal was to create a one-day event that focused on black comics and black comic book creators.

Jones recalled: “I was a kid dreaming of making a comic but I didn’t understand how to make that happen until my dad who has passed now, he surprised me one day when I was 15 and he took me to a Comic-Con I didn’t know it even existed and so I was in a state of Nirvana…Through that process I learned so you put a portfolio together and you show these people and you could possibly get a job. So the very next year when I turned 16 that’s what I did. I gathered my art into a portfolio and lucky me I got my first paid gig.”

Now he wants to offer similar opportunities to other kids and to inspire people of all ages to pursue their dreams.

He said doing Black Comix Day is "a means of giving back to the community in terms of showing our youth, black youth, and minorities in general that there’s other things outside of the general scope of sports and entertainment for black kids to aspire to be.”

Comic-Con has grown big and expensive so Jones said he wanted Black Comix Day to be intimate and free to anyone who wanted to attend. The idea was that if people didn't have to pay to get in then they might be more willing to spend money buying comics and original art from the creators at their booths and tables.

The event allows attendees to meet comic book creators in an intimate setting.

“They can expect to find professional creators of color in the comics field, people from Marvel Comics, from DC Comics, from Image Comics but the majority of them are black owned businesses in the independent world of comic book publishing. That’s the real exciting part for me. These are not just people who work for someone, they actually run their own companies," added Jones.

In addition to the artist tables and booths, there will be two panels at this year’s Black Comix Day. The first one at 1:00 pm on Sunday is called Empowered and will be hosted by Hall H Show Podcast. Jones along with Chad Cavannaugh, Angela Nixon and Robert Roach will be on the panel to talk about being indie comics creators. Then the second panel will be at 2:00 pm and is called Renaissance and it’s focused on animation and characters of color.

Artists, guests, and panelists will include: James Merrill, Greg Anderson Elysee, Jared Lipscomb, Andre Owens, Rubyn Warren, Rodney Anderson, Jr., David Phillips, Chad Cavanuagh, Robert Roach, Gary Adams, Rosalind Alexander, Kasparik and David Rector, Jerry Dunham, Jr., Robert Love, Ottis Smith, Matthew Jones (hosting second panel), Damien Forte, Brandon Thomas, Marcel Dupree, David G. Brown, Angela Nixon, LaWana Richmond, Keithan Jones, John Jennings, David Walker, and Jason Reeves.

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