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KPBS Midday Edition Segments

Black Comix Day Moves To World Beat Center For Third Year

 February 19, 2020 at 10:08 AM PST

Speaker 1: 00:00 Two years ago, Keith and Jones launched a black comics day to showcase comics creators of color like himself. For its third year, it expands to two days and a new location at the world beats center in Balboa park. KPBS arts reporter Beth Armando speaks with Jones about what this year's event will be like. Keithan a you are about to have black comics day three. How does it feel to be approaching the third year for this event? Speaker 2: 00:27 I'm feeling apprehensive and nervous and excited at the same time because this third one is at a completely different location, which will be about ball park, world beats center. Uh, previously it was at the Malcolm X library on Euclid. And those first two shows were, um, more successful than I had anticipated and happily so. So, um, we're hoping to have the same success at the new location, but, but again, it's a new location and I'm working with a different group of organizers, so it's kinda like, you know, my palms are a little sweaty about it, but it's feeling good. It's feeling like it feels, it feels like things are moving along and going in the right direction. Speaker 1: 01:04 So remind people, what prompted you to create this event for San Diego? Speaker 2: 01:09 Basically I wanted to create a venue, um, during black history month that celebrated black creators like myself. And in the comic book medium, we've always, you know, there's always been black folks into comics for as long as comics had been around, but it's not widely known that we're behind the scenes also. And, and, uh, we have, we have many of our own creations in circulation. And so, and a lot of that's due to not having a distribution chain or I'm necessarily being, having access to, um, some of the comic, you know, local comic shops that are out in the world. It's just, you know, even if you're not black, it's hard to get into comics. I just wanted to fill a niche and I thought this would, I like to say I, I figured, why don't I just go ahead and build my own door and walk through it basically. Speaker 1: 02:01 So when you have a pair of panels at this year's black comics day, can you tell us what these are about? Speaker 2: 02:07 For sure. Um, if you're a fan of Octavia Butler, the prolific science fiction writer, we have the two gentlemen who adapted her stories or a couple of her stories anyway, into graphic novels. John Jennings and Damian Duffy will be on hand to, uh, be interviewed by Hannibal taboo or bleeding cool. And they're basically going to discuss how they approach, uh, adapting her novels, that kindred and parable of the Sawyer into a comic book format. So that's going to be exciting for folks who are interested in the, uh, behind the scenes of how a novel is converted to a graphic novel. And that's Saturday, February 22nd, starting at 1:00 PM and on Sunday we have a panel called empowered how indie comic creators build universities, communities. This is a panel for anyone, but particularly for people who are, are aspiring to become writers in comics or artists in comics. Um, deaf people. Speaker 2: 03:11 We have on this panel, Robert Love reg Anderson, Alisa, dr Lawanna, Richmond and Jason Reeves will be on hand. Uh, because they are successful in the creators themselves along with being, um, artists that work in the mainstream industry. So you get to pick their brain or we're going to pick their brain on how they've been able to succeed in the MD comics market. Speaking personally from it because I am a creator myself in the comics markets, a pretty tough road to navigate, but it can be achieved and, and really be a lot more rewarding than working for one of the, uh, larger publishers, um, if you are successful at it. Um, and then beyond that and beyond the panels, we have a gaming lounge. So if you're into like video competitive video games, we have a tech and tournament, there'll be other games there, but basically that you can compete for prizes and video games. Speaker 2: 04:03 And I think there's a BR to some VR stuff there as well, so he can, um, dabble with that. But the main ingredient of the show and the main glue of this show are all the different and various black creators, writers and artists, male and female, that are going to be there where you can meet. And H and ISE them and pick their brain and get stuff signed. There's mostly this show focuses on the independent creations to stuff you've never seen before. The brand new stuff coming from these creators that feature characters of color because that's really the point of the show. You know, all the other stuff is cool and everything, but I really just want the community, particularly young folks to see that black Americans are more than what's typically portrayed on popular media, which is generally us, either in sports or um, music. Um, we're also out here being being nerds just like everyone else. Speaker 1: 05:03 It seems obvious that people can go there to meet creators, but is this also a good place for young people who may have an interest in drawing or have an interest in getting into the comic industry to kind of get a sense of what that might take? Speaker 2: 05:17 Yeah, great question. Yeah, this is a perfect show because not only are the artists, they're displaying the stuff they've created themselves, but this is an opportunity for young artists or an aspiring artists of any age to come and bring their portfolio. And have it reviewed, get some pointers on what you're doing right, what you're doing wrong. And uh, yeah, don't be, don't be afraid to, um, bring your stuff to the show and it's in this free admission for everyone. So, um, you come right on in. So your stuff and you never know where, where it leads to because you know, uh, some, a lot of times these writers particularly are looking for artists. Yep. This is your show if you're trying to get into the industry and you need he looking for a foot in or just wanting to be pointed in the right direction. This is your show Speaker 1: 05:59 and I want to remind people that you are not just an organizer for this event. You are a comic book creator, yourself and artists. So tell us a little bit about what you might be presenting at black comics day of your own work. Speaker 2: 06:12 I have a book called the power nights that I've been working on from the inception of my company back in 2014 and up to this point, I've done four issues out of a five part series. I originally had planned to have issue five ready for this show, but doesn't look like that's going to happen. I was going to make an announcement at the show, but I guess I can do it here on KPBS. Um, the power nights is now in the middle of production of a video game, uh, a mobile game. So that's coming down the pipeline this year. Most likely will the actual game will be ready by San Diego comic con. But if you come to black comedy state, I will have posters for the game and uh, we're trying to have a preview ready also so that you can see how see the game play and um, take a look at it. So, uh, there you go folks. By the way, the game is called beat seeds, our nights edition. So it's a rhythm game to, it's, um, if you imagine taking space invaders and mixing that with a guitar hero. Speaker 1: 07:17 And is there anything else you want to add about black comics day that we didn't discuss yet? Speaker 2: 07:21 I think this new location at Balboa park, world B center, it's gonna make it even better. Um, so it's a, it's not, it's not just, it's not your typical Comic-Con. I'll put it that way. It's like, it's more, it's a Comicon slash backyard barbecue party, whatever. You know, that's how black folks do it. You know, we always have to add that extra sauce to everything we do. So, uh, yeah. And everyone's invited to the barbecue. So come on through. Speaker 1: 07:49 All right, well I wanna thank you very much for coming in and talking about black comics day. Thank you. That was bad doc Amando speaking with Keith and Jones, black comic stayed 2020 heroes rise three takes place this Saturday and Sunday at world beats center.

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“Black Comix Day 2020: Heroes Rise III” takes place this weekend at World Beat Center in Balboa Park.
KPBS Midday Edition Segments