Yesterday, I had the privilege of attending my first Black Comic Book Festival at the Schomburg Center in Harlem. This event was in it’s seventh year but it was the first I had ever heard of it, which is a shame. Because I had a damn ball.
The Black Comic Book Festival is a place for Blerds (which is a nickname for Black Nerds) to come together and nerd out over all things comics. Creators, illustrators, writers and comic book enthusiasts gathered at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (a staple in Harlem since the early 1900’s) to show off their skills and knowledge, share their love of comics and discuss the state of the industry when creating from the perspective of the “other.”
The event is an free two-day event which I think could easily stretch to four days, like the comic cons in New York and San Diego. The Schomburg was packed from the minute I got there until the doors closed. I attended several panels, including the excellent panel on Black women writers. Because I didn’t get there until noon, I missed the panel on Black villains, which was a discussion on villains such as Black Manta (Aquaman), Erik Killmonger (Black Panther) and Bushmaster (Luke Cage). However, I did stay for the rest of the day and watched as families spoke with creators, bought comics and swag (I did, as well) and cosplayed their hearts out.
One of the greatest benefits of having the festival at the Schomburg is giving other businesses in the community a chance to be seen. During a break, I walked around the neighborhood so I could find a place to eat and came across a place called Yatenga French Bistro & Bar (link is here). The food and service were great and the vibe was really chill. I never felt like I was being rushed and I didn’t have to ask for a thing because the staff was on top of everything. On my way back to the Schomburg, I came across Revolution Books (link is here), and it took everything in me not to spend my savings in that place. I plan to visit both again very soon.
Now that I know about the Black Comic Book Festival, I have every intention of going again next year. It was a lot of fun and should definitely get the recognition it deserves. I highly recommend it.