Black Comic Book Festival (2014)

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I went to the Black Comic Book Festival at the Schomburg Center yesterday. That was pretty fun and interesting. I think I’d like to get the experimental self-published book by the author Keith Miller (Sigmund’s Friend) suggested. He recommended Mothership: Tales from Afrofuturism and Beyond but I want to read Koontown Killing Kaper, which the author described as a parodic look into hip-hop-risy ala Ishmael Reed’s Flight to Canada. If this is the new stripe of self-publication I think I want to note and celebrate it.

The comic that most interested me in theory was (H)afrocentric. I Saw Juliana “Jewels” Smith in the “Black Women in Comics” Panel at the Black Comic Festival at the Schomburg Center.  I had a really good time going there and I see in what Ms. Smith has done as something akin to what I want to do, which is create a student led, written and illustrated
 of a composition course. I read her book and I found it inspired and simultaneously hard to follow. I think that the problem is that her scripts were not complete. Perhaps Jewels could write a better script so that more of the inside insight (& jokes) were clearer. Of course the last thing I want to do is hit her with a critique, before I’ve established a good relationships.

(h)Afrocentric (in issue 3) raises all of the issues I have been thinking about vis-a-vis gentrification, race and education in the East Bay. It is a fine wish fulfilment book, not unlike the Mickey Rooney Judy Garland confections of old. (The protagonist Ally [allie?], an inveterate do-gooder wants to put on a show to save her neighbor from a rapacious clean-streets policy that will steal property for perceived blight.) It reminds me of a less developed IncogNegro. It is a progressive wish fulfilment centered on my old East Bay home (Before student housing in Albany I lived on 45th St between MLK and West St in Oakland).

I really like her cast of characters (well drawn by the artist Ronnie Nelson who brings them to (2D) life). The characters are like a smart group of friends I had while I was working on my Ph.D in the East Bay, with a quip a minute and a collective ADHD because of our lack of a leader like Ally.

The panels are full of witty asides like the Rosetta Stone Language system that the homeowner facing foreclosure is selling to keep the wolf from the door in an AmWay-like capitalist self help scheme that includes “Geraldo Rivera” and a cruel joke about his thin-masculinity. Ronald Reagan College was a perfect slice at Prop-13 California. I wish these were better developed in the script with more explanation about how they fit in with the meta-narrative that hints at “Winter in America.”

I look forward to more and more of this interesting title.

 

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