4 Black Comic Book Festival Talks You Should Watch Before the 2022 Festival

By Lisa Herndon, Manager, Schomburg Communications and Publications
December 13, 2021
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
Headshot of Kadiatou Tubman wearing a Black Comic Book Festival T-shirt. It's white with black square border and orange & white lettering.
Kadiatou Tubman speaking on panel at Black Comic Book Festival.

Educator, scholar, and writer Kadiatou Tubman is the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture’s Manager of Education Programs and Outreach. In addition to Tubman's work directing the Center’s Junior Scholars Program, she has been the lead producer of the Black Comic Book Festival since 2017. 

Every panel discussion and cosplay competition she has produced are available to view on the Center’s Livestream channel.
 
As the Schomburg Center prepares for its historic 10th festival from January 13–15,  2022, visit the Livestream channel to see past conversations. If you'd like suggestions on which talks to watch first,  Tubman reveals her top four picks and explains why she recommends them.

To register for the 2022 festival, which is virtual, visit the Center's Eventbrite page.

How to Draw Black Superheroes

Why watch?: Tim Fielder is not only an incredible artist and storyteller, but he’s also a masterful educator! Although this program was targeted at youth audiences, it’s really for everyone," she said. 
 
"Fielder reminds us throughout the workshop that this is a "no criticizing zone," which means that whether you’re a seasoned artist or drawing for the very first time, everyone can draw, and negative self-thoughts and comments only prevent us from trying. "Remember one thing," says Fielder, "to be perfect? Eh, you don’t want to be perfect. Why? Because your imperfections, the things that you do differently…are the things that make you unique. Perfection is the enemy of completion." Talk about a master class! This is definitely a must-see for students, educators, artists, or anyone who needs the motivation to keep going.”

#strongfemaleleads in Comics and Graphic Novels

Why watch?: "Panelist Vita Ayala really set the tone for this conversation when they said that the problem with representation is that one character is expected to represent everybody, which is impossible because there are 'so many ways to be a person.'" 
 
"It’s true that Black women characters have historically been written as one-dimensional characters, but this panel reminds us that there are Black femme and non-binary creators who are doing their due diligence in presenting and normalizing Black femme and non-binary characters in storytelling." 

Black Villains Matter

Why watch?: "I think we can all agree that Marvel’s Black Panther gave us one of the most complex Black villains we have ever seen: Erik Killmonger. This panel critically discusses the complexity of Black villains while also discussing racism, toxic masculinity, white supremacy, and Black agency.
 
Panelist Janicia Francis challenges us to contextualize our idea of villains like Killmonger who has some flaws but is also a victim of white supremacy and childhood trauma. "Black folks throughout the globe are seen as villainous," says Francis, "and by default, we are always proving that we are innocent of crimes that we didn’t commit, that we belong wherever we are because we’re seen as evil and villainous." With this history in mind, the panel invites us to question who are the real villains in these stories and why."

Hip Hop and Comics in 3D

Why watch?: “If you want to learn about the relationship between comics and hip hop, look no further! Darryl McDaniels of Run-DMC talks about growing up in Queens and how comic books supported his literacy, self-esteem, and healing. He reminds us that comic books are a gateway to literacy, radical imagination, and self-actualization. Comic books were and continue to be a critical place for where marginalized students can see themselves, learn about their history, and imagine beyond their current circumstances.”

Return to the main page of the blog series: The Black Comic Book Festival Is Turning 10!

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