Sometimes you need to simply close your eyes and jump into the mosh pit. Sometimes you throw caution to the wind, run through a French museum with your best friend, and eventually find yourself naked in a public fountain.
Sometimes you wanna feel like anything goes. September’s Wild Card edition is here to help. Check out our comic convention recommendations, along with offerings in books, film, and comics, that defy category, play fast-and-loose with genre, and promise (with a gleam in their eyes) to take you places you’ve never been!
And speaking of new adventures, this year, NARAZU will be at New York Comic Con (NYCC)! At Booth #2157, we’ll be featuring 5 amazing indie artists, including authors Lynn Emery, C. Michael Forsyth, and Zig Zag Claybourne, and Tuskegee Heirs comic book creators Greg Burnham and Marcus Johnson. Plus, on Thursday, October 5th, we will be hosting a panel on Marketing 101 for Indie Artists. If you’re in town, we hope you can join us. With over 180,000 comic and sci-fi fans at the show, it’s bound to be a wild card experience!
All Indie. All Awesome.
The Space Between Us, begins with a world choking on pollution. To survive, humans must wear oxygen masks as they search for a more permanent solution that may require the destruction of a captured sea-creature named “Adam”. This film is part fantasy, part science fiction, and part suspense, but at its core (as with all the best sci-fi), it’s about what it means to define the parameters of humanity for yourself.
Each month I give my two cents on what I think is a great read, and generally I’ll end my review with something like “you can find them at this or that con,” and with New York Comic Con fast approaching (also signaling the end of the big Con season) I thought it might be a good time to hook you up with a snapshot of the smaller Cons that might not get as much love as their bigger cousins, but are just as important for artists and fans who want more than spandex and capes. Check out the info below, then start getting your calendars in order for next year!
For me, Black Comic Book Day Festival (January 12-13) is for me the start of con season. This annual event showcasing creators of color was founded by Jerry Craft, Jonathan Gayles, Deirdre Hollman and John Jennings and this cadre of creators and educators take over NYC’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, up in Harlem. Originally Black Comic Book Day, this con has grown from a one-day event, that only took up a few spaces of the Schomburg, to a two-day festival that has lines around the block. For more information on this event visit the Schomburg’s website. Note: RSVPing is a MUST for this free event.
The East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention or ECCBAC (May18-19), is a Philadelphia institution that is arguably the mecca of the Black independent comics scene here in the US. Started in 2002, ECCBAC has become a must for Blerds with amazing cosplayers, creator workshops and tons of merchandise to buy. In addition to that, there’s the Glyph Awards, started in 2006 to celebrate the talent of these amazing creators, this award ceremony highlights the best creators and their works the Friday night before the con. A family-friendly event that is a great time.
Women in Comics Con (March 24) celebrates the women in the comic book industry, both mainstream and independent, that get the job done. Trailblazed by Regine Sawyer, Women in Comics Con grew out of the underrepresentation of women in comics, so if you make the trip to the Bronx, you’ll be more than happy with the talented women that set a standard for positive images for women on the page as well as roles models behind the scenes.
The Five Points Festival (May19-20) Took everything we love about cons, comics, toys, & gaming and added beer. With afterparty events, not everything was for the kids but that’s okay when you can build a sizable artist lineup with a gang of games and toys for patrons to buy from. This one looks to take a piece out of the big guy’s pie.
I’ve never been, but Black Comix Arts Festival or BCAF (January 13-14) in San Francisco gets a nod off the fact that it’s the same weekend as the Black Comic Book Festival here in New York, which forces half the creators to split their time between the two cons. Don’t be surprised if you see artists showing up with their luggage in tow.
BLERD City Conference (July 14-15) is an ambitious con that in its freshman year, for two days quietly took over several spaces in Downtown Brooklyn. Part con, part blueprint, BBC covered the usual geekdom topics but also included talks on food, tech and social matters that affect young people of color.
This last one hasn’t even happened yet, but Universal Fan Con (April 27-29) gets the thumbs up as it has bucked the standard origin, formed by several podcasters and bloggers, with headliners like Orlando Jones and Big Daddy Kane, look for this new kid on the block early next year.
Now if you do go to the big cons, remember to hit up Artist Alley. That’s where you’ll find the independent creators hustling for their art and rent. And I know there are more, so please get at me with ones you feel should have been mentioned, I’m always looking for new spots.
The Casebook of Esho St. Clair by Scott Roche gives you steam, gives you magic, gives you mythology, gives you beasts and trolls, and binds it all up with a hero who is DYING for Denzel to play him in the movie version. Fans of Ben Aaronovitch’s “Rivers of London” series will appreciate the humor and intrigue sprinkled through the two stories that make up this collection, while those who like a good fight, chase, and scare will nod their Victorian/Steam approval. St. Clair is a hoodoo man who takes on all manner of unusual cases when the police or a detective simply won’t do. This book blends genres and sensibilities with a healthy dose of fun and feels like a cool TV series you wish you’d seen.
Jazz Age Cthulhu by Orrin Grey, Jennifer Brozek, & A.D. Cahill – From the book’s Amazon page: “Three new novelettes inspired by Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos, set against the background of the Roaring Twenties. Journey to Kansas City, the ‘Paris of the Plains,’ a city of glamour and sin where cults, secret societies, and music intermingle. Visit Assam, India, where a British dilettante wakes up one morning covered in bruises and welts, with a dead man in her bed and no memory of what happened in the last 24 hours. Her only clue is a trashed invitation to the exclusive Black Ram Club. Relax on the resort island of Pomptinia, an Italian enclave of wealthy socialites, expats, and intellectuals. But beware – the sea conceals dark secrets.”
From me: If you don’t mind taking the Cthulhu mythos, setting it to a sweet jazz improve beat, serving it in a cool, dim room, and adding a few well-needed tweaks to the Lovecraftian mix, you’ll dig the swag of this collection of 3 novelettes. Each story has enough twists on the familiar tropes to feel fresh and imaginative.
To Find You by Cerece Rennie Murphy – Part fantasy, part historical, part sci fi, part romance, part metaphysical. So, is it sci-fi, fantasy, or romance? You won’t care. It’s a good book. That it’s from the mind of our tireless Captain of Narazu is just icing on the cake. This book manages to remind us that who we are matters well beyond the single lifetimes we perceive. That rocks on so many levels. The story of two lovers encountering themselves throughout time might sound like it’s been done…but it hasn’t been done like this, where it’s not the person but the thread of consciousness that survives and entwines. A highly enjoyable and touching book that also ignites the imagination.