On Friday, Dec. 3 – Dec. 5, visual arts enthusiasts attended the Los Angeles Comic Con 2021 at the Los Angeles Convention Center, in Downtown L.A. The convention is filled with artists and art fans for a one-of-a-kind experience where the primary focus is on comic books and the comic book culture.
Fans travel the world to meet artists, experts, and fellow comic devotees, hoping to meet their favorite artist or discover new creators selling their art or gaining new fans and friends. Comic Con is a massive vehicle for the comic industry where publishers, distributors, and retailers represent their comic-related work.
According to online sources, historically, although Blacks have been portrayed in comics since the medium’s beginning, critics have noted that Black men and women have often been portrayed as “jungle or ghetto stereotypes,” and have often been portrayed as sidekicks as opposed to primary characters.
As the industry evolves, more Black artists are finding their niche in the genre. The L.A. Sentinel focused on five Black artists, asking about their unique experiences at the event and in the industry as a whole.
“I am a digital illustrator, visual effects artist, and animator from Santa Clarita, CA. My experience was all great! L.A. Comic Con exceeded my expectations; so many great artists and people. I miss it already.
It’s such a great feeling seeing people stop and bump into each other because they paused to look at my art while walking past. I received so much love and people looking to collaborate with me in the future. L.A. Comic Con was absolutely inspiring!
Art fans said I was one of the best artists there. Someone bought all of my framed displays, while others filmed me and my booth for their Instagram. As far as being a person of color, I got so many compliments from the Comic Con attendees, just for being a talented Black artist.
It made me feel welcomed; there’s a lot of love for Black artists. My art can be viewed on Instagram @ARL_Afterrealm and @ www.artbyarl.com.” – Antonio R. Lyons – Artist
I’m the Creator of Lightning Strike. I’ve been participating in Comic Con for five years now. I participate in the convention because I meet new people and I’m excited about sharing my story about my comic. I get to hang out with fans and see new art because I’m a fan too!
“So far, I have exhibited in three Comic Cons. The conventions are truly a dream come true for any artist or comic creator for exposure, selling our product, network, and having amazing fun while doing it.
Overall, I’ve had only positive experiences; even if it’s a slow day, I still meet wonderful artists and comic art enthusiasts.
With regards to race, I have often been asked if I experience challenges as a Black female exhibitor … on the contrary, I feel more appreciated and rare with only a small handful of Black women comic creators at Con. It does make a difference in a good way.
As for my comic, my intention was to not draw seriously, but with a goofy exaggerated style to add to the comedy of it. I am excited about developing the DaFuqcomics animation series.
I want my readers to know how grateful I am that I can make them laugh. All my content can be found on Instagram @ da_fuq1″ – Mia Bunn – Writer/Illustrator of DaFuqcomics
“I’ve participated in Comic Con for about 14 years. I’ve always been an old-school nerd back before it was cool! Comic Con is a great community full of diverse interests. I have nothing but positive things to say about the fans and show promoters.
I think, as a minority, I had to be an ambassador for my culture to many other cultures. I take pride in showing people the best of what we have to offer.
Race definitely plays a factor in many ways. I consider myself a talent ambassador and because of such, I’ve been grateful to be able to influence young and old, and many diverse race groups and genders. Diversity is the heart of why I do the art I do.
I have a large selection of pop culture art that you can check out at www.terryhuddlestonart.com” – Terry Huddleston – Artist
“Comic Cons are important to me because it brings out the nerdy things about us that may not show in our lives, or in mainstream America. If anything, I feel you get to be around a lot of like-minded people regardless of fandom.
Comic Con is the first event where I felt free, interacting with free-spirited people who enjoy what you do.
Being a Black artist at these shows, you sometimes find that there aren’t a lot of others like us there. However, as time goes on, there seems to be more Black comic artists. The best part of it though, regardless of race, people at Comic Cons are way more welcoming than many other places.
I believe it is because we have all grown up as nerds and were judged or were afraid to show it, but at Comic Con, we can be ourselves for the most part. My art can be viewed @ www.monecoarts.com or Moneco Arts on Facebook.” – Avery Walker – Artist
“I love that the Comic Con convention event exists. It’s a great platform for creative-minded people, whether they create, participate in Cosplay (costume play), or as a consumer, it’s all good. Being one of the artists in Artist Alley was a dream come true for me, my brother/artist, Darrel Moore, and my friend /artist, Mia Bunn, to actually participate as featured artists, Wow!
In all the years we’ve gone to the Cons, I didn’t see African Americans behind the counter or with a booth showing their art or craft.
So, to be Black and in this event was really a big deal; but to not only be in it but showing beautiful, empowering, Black images without any issues! I know that what we do as artist may not be for everyone but the response at Cons was overwhelming.
People of all races embraced us and we loved it and gave love back. As for the future, they ain’t ready but here we come. My art can be seen on Instagram @ ART_DESIGN_IMAGE” – Henry Goods – Artist-Designer-Muralist
Comic Con fans and Cosplay fun were abundant at the convention. Saudeka Shabazz and her family decided to attend L.A. Comic Con for the first time, even dressing up in Cosplay. “We came to L.A. Comic Con because we’re into sci-fi, we’re into comics and this is one of the things we do as a family, She said.
Adamu, was excited he came to the convention. “It’s much bigger than I thought it would be. I’m excited to see all the tv. shows and animation I like,” he said. Zainab Solomon said visiting Comic Con has been an interest for years. “It’s exciting to be here, to be in these costumes, take pictures with other people, and it was really nice to see all the artwork the convention had to offer,” she said.
Below, Comic fans and Cosplay fans at L.A. Comic Con 2021. (E. Mesiyah McGinnis / L.A. Sentinel)