African American comic creators from around the country are coming to Toledo to share their stories and inspire a new generation of artists at the second annual Glass City Black Comix Festival, Saturday, February 10 at the Main Branch of the Toledo Lucas County Public Library.
The event, presented in collaboration with the website Peep Game Comix, is a celebration of an underrepresented segment of the comic community. Educating attendees about the contributions of African American artists, those artists work with kids to teach the art of visual storytelling.
“I just started thinking, from a practical standpoint, it made more sense to start where I was— in my hometown,” Peep Game Comix creator (and Toledo City Paper Production Manager) Imani Lateef said of the event’s origins.
Imani Lateef, Peep Game Comix
As a graphic artist with over 15 years of experience, Lateef started Peep Game Comix four years ago to support and bolster African American comic book artists by spotlighting their work. The artists he connected with work on the site sparked his idea that lead to the first Glass City Black Comix Festival last year.
“I started networking with the people I had on the site, and we began with a few creators from Detroit and Columbus which is how the first event, last year, got off the ground.”
This year, the event has expanded to include artists from Chicago, New York and Philadelphia along with an increased focus on educating young attendees looking to learn about how to create comics themselves.
“What I learned last year was that there was a huge demand for people learning how to create comic books, people of all ages,” Lateef said. “Definitely, for a lot of young people, that was their main objective. They were coming to support artists, but they were also there to share what they were working on, asking advice.”
Jamar Nicholas, “Leon: Protector of the Playground”
and “Detective Boogaloo”
For Jamar Nicholas, the idea of inspiring and educating young attendees at the Glass City Black Comix Festival is a major bright spot of his attendance at the event. Creator of such well-regarded comics as “Leon: Protector of the Playground” and “Detective Boogaloo: Hip-Hop Cop,” Nicholas has long been a member of the Kids Love Comics Collective and participated in workshops around the country.
“Along with my career as a cartoonist, I am also an educator. I have dedicated my career to empowering young people to embrace a love of drawing cartoons and comics,” Nicholas said.
Based in Philadelphia, Nicholas was asked to attend the second Black Comix Festival by Lateef himself, and said that he respects how important Peep Game Comix is to shining a light on creators in the comic community — a medium that Nicholas has loved since childhood.
“The ability to totally control a readers’ emotion by manipulating time, pacing and visual importance–what a cartoonist can show in a panel, or a whole comic book can be as little or as much as needed. In other mediums a clock is always ticking, but you could stop and focus on a drawing in a comic as long as it takes. That’s special.”
Like Lateef, Nicholas said that he hopes attendees of all ages are inspired by the event. “I would love to see people come out and see up close the magic of art and hope that they find something there that encourages them to create.”
For a full schedule of events and creators involved, see online.
11am-3pm Saturday, February 10.
Toledo-Lucas County Public Library, 325 N. Michigan Ave.
419-259-5200 | peepgamecomix.com | Free