Black and Super fun, once again
Comic book fans young and old came together at Morgan Memorial Library on Saturday for the second annual “Black and Super: African American History in Comics,” a celebration of African American superheroes that featured local African American artists, creators and small business owners.
Zoser Mateen attended the event in his “Black Panther” costume. Mateen said that he likes the Marvel Comics character because he’s a “just” and “progressive” king, and that he admires both of those qualities in a leader.
Harmony Gayle brought her son Solomon, 7, to the event, and her son was wearing the purple mask of Larry-Boy, the superhero alter-ego of Larry the Cucumber from “VeggieTales.”
Gayle said that she likes superheroes and supporting local artists, so the combination at the Saturday event was a blast.
“I think it’s nice,” Gayle said. “It’s a nice way to support local artists, and to check out black superheroes for Black History Month.”
She also picked up a few copies of the “Delta Dogs” comic book series by local creator Vonnell Young, founder of Millennial Comics. Delta Dogs is the story of seven cousins who face trials and tribulations after they gain superpowers, then come together to fight back a gang war.
Young said the Saturday event was going well, with positive feedback from both new and old comic book fans.
“They’re just trying to jump in to see what’s going on in the comic book world,” he said.
Black and Super was first held last year as a Black History Month activity that would appeal to children and also offer a pop-culture spin on the holiday, according to Cory Bland, Suffolk Public Library youth and family services coordinator.
Bad weather diminished last year’s event attendance, but this year saw a bounce-back.
“It was raining and borderline freezing last year, so we didn’t have as good of a turnout, but this year we had a really good turnout,” Bland said while wearing his “Static Shock” shirt.
The superhero Static is also one of Young’s favorite characters, and a great example of a well-done, African American superhero.
There haven’t been too many African American superheroes “done in the right fashion,” Young said, but the local creator is making his own mark with his own characters.
“I want to make sure that I do that justice to the black superhero community,” he said.
Suffolk’s young, creative minds submitted their own super-heroic ideas for the event’s “Everyone is Super” contest. According to Bland, a total of 23 participants drew their own original superheroes and submitted them with character descriptions.
The contest winners were the “Everlasting Bubblegirl” by Amadi Alexander, 11, and “Freedom Man” by Andrew Hawks, 10.
“We wanted to see what everybody’s definition of a superhero was,” Bland said, and the children devised their own designs that were “really cool” and “different,” he added.
Event vendors included Mt. Everest Karate Studio, Paparazzi Jewelry, 4 the Love of Fleece and SNKR TUB. Visitors also enjoyed brilliant artwork by Cordy Studios, Nabuarts, Jeffrey Onwularu and Rhyan Anderton.
They also answered “Black and Super Jeopardy” questions, and watched a screening of “The Mundane Afrofuturist Manifesto.” Children also enjoyed story time and Mt. Everest Karate Studio activities.
It was a packed Saturday at Morgan Memorial Library, and Bland said the plan is to keep the fun going next year.
“We had a really good turnout out today,” Bland said. “As long all the vendors and stuff want to come back again, and everybody is still on board, we’ll probably do it again next year.”