A Peters­burg marvel

Res­i­dents come out to comic book con­ven­tion

The Progress-Index - - FRONT PAGE - By John Adam Staff Writer

PETERS­BURG — Comic book fever was high at the Peters­burg Li­brary on Satur­day, as en­thu­si­asts from around the re­gion came out to the Comic Book Con­ven­tion put on by non­profit Galac­tic Griot.

“This was a won­der­ful in­tro­duc­tion of comic books and the comic book community, to Peters­burg,” said Galac­tic Griot founder Henri Dozier. “It was well re­ceived.”

In ad­di­tion to brows­ing a wide va­ri­ety of comics, cloth­ing, art, and ac­tion fig­ures, con­ven­tion go­ers got to sit in on sev­eral pan­els.

One of those pan­els talked about the im­pact of the re­cent block­buster “Black Pan­ther”, the lat­est in­stall­ment in the Marvel Cine­matic Uni­verse. “Black Pan­ther” was the first su­per­hero movie to fea­ture a black su­per­hero

with a mostly-black cast, and broke nu­mer­ous box­of­fice records when it came out in Fe­bru­ary.

Pan­elists Tabitha Bugg, Pamela Bing­ham, and Kayla Pin­son talked about how they thought the movie im­pacted so­ci­ety. Dozier helped mod­er­ate the con­ver­sa­tion.

Pin­son, a Vir­ginia State grad, was on the panel, and re­cited a spe­cial poem as a part of her in­sight.

“The first line of my poem was ‘the birthright ver­sus the blind eye’,” said Pin­son. “When you ac­knowl­edge your birthright as be­ing a holis­tic in­di­vid­ual that can do any­thing they de­sire to do, you don’t have to be blind: the blind eye has been put on you by your up­bring­ing or ex­pe­ri­ences. But ul­ti­mately, the poem is about re­mem­ber­ing your birthright: you can do what­ever you want to do.”

Bing­ham, a Peters­burg res­i­dent and con­fessed comic book nerd, talked about how the movie was “cul­tur­ally di­verse” and how the film­mak­ers made sure to “ap­peal to many dif­fer­ent de­mo­graph­ics.”

The pan­elist also talked about the role of fe­male war­riors in “Black Pan­ther” and how their por­trayal could im­pact the young women who saw them on-screen.

“I wanted peo­ple to get a firm un­der­stand­ing that the Black Pan­ther is not just a piece of en­ter­tain­ment,” said Pin­son. “There was a lot of his­tor­i­cal in­for­ma­tion in [the movie]: there was a lot of so­ci­etal in­for­ma­tion about what we can do with dif­fer­ent things hap­pen­ing in our world: tech­nol­ogy, ed­u­ca­tion, all of those things were in the movie. It’s teach­ing us to be more mind­ful to what we are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing.”

An­other panel had Dozier talk­ing to Gary Cohn and Bob So­daro, two comic book writ­ers who have re­cently re­lo­cated to the Rich­mond area.

In ad­di­tion to the pan­els, con­ven­tion go­ers got to cos­play (dress up as a char­ac­ter), for which prizes were given out. There were also sev­eral STEAM and STEM demon­stra­tions put on by the Peters­burg League of Ur­ban Grow­ers.

Ven­dors like artists Brian Gor­don and Tony An­thony Knight were show­ing off some of their art­work as well.

Galac­tic Griot is hop­ing to use the con­ven­tion as a spring­board for more pro­grams in the community. Dozier has been in talks with the city’s Leisure and Cul­tural Af­fairs Depart­ment, and the school sys­tem about start­ing some pro­grams for the stu­dents.

“I hope peo­ple see that this is dope,” said Pin­son, smil­ing. “Comic books, lit­er­a­ture, cos­play, all of these things are very in­ter­est­ing, and they al­low you to be in­vested in what is en­ter­tain­ing you. A lot of us just watch things for en­ter­tain­ment, but I feel like comic books give you an op­por­tu­nity to get in­volved.”


Pan­elist Kayla Pin­son re­cites a poem dur­ing the comic book con­ven­tion at the Peters­burg Li­brary on April 14, 2018.


Left to right, Mor­gan Maxwell, Henri Dozier, and Nasya Bugg dur­ing the comic book con­ven­tion at the Peters­burg Li­brary on April 14, 2018.

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