The theme was “The History and Value of the Black Age of Comics” as Nzingha Nommo, owner/president of Afri-Ware hosted the Black Age XI of Comics, Oct. 12.
LaMorris Richmond, the publisher and creator of B.L.A.M. Comics was among those in attendance.
“B.L.A.M.,” he said, “stands for Big LaMorris Comics and we have three titles, soon to be six: Canton Kid, which is set in Chicago and a futuristic neo-techno-Chicago, a comedy martial arts series; Purge: Black, Red & Deadly is based on a lawman; and we have Jigaboo Devil, which is the story of a man named Oliver Priest in the 1930s raised in the army and fighting for black independence. He hides in plain sight and no one ever looks at his face, so he wears a “Little Black Sambo” mask.
Richmond says he’s been in business since 1988. “I can remember all through school I would learn about certain things like molecules by reading comics.”
Andre Batts, creator of the Dreadlocks & Urban Style Comix series, said, “I’ve been in comic business now about 12 years, and I created Dreadlocks about 15 years ago. My first publication of Dreadlocks was back in 1996, when I did my first convention and introduced the character to everyone.
“I have a brother named Abdul Rashid who is my artist, and I’m the writer and colorist of the book. We put it in a way where they can follow the pictures as well as the story line. My purpose as editor of Urban Style Comics and creator/artist for Dreadlocks was to bring forth an urban comic book hero who would stand as a leader. My primary task was to educate from a different perspective-entertaining the naked eye with imagery that reflects the urban cities across America’s ghettos in a positive manner, minus all the negativity that swarms us daily. I’ve created Dreadlocks as a blind superhuman in order to establish that true righteousness is established from within. Dreadlocks follows an ancient order of Egypt known as Ma’at which means truth, order and righteousness.”
Tim Jackson, cartoonist/illustrator for the Chicago Defender explained that “I’ve been a cartoonist forever, for as long as I can remember. I am a freelancer, but I work with various newspapers-for instance, in Chicago my cartoons appear in the Chicago Defender. And I work with other newspapers around the country.
Cartoonist Turtel Onli, creator of The Blacker The Hero, said he displays his collection of paintings, illustrations, and posters covering a wide range of heroic characters, styles and treatments selected from his Black Age of Comics movement.
Nommo said she was proud to host this event at her establishment. She met some of artists last summer at the annual Festival of African Arts, held each year in Washington Park on the South Side.