Cartoonist Jerry Craft, creator of the Mama’s Boyz comics strip and book collections, has teamed up with African American comics creators and booksellers to hold a series of Black Comic Book Day events in different cities during African American History Month. New York’s Black Comic Book Day is Sat. February 19 and will be held at the Hue-Man Bookstore in Harlem today from 2pm to 4pm.
The event is really a collaboration between comics artists and bookstores in Chicago, Atlanta and Detroit and will feature establishing permanent sales displays of comics and graphic novels by black creators—independent artists as well as artists supported by big publishers—in venues in all the cities. Craft has teamed up with legendary Chicago based cartoonist Turtel Onli, founder of The Black Age of Comic Conventions in Chicago as well as being an instrumental figure in supporting independent black cartooning in Chicago and around the country.
Black Comic Book Day is an effort to both highlight the works of African American cartoonists as well as show the ability of comics to encourage reading and inspire creativity and imagination in girls and boys. “The only reason I, and most of my friends, read regularly was because of comic books,” Craft said. “I still remember the excitement of running to the corner store and seeing the new issue of Spider-Man waiting for me. Reading comics helped build our vocabularies. Playing games pretending to be the Silver Surfer or the Incredible Hulk stimulated our imaginations.”
Starting at 2pm today (Feb. 19) the Hue-Man Bookstore will feature appearances by Craft as well as Ray Billingsley (Curtis), comic book writers N. Steven Harris (Ajala), Alex Simmons (Archie: The Cartoon Life of Chuck Clayton) and comics historian Professor Bill Foster and others. The Hue-Man Bookstore and Café is located in Harlem at 2319 Frederick Douglass Blvd. Between 124th Street and 125th Street.