One of the great excuses in the limits of hiring, buying from, or even finding Black comics work is the old chestnut of not being able to find them. There have been a number of efforts to stymie that idea, from documentaries to Twitter accounts to various and sundry blog posts. This year, a concerted effort to raise money for the Dwayne McDuffie Fund makes its goal to shine that spotlight on Black books, creators, conventions, and retailers in Access Guide to the Black Comic Book Community 2020-2021.
Of course, literally no single work could comprehensively cover the entirety of the arguable Black comic book community. Between varying production schedules, alternate distribution means, and regional limitations, somebody had to be left out. You won't find Agent Wild's Don Walker, or C. Spike Trotman's groundbreaking Iron Spike Comics, or Black Comix Day founder Keithan Jones, or CJ Juzang's Ayele: Nubian Warrior. On the other hand, you'll find the often-missed Assassin and Son by fallen wrestler Shad Gaspard from Scout Comics or Nani by Kobe Ofei and Setor Fiadzigbey, which flips the abduction storyline prevalent in many news reports into a tale of "magic, mythical creatures, and beings inspired by African myths and legends." You'll even find the scandal-plagued Evoluzione Publishing, which had a number of interesting projects and talented names attached to projects that sometimes failed to materialize. Likewise, the inclusion of a book where the colorist is the only member of the creative team who is Black may strain credulity a bit. The issue offers an email address to send in submissions for a planned 2021-2022 version to see print next February.
Possibly of greatest interest to creators is the guide to retailers, which looks at a number of Black-owned stores, which offers the true kind of back roads guide to where fans might find friendly harbors for books, merchandise, and even conversations of interest to the community.
While not comprehensive, with its international reach and scaling from majors to smaller publishers, this guide is certainly money well spent on insights into one of the industry's best-kept secrets. RATING: BUY.
Access Guide to the Black Comic Book Community 2020-2021
By Dimitrios Fragiskatos, Joe Illidge, George Carmona the 3rd
The questions of who, what, where, when, and why are the basic foundations of journalistic and research endeavors. The Access Guide To the Black Comic Book Community is a new sourcebook to provide answers for comic book fans, old and new. This handy reference guide is more than a directory of Black comic book creators and the stories they produce. It is a road map for the uninitiated and the veteran comic book reader alike, to find the publishers, stores and conventions that provide kinship, safe spaces, and promote an imaginative variety of experiences through comic books! Proceeds from purchase of the book here will go the Dwayne McDuffie Fund.
[Article edited at request]