J. M. DeSantis

An Amazing 4th Year for the BCBF

This past Saturday’s 4th annual Black Comic Book Festival was quite an event. Not only was it well organised and the people friendly, but it was so well attended that the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture was hardly large enough to hold the thousands who came out for the show. In fact so many attended that there was a line to get in for a good portion of the day. That was just wonderful, as there needs to be this kind of support not only for small publishers and independent creators (what solely made up the show), but specifically black creators and characters in comics.

For myself, as I’d made known the past two weeks, I was invited to sit with the crew at Rosarium Publishing (the publisher for my medieval Indian fantasy comic series, Chadhiyana), hang out with my fellow Rosarians and help promote the various titles under Rosarium’s growing catalogue of books, comics and graphic novels. Though I think Rosarium hardly needed my help as the table seemed to be crowded for most of the day. Many of Rosarium’s titles sold well, and even a few sold out completely (including Malice in Ovenland and Kid Code). It was a great feeling to see there was so much interest in Rosarium and to know that I’m a part of that.

More than the sales and the thrill of being there with my publisher, for me it was a nice change of pace. I was just one of many people at a publisher’s table, rather than doing most of the work of exhibiting by myself. This allowed me to walk around for a bit and enjoy a show for once (some of it with my girlfriend and her daughter who came by for a bit). I got the chance to see some of the other creators and the art exhibit which was on display. It was incredible to see how consistently good the work was, and just how many creators are trying to do (in one form or another) what I had set out to do with Chadhiyana: create a fictional world or people filtered through cultures that aren’t typically highlighted in comics and literature.

Other than that, it was great to catch up with my publisher Bill Campbell (Rosarium’s fearless leader) whom I haven’t seen in person since we first met in Baltimore two or so years ago. Also, Jason Rodriguez (Try Looking Ahead), who I met at the same time as Bill, and I think may have been the guy that brought Bill to my table to check out my stuff–so thanks, Jason! And I got to hang out and talk shop with Micheline Hess (Malice in Ovenland), who’s the only Rosarium creator I’ve seen at a few shows now.

I also had the opportunity to meet a bunch of Rosarium’s artists and authors whom I had never met before including Gerald Mohamed (Bill’s brother and designer of the Rosarium site: rosariumpublishing.com), Jason Scott Jones (APB: Artists Against Police Brutality), Stacy Robinson (Kid Code), Ian Gabriel (Manticore), Bizhan Khodabandeh (Little Red Fish), and of course, Mr. John Jennings himself, co-organiser of the event and author of many works under Rosarium including Blue Hand Mojo.

It was a pleasure, all of you, and I’m really happy to be working with such talented folks. Thanks also for some of the feedback (specifically Ian and Micheline on my inking) and compliments. Thank you. They’re much appreciated. My only disappointment was that I never got the chance to pick up a few books before the end of the show. Guess I’ll just have to order them through the Rosarium site and have them signed next time.

Also at the show were long-time friends and fellow creators, Ray Felix (Bronx Heroes), Bob Sodaro (Owl Girls, Wülf Girlz and Agent Unknonwn), and James Rodriguez (Sara Rising) it was great to see you guys too. (Sorry, I can’t write a post-event blog post without trying to give a shout out to all of the people I met or bumped into.)

That said, I really enjoyed this show, and hope to come back next year–maybe at a bigger venue, as I think the BCBF is going to need it. I’m also hoping Rosarium Publishing will attend some more events in the New York-New Jersey area in the future, as I’d love to be there supporting them and get the chance to talk more with some of the other Rosarium creators. We’ll see. For now, I’ve got my own convention schedule to concentrate on, but this was a great way to start off 2016!

J. M. DeSantis

J. M. DeSantis is a writer and artist (Write-ist), best known as the creator of the Indian dark fantasy heroine, Chadhiyana (chadhiyana.com) and the humorous web-comic, Gentleman Cthulhu: Emeritus Moribus Monstrum (gentlemancthulhu.com). DeSantis has also authored a number of short fiction and artworks. Support his work as well as this blog through J. M.'s Patreon at: patreon.com/jmdesantis.

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