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Black Comics Are Taking Flight in Toledo


By Megan Davis

The Truth Contributor


In the last 10 years, Marvel Comics has dominated movie screens bringing to life the stories of Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Spiderman, The Avengers and the beloved Black Panther. This franchise is top notch when it comes to developing the story, presenting the characters with their multi-layered backgrounds, and the personal challenges they have had to face in order to maximize their super abilities.


What's more is that Marvel has had the gift to bring these story lines to the theaters in larger-than-life fashion, leaving an impact on audiences, who become a family, experiencing a barrage of emotions after becoming attached to the characters. Just say “Wakanda Forever” and most people will greet you with the appropriate sign.


This family of sorts is what is being established on a local level in the arts community. Artist Imani Lateef is the creator of Peep Game Comix, a digital platform for black comic book creators, illustrators, publishers and writers.


Through this platform, he offers over 200 black-created titles from kids free offerings to adult graphic novels. Because of the organic connections he has made with creators from coast to coast, he founded the Glass City Black Comic Fest, now in its third year in existence.


Co sponsored by the Toledo Lucas County Public Library, the Main Branch, currently closed for renovations, has been the venue for GCBC, welcoming over 300 attendees of all ages who love all things comic including: superheros, cosplay, anime, and manga. GCBC has featured creators from New York to Philadelphia including Tereece Clark, of Columbus, Ohio; Micheline Hess and Jamar Nicholas.


In  2018, Lateef began hosting comic book workshops for an after school program at Jones Leadership Academy and then applied to be an art facilitator at the Art Supply Depot downtown. Having been accepted, he has hosted three month-long Saturday classes, and two week- long summer camps as well as Cartoons and Cosplay drawing with a live model during the third Thursday Art Walks. Additionally, he hosted a Summer Comic Workshop at Owens Community College.


During the classes, the young creators are learning how to make comic books using a variety of techniques and approaches, from doing Jam Comics, where the artists collaborate on drawing or painting one single comic to spending time on developing characters, drawing out panels, creating backgrounds and penciling and inking.


The members of the most recent class, which ended Friday, July 26, were able to take home completed comic books that they developed from start to finish during the intense, but productive Summer Camp.


Earlier this year, Lateef published his first full comic book, Joon Bug Comics, which introduces young readers to a tiny hero who uses a super suit to perform heroic acts. Joon Bugs World is dedicated to this new hero and targets parents and young children who enjoy seeing superheros that look like them, with identifiable issues and relatable tales. A variety of items to encourage junior comic enthusiasts like coloring books, book marks and activity packets are also available on the site and locally at Sean’s Anime and Comics as well as the Art Supply Depot.


“I enjoy the conversation with the students when they share their stories, characters, pop culture references and memes.” stated Lateef. “I get the opportunity to inspire young artists.” he continued.


The local comic scene is growing and is being sewn into the fabric of the arts and culture community here in Toledo with the increase of businesses that bring together gaming and comics, traditional books, podcasts and cons such as The Glass CIty Con, held earlier this month and GCBC, held annually-typically during Black History Month.


Malcolm Davis, a 10-year-old illustrator and creator said of the classes, “It gives me a chance to meet other people my age who like art like me.”


This movement of sorts, is stirring up artists young and old in Toledo, giving them an outlet to create, learn, and make new friends while doing something they enjoy. Every class or camp has been sold out, with waiting lists for the next classes at the Art Supply Depot who has a second location in Bowling Green.


The next event Lateef is hosting will be another Cartoons and Cosplay live drawing event during September’s Art Walk at the Art Supply Depot. To learn more about these classes and workshops, please visit Joonbugsworld.com.




Copyright © 2019 by [The Sojourner's Truth]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 08/01/19 23:40:43 -0400.



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