Comics In Color Festival Draws A Spotlight On POC Cartoonists

Photo: Mike Macklin/WBZ NewsRadio

ROXBURY, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — 12-year-old Nile Hennick has been drawing comics since he was six.

"I don’t know what attracted me to make comics, actually. I think one day I just looked at comics and I was like, I want to do this," Hennick told WBZ NewsRadio.

Hennick is the youngest cartoonist at the fourth annual Boston Comics in Color Festival, a convention that focuses on comic artists of color and the stories they write.

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Saturday's event at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center at Roxbury Community College had a packed schedule of panels, signings, music performances, and a cosplay contest.

This year's special guests included Eisner Award winner and New York Times bestselling author John Jennings; Ray Billingsley, creator of the comic strip "Curtis;" Liz Montague, a cartoonist for The New Yorker; and Barbara Brandon-Croft, the first nationally syndicated Black female cartoonist.

Commenting on the medium, Hennick said, "I notice there’s a lot of superhero comics, and I kind of want to, like, stray away from that. I want comics that are more pivoted towards real life, that focus on the real world."

Hennick's enthusiasm for drawing from real life experiences was shared by his fellow cartoonists.

"You’re laughing kind of at yourself and laughing at the things that you might have a problem with," said Barrington Edwards, associate professor at Massachusetts College of Art and Design, "but the Black experience, there are lots of things that are funny."

"There’s this idea that Black people are somehow this exotic other, and we’re just not," added Joel Christian Gill, one of the festival's founders and also an associate professor at MassArt.

WBZ's Mike Macklin reports.

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